By: Dana Coggio
Published: 10th June 2021
How Difficult is the Executive Assessment?
As subjective as that question is, you are not the first person to be asking it. When comparing the Executive Assessment to the GMAT a general conclusion has been reached that this test is easier. As it is geared towards individuals who have already been working in the field of business and management for quite some time, there is an expectation for people taking the exam that they may not have an exorbitant amount of time put towards studying and preparing. At 1.5 hours, the Executive Assessment takes only half as long as the GMAT. Quant questions on the exam are geared towards individuals who have been out of school for quite some time, and thus may not remember basic high school or college math techniques so some of the quantitative sections that you would find on the GMAT are not on the Executive Assessment, such as Geometry.
Even the format of the exams is not as strict as that of the GMAT. During the exam, you will have the ability to jump around from question to question within a section. Unlike the GMAT, where each question is successive without the possibility to review, the EA gives you the possibility to return to questions to redo or review them. Keep in mind, however, that you will not receive any additional time to review your questions.
Taking all this into account, it is quite impossible to give a quantifiable answer on whether or not the EA is difficult. Given its structure and the amount and type of questions, it can be assumed that the Executive Assessment test is easier, if not of the same caliber, as the GMAT test.
Structure of the EA
Simply put, the Executive Assessment test is designed and structured to best cater towards individuals who may be too busy with work, family, or other important priorities to commit to the GMAT. Meant for EMBA programs, the Executive Assessment is similar to the GMAT in that it tests and measures your complex judgement, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
The Executive Assessment is a 90-minute exam split up into three sections and scored between 100 and 200 points. The three sections are the Verbal Section, the Quantitative Section, and the Integrated Reasoning Section. (Feel free to click on the links to read more on these sections – as they may appear on the GMAT – and how to study for them). All three sections are 30-minutes in length, with the Verbal and Quantitative sections having a total of 14 questions and the Integrated Reasoning having 12. Similar verbal and quantitative questions can be found on both the Executive Assessment and the GMAT. The Integrated Reasoning Portion, on the other hand, is weighted exactly the same as the other two sections. This is different than on the GMAT where the Integrated Reasoning is weighted less than the other sections.
Another striking difference between the GMAT and the EA is how it is administered online. Unlike with the GMAT, those who take the EA are given the opportunity to review their answers and change any responses they would like. Another difference is that the EA’s Quantitative and Verbal sections are section adaptive (compare that to the GMAT which is question adaptive. You can read more about the structure of the GMAT HERE.) The sectionality of the EA means that there are two subsections within each portion of the test that consists of 7 questions each. This is an advantage for the test taker as, at the end of each section, you have the possibility to review your answers and change any responses within the subsection.
Percentiles of the GMAT vs EA
There is little data available on Executive Assessment scores and their impact on school admissions. This is because the Executive Assessment first came out in 2016. The Executive Assessment has published that a score of 150 ranks an individual as being in the 50th percentile, though more percentiles have not been released. That being said, preliminary data show that a score of 168 and above places an individual within the 99th percentile.
As with the majority of admissions processes your score is just one of many factors that is taken into account when you apply for an EMBA program. However, for admission to a top-tier EMBA program, scoring above a 150 is very important. Even better would be to score above a 163 which would set you apart from other applicants. If you are interested in EA prep materials or finding a private tutor to help you in your journey to reach your goal click HERE.
How the EA is scored
The Executive Assessment score ranges from 100-200. However, according to GMAC, it is not possible to score lower than a 120 or higher than a 174. Thus, scoring above a 160 makes an applicant more competitive. Because the Executive Assessment is designed for individuals who have quite a few years of practical experience under their belt, the questions on the exam are meant to draw upon the knowledge you may have gained during your work experience. That being said, you should still take the time to study for the exam so that you can answer the questions being asked within a narrow timeframe. Just like with the GMAT, study materials for the EA are available as well as tutors who can help you achieve your desired score. More information on various prep materials can be found HERE. If you are interested in learning more about a potential EA tutor, you can set up a complimentary call with an APEX instructor HERE.
Where the EA is accepted
Many top-tier business schools accept your EA exam results. The following schools are some (but not all) which do accept the EA exam in place of the GMAT for their EMBA Programs:
- Chicago Booth
- Duke Fuqua Yale School of Management
- Emory – Goizueta Business School
- NYU – STERN
- Berkeley Haas
- ESMT Berlin UNC – Kenan Flagler Business School
- London Business School
- University of Oxford Vlerick Business School
- University of Pennsylvania – Wharton
- MIT Management. Sloan School
- IE Business School
- University of Virginia