If you plan to earn your MBA or EMBA, then I’m sure you know that your Executive Assessment Quant preparation is critical for earning a great score. And you’re probably aware that EA Quant can be a beast. To tame the beast, you must ensure that you use a solid strategy for your EA Quant preparation. This article discusses some study tips for mastering EA Quant and how to be at your best on test day.
Here are the topics we’ll cover:
- Tip #1: You Have to Understand What EA Quant Is
- Tip #2: Take a Practice Exam to Gauge Your Starting Point
- Tip #3: Get Top-Notch EA Prep Materials
- Tip #4: Topical Studying Is the Way to Go
- Tip #5: Practice What You’ve Learned
- Tip #6: Memorization Is Part of the EA Game
- Tip #7: Review Is Key!
- Tip #8: Think Like the Test-Makers
- Tip #9: Do Some EA Math Studying Every Day
- Tip #10: Take Practice Tests at the End of Your Prep
- Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What’s Next?
Let’s begin with the basics: getting to know the structure and format of EA Quant.
Tip #1: You Have to Understand What EA Quant Is
If you’re just starting out with your EA prep, you need to get a feel for the exam’s format before you can even begin to think about how to study for the Quant section. Consequently, you will need to take your first practice test. However, you should not do so until you have gained some familiarity with the EA Quant section! Attempting to take an EA practice test without being familiar with the test format and basic content is like trying to drive a car without first learning how to apply the brakes or switch on the headlights.
I’m not suggesting that you should put in a lot of study time. Rather, you should just familiarize yourself with the material on the EA. Do some practice problems and review some math formulas after you have an understanding of the question types that will be presented to you, particularly in the Quant section. If you want, you can start with a 9-question sampler of practice questions, free from mba.com.
Be sure to give yourself some practice time answering different kinds of questions. For instance, you should practice answering Problem-Solving questions as well as Data Sufficiency questions. In addition, get some practice solving math problems by working through examples drawn from a variety of domains, such as algebra, statistics, and word problems. Don’t overlook the Integrated Reasoning section, as it plays an important role in the EA.
TTP PRO TIP:
Familiarize yourself with EA Quant before taking your first practice exam.
Tip #2: Take a Practice Exam to Gauge Your Starting Point
When you have a fundamental understanding of the topics that are tested on the EA, you will be prepared to take your first practice exam. After taking the test, you shouldn’t stress about how well you did or what your score projection is. The truth is that this initial test only illustrates your baseline score performance. Whether your score is good, bad, or ugly, you’ll know exactly where you stand and where you need to go! Keep in mind that it will be difficult to estimate how much time you will need to prepare for the EA math section unless you have this information.
After finishing the practice exam, you will be able to gauge how close you are to your target score. Then, you can devise a general schedule for your preparation for the EA Quantitative section.
TTP PRO TIP:
Don’t worry about your score on your first practice exam.
Of course, the fact that you should not worry about your initial score doesn’t mean you should take this exam lightly. So, let’s discuss how to approach your initial practice test.
Considerations When Taking Your First Practice Exam
Now that the importance of taking your first practice exam has been established, let’s talk about the process of actually taking the test. You can take the first of the 4 practice EA exams that you can purchase from GMAC, the organization that creates the EA and GMAT exams.
Give the test your full attention to assure reliable results. For instance, you will have 30 minutes to complete each of the three EA sections–Integrated Reasoning, Verbal, and Quant. Make sure you finish each section in the allotted time! Even though it’s “just” a practice test, do not pause the test, and do not engage in any activity that is prohibited on the day of the test.
In general, you should strive to create settings that are as similar to the test-day environment as feasible. Take your practice tests in a library if you intend to take the EA in one of the official testing centers. If you are going to take the EA online, you should take the practice test in the same location where you will take the actual test.
TTP PRO TIP:
Make taking your practice exam as realistic a process as possible.
Tip #3: Get Top-Notch EA Prep Materials
With your very first practice test in the record books, what do you do now? You might feel the desire to dive right into the EA official prep material available for purchase from GMAC. You should fight that inclination. Instead, esearch the EA study tools available. Then, you can select a comprehensive resource that will give you the best path forward in your EA Quantitative preparation.
In other words, make sure you do your homework! Talk to people you know who have successfully prepared for the EA, such as friends or coworkers. You can browse course reviews written by former EA students by going to the GMAT Club website. This website has information about the Executive Assessment as well. You should also consider enrolling in free or low-cost trials for Executive Assessment prep courses, to test a few courses. When you have spent time with each resource, you’ll have a better idea which path is best for you.
TTP PRO TIP:
Search carefully for the best EA prep resource available.
Next, let’s discuss the ideal way to go about your EA math preparation.
Tip #4: Topical Studying Is the Way to Go
What do we know about the quantitative portion of the EA? We know that there is a very large number of content areas that can be examined, and any one of those areas may appear on your EA on exam day. Therefore, if you want to crush the EA Quant section, you need to be prepared for anything that could appear on the exam.
Here is a list of the 20 major EA quant topics:
- Basic Arithmetic
- Linear Equations and Quadratic Equations
- Number Properties
- Absolute Value
- General Word Problems
- Work Problems
- Unit Conversions
- Ratio and Proportion
- Overlapping Sets
- Combinations and Permutations
- Coordinate Geometry
Understand that having only a passing acquaintance with the material in the EA Quant section is not sufficient. You need to have deep and broad comprehension of the topics that can be tested. Therefore, you should focus your attention on learning on a topical level.
You need to give each area of study—such as arithmetic, algebra, statistics, and number properties—undivided attention. In other words, limit your attention to just one Quant subject at a time. You will be able to learn precise mathematical concepts and tactics relating to each individual Quant topic if you engage in topical learning.
For instance, when you study rates, you will learn about rate-specific concepts such as average rates, converging rates, and catch-up rates. Before moving on to the next Quant topic in your study schedule, you should make sure that you have a solid understanding of these question types by focusing solely on the rate concepts.
TTP PRO TIP:
For best results, prepare for EA Quant by learning one topic at a time.
Tip #5: Practice What You’ve Learned
We just went over a fantastic approach to learning the mathematical concepts that the EA tests. Obviously, gaining an understanding of concepts is just the beginning. The real challenge is in retaining and applying what you’ve learned. The best way to ensure that what you study stays with you is relevant EA math practice. To put it another way, whenever you learn something new, you should get practice with questions pertaining only to that topic, until you have mastered the topic.
The value of topical practice cannot be overstated. I have had numerous conversations with people who tried to get a certain score on the EA but were unsuccessful. They put so much emphasis on learning but neglected to put effort into solidifying their learning by answering practice questions.
So, after you have studied a topic, make sure that you answer a substantial number of EA practice math questions on that topic before you move on to the next topic.
TTP PRO TIP:
Once you learn a Quant topic, engage in practice to validate your mastery.
An Example of Topical Learning and Practice
Target Test Prep is the “home” of topical learning and practice. After all, it is integrated directly into our study plan!
Let’s take a look at an example from our Number Properties chapter. In this chapter, there are lessons about even and odd numbers, positive and negative numbers, divisibility, remainders, units digit patterns, and other related topics. Students are given a few questions to answer in real time as they are learning about each topic. Then, after finishing the chapter, the students put what they have just learned into practice by completing a series of chapter tests that range in difficulty from easy to hard.
This practice from taking the chapter tests is, of course, critical because it shows students where they are strong and where they are weak in Number Properties before they move on to any new topics.
Now that we understand how topical study and practice should work, let’s discuss the importance of memorization.
Tip #6: Memorization Is Part of the EA Game
Because there is a lot of material to absorb in order to do well on the EA Quant section, we need to make sure that we have effective strategies for that learning. Memorizing mathematical formulas, concepts, and shortcuts is an excellent approach to acquiring (and remembering) information about the material. Moreover, making use of flashcards is an effective method for learning new information and retaining it. Let’s talk about how to use flashcards.
TTP PRO TIP:
It’s important to memorize many key concepts and formulas for EA Quant.
Creating and Using EA Quant Flashcards
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to making a deck of flashcards. However, making cards containing important formulas you must recall on test day is a good place to start. For example:
- The Difference of Squares Formula in Algebra
- a^2 – b^2 = (a – b)(a + b)
- The Addition Formula in Probability
- P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B) – P(A and B)
- The Percent Change Formula in Percents
- Percent Change = [(New – Old) / Old] x 100%
These are just a few examples. Certainly, there are additional formulas you could add to flashcards. You also don’t have to limit your flashcards to formulas. Create a flashcard for facts or stepwise procedures. Also, if you miss a question, create a flashcard that will help you remember the procedure or formula needed to answer such questions. For example, let’s say you did not properly recognize how to use the difference of squares formula in the following problem:
(999^2 – 1) / (1,000) = ?
Perhaps you tried solving with brute force and did not get the correct answer. What you should have done was re-express (999^2 – 1) as a difference of squares:
(999 + 1)(999 – 1) / 1000
(1,000)(998) / 1,000 = 998
Thus, you can put on your flashcard the exact steps you need to follow to solve this problem type. Doing so will help you ensure that you correctly solve similar problems in the future.
You can check out the Quant flashcard decks available in the Target Test Prep Executive Assessment course if you need additional ideas or inspiration for your flashcards.
TTP PRO TIP:
Create a personalized deck of flashcards to help you memorize key math concepts and formulas.
Tip #7: Review Is Key!
As time goes on and you learn more and more about EA Quant, it may become difficult to retain everything at the forefront of your memory in order to facilitate speedy recall. Therefore, you need to ensure that your study schedule includes review sessions on a weekly basis.
Using flashcards is an effective method for reviewing material. You can fit in study sessions with flashcards even when you’re not at your desk or working on your computer. This flexibility is one of the many benefits of using flashcards.
Performing mixed problem sets on previously covered material is yet another method of review. For example, let’s say it has been more than a month since you’ve studied rate questions or work questions. In that case, answering 20 or more questions on a problem set that covers those subjects would be smart. The results of that practice will make it very evident to you whether you have developed any knowledge gaps in rates or work, and consequently, which areas you need to study further. It is essential to refresh your memory of previously covered material if you wish to reduce the number of knowledge gaps that form as you progress through your study plan.
TTP PRO TIP:
Mixed problem sets and flashcards are a great way to review previous topics as you move through your study plan.
Tip #8: Think Like the Test-Makers
It is without a doubt vital to become familiar with the fundamentals of EA Quant. It is essential for your success, for instance, that you are familiar with Venn diagrams, the combination formula, and the combined work formula.
However, while concept knowledge is important, there is a strategic component of the EA as well. For example, it is absolutely necessary to be able to recognize what a question is actually testing. You need to be on the lookout for specific traps that frequently appear in the question stems or the answer choices. In fact, most standardized tests require candidates to demonstrate competence in these skills.
The more you can put yourself in the mindset of the people who created the EA, the more you will be able to identify the concepts that are tested and steer clear of the most prevalent pitfalls.
For example, the “C Trap” is a Data Sufficiency trap that may appear on the EA. You may recall that answer choice (C) in a DS question specifies that it is necessary to use both statements 1 and 2 in order to answer the question posed in the question stem. The C Trap is an attempt to trick students into selecting choice (C). This option appears to be the correct answer, but in reality, we need only one statement to answer the question.
Let’s consider the following example, so that you can get a better grasp of how this trick works.
Alice bought hats costing $12 each and shirts costing $5 each. How many items did she buy?
(1) Alice spent a total of $99.
(2) Alice bought 15 shirts.
- Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
- Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
- BOTH statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.
- EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.
- Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data specific to the problem are needed.
Question stem analysis:
We can create an expression for Alice’s purchases. Letting h = the number of hats she purchased and s = the number of shirts she purchased, we have:
12h + 5s = the amount of money she spent
Statement 1: Alice spent $99.
We can now set up the equation for Alice’s purchases as:
12h + 5s = 99
We see that there are two variables in the equation. So, it appears that we cannot solve for the sum of h and s (the total number of items she purchased) without using the information provided in statement 2, where the value of s is provided. Thus, an unseasoned EA test-taker may look at this problem and immediately assume that the answer is (C).
However, if you step in the shoes of the problem-writer, you should be able to spot the trap!
The uninitiated student misses the fact that we can determine the sum of h and s by using just statement 1. Let’s see how.
12h + 5s = 99
5s = 99 – 12h
5s = 3(33 – 4h)
s = 3(33 – 4h) / 5
We should see that since 5 does not divide evenly into 3, it must divide evenly into (33 – 4h). We know that h and s represent the number of hats and shirts bought, so we know that they must be positive integers. Using some basic guess-and-check, we find that the only way for this to work is if h = 2, giving us:
s = 3(33 – 4 x 2) / 5
s = 3(33 – 8) / 5
s = 3(25) / 5
s = 15
Thus, the sum of h and s is 15 + 2 = 17. So, Alice bought 17 items.
We see that we needed just one equation to determine the value of both variables. Thus, the answer is (A): Statement 1 alone is sufficient to answer the question.
This is an example of a trap to be aware of in EA Quant. The point is, the more you can walk in the shoes of those writing EA math questions, the better you’ll perform on the EA!
Tip #9: Do Some EA Math Studying Every Day
I can tell you one thing about studying for the EA: it may be exhausting! So, I understand why, in the grand scheme of things, you might want to focus your attention on other elements of your life rather than on studying for the EA. Now, here’s the catch: Your level of dedication, motivation, and discipline on a day-to-day basis will either move you closer to or further away from your objective of getting a good score on the EA.
If you want to ensure that you are always making progress toward your score goal, you shouldn’t let too much time pass between study sessions. If you put a lot of effort into your studies for a few weeks in a row, then you might want to reward yourself with a “cheat day.” Just be sure that one day doesn’t extend into two, then three, and then even a week. Even if you don’t feel like studying, it’s a good idea to at least get out your flashcards and go through a quick review session. Maintaining focus on your EA preparation will ensure that you are making consistent headway toward mastering the EA Quantitative section.
Remember, the time you devote to studying for the EA is an investment. A great score will provide you with significant returns for the rest of your life.
TTP PRO TIP:
Even when you lack motivation, make sure to study a little each day.
Tip #10: Take Practice Tests at the End of Your Prep
Taking practice exams should be the final step in your preparation. Doing so will help you evaluate your overall progress and prepare for the real test’s challenges.
Therefore, in the weeks leading up to test day, you should complete the remaining 3 practice exams on mba.com. Because taking a practice test is fairly strenuous, you should give yourself 3 to 5 days between practice exams. In addition, it is best to take each test when you are feeling alert, rather than at the end of a hard day at work.
After you finish each practice exam, carefully go through any questions that you got wrong as well as any that you guessed correctly on. If you discover that you have significant knowledge gaps, you should review the materials you used to prepare, in order to fill those gaps. Your scores on these tests should ideally be close to your target score on the EA. If you complete all 3 practice tests and are scoring in your target range, you should be well-prepared for test day.
TTP PRO TIP:
Take the remaining 3 mba.com practice exams prior to test day.
How to Prepare for the Executive Assessment Quant Section: In Summary
Every tip about EA Quant that you learn and follow will help you earn your best score possible. Let’s take a look at the 10 tips that we have covered here:
- You Have to Understand What EA Quant Is
- Take a Practice Exam to Gauge Your Starting Point
- Get Top-Notch EA Prep Materials
- Topical Studying Is the Way to Go
- Practice What You’ve Learned
- Memorization Is Part of the EA Game
- Review Is Key!
- Think Like the Test-Makers
- Do Some EA Math Studying Every Day
- Take Practice Tests at the End of Your Prep
The tips presented in this article give you a solid introduction to preparing for EA Quant. Follow them and you’ll be off to a great start!
Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Two Months Enough Time for Executive Assessment Quant Prep?
There are so many variables that affect the amount of time that one needs to prepare for EA Quant. Some of these may include your math background, the number of years since you took math classes, the amount of time you can devote each week to your prep, and the difference between your target score and your baseline score. Many students need as many as 6 months or as little as 1 month for their prep, though the average is about 2-4 months.
The key is to plan ahead, so that you aren’t rushing at the last minute to take your EA. Give yourself adequate time, so you can earn your best possible score.
What Is a Good Executive Assessment Quant Score?
The EA Quant section is comprised of 14 questions. It is scored from 0 to 20, but the highest practical score is 18. Because the two modules of the Quant section are computer-adaptive, it is impossible to specify the number of questions you must answer correctly to obtain a particular score. Generally, a Quant score of 10-12 is considered adequate, assuming you are equally strong in the other EA sections of Verbal and Integrated Reasoning. You can read our article on Executive Assessment scoring to learn more.
You already know how important the Executive Assessment is for securing acceptance at a great business school. We’ve given you some key tips for getting a solid start to your EA Quant preparation. Now check out our article with details about the EA Quant section breakdown, and you’ll be ready to nail the Quant section in no time!