Congratulations, you have decided to continue with your education! Deciding to attend business school is a big step. It will open up doors to further opportunities for you, both intellectually and professionally. Having an EMBA under your belt can help you earn that promotion or pay raise in your professional career. Regardless of why you are deciding to attend business school, one large hurdle stands in your way, the Executive Assessment.
For many, the EA can seem like a daunting task. Especially for those individuals who are returning to school years after completing their undergrad. But the task of successfully studying for and taking the EA is doable. As long as you are driven, determined, and willing to set a strict study schedule, your business school dreams are within your grasp.
Here at Apex GMAT, we have created the perfect EA prep calendar for future EA test takers. By following the simple steps we have laid out, you can get the most out of your EA preparation and ace your exam!
Steps to your Perfect EA Prep Calendar
First, grab a calendar, yearly planner, or your phone. You will need to mark the dates and times necessary for studying.
1. Figure out when you want to take the EA
So, you want to go to business school. Once you have figured out what type of program you want to attend, you need to find the perfect business school program for you. For most business schools an EA entrance exam is required. Some schools offer EA waivers, however, these are rare and are usually offered on a case-by-case basis. Once you have found the programs you are applying to, check out their application deadlines. Based on these deadlines, you can figure out when you need to take the EA.
It would be suggested to take the EA well before the admissions deadlines. Often, your EA scores last at least 5-years, meaning you could technically take the EA a few years before you apply to business school. However, here at Apex, we suggest you take the EA a couple of months before the admissions deadline. This is because, if you happen to get a score lower than expected, you will have time to retake the test and aim for a higher score.
Count back 3 months from the test date. THIS is the day you will begin your official EA test prep.
2. Take a free practice test
Before you even begin studying for the EA, you need to take a practice exam. By taking a practice exam, you will know right away where your strengths and weaknesses are. It will also give you a baseline to know how to study and which parts of the exam require the most effort from you. By keeping track of your score, you will also see your progress as you go along your EA prep journey.
Determine strengths and weaknesses
3. Capitalizing on when you can best prep
Are you a morning bird? A night owl? Do you find your brain works best during the afternoon? Knowing this about yourself can help you set your daily study schedule. If you find that your brain works best bright and early, then try to carve out an hour or two each morning to study before heading off to work or going to class. If you enjoy studying late at night, then find time after work or after dinner where you can spend two hours preparing. Once you have decided what time of day you want to study, it is important to keep a daily schedule. It is best to find a rhythm that you work best with so that your mind and body are prepared to study each day.
Are you a Morning Bird? A Night Owl?
4. Create An EA Study Plan
Great. You have decided on your test date, you have counted backward by 3 months, and you have determined what time of day you wish to study. Pull out your calendar, yearly planner, or phone and write down the content you want to cover during each week.
Week 1 – EA Basics
Put aside 1 or 2 hours each day in either the morning or the night where you study for the EA. During this first week, you will get acquainted with the EA Test Basics.
- Become familiar with the EA format and content. Prepare yourself for what you are about to encounter during the next 3 months and on the day of your EA exam. This includes getting comfortable with the EA structure, sections, timing, and scoring.
- Analyze the results from your EA practice test. As you are in the process of reviewing the results of your practice test, it would be helpful to ask yourself some questions to better understand the difficulties you encountered. When analyzing the solutions of some questions you got wrong or maybe you weren’t totally confident about, take note of any patterns. What section/s did you find most challenging? Which types of questions within each section were you struggling most with? Also, don’t forget to ask yourself questions about the “bigger picture” like: Were you able to finish every section? Did you feel anxious? How did you feel at the end of the test?
Week 2 – EA Integrated Reasoning Section
Great, it’s week two! During your first week, you have overviewed what to expect on the EA overall. Now it is time to get a little bit more specific. Keeping your same daily schedule (whether you study in the AM or PM), change your study content to familiarize yourself with the EA Integrated reasoning section. Read about which types of Integrated Reasoning questions and content that you are most likely to come across during your 3 months of preparation, mock tests, and the EA test.
- Review EA questions. Before diving deeper into preparing for this section, take some time to read about the types of questions the logical reasoning section asks. Make flashcards with the different EA question types so that you are prepared when you encounter the graphics, tables, and multi-source reasoning associated with the Integrated Reasoning section. If you found that during the practice test the Integrated Reasoning section was easy-breezy, consider studying exceptionally difficult problems.
The EA is computer adaptive meaning as you answer successive questions correctly, you will be given increasingly harder questions to answer. Additionally, when you encounter a moderate or ‘easy’ question where answering quickly can save you time for a more difficult section.
- Learn the underlying EA concepts related to each topic. In this section, you will come across information presented in multiple formats. Learning how to pick up on patterns and analyze the data can be fundamental to finding the solution to the problems. In order to not get stuck during the exam and waste your precious time, learning about the most frequently used EA concepts is helpful.
Week 3 – EA Verbal Section
It’s week three! Bearing in mind how you have been studying for the past two weeks, be sure to maintain your same study schedule for this week. During this week it is time to get acquainted with the EA Verbal section. A great way to start working with the Verbal section is to become familiar with the overall structure of this section. This section is 30-minutes long and is broken down into 3 sections. Questions test your ability to analyze arguments and understand, edit and read written English.
- Learn how to tackle each type of question. There are three types of questions in the Verbal section (Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction) and their purpose is to test certain skills. This means that for each of them you have to use particular strategies.
- Tip. It’s more effective to concentrate on one area at a time. So, while preparing for this section, choose one subsection and stick with it for a couple of days. For example, your third week could look something like this: Monday & Tuesday Reading Comprehension, Wednesday & Thursday Critical Reasoning, and Friday & Saturday Sentence Correction, with Sunday being a rest day.
Week 4 – EA Quantitative Section and Monthly check-in
- Review your EA Math. Before diving deeper into preparing for this section, take some time to brush up on some of the formulas, definitions, and topics of the Maths section. Make flashcards with the necessary formulas so you can memorize which formula should be used for which problem(s). If you found that during the practice test the quantitative section was easy-breezy, consider studying exceptionally difficult problems given that the EA is a computer adaptive test.
- Learn the underlying EA concepts related to each topic (percents, ratios, exponents, statistics, etc). In this section, you will come across some specific wording that can be fundamental to finding the solution to the problems. In order to not get stuck during the exam and waste your precious time, learning about the most frequently used concepts is helpful.
By the end of the week, it will have been a month since you started studying. If you have stuck to your study schedule, you have most definitely made progress. Now it is time to put that progress to the test!
- Take your second practice test. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect.” The more you get yourself exposed to EA practice exams, the more likely you are to achieve your desired score.
- Review your results. While looking at the answer explanations, pay attention to the solutions of the questions you got incorrectly.
- Practice the type of questions you are having difficulties with. Identify the questions where you are spending more time than you should. Read some articles that recommend tips, strategies, and tactics that can assist in solving them faster.
Week 5 – EA Integrated Reasoning Section Review
It is week five, and you now have two practice tests under your belt. You should be seeing progress in your ability to take the exam. Time to refine your reviewing and fortify your strengths while strengthening your weaknesses in the Integrated Reasoning section.
- Practice and enhance your knowledge of tables and graphics, multi-source reasoning, and two-part analyses. Now that you are familiar with these terms it’s a good time to start reading some strategies on how to tackle these EA types of questions. After doing that, practicing what you just learned by solving problems focused particularly on these types of questions is extremely beneficial to your progress.
Week 6 – EA Verbal Section Review
- Practice and enhance your knowledge of EA Verbal questions. You can find articles about tips specifically about these types of questions and while practicing you be sure to make use of them. Another practical thing to do is read about articles related to common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Week 7 – EA Quantitative Section
- Make yourself acquainted with the EA Quantitative section. This is the step that, as you have seen so far, applies to every EA section. You can’t anticipate doing well on a task without knowing what is expected from you.
- Review EA Data Sufficiency and Problem-Solving questions. This is something that might come in handy when encountering a tough question on test day.
When it comes to the EA Quantitative section make sure to practice. practice. practice. Working on answering multiple questions in a day. This will help you master your timing and get used to the structure you may see on the EA.
Week 8 – Monthly Progress Check
- Time for another EA practice test! After studying for almost every section, taking some mock tests will assist in keeping track of your progress.
- Review your results. This time try to identify the topics you are still not comfortable with. Solely taking EA mock tests without analyzing the explanations to questions is not going to be much help.
- Practice the type of questions you are struggling with. After analyzing these practice tests and understanding the patterns of your weaknesses, working more on the questions you find challenging leads to score improvements.
Week 9 – Review your Weaknesses, Solidify your Strengths
You have been spending a lot of your time preparing for the EA. It is an arduous journey, but you’re not alone! During week 9, it is best to spend time reviewing the parts of the exam that you are most struggling with. Whether it is Verbal or Quantitative, spend a few hours a day reviewing those parts of the exam that you are most worried about.
At the same time solidify your strengths. If you are a powerhouse on the logical section, that doesn’t mean you should no longer study that portion. Switch between your strengths and weaknesses during this week in both the Verbal and Quantitative sections. If you know of someone else who is taking the EA, get together with them and swap tips and tricks on how they are tackling studying. Finding a study buddy is especially helpful as you can both be emotional support from one another!
Week 10 – Time and Stress Management
Some other significant factors to consider while working on preparing for the EA test are time and stress management. A good start is reading a handful of blogs and articles that suggest many tips and strategies that can help you improve your time and stress management skills.
Week 11 – Review and Relax
During the last week don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. Instead, try to take care of your mind and body as much as you can. One last brief review focused primarily on the sections or type of questions you struggled most with is going to be enough. Finally, the most important tip, don’t forget to enjoy your EA preparation journey.
We at the Apex team hope that you find this EA study plan helpful. If you want to discuss your progress and possibly have some 1 on 1 preparation sessions with us, we would be happy to help, set up a complimentary consultation call with an EA instructor.
Contributor: Dana Coggio