GMAT vs Executive Assessment

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) conducted by GMAC helps you in applying to various top universities of the world. Once you secure a good score on GMAT, you will be able to apply in some of the best Universities in the world, provided you have the work experience required for that University. However, the only downside is that you would have to switch to a complete study mode and that means a complete drop off from work for two years. For some people, this might not be the most viable option.

    ‘Executive Assessment’ (EA) test, also conducted by GMAC and is similar to GMAT in much sense, designed for the working professionals with several years of experience prefer to earn an MBA without dropping off from their job. It was started in March 2016. This sort of program has been gaining recognition as it provides a degree similar to those who take up a full-time course. This sort of assessment done by the Graduate Management Admission Council is popularly known as the “Mini-GMAT” or the EMBA (Executive MBA). 

    Before we go in the nitty-gritty of this test, let us quickly understand the difference between the regular GMAT and the Executive Assessment conducted by GMAC, from all the perspectives:

    • The EA is only applicable to EMBA program applicants. However, if you take the regular GMAT exam, you can apply to both traditional MBA programs as well as EMBA programs.
    • The verbal section on the EA has a similar difficulty level as compared to the regular GMAT exam having the same number of questions of Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension and Sentence Correction questions.
    • The difference lies on the quant side, i.e. Executive Assessment does not include the geometry portion. Apart from that, the quant content is the same. It has also been observed that the difficult concepts like probability and statistics are less frequent on the Executive Assessment test as compared to the regular GMAT.
    • One big difference is that the EA exam has no Analytical Writing Assessment essay whereas the regular GMAT has the 30 minutes Essay section. Meanwhile, both the tests have the integrated reasoning section.
    • As far as the time duration of both the test goes, the Executive Assessment is shorter as it takes approximately 90 minutes, while the regular GMAT takes approximately 180 minutes. It is the result of the number of questions that are halved (40) as compared to the regular GMAT (80) as well as not having the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section.
    • Competition for EMBA programs is less fierce, so schools don’t have to be as selective with candidates, which means there is more chance to get enrolled at an Ivy-League school.
    • Even though the regular GMAT and Executive Assessment are both computer-adaptive tests i.e. questions either become hard or easy based on the response in the previous question. The difference is that regular GMAT becomes hard or easy after each and every question i.e. it is a question adaptive test, whereas the Executive Assessment changes the level after a block of seven questions i.e. it is a section adaptive test.
    • By now, it must sound obvious that the Executive Assessment is going to take a lot less time to prepare than the regular GMAT since, at a minimum, there is no AWA essay section to prepare for.

    Why consider the Executive Assessment?

    The Executive Assessment is targeted at the candidates who aspire to take up an Executive MBA course. It is best for those who are seasoned professionals having a good amount of work experience. It is also a good option for those who do not have time to prepare for standardized tests like the regular GMAT.

    Many of the candidates who take up Executive MBA have been out of the classroom for 8+ years. Therefore, the admission committee will first focus on the candidate’s level of work experience, and then assess their scores, since they are looking for industry leaders and decision-makers.

    So, all in all, it is a big advantage for busy working professionals looking for a way to demonstrate their EMBA readiness to admission officers but without the hassle of rigorous preparation that the GMAT demands.

    All about the Preparation of Executive Assessment

    Since this examination is also conducted by GMAC, you might be considering it to be at the same level as the regular GMAT. The Executive Assessment examination is much easier. It requires little to no preparation.

    It is important to review practice questions to familiarize yourself with question formats which will help in refreshing your skills. You would even find out that GMAC itself advocates for little time for preparation because of job responsibilities.

    Those of you, who are especially preparing for the Executive Assessment, can follow the below tips suggested by the experts who have got good scores in EA:

    • Preparation should be done only based on the Syllabus prescribed by GMAC. As discussed earlier, the EA test is different from other graduate business school assessments, like other assessments will feature an essay-writing component, but in the EA, there is no such section. Thus, if you use preparatory materials that are designed for other tests, you could end up wasting time studying topics that may not appear on the actual assessment.
    • As far as the time required for the preparation of this test, it all depends on the individual. Experts suggest an average of 21-30 hours of preparation time for most people. The challenge is to include the preparation for your routine. Experts suggest choosing the test date after taking into account the number of hours you would want to set aside for the preparation.
    • Setting the daily schedule is the biggest challenge, but it is still very important to have one. For some, the best time to study is in the evenings and for a few, weekends are better choices. Whatever works best for you, make sure you establish a routine and stick to it.
    • The Executive Assessment test gives you 30 minutes for each of the three sections examined in the test which includes the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, and Integrated Reasoning. The total time duration for this test is 90 minutes and is also the most important aspect of this exam. Experts suggest using a timer while practicing as that would create an equal amount of pressure as it is there in the exam center. Once you start practicing in this manner, any mistake that is made under the actual test conditions will make sure that you are alert during the Executive Assessment test. It will also create a tendency in you to read questions with extra care and achieve a higher score.

    Executive Assessment Test Fee

    Executive Assessment test has a higher price tag of $350 than the regular GMAT exam will cost you $250. However, unlike GMAT, you don’t have to pay any rescheduling fee (if rescheduled 48 hours before the test) or for extra score reports being sent for various executive MBA programs. The Executive Assessment Score is valid for a period of 5 years from the test date, which is the same as that for regular GMAT examination.

    Syllabus of the GMAC Executive Assessment (EA)

    The Executive Assessment test has a total of three sections including the Integrated Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Assessment, which are common to both EA and GMAT. However, GMAT has an additional section of Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), exclusive only to the GMAT exam.

    The syllabus for the Executive Assessment has following sections 

    • Quantitative Aptitude includes Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving; 
    • Verbal Reasoning includes Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension
    • Integrated Reasoning section includes Multi-source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-part Analysis, and the Table Analysis.

    Scoring System of Executive Assessment compared to GMAT

    In the Executive Assessment, the total score ranges from 100 to 200 whereas the number for GMAT is 200 to 800. The score range for each section with respect to both Executive Assessment and GMAT is given below:

    • Quant Aptitude - The score in Executive Assessment ranges from 0 to 20 and in GMAT, the score ranges from 0-60.
    • Verbal Reasoning - The score in Executive Assessment ranges from 0 to 20 and in GMAT, the score ranges from 0-60.
    • Integrated Reasoning - The score in Executive Assessment ranges from 0 to 20 and in GMAT, the score ranges from 1 to 8.
    • Analytical Writing Assessment – The Executive Assessment does not include this section whereas the regular GMAT examination includes this section, with the score range of 1 to 6.
    • Finally, the total score for the Executive Assessment ranges from 100 to 200 and includes all the three sections i.e. Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude as well as Verbal Reasoning. In Executive Assessment, to arrive at the total score, all three sections in the EA are weighed equally which ranges from 0 to 20. GMAT, on the other hand, ranges from 200 to 800 and includes only the two sections, Quantitative Aptitude, and Verbal Reasoning.

    Adaptive Testing on Executive Assessment vs. GMAT

    The test for the Executive Assessment is section adaptive, whereas the GMAT examination is question adaptive. In the GMAT, the difficulty level of the succeeding question is determined by a candidate’s answer to the preceding question. However, in the EA, the Verbal and Quant sections are further divided into 2 subsections each. Each sub-section consists of 7 questions that are released in a set.

    One of the exclusive features of the Executive Assessment is that you can change the answer choice(s) by going back. The following steps are allowed:

    • Flag any question(s) in a subsection if you want to review it later
    • At the end of that subsection, a review screen will appear
    • This review screen consists of all the 7 questions
    • Select any flagged question that you want to review or change

    However, it is important to note that no additional time is given to review and/or change the answer choice. The time you take for reviewing is taken away from the subsequent subsection, which means that you will have less time left to complete the next group of 7 questions.

    Good score in the Executive Assessment test

    Executive Assessment is a relatively new test as it was started in March 2016. Thus, there is not enough data to pinpoint a good EA score. However, for top Business Schools like Wharton, Columbia, etc. 150 or above considered as a good score. So for example, in the London Business School Executive MBA program, the last intake had an average EA score of 150. In any case, there is going to be a lot less competition in this program. The admission council of most Universities expects the candidate to have better work experience as well.

    Top Universities accepting Executive Assessment scores 

    Once you secure a good score on the Executive Assessment test, you can apply to the top universities across the globe. A few of these universities are listed below:

    • Columbia Business School
    • Iowa State University Ivy College of Business
    • MIT Sloan School of Management
    • UCLA Anderson School of Management
    • University of Virginia Darden School of Business
    • Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
    • Yale School of Management
    • China European International Business School (CEIBS)


    Ques. If I have not decided on which EMBA program to apply, which test should I take? GMAT or EA

    Ans. At this point, you should first decide on which business school’s EMBA program you want to apply to. Check which standardized test the B school accepts. Executive Assessment is the preferred by those who don’t have adequate time to prepare.

    Ques. If I am yet to decide whether I want to pursue a full-time MBA program or EMBA program, which test should I take?

    Ans. At this point, it’s better to take the GMAT, as it is accepted for all types of MBA programs.

    Ques. If I have taken the GMAT exam, should I also take Executive Assessment for EMBA programs to get to know about the better options?

    Ans. If you have taken the GMAT are happy with your score, then no need to take Executive Assessment. To get into Executive MBA programs of leading Business Schools, you can take the executive assessment if:

    You are a seasoned professional willing to join one of the best executive MBA programs.

    You feel you don’t have adequate time to prepare for the GMAT.

    Want to demonstrate your academic readiness for executive MBA programs.

    Ques. Is the conducting authority the same for both the GMAT examination as well as the Executive Assessment test?

    Ans. Yes, the conducting body is same for both the tests.



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