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Glitch Forces Test-Takers to Be Turned Away

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A number of students scheduled to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test, or GMAT, on Thursday were turned away because of a computer crash, officials said.

The main computer server went down at Sylvan Learning Systems, an educational service that offers tutoring and administers standardized tests at more than 500 centers nationwide, including eight in Orange County.

The GMAT is widely used as an entrance exam for master of business administration programs and other advanced management schooling.

Spokesman Jay Rosner of the Princeton Review Foundation, which operates testing prep courses and materials nationwide, said several of his clients called with concerns about Thursday’s computer crash. Delaying entrance exams sometimes can hurt students’ chances of getting into their preferred schools, Rosner said.

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“There are early admissions deadlines for some business schools,” he said. “And there are many cities where students must wait a couple of weeks for another test date.”

Sylvan administrators said they offer GMAT tests during three weeks of any given month.

“Four people who opted to reschedule the test were able to get another date in the next several days,” said Linda Rivera, a technical administrator in the Sylvan Learning Center in Garden Grove.

And at Sylvan’s Irvine center, one person took the four-hour exam Thursday afternoon.

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Officials at Sylvan’s headquarters in Baltimore would not say what caused the computer problem or how many test-takers were affected. The problem apparently arose early Thursday at the company’s main server in Baltimore and was solved by 11:50 a.m. Pacific time, officials said.


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