The Executive Assessment vs. the GMAT – What is the EA?

We have been fielding many inquiries about the new abridged version of the GMAT that has popped on to the standardized testing scene. It’s called the Executive Assessment, and it has actually been on the scene for about four years. Only recently, however, has it been gaining some traction.

The Executive Assessment vs. the GMAT –

Who Should Take It?

The Executive Assessment is designed for seasoned professionals applying to Executive MBA programs. Most people who take the exam have been in the workplace for 10+ years and can’t afford to take time off for a lengthy bout of online GMAT test prep. Though the number of MBA programs that accept this test has been growing, the Executive Assessment is not universally recognized and is not a blanket substitute for the GMAT. You should check with the individual MBA programs to which you are applying – especially executive programs – before committing to the exam. Some regular MBA programs may also accept the Executive Assessment from older, more experienced business school aspirants.

The Executive Assessment vs. the GMAT –

An Abridged Version of a Tried-and-True Exam?

Though the test makers (the Graduate Management Admissions Council or GMAC) have billed this exam as having been specially designed for an older test taker, in content the Executive Assessment is really not that different from the regular GMAT. In some ways, it’s a bit easier and definitely a shorter version of the GMAT. Before embarking on your online GMAT test prep journey, here’s the breakdown for the EA as compared to the GMAT.

Executive Assessment vs. the GMAT

Executive AssessmentGMAT
Exam Length1.5 Hours3 Hours
Quantitative Section30 mins. – 14 Qs65 mins. – 31 Qs
Verbal Section30 mins. – 14 Qs62 mins. – 36 Qs
Integrated Reasoning30 mins. – 12 Qs30 mins. – 12 Qs
AWA (Essay)No essay30 mins. 1 Essay Prompt
AdaptivityBlock AdaptiveQuestion Adaptive
Length of Preparation4 – 6 weeks10 – 14 weeks


Executive Assessment vs GMAT –

Summary of Differences

As is apparent above, the Executive Assessment is mercifully shorter than the GMAT, only about half its length. It’s also important to note that, while the GMAT is a “question adaptive” exam, the Executive Assessment is adaptive only in groups of questions. This means that the computer algorithm adjusts the difficulty of questions based in “blocks” and is consequently a bit less precise in judging the tester’s abilities than is the GMAT, which evaluates the tester’s performance question by question.

Another notable difference between the two exams is the content of the quantitative sections. As most Executive Assessment takers are older and more removed from their high school math classes, the quant sections on the Executive Assessment contain fewer of the more challenging questions that may be seen on the quantitative section of the GMAT. Concepts such as combinatorics and probability are less frequently seen, and geometry (with the possible exception of coordinate plane geometry) is not seen at all on the Executive Assessment. Distribution of question types between Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency is about the same for both tests.

As for the verbal sections, the content is virtually identical between the two tests and the distribution of question types – reading comprehension, sentence corrections, and critical reasoning – is the same.

The Integrated Reasoning Section is identical to that of the GMAT, and the Executive Assessment has no essay at all compared to the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) on the GMAT.

The Executive Assessment vs. the GMAT –

So Which Test Should I Take?

As mentioned above, the Executive Assessment is not simply an easier alternative to the GMAT. You should start by assessing which of your desired MBA programs will accept the EA and if you fit the profile to submit the exam. At Inspirica, our online test prep experts can help you make that decision.

Executive Assessment Preparation with Inspirica: 

Learn Strategies, not Just Content

In our 35+ years of tutoring, we’ve found that a strategy-first approach works best. The Executive Assessment  and the GMAT are no exception. While our Premier Prep GMAT tutoring programs do teach content, we focus mostly on testing strategies. Your tutor will help you figure out which topics and question types need the most work, then teach you ways to overcome those questions. This is a very learnable test, so all it takes is some time and determination! If you haven’t started working with us yet, browse our tutors and get started today!