Pursuing an MBA can be a great opportunity for future employment but gaining acceptance to an MBA program can be a daunting task. There are certainly students who have known for a while that they want a career that requires an MBA, but others may be thinking about it as a potential next step after finishing undergraduate studies. If you want to attend some sort of MBA program but are not quite sure if you can fit in the time to properly prepare for the GMAT, taking a look at the Executive Assessment may be an enticing option. With the Executive Assessment essentially being a GMAT lite, it can make the goal of attending business school seem attainable allowing you to further pursue your career dream.
The application process for MBA programs can certainly be strenuous and comprehensive. Every program requires a standardized testing score, but it is critical to check and see if the Executive Assessment is accepted as it can ease the preparation process. The admissions department will require the scores to be submitted prior to the application deadline. The turnaround time for receiving your EA results is quicker than most, with them being available within seven days of taking the test allowing for a bit more wiggle room with regards to a test date. Below you will find various factors that go into finding an appropriate date to take the Executive Assessment in order to optimize your study time and have your application submitted on time.
Research and confirm your application deadline
Once you have your application deadline set in stone, you can start figuring out when the opportune time to take the Executive Assessment would be. Generally students put 30-40 hours of preparation time into getting ready for the EA, but the exact amount of time is highly variable based on learning style and overall scheduling availability for study sessions. If you want to meet the application deadline in October, it is best to start your preparation period around July and spread out your preparation as it could be that you can only dedicate weekend slots to your studies. It is important to think about leaving yourself with enough time to potentially retake the exam in case you are not happy with your first score. This can allow you to use the first attempt as a trial run alleviating some nerves. It is certainly nothing to be ashamed of as many standardized test takers sit their exams multiple times but remember that you can only take the Executive Assessment twice. Registering for the EA with little time to spare before your application deadline can bring about unneeded anxiety and stress, which can negatively impact your preparation period. The Executive Assessment can be taken on most days throughout the year, but it is critical to check with your local test centers to schedule an appointment.
Schedule your study sessions in a regular, efficient manner
While not as demanding as the GMAT, the Executive Assessment is still a challenge and should not be taken lightly. Holding yourself accountable when scheduling your preparation period is necessary to maintaining motivation and confidence. The EA is highly weighted on MBA applications, and it is critical to set your attention, study plans and resources properly in order to achieve an optimal score, which will be a large factor in getting closer to taking that step toward a career in the business world. The opportune time to take the Executive Assessment can be challenging to find as there are certainly external factors that affect your plans such as family obligations or work, but understanding your personal situation and how much time you can allocate to your preparation will allow you to be more confident in your plan. Although the Executive Assessment doesn’t require as much time as its counterpart, the GMAT, be sure to take some time to reflect on why you are taking the EA and if you have the mental and physical space for the preparation journey during the next 2-3 months. You will almost certainly have to move your schedule around to ensure you have proper time for study sessions, so it is advantageous to be ready to drop or reschedule some activities and prioritize wisely.
Make sure now is the time for graduate studies
Not all students who apply for an MBA are recent graduates or still involved with their studies. Many applicants have already started a career and have now found the time to make a transition and have decided to take the leap into business school. Self-reflection is critical to reaching a decision about pursuing an MBA and taking the EA. Take some time to write down your goals and figure out how gaining admission into the business school of your choice will impact them. Students in their last year of university or college often decide to participate in an Executive Assessment prep course, but it is recommended to hold of on registering until you have taken sufficient time to reflect on your future goals. Be sure to take some time and concentrate on finishing your undergrad studies strong instead of impulsively deciding that the natural next step for recent graduates is to pursue a higher degree of some sort. Maybe take a few months to travel abroad and rediscover a long-lost hobby to help you reach a realistic decision about the future. The EA is not going anywhere and you should plan on dedicating ample concentration and time to preparing. So, once you feel that you are ready to start this adventure, you will know that it is time to schedule your exam date and begin figuring out an efficient, personalized preparation curriculum.
The Executive Assessment is done on a computer as each section has adaptive difficulty unlike the GMAT which sets adaptive difficulty to each question, but it needs to be proctored either from home or at a test center, which can lead to scheduling or technical difficulties. Take some time to research the hours of operation for the test centers in your area that administer the EA. While not being as widely taken as the GMAT, time slots for Executive Assessment test dates can fill up relatively quickly, most notably on weekends when most EA takers have time. It is certainly possible to schedule your test date on short notice, but it is important for the application process and personal study schedule to have a test date set in stone as unforeseen hinderances can occur that can push back your target date. The responsible thing to do is to book your EA test date weeks in advance to give you the security of having the deadline as well as the critical information to plan your preparation period around. Visit www.gmac.com to figure out the registration process and test location and give yourself a head start on the preparation process!
Think about the perfect time to start
Take some time to figure out the different options you have when it comes to applying for business school. While some programs run on rolling admission and allow students to apply on almost a monthly basis, the majority have four separate deadlines for the spring, summer, fall or winter terms. It is advantageous to know all of your options. This could also allow you to be flexible with your EA preparation schedule if things for some reason are not going as expected. Having the option of skipping over a deadline and targeting a new date can allow you to ensure you can put in the proper time to get ready for the Executive Assessment. If you give yourself a bit of a buffer, then you have the flexibility to adjust your preparation and allocate more time to improve before submitting your final application with scores. It is acceptable to do this if you are limited to a less flexible schedule, but it is important to start early and give yourself enough time to get everything in order when it comes to preparing both mentally and physically for the EA.
You can take the EA a maximum of two times
Keep in mind that you can only take the Executive Assessment twice. Some students use the first attempt as a test run to see how everything turns and how they deal with the stress and anxiety that accompanies standardized testing. There is no disadvantage to giving yourself a buffer. If you do decide to take the EA a second time, do not go in cold. Make sure you use the time between attempts to put extra emphasis on those areas with which you struggled. We do not recommend taking the EA again directly after your first sitting as the time window is way too short to put in the necessary preparation on the areas where you lost points. Your official EA score will available to you within seven days of taking the exam so you can afford to push it a bit closer to your application deadline. Make the responsible decision and use your time in a smart way in order to allow for your schedule to accommodate a retake with ample prep time to give yourself an edge.
You certainly need to come to a final decision about your test date for the Executive Assessment, but there are many factors to keep in mind such as application deadlines(most important), work and/or study schedule, personal commitments and opportune learning environment. Become familiar with your study habits to see if you need to clear up a few months or go with a more short-term timeline in order to keep up motivation and retention. Allocate time and effort into critically thinking about the impact the EA will have on your plans for the future to make sure you are both ready and willing to go through the important process of achieving a high score on the Executive Assessment and successfully applying to your MBA program of choice.