John Stossel Corresponds With Viewers

Competition is extremely fierce for the limited number of positions available in medical schools. A major deciding factor in the admission process is the student's score on the Medical College Admission Test. It came to our attention that there is a medical school applicant who is taking next week's MCAT and will be receiving double time to write the test and also will be provided with an individual who will read questions aloud to him during the test. We assume he will be provided separate quarters so as not to disturb other test-takers. Should students with accommodated test-scores (i.e. SAT, MCAT, LSAT, GMAT) albeit due to "learning disabilities," be admitted to superior learning institutions versus students who test under standard conditions? I understand that a mere asterisk is placed next to their score without explanation. It is probably taboo for the institutions to probe into the reasons for the asterisk.

-Arlene O.E. Perry and Dr. Michael S. Perry

An asterisk does appear next to the score of a student who took the MCAT as a student with a disability. The LSAT, a test for law school admissions, also flags it. However, the other big tests, like the SAT, ACT (both used for undergraduate admissions) or the GMAT and GRE (used for graduate school), do not flag. The school has no way of knowing if the kid took the test in record time, or endless hours.

Last year, 65,000 students applied to take the specialized SAT -- and 86 percent were approved. Both Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell would have qualified for extra time because they both suffered from dyslexia. Stephen Hawking has Lou Gehrig's disease, and that would have qualified him. Albert Einstein also had "learning disabilities" that might have qualified him for one of these special tests.

I keep getting these ubiquitous e-mails giving me everything from candy bars to $1 million. I mostly get the ones telling me they have free computer or play station and all I have to do is submit my Zip code first, then e-mail address, etc. I would like to know if anyone has ever gotten a free computer.

--Dean Baldino

We looked into this by going to one of those Web sites -- a site that is virtually identical to other pop-up and spam letter that advertises free computers that we received. After entering a valid e-mail address, name, phone number, address, we were taken to survey questions that were basically a series of advertisements. Then we were told that we had to select two "offers" below and the computer would be ours. Those two offers directed us to online credit card applications -- that's the rub. These "free computer" ads tend to be just a misleading way of signing you up for a credit card.

Thank you so much for the story on the boom car noise. I am being driven out of my mind and home with these boom cars. It's just not right.


Its amazing how people can be so inconsiderate and self-centered. Where is civility?


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