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About Me
Name: Bharti (an alias considering im a product of India)
Location: Melbourne, Australia 
I should’ve done this in my first post, but that gives you more of an insight into me (unorganised) – anyway, here it is….a bit about me. I am a mechanical engineer. That does not mean that I am in love with machines. Mechanical Engineers come in all shapes and sizes. I love heat and fluids. By the way, I am phenomenally arrogant. That makes me a rather repulsive person in general. Lots of people hold that against me and tell me that I ought to be certified and that some of my views are incendiary. You decide. The more personal details (like name and photos) have been removed, in view of death threats I am likely to get. Say whatever you may, I love my life. I don't want to die too early.
A monotonous description of every little detail of what is going on with my life, so that I can laugh at it later. May contain the odd technical post too, so that I can laugh at my shallow understanding of engineering later. Will contain no opinions whatsoever.
Driving
Driving in the OZ is a pleasure, especially if you have driven in India. You don't feel scared your car is going to "die" at traffic signals (thanks to the automatic transmissions), your left leg is free (should you want to dance about). There's two meters of space between two consecutive cars. And you can coast at speeds known only to truckers and airplanes in India.
 
It is a piece of cake to drive here. Everyone obeys rules here: Indicators are followed like the holy bible is followed here; speed limits are respected. Kilometers are covered faster than meters are covered in Chandni Chowk. Roads are wide, to say the least.
 
So, it is extremely ironic that I managed to fail my driving test here. Apparently, I merged into traffic too hastily, and should have allowed a car some 200 meters away to pass before me. The examiner (for that is what he is) said "That car was coming way too fast for you to turn. Come back next time". He must be paid by the volume of people whom he "examines", not by the hour.

I will have to disturb a friend early morning next week again. Woe is him, not just me.
Posted: 23/07/2008 1:04:11 PM by Bharti | with 0 comments

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/jun2008/bs20080627_391632.htm

 

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/jul2008/bs2008071_278439.htm

 

Businessweek reported: The cheating scandal that has engulfed the B-school world grew vastly larger on June 27, when the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) said the number of prospective MBA students facing questions about their entrance exams now totals more than 6,000—six times the original estimate.

You might wonder how one can 'cheat' on the GMAT. After all it is an online test involving logic and reasoning, not your Year 12 board exam where you can scribble some formulas on your knee.

Well it appears that the controversy is actually about www.scoretop.com, a site which students used to prepare for the GMAT. The site featured several 'live' questions i.e. questions that GMAT serves from its vast databank to actual test takers.

The unique thing about GMAT is the fact that it is a computer adaptive test and that no two test-takers get exactly the same set of questions. But no system is infallible.

Anyone who's taken the test can memorise a few questions, note them down and pass on the same to future test takers. These questions were apparently known as 'JJ' or jungle juice on the scoretop site.

Numerous CAT prep institutes used to do this kind of thing before students were allowed to take the test paper home a couple of years ago. Of course, CAT questions are not re-used. But coaching classes liked to 'solve' the paper and indicate to students how much they could hope to score.

Since the IIMS are thinking of taking CAT online, this may be a good time to consider whether the GMAT model is practical in the Indian context. A live question bank would easily be leaked by coaching classes using the 'human memory' method.

Of course by GMAC's own admission students probably gained 'very little' by having access to questions.

Even if a site is illegally able to obtain some “real” questions, it is extremely unlikely that anyone accessing the site will see the same questions on the live exam...The reliability of the test taker’s score is less in question than the ethical behaviour of those trying to “game” the system.

Either way, a system where a fixed exam is offered 4 times a year and questions are not reused would be much safer in
India. Because in a test like CAT where competition is so intense that even a single question can make a difference, you don't want to take a chance. After all credibility is paramount.

I also think
India must have an online + offline model in order to make the CAT fully accessible. At least for the next few years.

Getting back to the GMAT controversy, students who had purchased 'VIP' access to Scoretop over the last 5 years are currently under scrutiny. This includes those who are current students and even MBA graduates.

GMAC has won a $2.3 million copyright infringement judgment against the Scoretop site, thus shutting it down and getting access to the hard drive containing all subscriber information. The suit was filed in June 2007.

It is unlikely that all 6000 VIP members will be affected but GMAC is following the 'electronic paper trail' which indicates which users were aware of the fact that some questions were indeed live and not "fully owned by scoretop [and] written by our own…tutors" as the site claimed.

Incidentally the owner of Scoretop - Lei Shi - has fled to
China. There are at least 7 sites similar to Scoretop based in China and Businessweek writer Louis Lavelle reports that GMAC's lawyers have been in touch with the Chinese government re: copyright infringement.

I suspect there might be sites based in
India with live questions as well... Or private tutors/ classes who share the same. Anyone with info on this should drop a comment below. Might be of some assistance to your fellow students.


Personally I say it is not worth the risk of getting permanently busted.

Posted: 14/07/2008 12:32:28 PM by Kamal Kohli | with 0 comments

It's 14th July today and I’ve been in Melbourne for exactly 7 months now. From living in a crowded city in India to coming here to further my education - God, what a sea change! More of my experiences re: the past 7 months maybe another time. On to what I wanted to write about today.

 

I'm apartment hunting. Or I was apartment hunting until the weekend. I saw one - and I think I will take it. It will cost a little more than what I am paying now. And that will be exacerbated by the fact that my pay, in all probability will actually decrease! The restaurant that I work at is cutting hours of almost all employees – he said “the wife is going to start serving on quite nights, so I don’t need any waiting staff on Tuesday and Wednesday.” I guess I’ll have to figure out and find another job quick smart. Until then, some sort of existence will have to be eked out; wireless connections will have to be stolen; meals will have to be sacrificed. Even more so, if I want to live in my own place!

I've been looking at places all around the city. I still found the one I saw on saturday the best. I guess now I am going to take it – hopefully no-one else jumps in before me. The location is very nice - almost where I am right now. Walking distance to the university - safe too, I suppose. And I think the parking is inside locked gates. Not that it matters, when I don’t have a car.

I really want to get out of the place that I am "living" in right now. The room mate crashes downstairs (and never cleans the kitchen), the bed is crawling with bed-bugs, and the air conditioner/heater does not work in my room.

Life is quite good here, despite all that. I am playing tennis regularly. I took my driving test the other day. Need to start looking for a car – maybe in the trading post. Good for me, I guess.

Oh well. There are no more points to be made right now. Had some rajma for dinner. Lumpy, unlike mom's. Maybe next time I should grind the onions and tomatoes.

 

Until my next blog - take care friends.

Posted: 14/07/2008 9:30:23 AM by Kamal Kohli | with 0 comments
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