MBA Admissions Consulting: Which Exam is Right For You?
Posted on
05
Nov 2020

MBA Admissions Consulting: Which Exam is Right For You

by ApexGMAT

Contributors: Fatma Xhafa & Svetozara Saykova

November 5, 2020

 

Are you ready to get a Master’s degree and take the business world by a storm? The first thing to consider is which admissions exam to prepare for. There are a handful of tests that MBA programs use to assess applicants. The GMAT, GRE, EA, INSEAD, and  ieGAT are the most common. Generally, these exams are more alike than not, but each exam presents unique challenges. APEX consultants can help you decide which is right for you.

 

Table of contents

  • The GMAT
  • The GRE
  • The Executive Assessment
  • The INSEAD Assessment
  • The ieGAT Assessment

GMAT

The Graduate Management Admissions Test, commonly known as the GMAT, is an assessment administered by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). It is used for admission to MBA programs around the globe. 

The GMAT consists of 4 sections—Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment, Verbal, and Quantitative. Each section examines a particular set of essential business skills. The GMAT tests a variety of skills due to its computer adaptive nature, which is also what makes it so challenging.  

 

GMAT Sections Types of Questions Duration
Analytical Writing Assessment
  • short essay
30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning
  • multi-source reasoning
  • table analysis
  • graphics interpretation
  • two-part analysis
30 minutes
Verbal
  • sentence correction
  • reading comprehension
  • critical reasoning
65 minutes 
Quantitative
  • problem solving
  • data sufficiency 
61 minutes

 

The total price for sitting the GMAT is $250 (as of October 2020 €230 , £203). This includes sending the official scores to five MBA programs of your choice. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GMAT is also offered online until December 2020. 

A 700+ GMAT score can open doors to some of the world’s most elite MBA programs, so don’t hesitate! Apex’s dedicated tutors can help get you there; time zone differences, busy schedules, and distance are nonissues for our team. Schedule a call at your convenience to discuss prep options and jumpstart your journey to success. 

GRE 

The Graduate Record Examination, or the GRE for short, is facilitated by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Thousands of MBA, MS/MA and Ph.D programs accept the GRE.

There are two types of GRE—the General Exam and the Subject Test. The General Exam is designed to examine analytical writing, quantitative ability, and verbal reasoning skills, and the Subject Test evaluates the candidate’s knowledge in a particular field of study. The subject exams include Mathematics, English Literature, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Physics and Psychology. The Subject Test is required for most specialized Master’s programs.

The General Exam consists of three sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. The GRE has a pattern in terms of section order: the Analytical Writing section will always be the first, and can either be followed by the Verbal, Quantitative, or unscored sections in any order. 

You may be wondering what those unscored sections test for. Unscored sections only appear on the computer-based exam and vary in content. There is no set number or time allocation for unscored sections. 

Each other section, however, has a set number of problems and time limit.

GRE Sections  Computer-based GRE Paper-based GRE
Analytical Writing 1 section – 2 tasks

60 minutes

2 section – 2 tasks

60 minutes

Verbal Section  2 sections – 40 questions

60 minutes

2 section – 50 questions

70 minutes

Quantitative Section  2 sections – 40 questions 

70 minutes

2 section – 50 questions

80 minutes

Unscored varies N/A
Research  varies N/A

 

The fee for the GRE General test varies by country between $205-$255 (as of October 2020 €175-218, £159-197). The GRE Subject Test costs $150 (as of October 2020 €128, £116)

Apex’s team of experienced consultants provides personalized GRE preparation, following the most comprehensive and intensive curriculum available. Schedule a consultation to discuss your prep needs with one of our mentors. 

Executive Assessment

The Executive Assessment is designed to evaluate business school readiness based on a candidate’s experience. Many MBA programs accept this exam as an alternative to the GMAT. It’s also offered by the Graduate Management Admissions Council. 

Whereas the GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), the EA is a ‘multi-stage’ computer adaptive. This means that question sets are selected depending on answers to previous question sets.

The EA is designed for Executive MBA programs. As such, it’s designed for busy professionals and executives who might not have a lot of time to prepare. There are several advantages to taking the EA if you fit into this category. 

The exam consists of 3 sections: Integrated Reasoning, Verbal, and Quantitative. Each section has a 30-minute time limit, so the entire EA exam takes no more than 1.5 hours. Scores range from 100-200. All sections are weighted equally, which makes it easier to determine the total.

 

EA Sections  Questions Types of Questions
Integrated Reasoning 12
  • Multi-Source Reasoning
  • Graphics Interpretation
  • Two-Part Analysis
  • Table Analysis
Verbal  14
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Sentence Correction
Quantitative  14
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Problem Solving

In addition to being only 90 minutes long, the EA is widely available in test centers. It’s possible to reschedule free of charge up to 48 hours before the appointment, and the results are available within 24 hours. Registration costs $350 (as of October 2020 €298, £268). Candidates can take the exam no more than twice.

For business programs that accept the EA, visit our featured list of EMBA programs.

Since the Executive Assessment is designed to be less time consuming than the GMAT, preparing for it also is less time consuming. Apex provides the most comprehensive EA prep on the market. Candidates can earn top scores through private tutoring, or in our EA class, which offers 10 hours of EA prep over the course of one weekend and 2 additional hours of one-on-one instruction. Find out more by scheduling a complimentary call with one of our instructors. 

INSEAD Assessment

INSEAD (Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires) is an Executive MBA program. This program exclusively uses the INSEAD Assessment to evaluate candidates. 

The INSEAD’s structure is slightly different from the GMAT’s and as a result, the preparation is, too. It does not require an excessive amount of preparation time for math, geometry, or verbal questions. However, candidates must prepare for the exam’s format, in addition to refreshing verbal and quantitative skills.

INSEAD Sections  Number of Questions/ Time per section
Data Analysis 15 questions

30 minutes

Data Interpretation 15 questions

30 minutes

Communication Analysis 15 questions

30 minutes

Critical Thinking 15 questions

30 minutes

Case Presentation 30 minutes preparation,

15 minutes presentation

 

The exam can be taken once a month at any INSEAD campus in France, Singapore, or Abu Dhabi. Application must be submitted at least 2 weeks in advance of the exam date. Once applicants pass the pre-screening stage, they can confirm the test location and payment method. The exam costs 185 (as of October of 2020 $218, £167).

At Apex, we offer expert tutoring for the INSEAD Assessment. Our experienced instructors have extensive knowledge in everything from data analysis and interpretation to communication, critical thinking and case studies. We offer clients the flexibility to learn the ins and outs of the INSEAD in a relaxed environment.

ieGAT – IE Global Admissions Test

The ieGAT  is exclusive to the IE International University, which includes the IE business school in Spain. The ieGAT differs from the exams above in a number of ways. For starters, applicants can only take it once, so it’s highly important to be well prepared–you won’t get another shot.

In order to sit for the ieGAT, at least 25% of a candidate’s MBA application must be completed. The exam takes 80 minutes and includes 60 questions. Questions are tailored to the program that the applicant is interested in. The ieGAT is a pass/fail exam, and it’s the only test necessary for admission to IE University. 

The IE administers the Global Admissions Test in English and Spanish. The test’s language must match the language in which an applicant’s MBA program will be taught. 

ieGAT Sections 
Numerical and Verbal Reasoning
Logical – Abstract Reasoning

 

At Apex, we offer one-on-one ieGAT instruction. We provide our clients with personalized attention, flexibility, and an overall productive and enjoyable experience to ensure results. Our experts guide candidates through a multitude of solution paths in the Numerical and Verbal section, as well as the Abstract Reasoning section.

Determining which exam will help you achieve your goals might not be as simple as it seems, but talking to an experienced MBA consultant will get you started on the right path. Schedule a call with one of our consultants to discuss your aspirations, needs, and preparation options. 

Admissions Consulting 

Apex GMAT offers one-on-one tutoring for each of the exams described above. Next, it’s important to start thinking about applying to MBA programs. If you’re taking an exclusive exam, such as the ieGAT or INSEAD, you already know where you’ll be applying. Otherwise, Apex’s elite team can help you develop the skills you’ll need to land a spot in your dream program. Take the first step towards your future by scheduling a call with one of our top MBA admissions consulting experts today. 

Read more
Featured Video Play Icon
Posted on
12
Mar 2020

MBA Conditional Offers

Today we’re going to talk about getting conditional offers from MBA programs. A lot of times we get calls from prospective clients in a bit of a panic saying oh my god this institution Harvard, LBS, whoever, gave me a few weeks and they said I can get into the program but I need this score.

How often does this happen?

This is much more common than you might think, especially if you haven’t been through the application process before. Schools are incredibly defensive when it comes to maintaining their GMAT average, their GPA average and their face to the world.

But a piece of feedback like this is actually a huge positive. When a school tells you that, what they’re telling you is that you’re a really prime candidate. They like you, they want you and either they need the higher score in order to maintain their sort of credentials. Which seems a little silly but that’s how things work. Or because they’re not confident that you’re going to have the skills to succeed in their program.

The Admissions Secret

A key sort of secret of admissions is that when you get into the program, that’s the hardest part. Programs are designed for you to succeed from, they don’t want attrition. Whether we’re talking MBA program or medical school or college. When they let you in, they let you in with the idea that you’re going to thrive and graduate and represent them well in your future endeavors.

Yeah, he’s a Harvard man! That sort of attitude is what is driving the admissions process. So, once you’re in, it’s as if you’ve graduated. This is a huge, huge incentive to bring this score up and should make you feel really good about everything that you’ve presented. So whether or not the school is worried about your abilities, what they want is validation of their choice.

Typically they say this only when you’re within shouting distance as they say for this score. If they want you to get a 700 they’re going to tell you that if you have a 680 or 670. If you have a 550 they’re not going to have been bothered saying so and typically these schools or these programs especially want to cement your quantitative skills.

The Profile of Conditionally Accepted Applicant

A lot of times the profile of someone who receives a conditional admission is that they have a pretty good GMAT score. Except it’s weighted on one side or the other. Typically strong verbal and the quant somewhere in the 40th, 50th, 60th percentile. They want to be assured that the quant heavy subject matter, finance, accounting, statistics isn’t going to leave you in the dust as soon as you land at the program.

What can you do?

So what can be done in this case? The good news is that many times these scoring changes need to be incremental. But also that if your profile warrants a conditional admission it means that there’s a lot of room to grow. This is an opportunity not just to grow your ability to perform on the GMAT but to grow a whole set of skills that will allow you to thrive in the MBA program and thrive in your career beyond. Especially if you’re really type-A, this represents a great opportunity to pre-load a skill set that’s going to give you a lot of positives on the back end.

It’s Like Adding a New Skill

You should look at it as needing to learn how to kayak or fly a plane or something else in addition to everything else you bring to the table. You’re adding this skill that until now you probably haven’t had. You’ve probably been sort of limping along and getting the score you’ve gotten through some hard work. But also through relying on tried-and-true methods that you’ve received coming through academia, middle school, elementary school, college but mostly when you were younger.

We’re instilled with these ideas about how to parse a sentence or how multiply fractions. And we use them until they break down. On the GMAT, because it’s an adaptive exam they will push us to the point where our skills no longer serve us well. This is usually somewhere in the 50th, 60th percentile.

So the goal here when you’ve got a conditional acceptance isn’t simply to push it ten more points and work what you know a little harder. Instead, really tear down a lot of what you know and get a more contextual more holistic understanding of the math or of the English language. This will allow you to be much more critical and much more creative when you visit these new concepts in your MBA program.

Reach Out for Assistance

In conclusion, if you get a conditional acceptance don’t worry, don’t panic, give us acall. We’ll talk to you about your options and normally this is a very treatable thing. That is the academic programs know when they give you a conditional acceptance that it’s a very surmountable obstacle and we can help you on your way there.

If you liked this video watch: Overcoming Scoring Plateaus.

Read more