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Graduate Management Admissions Council

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why is palm vein scanning more desirable than digital fingerprinting?

According to GMAC, palm vein scanning is virtually impossible to forge, extremely accurate, and the digital encryption involved cannot be read by other systems. There is no smudging involved as there is with digital fingerprinting and is more accessible for some individuals with disabilities.

The system is straightforward. Applicants place their hands several inches above the sensor and the sensor then records each applicant’s unique vein pattern.

You will have your palm vein patterns recorded when you arrive at the testing center to enroll for the GMAT exam. Your pattern will be matched when you return to the testing room after a break. A flash video of what occurs upon arrival at a testing center can be found here: http://www.mba.com/mbasite/resources/globalgmat/

No. Check-in time for those taking the test the first time will be shorter than fingerprinting. Return testers should expect only an additional 15-30 seconds for the check-in process.

Yes. The light source is akin to that of the infrared light used in remote controls and applicants never touch the sensor.

Privacy is protected in various ways. Once the scan is complete, it is saved as a digital template. After the exam, an encrypted transmission is sent containing the template to Pearson VUE where it is stored separately from other information about the applicant. The vein scan is disclosed to entities outside Pearson VUE only when required by law to detect fraud or prevent illegal activity. Schools do not receive applicants’ vein scans.

Not if they intend to take the GMAT.

Posted on June 8, 2009 by Manhattan Review

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In an effort to prevent cheating and to maintain test integrity, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has begun to require that test takers receive a palm vein scan before taking the GMAT at testing centers in the United States and worldwide. The new identification method, initiated in Korean testing centers in July 2008, is scheduled to completely replace the prior method of identification by digital fingerprint during 2009.

The new technology comes in the wake of concerns over so-called “proxy” test taking, a manner of cheating in which testers hire others with a track record of high scores to take the place under a false identity. Because the new scan records applicants’ unique vein patterns beneath the skin rather than patterns on the skin’s surface, false identification is extremely rare: less than 0.00008% of scans administered.

Scanning is performed by Fujitsu’s PalmSecure sensor, which requires an applicant to place his or her palm several inches above the square sensor while the sensor records applicants’ vein patterns, a copy of which is stored as a digital template and sent to the Pearson VUE testing service. While palm vein recognition is a relatively new development in the West, it has a precedent for protecting a variety of vital data in Japan, finding use in ATMs, libraries, and hospitals.

Even so, any new technology invites a host of questions, especially when the technology involves biometrics as a means of identification. Some privacy advocates have argued that the palm-vein scans should be disposed of after a reasonable period of time following testing. Joel Hagberg, a vice president at Fujitsu says students should not worry about their privacy, since “You can’t leave a vein pattern at a crime scene.” At this time the Business Admission Council has stated that it intends to make the scans a part of applicants’ permanent records.

New Testing Center Registration Requirements:

· All applicants require a valid photo ID;

· All applicants must have a photograph of them taken at the testing center;

· All applicants must sign a digital signature pad;

· First-time testers must scan both palms at the testing center;

· Applicants who retake the test and have a fingerprint on file must provide a matching fingerprint and scan both palms at the testing      center.