Your Insider Guide to the
Executive Assessment (EA)

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What is the Executive Assessment (EA) Test?

Overview of the EA

If you are interested in applying for MBA programs, the GMAT is not the only entrance exam option. The Executive Assessment (EA) is starting to become recognized by not only Executive MBA programs, but a plethora of other MBA and master’s programs. Both the EA and GMAT are administered and created by the GMAC and because of this, there are many similarities between them.

Similar to the GMAT, the Executive Assessment consists of an Integrated Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning section in that order. A major difference in format between the EA and GMAT is that the EA does not have an essay section and is relatively shorter in length than its counterpart. This text will go into more detail on how the EA differs from the GMAT and which exam might better suit your personal learning and test taking style.

As with most standardized exams, a large portion of standardized test takers feel that they struggle with math as they have not had exposure to the topics in quite some time. But this can also be the case for the verbal section as students may need to refresh their grammar and vocabulary. Integrated can seem new and difficult to those beginning their Executive Assessment preparation journey, but can be tackled with proper study techniques.

Integrated Reasoning

Many GMAT takers do not put so much emphasis on the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section as it is a completely separate score and does not hold as much weight as the quant or verbal sections, but on the EA students need to take into account that their IR score is calculated into their overall end result and therefore needs to stay in focus during the preparation process.

With the IR being new to many students, we will lay out the basic structure. During this section You will be required to work through 12 questions within 30 minutes. With the tight timeline to complete the questions, you will need to be able to think on your feet and approximate answers to equations instead of using up too much of your time executing equations on the calculator that is provided for this section. Having this skill will help you identify the most logical answer more quickly leading to a more confident performance.

You will encounter four different question types on the Integrated Reasoning section, which will evaluate your overall logical reasoning, math and verbal abilities. In a few of these question types you will be asked to analyze tables, charts and graphs with the goal of extracting and explaining data, which you may already have ample experience with both professionally and academically.

The last 2 question types are Multi-Source Reasoning (MSR) and Two-Part. MSR questions require more in-depth analysis and present the data through multiple facets. You will need to come to logical conclusions about the numbers and data in order to efficiently come to the correct answer to these types of questions. The Two-Part question types are certainly quite generic to standardized tests as they are in the multiple-choice format and have a question or problem that needs to be solved. The unique aspect to the Two-Part section is that there are always two correct answers that need to be found in order to achieve full points on the questions. Putting in ample practice will help your mind adapt its thought process in order to attain maximum results on this section.

Quantitative Reasoning

Many students experience the most anxiety when thinking about tackling the math section on the EA or GMAT. In the QR section, students will be asked to answer two kinds of questions: Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving. With the EA being much shorter than the GMAT, the time restriction will be 30 minutes while being asked to solve 14 questions giving you approximately 2 minutes for each question.

While you will certainly need to refresh a lot of knowledge from your earlier academic years, the EA is significantly lighter than the GMAT when it comes to the number quant topics that are encountered. Many basic math topics are present on the Executive Assessment, but a major difference between the EA and GMAT is that there is no geometry required on the EA quant section leaving you with one less topic to study or become reaccustomed to.

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning sections of the Executive Assessment and GMAT are almost identical as they cover the same 3 question types. Again, the EA Verbal Reasoning Section is significantly shorter than that of the GMAT, with only 14 questions needed to be answered instead of 36. Again, you will have about 2 minutes per problem on this section of the EA, which is similar to the QR section. The three question types (Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension and Sentence Correction) are introduced below.

Critical Reasoning

In the Critical Reasoning type questions, you will be asked to evaluate and critique an argument of some sort. There are many different tasks you will need to complete including strengthening or weakening the argument, finding a flaw in the argument, Inference, drawing a conclusion, finding the assumption of the argument and Paradox type questions. While all of the question types will be encountered, the Executive Assessment seems to have a bias toward strengthening the argument and Inference types.

That all being said, you should certainly cover all of these question types during your study period. There is no formula as to how many of each kind of question will appear. You can certainly allocate more time to strengthening, weakening, finding the assumption and inference types. You may feel that your verbal skills are up to snuff, but it is important to create an effective strategy for your preparation period, which we offer advice for in a separate article.

Reading Comprehension

The Reading Comprehension section is one that students should be very familiar with as this is encountered on almost every test that evaluates any form of verbal ability. You will be presented with a text of some sort that you need to analyze and answer a set of questions about the given passage.

The topics used on the Executive Assessment passages could significantly vary. Like the GMAT, you can encounter six different types of questions including Inference, Supporting Idea, Logical Structure, Style and Tone, Main Idea and Applying information to outside context themes. Be sure to read a diverse set of non-fiction literature to become accustomed to comprehending the passages!

Sentence Correction

This section will test your grammar skills. Sentence Correction problems involve reading a prompt sentence and choosing the best variation of that prompt out of 5 different options. There could be various things that allow you to come to the correct answer such as idioms, verb forms, logic, subject-verb agreement and comparisons. Make sure to cover all major sentence structure areas while refreshing your grammar and getting ready for the Sentence Correction questions.

There are many different ways to approach the study sessions on this topic depending on how comfortable you are with grammar. You may need to go back and review basic sentence structure or work on identifying grammatical errors and brushing up on idioms. Finding an approach that is tailored to your specific needs will help conquer this section and allow you to increase your overall EA score. Just always remember that you will need to go through a multitude of practice questions to gain maximum confidence on the day of the Executive Assessment.

When Should I Take the EA?


Struggling to figure out how you will schedule enough time to take the GMAT? Good news, there is an alternative to the GMAT for many MBA programs in the form of the Executive Assessment. Finding the appropriate date to take the EA will help you feel more confident on test day with a prep schedule that fits into your already busy calendar.

Love the EA


Having anxiety over taking the Executive Assessment? If you read this article, you will see that it is a very learnable exam and there is no reason to worry. Implementing this knowledge will unlock your full potential and allow you to go into the preparation with a positive mental state.

Tips Preparing for EA


Decided for the Executive Assessment over the GMAT because of time? Given that there are many similarities between the two exams, there are certain skills that apply to all standardized exams. This article will provide you with the necessary tools to achieve a top score on the EA while efficiently preparing with limited time.