‘Leaked’ LCAT: ‘Some questions from past papers were included’

Published: February 18, 2012
Demand: 150 candidates for admission have signed an online
petition that demands
that the vice chancellor investigate the ‘leaking’
of the LCAT.

Demand: 150 candidates for admission have signed an online petition that demands that the vice chancellor investigate the ‘leaking’ of the LCAT.


The matter of the alleged leaking of the LUMS Common Admission Test (LCAT) is not any closer to being solved a week after the test was conducted.

The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Vice Chancellor Dr Adil Najam had earlier said that the management would “take action if provided with evidence”. After a few days of looking into the matter, he believes that there isn’t substantive proof that the test was leaked.

Meanwhile, the head of Mathematics at The Leads Academy (TLA), the preparatory centre that has been accused of leaking the LCAT, is threatening to take legal action against its competitors who he says are spreading “baseless allegations” using “cheap tactics”.

“It is ridiculous… an attempt to malign the institute,” said Mahmood Akram, who is listed as the TLA  director on its website, while speaking with The Express Tribune. He denied that the academy had access to this year’s LCAT.

Akram who met with Dr Adil Najam two days ago said that Dr Najam had told him that there was no evidence of the LCAT being leaked.

He said that the students at the academy were tested with questions from previous years’ LCAT papers. Akram said that only 10 to 12 questions in a practice test that he had given to academy students were repeated in the actual LCAT.

Some students who claimed they had seen the TLA practice test – given to the students a week before the actual LCAT –told The Tribune, while speaking on condition of anonymity, that at least 57 questions in the practice test (some quoted a number as high as 70) out of more than 150 appeared in the LCAT.

“Questions do get repeated in such tests,” he said, stressing that there was “absolutely” no foul play involved. “It was a coincidence,” Akram said.

However, the head of Office of Admissions at LUMS, Rabia Ahmed told The Tribune that past LCAT papers were not made public. Arif Jalil Piracha, co-founder of another test preparatory centre, Smart Prep, said that when he set up his centre two years ago, he had requested LUMS to grant him access to old LCATs. Piracha says that he was told by the administration that university policy did not allow making past papers public. “I understand the policy,” Piracha said, “but then how does another preparatory institute have access to past papers?”

Akram had earlier said that past LCAT papers were “easily accessible” and used to help students prepare for the tests.  Later, when asked about how exactly he had got them, he said that a student who had taken the LCAT in 2009/2010 had come to the academy after having attempted the test and shared the questions on the test. “We compose our test papers by using test books which are available openly in the market,” Akram said, adding that the books are used by several preparatory centres for composing test papers.

He told The Tribune, “The LUMS faculty do not make the test themselves. They choose the questions from test books. I did the same. We must have picked the questions from the same test book.”

Piracha from Smart Prep said that he had met Dr Najam on Wednesday and provided him with “evidence” that the paper was leaked. It was a copy of the practice test that Akram had given to his students a day before the test. Piracha said that Dr Najam had not been “satisfied”.

A high-ranking official in the administration, who did not want his name revealed, told The Tribune that LUMS was looking into how Akram had been able to access past papers. “That is the thing that concerns us the most,” said the source.

“Our concern is not with who leaked the paper but that if [the allegations are] true, several students were denied a fair shot,” Piracha said. He hoped that LUMS would consider retaking the LCAT.

“We want LUMS to address the issue immediately,” said one of the students who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The [practice] test [given at TLA] has been given to Dr Najam. What more proof do they want?”

Dr Najam told The Tribune that an investigation had not yet revealed any “wrong doing”. While refusing to comment on “any matters pertaining to private preparatory centres” Dr Najam said that the test would not be retaken unless the evidence was “compelling”. “We can’t base such actions on rumours,” he added. He refused to comment when asked if LUMS would take any legal action.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Khanum
    Feb 18, 2012 - 8:46AM

    Careless approach.


  • Worried Student
    Feb 18, 2012 - 8:52AM

    Please everyone, I have heard from different people that LUMS has made lists of students who took classes with Sir Mehmood and with smartprep and with one other academy and will cancel all their applications for this year because of these rumors. Please LUMS people dont do this. I went to sir mehmood and my cousin to Smartprep and we really got nothing. I think all this leak thing started as a joke on facebook and now we students who went to these academies will suffer. Please help us.


  • Worried Student
    Feb 18, 2012 - 8:58AM

    Please everyone, I have heard from different people that LUMS has made lists of students who took classes with Sir Mehmood and with smartprep and with one other academy and will cancel all their applications for this year because of these rumors. Please LUMS people dont do this. I went to sir mehmood and my cousin to Smartprep and we really got nothing. I think all this leak thing started as a joke on facebook and now we students who went to these academies will suffer. Please help us


  • Addressing Worried Student
    Feb 18, 2012 - 10:47AM

    From which sources did you hear such insanity? Do you think that there actually exists a possibility of that happening? The most that Lums should be able to do is to not consider the LCAT exam of students who actually went to these test centers, which again, is something very far fetched from my point of view. I shudder at the thought of LUMS, a widely respected university doing something as puerile as this. Decreasing the importance of the LCAT examination in the admission process for these students is a far better option I would like to think and is something that may be mildly acceptable too. Even so, it’s quite insane because not everyone attends all the tests and not everyone came to the ‘oh so damned’ last day where some questions were leaked out. The person who told, tell me, what authority does he have to make such a claim?


  • FA
    Feb 18, 2012 - 4:19PM

    It is impossible for LUMS to collect the names of Leads and smartprep students and cancel their scores and hence deny admission.


  • Mobashir Ahmad
    Feb 18, 2012 - 7:34PM

    Going by Mr. Mahmood’s stance that the questions are picked up from the text books and it was a coincidence that he and LUMS picked up the same questions. The worthy VC LUMS should take serious note of the fact, if it is so, that the LUMS could not and does not set up a test paper afresh every year and instead old questions are reproduced. Where’s the ingenuity? Mr. Mahmood also states that he obtained some of the questions from the candidates who had taken the tests in the previous years. I doubt if students have time to remember the questions and restate these word by word after coming out of the examination hall. Mr. Mahmood has opted to neutralize LUMS by stating half concocted illogical truth. LUMS should not cover up the failure as it would tarnish its image and encourage the recurrence of such events in future. It should order an inquiry inviting all stakeholders including its staff, volunteer candidates and the academies of Arif Piracha, Mr. Mahmood and others. It’s worth exploring as to why students of Mr. Mahmood’s remained in the academy for over twelve hours a day prior to the test..


  • Mickey Mouse
    Feb 18, 2012 - 10:36PM

    This is so unfair for students who didn’t take any academies from either Smart Prep or Leads Academy. These academies should be punished heavily and there are so many deserving candidates who couldn’t do well because they didn’t knew about the paper. So i request Lums to take strict actions against this serious problem. After all we use to think that Lums is the best university in Pakistan but this is so shameful and embarassing for us [Pakistani’s] ..


  • Syed M Rizvi
    Feb 18, 2012 - 10:41PM

    Not surprising at all. As if LUMS would confess that their exam was leaked


  • luminite
    Feb 18, 2012 - 11:10PM

    The students should keep in mind that LUMS is an esteemed institution and the admin is pretty capable enough of making thoughtful decisions. As Dr.Najam stated, LUMS cannot just retake an exam based on rumors. Being a LUMS student, I can say that the LUMS admin investigates thoroughly and does not just make decisions blind folded. There is a capable team working on the issue, so the students who have worked hard should not worry about this. The LUMS society did approach the admin and they rest assured that the LCATs were kept utmost confidential. Also, students usually do not lag behind in spreading rumors. And it is also to be kept in mid that the university’s advisory and admission board membership is held by esteemed professors and doctorates , both from Pakistan and several universities abroad. Therefore the applicants should not look down at LUMS this inappropriately.


  • Aneeqa
    Feb 18, 2012 - 11:49PM

    1) LUMS should improve it’s internal security mechanism to reduce vulnerability to outside attacks and information sharing. Someone from inside LUMS leaked the exam paper. Who is that person? 2) LUMS needs to take appropriate measures to ensure that students who did not cheat are not disadvantaged by either rescheduling the LCAT or by assigning more weight to other aspects of the admissions application besides the LCAT.


  • Haseeb Chaudhry
    Feb 19, 2012 - 1:13PM

    This is another typical Tribune/Pakistan Today type of article. These two papers are much more interested in happenings at LUMS than anything else. It is simply impossible for LCAT to be leaked.


  • Xyz
    Feb 19, 2012 - 5:11PM

    People who are saying ‘Lums will get to roots of it’, Dr Najm has himself tried to sideline the issue and he very well knows that the abt 90 questions reappeared on the LCAT yet he has tried to protect the culprits. I talked to him myself.


  • anonymous student
    Feb 19, 2012 - 7:49PM

    For the ones who deny LCAT was not leaked out , it should be noted that it can be no coincidence that 1 entire comprehension passage was repeated with not even slight variation infact few sentence completions were also repeated and the evidence could be found in the LCAT practise paper given out prior to LCAT actual exam. And it can be no coincidence that the passages were picked by sir mahmood and LUMS authorities out from the same books.


  • K
    Feb 19, 2012 - 11:08PM

    I have full trust in LUMS and specially in VC Dr. Najam. LUMS will always do the right thing and I am proud of the how LUMS has announced that it will investigate and take action if it finds anything. But I do not trust any of these tuition centers they just fleece and lie to students and are now spreading more confusion. Everyone has a different number and different story of what happened and frankly, I dont believe any of them.


  • spy
    Feb 20, 2012 - 2:08AM

    well there can be a 100% guess also… but the best way is to hack the server if u want to know abt the test content.


  • ALI
    Feb 20, 2012 - 3:03PM

    The thing is no person in the world would or could memorise each question of the lcat test as there are lots of them… the time is just enough to solve the paper so this statement by Sir Mehmood is absurd..
    secondly no news paper publish the facts without investigation …. I am a witness of the fact that 80 percent of the maths question and english sections were told to the students of leed as I saw the paper from my friend….
    If Lums doesnot do anything about it lots of deserving students will be neglected… so i pledge the lums faculty to do something.


  • Muhammad Zubair
    Feb 24, 2012 - 10:49PM

    Dear Folks
    It’s an open secret now that LCAT was leaked beforehand. No matter what LUMS people say about it they can’t deny the evidence. I’ve a few pages of the LCAT that was conducted @ LEADS Academy before 12th Feb. These pages are not from any SAT Preparatory Book as claimed by respectable Sir Mahmood, rather there is a test code given at the footer of one page that clearly proves it as an actual exam. Not a single SAT book on planet earth writes Test Code at the bottom of the page. In fact the Industry practice is to give the publishers name at the footer, Just as KAPLAN, Princeton Review Grubers etc do. Mahmood Sb’s statements are full of anomalies. LUMS must take a stern action against those involved in leaking the test and those who conducted it by charging hefty amount from students. LUMS repute is at stake as an institution. Justice delayed is Justice denied.


  • Bhatti
    Feb 25, 2012 - 3:56PM

    I dont know why LUMS is trying to sideline and ignore the issue. Here is all the evidence they need:

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