The Executive Assessment (EA) is a computer-administered, standardized test that was introduced in 2016 and is required for admissions to many Executive MBA programs. Like the GMAT, which is used for admission to standard, full-time MBA programs, the Executive Assessment test is designed by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).
When creating the Executive Assessment, GMAC gathers input from business programs around the world — the very institutions that look at Executive Assessment scores in assessing candidates for their programs.
With that in mind, let’s first take a closer look at what skills the Executive Assessment tests and why people take the exam. Then, I’ll answer some of the most common questions about the EA exam, including which schools accept it, how to register for both the in-person and online test, how much the EA costs, what the structure of the exam is, how many times you can take it, and how to study for it.
- What Does the Executive Assessment Test?
- Who Can Take the Executive Assessment?
- Which Schools Accept Executive Assessment Scores?
- How Do I Register for the Executive Assessment Test?
- How Much Does the Executive Assessment Cost?
- How is the Executive Assessment Test Administered?
- What is the Structure of the Executive Assessment Test?
- How is the Executive Assessment Scored?
- How Many Times Can I Take the Executive Assessment?
- How Can I Prepare for the Executive Assessment?
What Does the Executive Assessment Test?
The Executive Assessment exam bills itself as a “readiness assessment” designed to provide schools with a snapshot of the real-world, workplace skills of management-level business professionals applying to Executive MBA (EMBA) programs.
In other words, the EA tests your readiness for business school by testing the skills and knowledge that seasoned business professionals use on a regular basis for their jobs. These skills include data analysis, critical thinking, logical reasoning, English grammar and reading skills, and basic, high school-level math skills such as arithmetic and algebra.
The EA tests these skills via Integrated Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning questions that appear in multiple formats and cover a broad range of topics. We’ll discuss exactly what those topics are in detail in the section on how the EA is structured. For now, the important thing to keep in mind is that, if you are considering taking the Executive Assessment, chances are you already have many of the skills necessary to perform well on the exam.
The Executive Assessment test is designed to provide Executive MBA (EMBA) programs with a snapshot of the real-world, workplace skills of management-level business professionals.
So, let’s explore exactly who should sit for the EA test — and who shouldn’t.
Who Can Take the Executive Assessment?
The Executive Assessment test was originally designed specifically for applicants to Executive MBA (EMBA) programs. So, the EA test is not for people with relatively limited work experience who are planning to apply to full-time MBA programs.
On the other hand, if you are an experienced business professional who has been working full-time for several years, and you are looking to take your career to the next level with an MBA, you may need to take the Executive Assessment.
It’s important to note that while the EA test is accepted, for the most part, only for Executive MBA programs, there are some non-Executive MBA programs that may accept the EA from experienced applicants. For example, some part-time and weekend MBA programs accept EA scores from applicants with significant work experience, and select full-time and specialized master’s programs — for example, in Finance, Accounting, or Data Analytics — accept the EA.
It’s also important to note that there is no standard pre-requisite for eligibility to sit for the EA test or to apply to EMBA programs. GMAC, the EA test-maker, allows anyone who wants to (and who pays the registration fee) to sit for the exam, and business schools all have their own requirements (ex. minimum work experience) for EMBA program eligibility.
Generally speaking, however, EMBA programs tend to require applicants to have anywhere from 5 to 10 years of full-time work experience. Different programs may have different requirements for how many years of that experience have to be at the management level. Some schools may specify only a minimum number of years of full-time employment at any level. Others may require a minimum number of years and current full-time employment.
Every program is different, so be sure to research eligibility requirements on the individual websites of the programs you plan to apply to, and if you need clarification on anything, don’t hesitate to reach out to the school admissions offices.
In general, most EMBA programs require applicants to have anywhere from 5 to 10 years of full-time work experience.
Which Schools Accept Executive Assessment Scores?
An increasing number of schools around the globe accept the Executive Assessment for entrance into some of their business degree programs. Those institutions include top business schools such as Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago Booth, Yale, Duke Fuqua, Berkeley Haas, Columbia Business School, INSEAD, HEC Paris, and many others.
Keep in mind that not every Executive MBA program requires an Executive Assessment score for admission, and schools have varying requirements regarding which entrance exams are required (GMAT, GRE, and/or EA). The GMAC website features a list of schools and programs that accept the Executive Assessment test, but of course, you should always check the individual websites of the programs you’re interested in to get updated information about their requirements. Don’t assume that because GMAC doesn’t list a particular program on their website, you can be certain that program doesn’t require EA scores for admission. Do your research!
That said, many business schools use the Executive Assessment score as one factor in determining an applicant’s readiness for their EMBA programs (along with work experience, recommendations, etc.). Some programs may also evaluate your EA score to determine how they can help you close any skill gaps and be as successful as possible in their program.
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Research the testing requirements for your desired programs on the individual program websites to ensure that you have current information about which test(s) you’ll need for your applications.
How Do I Register for the Executive Assessment Test?
The Executive Assessment exam is administered year-round at more than 600 test centers worldwide, and online administration of the exam is currently available for test-takers in most locations who wish to take the exam remotely. (Check GMAC’s website to stay up to date on how long online administration will be available, since availability may depend on how the pandemic continues to affect testing sites.) Note that because of local regulations, the Executive Assessment Online is not available in Mainland China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, and South Sudan.
For either in-person or remote administration of the exam, you can register easily on the GMAC website. Simply create an Executive Assessment account using your email address. You’ll be asked to create an account profile by providing some basic personal information. Then, you’ll have the option to select programs to send your EA scores to (you can do this after your exam, if you prefer), select how you want to take the exam (either at home or in a test center), and schedule your test appointment. Note that if in the past you created an mba.com account — to, say, register for the GMAT — you do not need to create a new one for the Executive Assessment. Anything service you access on GMAC’s website can be managed through a single account.
Importantly, you can choose to take the Executive Assessment at home even if test centers in your area are open. The online option is currently open to all test-takers who wish to sit for the Executive Assessment, regardless of whether test centers near them have reopened.
If you do elect to sit for the exam at a test center, you’ll be able to select from a list of test center locations, dates, and times. And whether you decide to take the exam at home or at a test center, you can sit for your exam as soon as 24 hours after completing your registration.
Additionally, if you select score recipients at the time of your registration but later would like to change your selections, you can do so in your online account any time prior to your test appointment. And if you decide after your exam that there are additional schools to which you’d like to send your scores, you can log into your account and do so for free. However, you cannot edit any pre-exam score recipient selections after your exam; you can only select additional ones.
For either the in-person or online Executive Assessment exam, you can register easily on the GMAC website and sit for your exam as soon as 24 hours after completing your registration.
Once you select your test date, you will be asked to pay a registration fee in order to complete your registration. Let’s talk about that next.
How Much Does the Executive Assessment Cost?
No matter where or how you take the Executive Assessment test, the cost of registering for it is the same: $350 USD. Furthermore, GMAC accepts only the following debit and credit cards as forms of payment: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and JCB.
One of the nice things about taking an exam that caters to busy working professionals is that GMAC allows you to reschedule your Executive Assessment for free up to 48 hours before your scheduled test appointment.
There is, however, a $75 fee if you reschedule your exam within 24-48 hours of your scheduled appointment. (Note that due to the pandemic, the rescheduling fee is temporarily waived as of the time of this writing.) Check GMAC’s website for updates.)
Additionally, there are some other fees that EA test-takers should be aware of. The chart below provides a quick reference of the major fees associated with the Executive Assessment test, all payable by the forms of payment listed above.
Executive Assessment Exam Fees
|Reschedule Exam (48+ hours in advance)||FREE|
|Reschedule Exam (24-48 hours in advance)||$75|
|Cancel Exam (24+ hours in advance)||$100|
Note that if you need to cancel your exam less than 24 hours before your scheduled test appointment, you will forfeit your entire $350 exam fee.
So, unless there is a last-minute emergency and you have no way to sit for your exam, if you need to cancel your Executive Assessment test appointment, try to do so at least 24 hours before your scheduled testing time.
Note also that if you reschedule or cancel your exam by phone rather than through your online account, you will be charged an extra $10 fee.
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Unless there is a last-minute emergency that will prevent you from sitting for your exam, if you need to cancel your EA test appointment, do so at least 24 hours before your scheduled testing time.
How is the Executive Assessment Test Administered?
The Executive Assessment test is administered in much the same way the GMAT is. On the day of your EA exam, you’ll need to arrive at your test center at least 30 minutes before your test is set to begin, in order to ensure that you have enough time to put any personal belongings in a locker and complete the check-in process. (For the online exam, you should log on at least 15 minutes before your scheduled testing time to allow for check-in time. Also, be sure to review the online check-in rules and procedures before test day.)
Let’s do a quick review of some important test-day rules and procedures for both the in-person and online exams.
Before and During Your Test
To complete the check-in process, you’ll need to verify your identity with a valid, accepted form of identification, such as a government-issued driver’s license, passport, permanent resident/green card, or military ID. If you’re taking the in-person exam, you’ll also need the appointment confirmation letter or email you received from Pearson VUE, the company that proctors the exam. It’s a good idea to review GMAC’s test center rules and regulations before test day, including its policies on face masks and other pandemic-related procedures.
Unsurprisingly, personal items such as cell phones, books or study notes, calculators, etc., cannot stay with you during the exam. Additionally, you won’t be able to bring any food, drinks, chewing gum or other candy into the exam room — whether you’re at a test center or at home. So, even if you’re taking the exam in the comfort of your bedroom, don’t expect to be able to sip coffee from your favorite mug or answer a text message from a colleague while the exam clock is ticking.
After you check in at the test center, the proctor administering your EA exam will provide you with a note board and marker for note-taking during your exam, and you will sit at a computer station to take your test.
If you’re taking the online test, you’ll have the option to use a virtual whiteboard on your computer, a physical whiteboard, or both for note-taking during your exam. A physical whiteboard is not provided to you for the online exam, so if you want to use one, you’ll have to purchase it on your own in advance. You’re allowed 1 erasable whiteboard no larger than 12 inches by 20 inches, 1 dry-erase marker, and 1 eraser, all of which are easily purchasable through retailers such as Staples and Amazon.
It’s also important to note that, since the test proctor can’t be in the room with you when you take the online exam, the proctor will monitor you through your computer’s webcam and communicate with you (if necessary) through the exam’s chat function. If you’re interested in taking the exam at home, you should review the technical requirements before you register, so that you’re sure you have everything you need to administer the exam through your computer.
After Your Test
Unlike at the test center, if you take the exam at home, you will not see your EA scores on your computer immediately after you finish your test. Instead, your scores for that exam will be viewable in your online account within 7 days of your test date and sent at that time to any score recipients you’ve selected.
On the other hand, when you take the Executive Assessment at a test center, you see your official section scores and total score for that exam on your computer screen immediately after completing your exam. You also receive a printout of your EA scores for that exam before you leave the test center. Furthermore, your scores will be available in your online account within 24 hours of your test appointment, and any schools you selected to receive your scores will also get them within 24 hours.
Keep in mind that the scores you see at the test center are, in fact, the same scores that will be posted to your account and sent to your designated schools. There are no “unofficial” scores for the Executive Assessment. In other words, the scores you see at the test center will not change.
The EA scores you see at the test center immediately after completing the in-person Executive Assessment are the exact same scores that will be sent to any score recipients you select.
Now that we’ve reviewed how the Executive Assessment exam is administered, let’s delve into the structure of the exam.
What is the Structure of the Executive Assessment Test?
While much of the content on the Executive Assessment is the same as that on the GMAT (I’ll discuss some ways the content differs shortly), and the question formats are the same, the structure of the EA exam is different from the GMAT structure in some significant respects.
For one, the Executive Assessment takes only 90 minutes to complete — substantially less time than it takes to complete the GMAT. Part of the reason the EA is shorter than the GMAT is that there is no AWA section (essay task) on the EA. Furthermore, the EA contains a total of only 40 questions. And since the EA is a relatively quick exam, there are no optional breaks during the exam. So, if for some reason you need to leave your desk during the exam, the timer will keep running!
The Executive Assessment takes 90 minutes to complete and does not allow for any breaks.
Another important difference between the two exams is that, unlike the GMAT, the Executive Assessment is not adaptive at the question level, so the difficulty of each successive question you see will not increase or decrease depending on whether you answered the previous question correctly or incorrect. However, the test is adaptive from one section module to the next. Let’s take a look at exactly what that means.
Executive Assessment Sections: 6 Modules
The Executive Assessment is made up of three sections: Integrated Reasoning (IR), Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. Those sections will appear in that order — IR first, then Verbal, and then Quant — with each section broken into 2 successive subsections, or “modules,” containing an equal number of questions, for a total of 6 modules on the exam.
Essentially, you have a set amount of time for each section (30 minutes), and while each section is divided in half, those halves aren’t separately timed. In other words, you could spend 15 on each Quant module, or you could spend 10 minutes on the first Quant module and 20 on the second, etc.
Now, what’s great about this section structure is that you actually are given the opportunity to check and edit your work at the end of each module. So, let’s take Quant as an example. You are presented with 7 questions in the first Quant module and 7 questions in the second Quant module, for a total of 14 questions that must be completed in a total of 30 minutes. After completing the 7 questions that make up the first Quant module, you’re presented with a review screen from which you can check and change your responses or return to any questions you may have skipped within the module.
Of course, there is a catch: once you move past that review screen to the second Quant module, you can no longer go back and edit or add any answers in the first module, even though you’re still technically in “the Quant section.”
Furthermore, the clock doesn’t stop when you’re on the review screen, so any time you spend reviewing answers in module 1 will take away from the time you have to work on module 2. Plus, you need to keep in mind that you may want time to review your answers at the end of module 2 as well.
Finally, because the EA is adaptive from one module to the next within the Quant and Verbal sections, your performance on Quant module 1 will influence the difficulty level of the questions you see in Quant module 2. So, if you perform well in Quant module 1, the questions you see in Quant module 2 should be more difficult overall than those you saw in module 1. Thus, you’ll probably need a bit more time to accurately answer the questions in module 2 than you needed to answer the module 1 questions. Point being, you probably can’t spend all that much time checking your work in module 1. You didn’t expect the EA to make things too easy for you, did you?
One thing to note is that the section-adaptivity of the exam does not “cross-pollinate.” In other words, your performance in the Quant modules does not affect the difficulty level you see in the Verbal modules, and vice versa. Furthermore, the IR modules are not adaptive.
You can review and change your answers at the end of each module, but once you move on to the next module, answers in the previous module cannot be changed.
Now that we’ve wrapped our heads around the pros and cons of EA modules, have a look at the table below, which outlines the overall section structure of the exam.
Note that the Executive Assessment Online has the same structure as the Executive Assessment administered in test centers. Also, an on-screen calculator is provided only for the Integrated Reasoning section of the Executive Assessment. You will not have access to a calculator during the Quant section.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the content you’ll be tested on in each of the 3 exam sections.
Executive Assessment Content
If you’ve taken the GMAT, you will be familiar with the content that you see on the Executive Assessment. As I mentioned earlier, the question types that appear on the EA exam are the same as those on the GMAT. And in fact, the content tested in both the IR and Verbal sections is the same on both exams. The main difference between the GMAT and EA content is that the Quant section on the EA exam tests fewer topics and omits some of the more advanced topics that appear in GMAT Quant.
EA Quant tests fewer topics than GMAT Quant and does not test some of the more advanced topics that appear in GMAT Quant.
Let’s look at what you can expect in each section.
Integrated Reasoning (IR)
The IR section tests your ability to analyze data presented in common formats such as graphs, charts, tables, and emails and may require Quant or Verbal concepts to solve. There are 4 different types of IR questions: Multi-Source Reasoning, Two-Part Analysis, Table Analysis, and Graphics Interpretation. Let’s review each.
A question will present you with multiple “sources” of information in different formats, such as charts, tables, and passages of text, and displayed on separate tabs. You must evaluate the data in those sources in order to answer the question. Here is an example of a Multi-Source Reasoning question.
A question will present you with a written scenario and 2 columns of choices. You must select 1 choice from each column (2 choices in total) to answer the question. Here is an example of a Two-Part Analysis question.
A question will present you with data in a spreadsheet-like format that you can sort by column. You must evaluate 3 statements related to the data and select 1 of 2 choices for each statement (a total of 3 selections per question). Here is an example of a Table Analysis question.
A question will present you with a graph or diagram, which you will have to analyze in order to complete 2 statements, each of which contains 1 blank. For each blank, there will be a drop-down menu containing 3 or 4 answer choices, from which you’ll select 1 choice (a total of 2 selections per question). Here is an example of a Graphics Interpretation question.
Check out this article for tips on mastering the Integrated Reasoning section.
The Verbal section tests your grammar knowledge, your ability to understand what you read, your use of logic and attention to detail, and your ability to analyze arguments. As we saw earlier, this section consists of 3 question types: Sentence Correction (SC), Critical Reasoning (CR), and Reading Comprehension (RC). Let’s discuss each type.
A question will present a sentence that is either partially or entirely underlined. You must choose the correct version of the underlined portion, out of 5 choices (answer choice A is always the version in the question stem).
SC questions test your knowledge of grammar rules, sentence structure, and word choice, as well as your ability to identify illogical, ambiguous, or redundant meanings within a sentence.
You’ll definitely want to have a look at these essential Sentence Correction strategies when preparing for the SC section.
A question will present you with a written stimulus, usually a short passage of about 100 words or fewer, followed by a question and 5 answer choices. The question will always ask you to determine which of the 5 answer choices is logically related to the stimulus in a particular way.
For instance, CR questions may ask what assumption the argument makes to reach its conclusion or which statement must be true if all of the statements in the passage are true.
CR questions directly challenge your thinking skills across a wide range of situations that require critical analysis, logical reasoning, and attention to detail.
This comprehensive guide to Critical Reasoning will give you the strategies you need to efficiently answer these tricky questions.
A question will present you with either a short or long passage and 2 or 3 questions about that passage. For each question related to a passage, you’ll select 1 of 5 answer choices.
RC questions are designed to test how carefully you’ve read a passage, whether you understand what you’ve read, and whether you can accurately interpret the information and identify relationships between ideas presented in the passage.
RC passages are similar in subject matter and style to publications such as The Economist, Smithsonian magazine, and The New York Times, so regularly reading such publications is a good way to help prepare yourself for RC questions. You can also check out these Reading Comprehension dos and don’ts.
As I already mentioned, the Quant section on the EA contains fewer advanced topics than its GMAT counterpart. For example, topics such as permutations and combinations, statistics, and probability are less common on the EA, though not completely absent. The most notable difference is that there are no geometry questions on the EA. (Questions on coordinate planes can appear on the EA, but GMAC considers those algebra questions.)
For the most part, you may encounter about 10 or so main topics each in arithmetic and in freshman-level high school algebra on EA Quant. According to GMAC, those topics may include the following:
- Properties of Integers
- Real Numbers
- Powers and Roots of Numbers
- Fractions, Decimals, and Percents
- Ratio and Proportion
- Counting Methods
- Discrete Probability
- Descriptive Statistics
- Absolute Value
- Simplifying Algebraic Expressions
- Solving Linear Equations with One Unknown
- Solving Two Linear Equations with Two Unknowns
- Solving Equations by Factoring
- Solving Quadratic Equations
Now, let’s review the 2 question types that are used to test those topics in EA Quant: Data Sufficiency (DS) and Problem Solving.
You will be presented with a question followed by two statements that provide further information about the question. For instance, a DS question asking “What is the value of x?” would be followed by two statements providing additional information that may or may not help you determine the value of x.
Your job in DS questions is to determine whether one or both statements alone are sufficient to answer the question, or both statements together are needed to answer the question, or both statements together still don’t provide enough information to determine the answer.
The trick is, you often don’t need to actually solve a DS problem to the very end. You simply need to determine whether it’s possible to solve the problem with the information given.
Here is a sample Data Sufficiency question.
Whereas in DS questions you need to determine whether you have enough information to solve the problem, in Problem Solving questions, you must actually solve the problem.
In other words, while a DS question wouldn’t ask you to actually determine the value of x, a Problem Solving question would present you with 5 possible values of x and ask you to actually determine which of the 5 choices was correct.
Check out this sample Problem Solving question.
So, as their names suggest, for Data Sufficiency questions, you need to determine whether you have sufficient data to answer a question, and for Problem Solving questions, you need to actually find the answer to the math problem.
For the most part, EA Quant tests you on high school-level topics in arithmetic and basic algebra.
Now that we have a sense of the structure and the content of the Executive Assessment, let’s take a look at how the exam is scored.
How is the Executive Assessment Scored?
As we discussed earlier, you will receive 4 different scores when you take an Executive Assessment test: 3 individual scores and a total score. Your total score is calculated based on your performance in the 3 sections, which are equally weighed in calculating the total score. Let’s look at the score scales for the 3 sections and the total score.
Executive Assessment Scoring
|Exam Section||Score Scale|
As you can see, the 3 sections are all scored using the scale of 0 to 20. The lowest possible total score derived from the 3 section scores is 100, and the highest possible total score is 200.
How can section scores that top out at a total of 60 possibly equal a total score of 100 to 200? Ah, the mysteries of the test algorithm!
One thing to keep in mind is that the difficulty of the questions you answer correctly (and incorrectly) plays a part in how your scores are calculated. So, for instance, you can’t simply look at the raw number of questions you got correct in the IR section and expect that to translate directly to a numerical section score. In other words, you can’t assume that because there are 12 questions in the IR section and the section is scored on a scale of 0 to 20, each question you see is worth 1.66 points. Some of those questions may be harder-level questions and some may be easier-level, and some will be somewhere in between.
The difficulty of the questions you answer correctly or incorrectly plays a part in how your scores are calculated.
It’s important to note that GMAC does not allow you to cancel EA test scores. However, when you elect to send schools your scores, only the scores from the specific exam you select are sent. So, if you register for a retake and select score recipients at that time, GMAC will send only the scores from your retake to schools, not the scores from your first attempt as well. Furthermore, online and in-person EA scores are kept separate. So, you essentially have full control over which test scores you send to schools (no mixing and matching scores from different exam sittings, however). Thus, there really is no harm in not being able to cancel an EA score.
Lastly, as with GMAT scores, EA scores are valid for 5 years from your test date. So, if at any point within that time frame, you want to send a test score from a previous attempt to schools, you can log into your online account and send the scores from just that exam, free of charge.
Executive Assessment scores are valid for 5 years from your test date.
How Many Times Can I Take the Executive Assessment?
You can take the Executive Assessment at a test center up to 2 times. So, if you don’t hit your score goal on your first attempt, you have the opportunity for a retake. And you don’t have to wait long: you can register for your second attempt as soon as 24 hours after you complete your first attempt. Thus, since the earliest you can sit for the exam is 24 hours after you register, you could sit for your retake 48 hours after your first attempt, if you wanted to. Of course, depending on why you didn’t hit your goal score on your first try, you may want to take a little more time to study for your retake.
Furthermore, while the Executive Assessment Online is available, you have the option of taking that a total of 2 times as well. In that case, you can schedule your second attempt either before or after you complete your first attempt, although the 2 test appointments must be at least 16 days apart.
The really interesting thing, however, is that online attempts are considered entirely separately from any attempts completed at a test center. So, if for example you take the EA at a test center and retake it online, you’ll still have 2 exam attempts left.
In other words, conceivably, you could take the Executive Assessment a total of 4 times. Now, at 350 bucks a pop, would you really want to take the EA exam 4 times? Doing so would mean spending a total of $1,400 on exam fees.
That’s quite a hefty price tag, and more exam attempts than pretty much any test-taker should need in order to earn an acceptable score on the EA — provided that person has taken some time to prepare for the exam. Let’s talk about that next.
Online EA exam attempts are considered separately from any attempts completed at a test center.
How Can I Prepare for the Executive Assessment?
Many test-takers try to prepare for the Executive Assessment using GMAT materials, but this approach is not ideal. While it’s true, as we saw earlier, that the Executive Assessment features a lot of the same content as the GMAT, the EA pulls from a narrower set of question topics in Quant than the GMAT does. Thus, it’s best to use dedicated EA prep materials to study for the exam, so you don’t waste time studying Quant topics that do not appear on the EA (such as geometry), and so you spend the appropriate amount of time studying the various EA topics.
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Use preparation materials that are specifically tailored for the Executive Assessment, so you don’t waste time studying Quant topics that don’t appear on the EA and so you spend the appropriate amount of time studying the various EA topics.Use GMAT preparation materials for your Executive Assessment prep; just make sure not to waste time studying Quant topics that do not appear on the EA.
It’s also a good idea to get a baseline EA score before you start your prep, so you can get a realistic sense of how far you are from your score goal and how long you may need to study, as well as a feel for the test-taking experience. GMAC offers 4 official practice EA tests on its website. You can purchase 2 of those tests for $70 or purchase all 4 at once for $125. I recommend purchasing at least the first 2 tests, and taking one of those to get your baseline score.
In the days before you sit for your initial practice test, practice answering some realistic test questions of the various question types, just so you’re not going into your test completely cold. Then, when taking your initial practice test, try to replicate actual test-day conditions as closely as possible. Take the exam in a private, quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. If you’ll be taking the EA at a test center, take your practice exam in a private room at the library, for example. Take notes using a note board and marker like the ones you’ll be given at the test center. If you’ll take the online EA, sit for your practice exam in the location where you will take the actual EA, and prepare the space just as you would for the actual exam, using the whiteboard you’ll use for that exam.
Either way, be sure to turn off your cell phone and put it someplace out of sight. Complete all sections of the exam, using only the allotted time and trying your best on every question. If you do anything that you wouldn’t be able to do during the actual EA, such as pausing the exam to stretch your legs or using a calculator to solve a Quant question, you’ll run the risk of getting an inaccurate baseline score.
Without an accurate baseline score, you won’t know whether you’re 5 points or 25 points from your score goal, so you won’t have a good idea of how much preparation you need to do before you take your actual exam.
You may find that you’re already scoring at your score goal, in which case you may be ready to sit for your EA without much further prep. In that case, I would suggest reviewing your wrong answers on your practice test, taking a little time to brush up on your knowledge of that content, and then taking the second practice test. After all, you’ve already purchased it, so you might as well make use of it.
If you again score at (or above) your score goal, you can be that much more confident that you’re ready to sit for your actual exam. Even so, it would again be a wise move to review your wrong answers from the practice test and revisit those content areas to close any knowledge gaps before test day.
If you don’t score at your score goal on your initial practice test, then you know you’ve got some work to do. While you can probably expect that you’ll need less time to prepare for the EA than you would for the longer, more wide-ranging GMAT, if you’re applying to EMBA programs, you likely have a hectic, full-time work schedule. So, you’ll need to realistically evaluate how much time you can devote to EA prep each day and make carving out time to study a priority. (This article on studying while working a demanding job provides some useful tips.)
Working professionals often find that an online, self-study course is a great option for their test prep. For one, an online, self-study course provides far more flexibility than prep classes or tutors, since it allows you to study on your schedule, not someone else’s. Of course, a good self-study course should provide more than just flexibility. The Target Test Prep course, for instance, gives you a step-by-step, customized study plan, uses detailed analytics to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, tracks the specific causes of your errors, and features thousands of realistic practice questions. See for yourself with a 5-day trial of the TTP Course for just $1.
Remember, test scores are just one aspect of your applicant profile, but they are an aspect that is entirely within your control. With some effort and dedication, an impressive Executive Assessment score can be a bright spot on your business school applications. So, if taking the next step in your education and your career really is important to you, make the effort! Get excited about it!!