So, you’d like to pursue your EMBA and have decided to prepare for the Executive Assessment (EA) on your own. If you are considering how to begin your Executive Assessment preparation, I don’t blame you if you feel overwhelmed by all the options available for your studying. So, although I will not cover all potential EA prep options, I will present you with 12 study tips for the Executive Assessment for self-learners in this article. This study plan will cover how to begin your EA preparation, how to create a personalized EA study plan, how to find great study resources, and of course, the steps you need to take to advance toward your EA score goal.
Here are the topics we’ll cover:
- Step 1: Get Your Baseline Score by Taking an Official Practice Test
- Step 2: Determine Your EA Prep Timeline
- Step 3: Develop Your Study Schedule
- Step 4: Use the Best EA Prep Materials
- Step 5: Topical Learning Is the Preferred Method
- Step 6: Practice, Practice, Practice!
- Step 7: Take Notes as You Learn
- Step 8: Flashcards Are Your Friends!
- Step 9: Alternate Between Quant and Verbal
- Step 10: Mixed Problem Sets Are a Critical Part of Your Prep
- Step 11: Make Integrated Reasoning Your Final Study Topic
- Step 12: Save 2 to 3 Weeks for Practice Exams
- Summary: Executive Assessment Study Plan for Self-Learners
- What’s Next?
Let’s begin by discussing taking your first practice exam to get a baseline score.
Step 1: Get Your Baseline Score by Taking an Official Practice Test
I can’t stress enough the importance of beginning your self-study by taking an official, full-length practice exam. It’s important to get a baseline score so that you can determine how far you are from your target score. This will help determine the length of time you will need to study.
Keep in mind that I am not telling you to take the practice exam completely cold. Instead, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the exam. You can get some free resources from GMAC. In addition, you can purchase a variety of EA study resources, including Executive Assessment sample questions and official practice exams, at the same time.
In any case, know the major topics that are tested on the exam. Get a feel for the types of questions that you will encounter and the overall Executive Assessment exam format. Once you have a general understanding of the EA, you’ll be ready to take that official practice test.
TTP PRO TIP:
Spend some time getting familiar with the question types and format of the EA before taking your first practice exam.
Now, let’s discuss taking your first practice exam.
Take Your First Practice Exam Seriously
I realize that you may not be excited about taking your first practice exam, but take a deep breath and just do it. Even if you have totally forgotten how to factor a quadratic equation or how to determine the median of a set of data, don’t delay taking your first official practice exam. This first practice test provides the information you need to see how far you are from your target score, and thus how long you may need to prepare for test day.
So, when you’re taking the practice test, try to replicate test-day conditions. For example, take your practice test in a quiet place, such as a library, if you intend to take the EA at a test center. If you intend to take the EA Online, take your practice test at the same location where you will take the online exam, using the same computer you’ll use on test day.
After you finish the exam, you’ll be able to compare your practice exam score to your target score and determine how much preparation time you might need.
TTP PRO TIP:
To get an accurate baseline score, take your practice exam seriously.
Step 2: Determine Your EA Prep Timeline
Once you have your baseline score from your official practice exam, you can compare it to your target score. Bear in mind that an executive MBA entry exam score of 150 is considered an acceptable EA score. Unlike other, more competitive exams, such as the GMAT and the GRE, an EA score of 150 is adequate, indicating that you have the requisite skills for handling the academic rigor of the EMBA program to which you are applying. Thus, these programs do not require sky-high EA scores for their applicants.
Do note that a few EMBA programs might be a bit more selective. They might require a score of 155 as a minimum score.
In any case, you need to have solid math, verbal, and analytical skills to score in the 150-155 range. Note that even a few points below 150 can make a significant difference. A score of 147, which appears to be “almost 150,” could well be a deal-breaker for admission to your desired program.
So how long should you study to earn your desired score? General recommendations from successful students indicate that 2-3 months may be sufficient to score 150. This assumes that you study for about 18-20 hours each week. To attain a score of 155, you might need to add an extra month to your study timeline.
These are just some typical prep times, but the farther you are from your target score, the longer you will need to prep.
TTP PRO TIP:
The number of hours you can study per week, coupled with how far you are from your EA target score, will help you determine your EA prep timeline.
Step 3: Develop Your Study Schedule
Once you have your timeline in place, you’ll need to create a detailed study schedule. After all, if you are going to partake in self-guided learning, you need to ensure that you have an EA study schedule to keep you accountable to yourself. So, grab a cup of coffee, get out your calendar, and create a weekly study schedule.
When creating this schedule, look at everything you have going on, both personally and professionally. Then, figure out how you can fit in 18+ hours per week. Can you get up and study before your workday starts, or are evening study sessions best for you? Can you study for 4+ hours each day on the weekend?
These are all the things you should consider when making your schedule. Many students find that committing 2 hours each weekday and 4 hours each weekend day gives them the requisite number of hours needed.
The key is to create a study schedule that works for you and then stick with it!
TTP PRO TIP:
Create an EA study schedule that allows you to study for about 18 hours per week.
Step 4: Use the Best EA Prep Materials
Now that you have your EA preparation timeline in place along with your study schedule, don’t ruin all your great planning by jumping into doing a bunch of random practice problems! Instead, you must find some great EA practice materials. Just as you would not use second-rate materials in a production process, you must not use substandard study materials to study for an exam that could affect your entire future!
If you’re wondering what is available, check out sites such as GMAT Club and Beat the GMAT. Both websites have reviews of Executive Assessment self-study courses (as well as GMAT courses). The reviews come from students who have been successful in achieving their target scores, so read the reviews carefully. Once you find a few courses that could be right for you, sign up for free or low-cost trials.
When evaluating courses, try to find a prep course with a detailed Executive Assessment study guide. This will provide you with a road map from the beginning to the end of your EA studying.
TTP PRO TIP:
Research and try out Executive Assessment courses before deciding which course is right for you.
Next, let’s discuss some details of your EA study plan.
Step 5: Topical Learning Is the Preferred Method
If you have read our other articles or checked out the Target Test Prep Executive Assessment course, you likely know our take on topical learning and practice. Topical learning is a must when studying EA Quant, EA Verbal, and EA Integrated Reasoning.
Topical learning simply means that you focus on one Quant or Verbal topic at a time. You study it until you have mastered it. You read, do practice problems, and then take a practice test on just that one topic.
By immersing yourself in one topic at a time, you ensure that you do not skip any material, either accidentally or by design. You will stay with that topic until you have attained a solid understanding of the material.
If you don’t spend enough time on any one topic, you’ll never fully learn it, and this process will continuously hold you back as you move through all of the EA material. So, instead of jumping around, learn all you can about a single topic. Then, once you’ve mastered it, move to the next Quant or Verbal topic in your study plan.
TTP PRO TIP:
Topical learning is a must when studying EA Quant and Verbal.
While topical learning is key, topical practice is equally important.
Step 6: Practice, Practice, Practice!
By now, you should be convinced that topical learning is the best preparation method. However, unless that learning is followed up with topical practice, you may find yourself in the age-old cycle of “two steps forward, one step back.”
In other words, what you learn very likely won’t stick unless you practice, practice, practice!
TTP PRO TIP:
After learning a particular Quant or Verbal topic, follow up with topical practice.
Let’s take a closer look at how topical learning and practice should look for either your Verbal Reasoning or your Quantitative Reasoning EA prep.
An Example of Topical Learning and Practice
Let’s consider an example to get an idea of how to engage in topical learning and practice. Say you are learning about percents. Your first task is to learn all you can just about percents. Learn about basic percents, percent increase, percent decrease, “percent of,” and word problems with percents. Once you have a good understanding of all things percents, move on to your topical practice.
Since percents is a significant EA foundational math topic, you’ll want to complete around 100+ practice questions on just percents. Clearly, you won’t practice all 100 questions at one time. Rather, divide those questions into 15-question sets. After each problem set, spend time reviewing your wrong answers. Then, fix any knowledge gaps before moving on to another topic.
Once you have completed and reviewed all the percent questions, move to the next Quant or Verbal topic in your study plan.
TTP PRO TIP:
Topical practice is just as important as topical learning.
Next, let’s discuss the importance of taking notes as you study.
Step 7: Take Notes as You Learn
We have discussed the importance of topical learning but have yet to address how you should be learning. Anyone can sit down and read or watch a video about an EA topic. However, if you are not an active learner, you won’t be able to retain what you read or watch.
So, how do you become an active learner? Become an active note-taker! The process of putting a concept into your own words forces you to learn it and, more importantly, retain it.
Moreover, your notes serve as tools for review. Remember, it’s impossible to retain everything you learn, no matter how focused you are. You need notes as an easy way to review previously learned concepts.
Furthermore, you can convert those notes to flashcards, which are another great study tool.
TTP PRO TIP:
Take notes as you learn each new EA quant and verbal topic, to ensure active learning.
Let’s consider the importance of flashcards.
Step 8: Flashcards Are Your Friends!
A powerful way to learn and retain material is to make flashcards from your study notes. Making and reviewing flashcards that highlight the material you’re studying is a great way to increase the effectiveness of your EA preparation.
In addition, flashcards play an important part in your prep because they can be used anytime, anywhere. For example, you can review your flashcards on a train, bus, or carpool. Or, if you’re waiting for an appointment or standing in line at the grocery store, you can pull out your flashcards and get in a quick study session. Whenever you have a few minutes to spare, pull out your flashcards. Remember, all those extra minutes of studying add up!
Make and use flashcards in a way that suits you best. Some students prefer to go old-school and create their flashcards by hand, while others prefer digital flashcards. In the TTP self-study course, we offer a custom flashcard study tool that students can use to build their own flashcards.
Whichever method you choose, create many flashcards covering both Quant and Verbal concepts. Your flashcards can contain common formulas, rules, and techniques with many steps. Using flashcards will help you improve every time you review them.
TTP PRO TIP:
Make flashcard review a part of your weekly study routine.
Step 9: Alternate Between Quant and Verbal
One mistake that many students make is not alternating their prep. For example, they will study Quant for a month or two, master those topics, and then switch to Verbal. While using this method may seem like a good idea, trust me when I tell you it’s not! Just think of the amount of information you’d forget after taking a break for a month or two.
Remember, it’s not like you use most of these newfound skills daily. You use them only when you are studying for the EA. So, if large amounts of time elapse between solving questions about the difference of squares or analyzing sentences with dangling participles, do you think you’ll be able to easily recall those topics on test day?
A more balanced approach is to alternate between EA Quant and Verbal topics. For example, a student in the TTP Executive Assessment course may spend up to 8 days working through the Statistics chapter in Quant before working on subject-verb agreement in Sentence Correction.
Moving to a Verbal topic right after Quant gives your brain time to retain the Quant material without adding more Quant on top of it. The switch to Verbal is a welcome change!
TTP PRO TIP:
Ensure that your EA study plan allows you to alternate between Quant and Verbal.
Step 10: Mixed Problem Sets Are a Critical Part of Your Prep
We have seen the importance of topical learning and practice. However, as you know, the questions you see on the EA will not be from just one topic but from a random array of topics in each of the exam sections. So, to prepare for the assortment of problems you’ll encounter on test day, you’ll need to add mixed problem sets to your preparation strategy.
In addition to getting you ready for test day, mixed problem sets serve as a great review vehicle. As a bonus, they allow you to get a start on your test-day time management. Especially if it has been a month or two since you studied topics like quadratics and exponents, doing a mixed problem set covering those two topics would do you a world of good. You’d discover if anything has slipped through the cracks. While completing the set, you could do some basic timing practice to see if you can answer the questions both accurately and quickly. Doing weekly mixed sets will keep you on your toes and ensure that previously learned topics do not fall by the wayside.
TTP PRO TIP:
Mixed problem sets are a great way to review as well as get a start on your EA time management.
Step 11: Make Integrated Reasoning Your Final Study Topic
If you’re wondering how to integrate (no pun intended) Integrated Reasoning (IR) into your study plan, there’s good news! Although Integrated Reasoning may feel like its own subject, IR questions test nothing more than the material you learned in EA Quant and Verbal.
For example, you may be tested on probability or statistics in a Graphics Interpretation question or rates in a Two-Part Analysis question. A Multi-Source Reasoning question might ask you to strengthen or weaken an argument, just as you did in Critical Reasoning. By the time you start studying IR, you may find that you’re super prepared already!
So, save your dedicated IR study and practice for the end of your EA prep.
TTP PRO TIP:
Do your Integrated Reasoning prep after you’ve completed your EA Quant and Verbal prep.
Step 12: Save 2 to 3 Weeks for Practice Exams
So you’re getting close to test day! You’ve nailed EA Quant, and you’re confident in your Verbal skills. Integrated Reasoning is a walk in the park. Before you rest on your laurels, there is still one final hill to climb. The last step in your preparation is to take the remaining EA practice exams. Taking these mock tests is critical. You’ll get a clear picture of where you stand and you’ll get a sense of the rigors of test day.
Don’t rush through your practice exams. Take them when you’re refreshed and relaxed. If you take a practice exam after a long day of work, chances are your score won’t reflect your true abilities. As a result, you’ll waste a great opportunity to get a true sense of your expected EA score, and the results will be somewhat questionable.
Remember, the data you glean from your practice exams is essential in helping you make last-minute tweaks. For example, getting an exponent question wrong indicates that you need to review exponents. Likewise, if you get a subject-verb agreement question wrong, you likely need to review that Verbal topic.
So, take your practice exams when you’re fresh, and give yourself plenty of time to review your weak topics. By the time you finish your final practice test, you should be hitting your target score and ready to go for test day!
TTP PRO TIP:
Take your practice exams when you’re well-rested and mentally ready, and give yourself enough time between exams to review your weak topics.
Summary: Executive Assessment Study Plan for Self-Learners
Prepping for the EA on your own is an admirable undertaking, and you’ll need all the help and advice you can find. We’ve presented you with 12 useful and actionable tips and test strategies, including some online resources for EA, to help you succeed with your EA preparation.
- Take an official practice exam to establish your baseline score.
- Use your baseline score to determine how long you’ll need to study to hit your goal score.
- Develop a study schedule based on your personal and professional commitments, shooting for 18+ hours of studying per week.
- Research and try out EA prep courses before deciding which one is right for you.
- Master one topic at a time before moving on.
- Complete and review all practice questions on a topic.
- To ensure active learning, take notes as you study each topic.
- Make flashcard review part of your weekly study routine.
- For a balanced study plan, alternate between Quant and Verbal topics.
- Complete mixed problem sets to prepare for test day, highlight areas for review, and practice time management.
- Study Integrated Reasoning after completing Quant and Verbal.
- Use the last 2-3 weeks of your study plan to take practice exams and review your weak topics.
Following these 12 study and test-taking tips will give you a leg up on getting started, staying focused, and, ultimately, being well-prepared on test day.
If you’re studying for the EA on your own, congratulations on having self-discipline and a commitment to excellence! If you want to be as well-prepared as possible for exam day, check out our article about getting a great EA score on test day. These test-day tips will ensure that all your hard work during your preparation will return your investment with a great EA score improvement.