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Poltergeist on GMAT - Technical issues

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Poltergeist on GMAT - Technical issues  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 19 Sep 2018, 11:18
Hi All,

Not the kind of experience i ever wanted to share on this forum, but nonetheless, here i am confused & looking for advice from the community that has been a part of my life for almost a year now.
Thanks to the kind people on the forum, one gets to read all kinds of experiences & get advice on everything related to GMAT & sometimes even more.

So i took my first Official GMAT yesterday & had a total of 5 instances during my test, when the software failed me.
Yeah, I know everyone dreads to read the GMAT horror stories & deep down hopes that that doesn't happen to them. I too thought the same, whenever someone posted one such story. Little did i know, i would have to face a similar such situation.

The story on my Test Day, went like this--

I started the test with Verbal. Started smooth, with few SC's and a CR i think.

Glitch#1 - On Q8, i clicked the answer choice & clicked next. The software gave a pop up box saying "choose an answer choice to move forward" or something like that. I clicked "OK" on the pop up, clicked the answer choice, clicked next & again popped the same pop up box . I thought maybe i was doing something wrong, in my haste to answer. So i tried again, this time more cautious, but still got the same result. Tried a couple of times again, with again the same result. At this point panic set in me, since it is not normal to expect this to happen, the GMAT horror stories flooded my mind. I quickly raised my hand to call the proctor, however the lady was not looking at me. So i kept clicking the answer choice & next, repeatedly to get it moving somehow. It eventually did move to the confirm answer pop up after a few try's, however the nice looking proctor lady never saw me, i guess & didn't come. I decided to not waste anymore time & just moved on with the test.

Time wasted - About 40-50 secs
Mental state - I was okay, decided to shrug it off, even though i wasted my precious time because of the error.

Glitch #2 - Don't remember of the question# or type, but it was somewhere between 12-18 , same scene, however this time i managed to get the proctor lady's attention. Till the time the lady could come to me, i kept frantically trying to get the test moving. On one of the try's, the software decided to show me the "Help box", at first i didn't realize what the heck it was, the help box is a huge monstrous box that covers almost the entire screen. I didn't know what to do with it, the nice proctor lady arrived at this point.
The lady & i both started to read what it said (meanwhile the clock is ticking and i am loosing my time), i quickly realized it was just a help box with instructions, it pop's up when the "Help" button on the bottom left of the screen is clicked (but i had never clicked it). I quickly cancelled it, by clicking the "X' on the top right corner, Selected my answer choice & clicked next, the giant help box popped again. I was distraught at this point, i looked at the lady, she was trying to read it & did not know what to do with it. All i wanted to do was to close the box & get on with my test, i saw the "Close" button at the bottom of the box, i clicked on it & the help box vanished.
I quickly selected my answer choice & clicked "next", but the software was in no mood to move, it popped up the same pop up as before, the lady was still beside me & didn't know what to do either. I tried the whole thing again & this time the software moved to the confirm answer pop up. I carried on with the test & the lady went away thinking everything was okay now.

Time wasted - About 2-3 mins or maybe more i am not sure
Mental state - On the verge of falling apart, though i tried to stay calm & went on with the test. However, I had to move faster, to cover up lost time, which meant quicker POE & faster reading. Both are never a good sign, which i know from my mock experience, because moving fast means not just being frighteningly similar to guessing but also wasting my time reading & not 100% comprehending.

Glitch #3 - Some where in the last quarter (i think i was at 49 min mark) same scene, stuck with the same pop up box, raised my hand to call the proctor, this time a kind looking guy came. He glanced at what was happening on the screen & asked me to select one more answer choice, thinking that the question requires two answer choices to be marked. I told him that there can be only one answer choice & showed him by clicking another answer choice. The clock kept ticking, while we were trying to figure out the situation. He i think was convinced after a few tries to select two answer choices & told me to quickly note the time & Q#, which i promptly did (i did not know whether to note the time when the issue started or the time now just before the system restart, anyways i noted just the minutes left (not the exact seconds, which i saw on the screen just before restart, not sure exactly how many secs closer to the next minute mark it was). He then immediately restarted the system. A couple mins wait & i was logged back in, i was asked to check the time & Q#, the Q# was right, but the time did not match, anyways at this point i just wanted to get on with the test as fast as i could & did not make a fuss about the time not matching.

Time wasted - Not considering the time wasted on restarting the system, i would say about 2-3 mins of test time (when in panic, things move very fast, it gets very hard to keep track of lost time. All the while i just wanted to get on with my test & not bother myself with lost time)
Mental state - Needless to say i was not at my best, but still held my composure & was determined to finish the test.

Total time wasted during Verbal section - 5-6 mins

Finished the Verbal Section, just in time & proceeded for my break. I felt the questions in the verbal section were on the Easy-Medium difficulty level, as i didn't get any Bold face CR, a very long RC passage or a long fully underlined SC, which is a sign of doing well on the section. It was clear to me that the test had decided that i was dumb & gave me only low difficulty questions, although i didn't try to think much of it. I was kinda still under the shock of what had happened during the test & realized the full gravity of it, only after when i came out of the testing room. I was trying to reason, whether my GMAT Verbal skill set was sub par or the glitches in my test, had me not perform at my best. I did not know what to blame & still don't know.

Nonetheless, I asked the proctors about the software issue & about logging an incident report, for which they very cordially said, they will check & do whatever is necessary once the test is done.

I tried to clear my head, by not thinking about the whole thing & just look forward to doing my best on Quant. But destiny had planned nothing but misery for me & i guess it was my day to be slayed.

I started off again smooth just like Verbal, although more confident, as Quant is my strength.

Glitch #4 - Don't remember which Q or at what time, same scene & same frantic clicking in an effort to move forward. This time it worked faster than before & there was no need for me to call the proctor, also i had realized sub consciously that the proctor were able to do little about resolving the situation other than restarting the system, hence i fought it on my own & eventually the software gave in & moved forward.

Time wasted - about a min
Mental state - Did not think much about it, as i was enjoying the questions & was moving quite steady & sure.


Glitch #5 - This could not have happened at any other worse time, i was at Q#29, with about 3.5 mins left on the clock. Till this point i had encountered a quite a few tricky questions, & they had taken a considerable chunk of time, still i was feeling good with my progress so far though. But the system snatched my happiness soon enough & decided to play with me again. As before i tried a few times, wasting precious seconds & eventually raised my hand to call the proctor, the same kind looking guy came. This time he meant business, he told me to write down the Q# & time on clock, gather my ID, the locker key, scratch pad & pens & move to another system that was a few steps behind me. I was logged into the new system. Once logged in, i checked the time, i was left with 2 mins & counting down fast. With 2 questions to go, i glanced at Q30, which was a long wordy thesis of a DS, i knew these questions can be solved with logic & without calculations, but i also knew it will take me long to read the whole thing, which can leave me with very little time for the last one, i decided to guess on it (probably got it wrong) & move to the last one. To my total dismay the last one was the easiest question of the whole test. I solved it in about 20 seconds with just two tiny scribbles on the note pad, leaving about a minute on the clock to end the section.

Total time wasted during Quant section - 2-3 mins

This time, when i came out of the testing room, the proctor again told me they will log in an incident report. The Pearson Vue staff was very prompt & i have nothing against them, i think they had never encountered a situation like this before. They tried their best to help me out, during the test. It just wasn't my day, it seems. It seemed like a poltergeist had taken over my GMAT.

I was pretty distraught at this point, combined with test taking stress & the software glitches, i somehow was holding on not to fall apart. I finished my IR & AWA sections, with not the greatest of interest, but still gave the best i could.

The score that flashed was 640 (Q49, V28) IR 5. Not what i had expected going into the test, however i wasn't expecting anything great after encountering the series of hiccups on the test.

I raised my hand for the proctor lady to signal i was done. I asked her whether filing an incident report will have any impact on my not accepting the score. Anyways i decided to accept the score, as i am curious to check my ESR.

The proctor logged in an official incident report, as promised & gave me a case# & telephone# to call up on Monday.

Looking back i can now realize the full gravity of the situation, during the test i was in a state of shock & just wanted to get on answering questions. I think i was under a superficial determination to finish the test that it felt during the test that the glitches had not affected me. But now i can see that my behavior & question solving approach, was not my usual test taking behavior, which i had practiced on Mocks.
I was hoping for a score of 710-720, secretly hoping for 740. My MGMAT mocks were 640-680 (Q44-48, V34-36) & GMAT Prep 1&2 both 710 (Q49, V36), all taken within a week before the Official test.

There are a few questions i need help with, i request the experts (bb AjiteshArun GMATNinja ScottTargetTestPrep mcelroytutoring ), mods & experienced members to advise.

1. How much is the resolution time for such cases?

2. What is the resolution, in such cases? I read about free/discounted retakes.

2. If i am allowed a retake, how much is the minimum time gap between the two tests is allowed?

3. Will this score be cancelled, if i am allowed a retake?

4. Can i still obtain my ESR, while the score is still valid & under consideration of an incidence report?

5. Will the schools be able to see this score (even if it is later cancelled by GMAC) in future?

6. Since i did not cancel my score, my this score will be sent to the schools i chose to send at the beginning of the test. Will the scores be sent before the incident report issue is resolved or will GMAC hold till the issue is resolved?

7. If GMAC will send the scores to the schools, will they also inform the schools if the score is cancelled?

8. I would like to use this score to apply to schools in Round 1. If GMAC were to cancel my score, after i apply to a school, will the school then reject my application or will they wait till i retake & submit fresh score, but still consider me as a round 1 applicant (even though GMAT score will be submitted past the deadline)?

9. Is it advisable to apply with this score, keeping in mind the possibility of this score getting cancelled in future?




Appreciate your taking the time to read this really long horror story. My apologies for the long post, i hope it will warn future test takers.


Thanks,
GyM
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Originally posted by GyMrAT on 09 Sep 2018, 22:38.
Last edited by GyMrAT on 19 Sep 2018, 11:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poltergeist on GMAT - Technical issues  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2018, 23:18
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GyMrAT wrote:
There are a few questions i need help with, i request the experts (bb AjiteshArun GMATNinja ScottTargetTestPrep mcelroytutoring ), mods & experienced members to advise.

1. How much is the resolution time for such cases?

2. What is the resolution, in such cases? I read about free/discounted retakes.

2. If i am allowed a retake, how much is the minimum time gap between the two tests is allowed?

3. Will this score be cancelled, if i am allowed a retake?

4. Can i still obtain my ESR, while the score is still valid & under consideration of an incidence report?

5. Will the schools be able to see this score (even if it is later cancelled by GMAC) in future?

6. Since i did not cancel my score, my this score will be sent to the schools i chose to send at the beginning of the test. Will the scores be sent before the incident report issue is resolved or will GMAC hold till the issue is resolved?

7. If GMAC will send the scores to the schools, will they also inform the schools if the score is cancelled?

8. I would like to use this score to apply to schools in Round 1. If GMAC were to cancel my score, after i apply to a school, will the school then reject my application or will they wait till i retake & submit fresh score, but still consider me as a round 1 applicant (even though GMAT score will be submitted past the deadline)?

9. Is it advisable to apply with this score, keeping in mind the possibility of this score getting cancelled in future?
I'll get straight to your questions. We can always discuss the rest of it later.

1. The resolution time is usually just a few days (could be as little as 2-3 business days) in such cases. The process could drag on if they get into a long-drawn "investigation" (going through the video and going back and forth with the center staff). I expect the center staff to corroborate your account, so I hope they do this quickly.

2. They'll offer you a free retake. I guess you could press them for a full refund if you want one. I've seen cases in which the 16 day requirement has been waived for people who faced issues at the test center.

3. I've seen both scenarios.

4. Yes, you should be able to, but not if they cancel the score and remove it from your record.

5. No, schools will not be able to see a cancelled attempt.

6. The scores are made available to schools once the official score report is generated. You'll also get an email confirming fulfillment of your requests. You don't have to worry about this, though. Schools do not actively go looking for scores unless you are seriously being considered for admission/have been admitted.

7. As far as I know, there is no facility in the GMAC's website (the one accessed by schools) that can allow for something like this. I expect the score to just stop being available for access.

8. I don't expect this score to be usable if it is cancelled. However, only your target schools will be able to say for sure.

9. There are two things that we aren't sure about here: (a) whether Pearson will allow you to take the exam again and keep this score and (b) how your schools will react to a cancellation.

I strongly suggest you not rely on the center to report the incident (by the way, did they give you an incident ID)? Call Pearson customer care up and send them emails as well, with all the details (including time lost and stress) and keep following up every day. Request immediate escalation if the first email reply from their side is negative and get confirmation over email on what they plan to do with your score (so that you have a record). Do the same thing with your target schools.
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Re: Poltergeist on GMAT - Technical issues  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2018, 03:56
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AjiteshArun Thank you very much for the information.

I was made to wait after my test, while the Pearson Vue staff logged in an official incident report. Yes they did give me a Case Id & a telephone number to call on Monday.

I called the number today, however the number just gave me a loop of IVR & no human response. So i called the Pearson Vue center & i was provided another number.

I called on the new number & managed to get a Customer Service rep who informed me that the incident has been escalated to their technical team for further evaluation & i should wait till Friday, to get a revert from Pearson Vue.

As advised by you, I also wrote an email to the Pearson Vue, contact email ID provided on mba.com, detailing the incidents & providing as many details as i can remember.

However my account on mba.com is still not updated & it shows blank under "Status" adjacent to the exam date. Also, On clicking the green "View Official scores" tab, there is no response.
Do you think my scores are on hold because an incident report is filed? or is it normal & the scores will be updated soon.


Thanks,
GyM
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Re: Poltergeist on GMAT - Technical issues  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2018, 05:29
GyMrAT wrote:
AjiteshArun Thank you very much for the information.

I was made to wait after my test, while the Pearson Vue staff logged in an official incident report. Yes they did give me a Case Id & a telephone number to call on Monday.

I called the number today, however the number just gave me a loop of IVR & no human response. So i called the Pearson Vue center & i was provided another number.

I called on the new number & managed to get a Customer Service rep who informed me that the incident has been escalated to their technical team for further evaluation & i should wait till Friday, to get a revert from Pearson Vue.

As advised by you, I also wrote an email to the Pearson Vue, contact email ID provided on mba.com, detailing the incidents & providing as many details as i can remember.

However my account on mba.com is still not updated & it shows blank under "Status" adjacent to the exam date. Also, On clicking the green "View Official scores" tab, there is no response.
Do you think my scores are on hold because an incident report is filed? or is it normal & the scores will be updated soon.


Thanks,
GyM
Maybe, but that part is normal. Official scores are accessible only after the official score report is generated (normally 5-7 days, up to 20). A link to enter an ESR code should come up soon.
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Re: Poltergeist on GMAT - Technical issues  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2018, 09:29
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GyMrAT, I don't have much practical advice in this situation, other than to be persistent with them. GMAC's customer service has gotten worse in recent years, but they'll eventually do the right thing and give you a free retake if you keep bugging them. It seems to take a few weeks these days, but you never know.

Honestly, your post caught my eye mostly because it seems particularly unfair to see this happen to you, of all people. You've been so positive and encouraging to other GMAT Club members, and it makes me sad to see the glitches bite you in the behind on test day.

I have a feeling that it'll all work out for you in the long run, though. Keep us posted, and good luck with your retake!
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Re: Poltergeist on GMAT - Technical issues  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2018, 02:13
AjiteshArun wrote:
Maybe, but that part is normal. Official scores are accessible only after the official score report is generated (normally 5-7 days, up to 20). A link to enter an ESR code should come up soon.


Thank You AjiteshArun

I will wait for the ESR link to come up.

I have also received a revert on email from the GMAC customer service APAC team, it says "Your concerns have been attached to a Case that we've created in your name. You should receive a reply within 3 - 5 business days."

I am assuming this means that the details i provided about the incidents have been attached to my case.

I have promptly reverted to them, requesting them to expedite the whole process. From the posts that i have read of similar such situations, the GMAC customer service team took upto 3 weeks to resolve. Looking at that turnaround time, it seems i have to put constant pressure on them, if i can successfully apply in Round 1.



Regards,
GyM
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Re: Poltergeist on GMAT - Technical issues  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2018, 02:48
GMATNinja Thank you for the kind words!! really appreciate you saying that!


Regards,
GyM
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Re: Poltergeist on GMAT - Technical issues &nbs [#permalink] 11 Sep 2018, 02:48
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