He Conquered The GMAT & Went To Jail For It

AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR SHOWS UP TO SEE HIM IN PRISON

At one point, in 2005, an unexpected visitor showed up to see him while he was in a prison in Baltimore. It was the president of the GMAC (though a spokesperson for GMAC denies the meeting ever took place but acknowledges that its general counsel went to see Xu in jail). “He asked me how come one single person can finish so many tests,” claims Xu. “To him, it was a miracle. I told him I do not hate the GMAT. The test is not my nemesis. I just loved their test. To me, it was a game.”

Xu recalls giving the GMAC official some advice. The prisoner suggested the use of finger printing technology as well as metal detectors at entry points to test centers to prevent future fraud. A year later, GMAC’s distribution partner, Pearson Vue, introduced digital fingerprinting to corroborate the identity of test takers. That technology has since been replaced by palm vein scans.

“I would have even gone to work with them to design their questions,” laments Xu. “But they don’t trust me, anyway.”

ONCE OUT OF JAIL, XU SAT FOR THE GMAT AGAIN AND SCORED A 760

When he got out of jail, Xu says that one of the first things he did was to sit for the GMAT again—but only the second time he took the test under his own name. He scored a 760. Then, Xu says, he worked as a GMAT teacher for Kaplan Test Prep for about three years. “I had fun,” he says. “I taught many students and I loved them so much and they loved me so much. To me, they are like my family members because nobody loves GMAT as much as I do. When I teach the GMAT, I almost feel like I am going to church. It feels like being with God in Heaven.”

Xu, 44, now owns a company that trains home health aides in Flushing, N.Y., and he tutors GMAT test takers on the side. When it comes to taking the test, Xu still exudes a bravado that is extraordinary. “I was given the power by Heaven to know some but not all the exact questions in your future GMAT test,” he writes on his website. “Unlike many mundane GMAT tutors and teachers you may find throughout (the) Internet, my teaching method is a nuclear weapon…I show utter contempt for the toughness of the GMAT test.”

His rates: $50 per hour at his school, or $70 an hour at your place (within a reasonable commute). For $3,000, which includes unlimited tutoring, he will guarantee a 700 score—but it is a “guarantee” with conditions. As Xu puts it, he may very well be the best GMAT teacher in the world but even he can’t coach a “mentally retarded person to a score over 700.”

FOR $3,000, A CONDITIONAL GUARANTEE THAT HE CAN TEACH YOU TO SCORE A 700

“If I work hard to prepare you, but you just lay back and do nothing, then I cannot bring you a good score,” explains Xu, who says that the $3,000 fee is payable only after a client receives a satisfactory score. “We need to work hard together.”

He uses a military metaphor to make the point. “I am a General of the Air Force and you are a General of a field army,” he says. “In order to occupy the hostile land, I will lead my bombers to do the carpet bombing to obliterate the enemy’s strongholds. But I cannot guarantee to kill every enemy soldier on the battlefield. Then you need to lead your foot soldiers to charge the enemy position and kill all the soldiers either by shooting or by bayoneting or by strangling using bare hands. Using whatever way, remember that it is you, and you only, who will win the final victory in the battlefield.”

It is, after all, about killing the GMAT. “Kill GMAT,” is his business’ mission statement. “Kill them all!” he writes.

ADVICE TO TEST TAKERS: YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO LOVE THE TEST

His advice to GMAT test takers? “When you go to take the test,” he says, “the biggest enemy is yourself. It’s not the test. Do not be afraid of the test. Do not stress yourself too much. Do not be disappointed with the score you get. The GMAT is tough. When you see the GMAT, first you need to love it. You cannot hate it. You have to treat the GMAT as a wild horse. You need to make friends with him before you can domesticate and control the horse and be number one.”

Xu says that when “The Wolf of Wall Street” came out in November, he rushed to a nearby movie theater to see it on the first day. Xu says he found himself disliking the main character in the movie played by DiCaprio. “I hate this guy,” he insists. “He is not like me. He is an immoral person. He cheated investors and took their money to make himself rich. But I do agree that we have something in common: It is an addiction to the excitement. It’s kind of like a wild feeling which I have in common with the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio. But insider trading, I do not accept.

“From the bottom of my heart,” Xu says, “I am a law-abiding person, even though I broke the law at that time. I don’t want to be a devil.”

DON’T MISS: THE GRAND MYSTERY OF GMAT SCORING or THOSE PESKY GMAT & GPA AVERAGES AT TOP SCHOOLS