GMAT Vs. EA (Executive Assessment): Which Test Should You Take?

Are you considering pursuing an MBA? Confused between GMAT and EA (Executive Assessment)? This article will help you understand the differences between the two tests and guide you in choosing the right one for your MBA journey.

Posted August 16, 2023

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Aspiring MBA candidates have to go through a rigorous process of applying and getting admitted into a business school. Apart from meeting the eligibility criteria and submitting the required documents, one crucial aspect of this process is taking a standardized test. Two such popular tests are GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) and EA (Executive Assessment). Both tests have their unique features, and deciding which test to take can be confusing for many candidates. This article will provide you with all the information you need to choose between GMAT and EA.

Understanding the Purpose of GMAT and EA

The GMAT test is primarily designed to assess a candidate's analytical, verbal, writing, and quantitative skills. It is a test that evaluates the applicant's ability to analyze, evaluate, and solve complex problems. The test is also used to assess the candidate's decision-making skills and critical thinking.

On the other hand, the EA is a relatively new test created by GMAC, the same organization that designs the GMAT. It is designed explicitly for experienced professionals who have gained significant experience in business. The test assesses the knowledge and skills accumulated over years in the workforce, including strategic thinking, problem-solving, and business acumen.

It is important to note that while both tests assess different skills, they are both widely accepted by business schools and can be used as a factor in the admissions process. However, it is essential to research and understand the specific requirements of each school to determine which test is best suited for your individual goals and qualifications.

GMAT Exam Structure: Everything You Need to Know

The GMAT test is a computer-adaptive test consisting of four sections, namely Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. The test takes a total of three and a half hours to complete. The test structure is as follows:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) - 1 Topic - 30 Minutes
  • Integrated Reasoning (IR) - 12 Questions - 30 Minutes
  • Quantitative Reasoning (QR) - 31 Questions - 62 Minutes
  • Verbal Reasoning (VR) - 36 Questions - 65 Minutes

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GMAT exam measures your ability to think critically and communicate your ideas effectively. You will be presented with a topic and asked to analyze it and provide your perspective on the issue. The AWA section is scored on a scale of 0-6, with 0.5 point increments.

The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section of the GMAT exam measures your ability to analyze and synthesize data from multiple sources, including graphs, tables, and text passages. The IR section consists of 12 questions, which you must complete in 30 minutes. The questions are designed to test your ability to evaluate information, solve complex problems, and make decisions based on the data provided.

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EA Exam Structure: Everything You Need to Know

The Executive Assessment test is also a computer-adaptive test with a shorter duration of one hour and forty-five minutes. The test structure is as follows:

  • Integrated Reasoning (IR) - 14 Questions - 30 Minutes
  • Verbal Reasoning (VR) - 14 Questions - 30 Minutes
  • Quantitative Reasoning (QR) - 14 Questions - 30 Minutes
  • Written English Assessment (WEA) - 1 Topic - 15 Minutes

The Integrated Reasoning section of the EA exam tests your ability to analyze data presented in various formats, including tables, graphs, and charts. You will need to interpret the information and draw conclusions based on the data provided. This section also tests your ability to evaluate information from multiple sources and make decisions based on that information.

The Written English Assessment (WEA) section of the EA exam evaluates your ability to communicate effectively in written English. You will be presented with a topic and asked to write an essay on that topic. Your essay will be evaluated based on your ability to organize your thoughts, use proper grammar and punctuation, and effectively convey your ideas in written form.

GMAT vs. EA: Key Differences in Exam Content

The GMAT and EA tests have a few differences in exam content. The GMAT test evaluates the candidate's analytical and critical thinking skills more widely, while the EA focuses more on evaluating the experience gained by professionals. In terms of content, the GMAT test includes only verbal and quantitative questions, while the EA exam also includes integrated reasoning questions. The EA test also includes a written English assessment, which is not part of the GMAT test.

Analyzing the Scoring Patterns of GMAT and EA

Both GMAT and EA tests use computerized scoring algorithms to evaluate the test-taker's overall performance. The GMAT test includes a separate score for each of the four sections (AWA, IR, QR, and VR) and a total score on a scale of 200-800. The EA test, on the other hand, provides a total score on a scale of 100-200, which is based on the overall performance of the test-taker in all four sections. Both tests also provide percentiles scores that compare a candidate's performance to the performance of other test-takers.

The Importance of GMAT and EA Scores in MBA Admissions

When it comes to MBA admissions, the GMAT test scores have been widely used and are the preferred choice of many top business schools. The test scores are used to evaluate a candidate's overall academic ability and potential. Similarly, the EA test scores are also used by some top-ranked business schools to evaluate candidates with extensive business experience. However, not all business schools accept EA scores, so candidates looking to apply to specific schools should check the admission requirements beforehand.

Which Test is More Suitable for Working Professionals - GMAT or EA?

The Executive Assessment (EA) test is more suitable for candidates with substantial business experience, whereas the GMAT test is suitable for all candidates looking to apply to business school. If you're an experienced professional working full-time and looking to get an MBA, the EA test might be a better option since the test format assesses your business knowledge and experience. However, if you have enough time to prepare for the GMAT and feel confident about your analytical and critical thinking skills, you should consider taking the GMAT test for business school admission.

Pros and Cons of Taking the GMAT Exam

Pros:

  • Widely accepted by many top business schools
  • Tests analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Provides a separate score for each section

Cons:

  • Requires extensive preparation time
  • Tests can be expensive
  • Questions can be difficult and lengthy

Pros and Cons of Taking the Executive Assessment

Pros:

  • Designed for experienced professionals
  • Shorter exam duration
  • Tests business acumen and problem-solving skills

Cons:

  • Not accepted by all business schools
  • Less widely known compared to the GMAT
  • Limited availability compared to the GMAT

Tips to Prepare for the GMAT Exam

Preparation is key when it comes to taking the GMAT. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:

  • Take a diagnostic test to understand your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Invest in a good GMAT test preparation book or online material.
  • Take practice exams to improve time management and get used to the test format.
  • Consider a GMAT prep course if you need more structured guidance.

Tips to Prepare for the Executive Assessment

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the EA test:

  • Understand the exam format and contents of all sections.
  • Use study materials and practice questions specifically designed for the EA test.
  • Focus on enhancing your business knowledge and problem-solving skills.
  • Set a realistic study schedule and stick to it.

How to Decide Between GMAT and EA - A Step by Step Guide

Deciding between the GMAT and EA can be challenging. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you decide:

  • Check the admission requirements of the business schools you plan to apply to.
  • Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses in terms of analytical skills and business knowledge.
  • Determine the amount of time you can allocate to preparing for the test.
  • Assess the costs associated with each test.
  • Consider your work experience and whether the EA test is the better option for you.
  • Take a practice test of both the GMAT and EA and see which one suits you better.

Top Business Schools that Accept GMAT Scores

Here are some top business schools that accept GMAT scores:

  • Harvard Business School
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Columbia Business School
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Chicago Booth School of Business

Top Business Schools that Accept Executive Assessment Scores

Here are some top business schools that accept EA scores:

  • INSEAD Business School
  • Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Columbia Business School
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Chicago Booth School of Business

Final Verdict: Which Test Should You Take?

The ultimate decision will depend on your individual circumstances. If you are an experienced professional, the EA test might be a better fit for you. However, if you're confident in your analytical skills and business knowledge, you should consider taking the GMAT test. Regardless of which test you choose, thorough preparation is essential for achieving the desired score.

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