Top 7 Reasons Why Your Practice Test Scores Are Higher Than Your EA Score

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For every Executive Assessment (EA) student, the following scenario is unimaginable: You spend months studying and perform well on practice exams, so you believe you are prepared to take the test. On exam day, things don’t go as planned, and your EA score is lower than your scores on practice tests. After the shock has subsided, you may ask yourself, “Where did I go wrong?”

This article will discuss 7 reasons your practice test results would be better than your EA score. We will also discuss some actionable steps you can follow to fix the issues hurting you on test day before your retake.

EA score lower than practice test scores

Here are the topics we’ll cover:

Issue #1: Not Taking Practice Tests Under Realistic Conditions

When taking practice tests, you want to ensure your “testing environment” closely matches what you will experience on test day. If you take practice tests under unrealistic testing conditions, your EA scores may be lower than your practice test scores.

For example, if you use a calculator or skip any sections, you won’t have an accurate practice score. Don’t let this happen! When taking your practice exam, make sure it’s as realistic as possible.


Your EA practice exam experience should replicate your test-day experience.

Some Ways to Ensure an Accurate Practice Test Experience

  1. Take the exam on the same day, and time you will take your actual EA.
  2. Find a distraction-free location for taking your practice exams. A location such as a quiet room at home or a private room at the library.
  3. If you are taking the EA online, then take it in the same room and on the same computer you’ll use for your online EA exam.
  4. Use the proper writing utensils and scratch paper. If taking the EA at a test center, use a dry-erase notebook and dry-erase marker. If taking the EA online, use a whiteboard and dry-erase marker.
  5. Turn off your cell phone!
  6. Don’t pause the test for any reason.
  7. Avoid taking extra breaks or engaging in activities you won’t be able to do on test day.


Every time you take an official EA practice exam, try to replicate the testing environment as much as you can.

Issue #2: Not Taking All 4 Official EA Practice Tests

Let’s say you have a score goal of 150 on your EA, and you score 154 and 152 on two EA practice exams. Thus, you believe you are more than ready to take the EA. However, come test day, you score 145. So, what gives?

EA students repeatedly make the mistake of taking just a couple of official practice exams. They do this especially when they achieve their score goal on them. My advice is to take all four official EA practice exams to ensure that you are prepared for test day. Perhaps on the third exam, had you taken it, you would have scored 145, and then would have had some time to determine what went wrong and how to keep improving before test day. Taking all 4 exams will help you avoid a score drop on test day.


Take all 4 official EA practice exams to get a clear sense of whether you are ready to take the real EA.

Official Practice Tests Are the Most Realistic Tests

You might be asking why taking all 4 of the official EA practice exams is so important. Official practice exams contain retired EA questions and use the official GMAC algorithm. Thus, taking those practice exams gives you a great sense of what to expect on test day. You will also get an accurate EA score.


Taking the official EA practice exams will give you a good sense of what to expect on test day.

Issue #3: Prepping With Materials Designed Around Official Practice Tests

Consider a scenario where your good friend has a math test during the second period, and you take the same math test during the fifth period. What would happen if your friend told you the questions he saw on it before you took the test? I think you know the answer …

Unsurprisingly, when people prepare for the EA, the same thing occurs. You might be studying with EA Prep Company Z, which doesn’t concentrate on the skills, concepts, and knowledge required to ace the EA. Instead, it bases its practice materials solely on questions from the practice exams.

Yes, it’s important to see and practice official EA questions. However, you might not acquire everything you need to know if the vast majority of the practice questions you use are just imitations of questions from official practice exams. In that case, great practice test scores might not be reliable indicators of your EA knowledge.

You may detect concepts and patterns in some (perhaps very few) official resources if you use study materials that exclusively contain information from official EA questions. However, using such resources won’t help you develop your capacity for critical thought, analytical reasoning, and logical problem-solving. You might simply be honing the ability to ace practice exams, a skill that differs from mastering the EA.

So, pick an EA course that will give you the depth you need to comprehend the EA in totality. Rather than just help you perform well on practice tests.


Use EA preparation tools that teach the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary for in-depth mastery of the exam, not merely how to spot patterns in official practice questions.

Issue #4: Too Much Stress Can Be an EA Killer

Think of any important occasion you’ve had to be ready for. An occasion such as a recital, presentation, game in the playoffs, or final exam. You would probably agree that you performed at your best when you didn’t allow the pressure to get to you. The EA is comparable in this regard. You may be well-prepared for the test based on your practice EA scores. However, nerves, anxiety, or undue pressure can undermine your confidence. Once your confidence takes a hit, there’s a good chance you won’t perform your best on test day. In other words, your actual exam score will likely be lower than your practice exam scores.

How to Manage Your EA Stress

To help you control your anxiety in the weeks before the EA, try some visualization techniques. Visualize tense test-day situations, such as getting bogged down in a question, being hurried, or worrying excessively about performing poorly. Practice gathering yourself as you face those stressful situations and remember to just focus on correctly answering the question in front of you. If you practice remaining composed under pressure while preparing for the EA, you’ll be more equipped to handle challenging situations on test day.


If you practice remaining composed under pressure while preparing for the EA, you’ll be more equipped to handle challenging situations on test day.

Dealing With Stress While Taking the EA

Getting busy answering the question in front of you is the simplest way to combat stress during the EA. Put all your worried energy into answering that question, and nothing else, so that you can organically rid yourself of the stress.

After answering that question, continue with the subsequent one using the same strategy. If your focus is on winning each “mini-battle,” fear won’t have a chance to take hold. If you triumph in enough of those battles, you can win the EA war.


Focusing on answering the question in front of you is a great way to combat stress during the EA.

Issue #5: Burning Yourself Out Before Test Day

Have you heard the tale of the EA test-taker who had only 5 hours of sleep per night the week before her test because she was cramming all she could leading up to test day? Not surprisingly, even though she crushed her practice exams, she still did not perform well on her exam.

Overstudying the week before the EA is a score-killer. While I know it’s tough to “put down the books” in the days leading up to your EA, just do it! You should be calm and relaxed on test day. Cramming information in the days leading up to your exam will have a negative effect on you mentally, ultimately hurting you on test day, so much so that if you show up to your EA in a burned-out state, your EA score will likely be much lower than your practice test scores. So, to avoid burning yourself out, try doing some non-EA activities that keep your mind off your upcoming exam.


Instead of studying and practicing nonstop, do some fun activities that take your mind off the EA in the final week before your exam.

Issue #6: You Had a Bad Day

Even the world’s top athletes and musicians occasionally make mistakes or have bad days. In other words, it’s acceptable for anyone to have a bad day!

Maybe you had trouble getting to sleep the night before the test. A few questions might not have gone your way, and before you knew it, you were mentally checked out of your exam. Clearly, if this happens, your actual EA score will likely be lower than your practice test scores. However, don’t dwell on this. Get back on the horse and start preparing for the next EA, as chances are slim that you’ll have another “bad day.”


Get back on the horse and prepare for the next exam if you had a “bad day” on your latest EA.

Issue #7: Changing Things Up Days Before Your EA

Perhaps you decided to switch to a “superfood” diet a week before your test, to increase your brain clarity. Or maybe you started a challenging new exercise regimen ten days before the exam, to increase your stamina? Or did you try a double espresso for the first time on the day of your EA?

Making positive changes to your everyday routine will improve your physical and mental performance, helping you do better on test day. Try eating a healthy diet, sleeping in later, or consuming eight glasses of water every day.

That said, the intention is to implement those changes gradually over time. Large-scale last-minute changes to your daily routine can negatively affect your EA score. Furthermore, if you make these changes after doing well on your EA practice exams, it should not be a shock to you when your actual EA score is lower than your practice exam scores.

When you enter the test, your mood might be influenced by your sleep patterns, nutrition, hydration, and physical activity. Thus, I don’t advise trying new routines at the last minute that are drastically different from what you are used to.


Gradual changes to your routine can help you on test day, but do not hastily enact these changes just days before your EA.

In Conclusion

If your actual Executive Assessment score ends up being lower than your score on your practice exams, consider the following 7 reasons that might explain the discrepancy.

  • not taking practice tests under realistic conditions
  • not taking all 4 official practice tests
  • prepping with materials designed around official practice tests
  • putting on the pressure
  • burning yourself out before test day
  • having “one of those days”
  • implementing last-minute “improvements” to your routine

Resolve these issues before you take your next EA. Then, your actual score will likely be very close to the scores that you achieved on your practice tests.

What’s Next?

Get more expert tips with this article on how to improve your EA score. Also, check out this guide to determining how long you may need to study to reach your target score.

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