GMAT scores
Taking the GMAT can induce plenty of stress and anxiety for many students. Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

GMAC announced that they have cancelled the GMAT scores of over 100 students who were caught cheating on the test. According to reports, Russian hackers were paid to sit the test for candidates.

In a statement last week, the official administrator of the GMAT exam said: “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).” 

GMAC added, “Fortunately, the number of ‘bad actors’ – people who attempt to circumvent the security of standardised tests whether for monetary gain or in the belief that cheating will help them — is very small; however, we are ever-vigilant when it comes to detecting and deterring this activity.”

GMAT scores

There are severe repercussions to cheating on the GMAT, including getting your GMAT score cancelled. Source: Frederick Florin/AFP

So much rides on students’ GMAT scores 

For the uninitiated, GMAT is a computer-adaptive test that serves as a standard measurement tool graduate business schools use to predict students’ chances of success. Hundreds of thousands of test-takers take the GMAT each year. A GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800, while the test takers’ score is valid for five years after the test date.

Taking the GMAT can induce plenty of stress and anxiety for many students. It is part of the admission process for many business and management schools in the world, including top ones in the US. 

Students stress about their GMAT scores as it plays an important role in the admissions process; anxiety and doubt might prompt some to explore options to help them do well, including hiring someone else to take the test for them.

While candidates exploit loopholes to get a better GMAT score, cheating your way to business school can come with severe repercussions.

What happens when you cheat on the GMAT

According to GMAC’s statement, test-takers caught cheating will:

  • Have their GMAT scores cancelled
  • Be banned from future testing with GMAC 
  • Have any previous exam scores cancelled
  • Schools to which scores had been sent by these candidates have been notified of their use of unfair means
  • Candidates could be subject to criminal investigation and prosecution

It’s possible that you could also be thrown out if you’re already in school, or leave the country if you’re on a student visa. Graduates could have their degrees revoked.

It’s worth remembering that while GMAT scores help with business school admissions, they are not the sole criteria for admission. Despite that, they are typically held in high regard by many universities, which means it’s important to strive for a strong score anyway.

A “good” GMAT score depends on the business school you plan to apply to. Some universities list their average GMAT scores on their website, which should give students a good idea of what score they should strive for.

Entry into top business schools are competitive — GMAT scores between 700 and 800 could put you in good stead for these schools. A lower GMAT score might be acceptable at a lower-tier business school.

GMAC said it remains committed to ensuring the integrity of the GMAT exam and to using the most current technology and methods to deter inappropriate behaviour before, during, and after an exam is administered, whether in a test centre or online. 

“We will continue to adapt as technologies and techniques evolve to ensure that schools remain confident in the validity of test scores and to reassure candidates that the test is administered fairly,” they said.