The Executive Assessment (EA) Test is for professionals with Work Experience looking to join an Executive MBA Program without taking a significant time-off from work. It is a relatively new test designed by the GMAC (the body in charge of the GMAT), and it is often referred to as the ‘mini-GMAT’. Some notable business schools that accept the Executive Assessment (EA) are London Business School, INSEAD, MIT Sloan, Wharton, Chicago Booth School of Business etc.
The idea was to create a test that would be well suited to the needs of experienced candidates while also having a standardized methodology of testing their academic propensity and assimilating elements that refer to real-world experience and application. Unlike the GMAT, which is more of an aptitude test, in which the higher you score the better; the EA was designed to be a ‘Readiness Assessment’ Test, designed to test whether you are equipped to undertake the academic rigor of an MBA Program after a long professional track record. You do not need an extremely high score to be considered to be qualified for undertaking the program.
It takes less than half the time to take the EA than the GMAT; 90 Minutes instead of 180+. The content and format are mostly the same (number of questions in each section being less), with a few key differences;
- The Integrated Reasoning (IR) Section is counted in the scoring methodology
- The AWA (Essay) Section is absent
- There are no optional breaks in between sections. Every minute counts
- Geometry is absent in the Quantitative Aptitude Section
While the EA Test is still an adaptive test, in contrast to the GMAT, it has a multi-stage adaptive design. While the GMAT gets easier or tougher after every single question, the EA Test adapts after a block of Questions.
Each section of the exam comes in two panels. The first panel is almost always of medium difficulty (you can skip around questions in that specific panel). After the first panel is submitted, the next set of questions are easier or tougher based on how bad or good you performed in the previous set of questions. This translates across sections, meaning your second panel of IR decides the difficulty of the first verbal panel, and the second verbal panel decides the difficulty of the first Quantitative Aptitude panel. At the end, you will receive 4 scores. The raw score of each section individually (0 – 20), and the total score on a scoring scale of 100-200. The highest practical score for each section appears to be 18 (getting all questions correct on official EA Practice Tests). The scores of the 3 Sections are then combined and added to 120, to obtain your official Final Score. The practical Final Score range is approximately between 120 (all incorrect+120) and 174 (all correct+120).
A score of 152+ is generally regarded as a good score across many B-School Programs. So unlike GMAT, when you cross the initial threshold in EA Test, your chances of admission into top B-Schools shall increase.
We usually recommend 4 to 8 Weeks of serious, focused preparation for the EA Test, but it may stretch beyond that mark depending on your propensity to learn. You will also need to put more emphasis on the integrated reasoning section, as it will be included in your Final Score, unlike the GMAT.
Although the EA Test is shorter than the GMAT, it does cost more at $350 ($100 more than GMAT). But you do get some benefits for the higher price-point. All score reports to schools are included within the $350 upfront fee. There are no rescheduling charges as long as you do the same more than 48 hours before your test date. However, unlike the GMAT, you can attempt the Executive Assessment only twice (lifetime). We encourage test takers to take the test very seriously the first time itself, so that in case you must attempt it a second time for some reason, you do not feel an inordinate amount of pressure. That being said, it is reassuring that the GMAC has stated that 90% of the Test Takers only attempt the test once.
While the limited number of attempts might seem like a drawback, it makes sense because the exam was designed to be a readiness test, and not a ‘Higher you score the better’ aptitude exam like the GMAT. The validity period of the test is the same as GMAT i.e., 5 years. Make sure you prepare earnestly for the test and be equipped to get a score of 150+ on your first attempt.
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