A quick comparison of the Executive Assessment and the GMAT

The MBA entrance exam landscape has changed quite a bit over the years with the entrance of the GRE as a real competitor to the GMAT (here’s our ultimate guide to GMAT vs GRE). Recently, GMAC, the creators of the GMAT, have themselves presented a new test for MBA admission, the Executive Assessment.

The EA isn’t quite the same competitor as the GRE in that it’s for a specific audience: those applying for Executive MBA programs. You might say to yourself, I’ve got two great options, the GMAT and the GRE why would I ever need a third? Good question.

Would you believe that the Executive Assessment is much shorter, easier, and requires less studying than the GMAT or GRE? You might think, if I take the easy test won’t I be at a disadvantage?

If a program accepts the EA you don’t have to worry about having taken a potentially less competitive test. For executive MBA programs that seems to be a non-issue. They’re mostly using the test as a pass/fail. The rest of your application, especially your work experience, carries much more weight. So, any reason not to take the EA if the program I’m applying to accepts it? Not really. It’s a great option.

OK, so you might be wondering, Executive Assessment vs GMAT what are the differences?

-The Executive Assessment is much shorter than the GMAT (1.5hrs vs 3hrs)

-The Executive assessment covers a smaller subset of quant content specifically tailored to make it so people who’ve been out of school for a while don’t need to spend tons of time studying. For instance, the EA pretty much excludes geometry (probably because there are a bunch of rules to memorize that aren’t very applicable to your business career and aren’t needed to test your basic math reasoning skills).

-Executive Assessment questions are generally easier than GMAT questions (fewer puzzles and less density). Again, the EA is about measuring baseline skills rather than finely ranking you against other test takers.

-The Executive Assessment isn’t very adaptive so the format is easier. The biggest difference in the format is that you can skip around a section. So you can approach easy questions first and then go back for the tough ones. This makes the EA a chunk less anxiety inducing.

-The EA includes Integrated Reasoning in your overall score while the GMAT IR has only it’s own subsection score.

Is there anything more challenging about Executive Assessment than the GMAT? Yes. You can only take the Executive Assessment 4 times (two in person and two online). That’s it? Yep. Only four shots at it. Also, there is a limited amount of EA specific practice material. That said, you can also use GMAT questions to supplement your EA preparation.