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The Graduate Management Admission Council has canceled the scores of 133 people, the majority of them in India, who took the Graduate Management Admission Test, saying “they were engaged in cheating.”

“Based on advanced forensics and proprietary security tools, we have overwhelming evidence to cancel these candidates’ scores for serious policy violations, which include proxy test taking (someone else taking the test on the candidate’s behalf). These test takers not only had their recent scores cancelled but were also banned from future testing with GMAC and any previous exam scores were also cancelled,” the council said in a written statement. “Schools to which scores had been sent by these candidates have been notified of their use of unfair means. We are also cooperating with the local law enforcement authorities in India who are investigating this matter. The investigation is ongoing and GMAC is offering its support to the police, where required, to address this malpractice.”

A spokeswoman for the council said that of the 133 individuals determined to have cheated on the tests, 108 of them lived in India, and the rest lived in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The tests, which are commonly referred to as the GMAT, are used by business schools in admissions.

“As new information and technology become available, we will leverage it to look back at past exams and act if warranted,” the council’s statement said. “Actions may include canceling scores, prohibiting test takers from taking GMAC exams in the future and informing business schools across the world about the actions of said candidates and encouraging them to take strong action. When law enforcement is involved, GMAC will support investigations to help identify people who engage in illegal and fraudulent behavior, and they may be subject to criminal investigation and prosecution.”

The council added that “these services purporting to help candidates achieve higher scores are scams” that chat candidates out of money. “We encourage candidates to not be fooled—engaging in these types of activities can result in them being the target of extortion. In addition, candidates face the very real and serious consequences of cheating, including criminal prosecution by law-and-order authorities, who are now aware of and actively working to address this issue.”

COVID-19 played a role in the cheating scheme, the council said.

“Online testing has allowed the testing community to enhance access to their exams and has been a benefit to many candidates, especially during the COVID pandemic when test centers were shut down or had very limited capacity. Unfortunately, as with any new technology, this delivery format also creates an opportunity for malicious actors who attempt to game the system. It’s important to acknowledge the risks and inform our community of schools and b-school candidates what steps we are taking to address test security as we go forward.”

The Indian press reported that six Russians were arrested in January on charges that they arranged for “a massive online examination hacking racket” through software they developed. The hack was used on the GMAT and on a test for Indian engineering colleges. It is unclear whether this incident relates to GMAC’s actions.

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