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It’s been just about a year since the Graduate Management Admission Counsel released the Executive Assessment for professionals who are interested in applying to an EMBA program. Now that it’s been out for a while, it’s worth taking a look at the pros and cons of the test, to see how well it stacks up against the GMAT.
One of the primary benefits being touted for the new Assessment is its length. Clocking in at just 40 questions and 90 minutes, the Executive Assessment is significantly shorter than the nearly four-hour GMAT. And while both tests are designed to cover the same content areas, the exclusion of the essay test and the fact that test-makers have stated that the EA is “designed to require minimal preparation” mean that EMBA candidates can expect to devote much less time to studying.
Designed specifically for the EMBA
Like the GMAT, the Executive Assessment was designed to determine an applicant’s readiness for business school. However, the makers of the EA state that it was “created specifically to measure the skills and knowledge of experienced professionals”. This allows test-makers to assume a general level of readiness for upper-level education, making the test shorter and more focused on skills that business schools care about.
Ease of scheduling
For many EMBA candidates, time is their most valuable asset. One of the benefits of the new Executive Assessment is the flexibility of scheduling. Applicants are able to reschedule at any time up to 24 hours before their test appointment, with no additional fees. They also don’t have to wait to re-test; unlike the GMAT’s 16-day waiting period between tests, the EA can be retaken in 24 hours. This allows busy executives to fit their test in around a rapidly-changing schedule.
Despite the shorter test length, the Executive Assessment does not come at a lower cost to test-takers. In fact, the test costs $350 globally, compared to the $250 price tag for the GMAT.
Can only take twice total
While the ability to rapidly schedule a re-test is beneficial for busy EMBA candidates, the decision to reschedule should not be taken lightly. At this time, applicants are only able to take the Executive Assessment a total of two times – not per calendar year, but in a lifetime. For this reason, applicants need to be very sure that they are ready to take the test before signing up.
Low program acceptance
The most important measure of a test’s value lies in its acceptance for the programs it was designed to serve. Unfortunately, a year after its unveiling, the Executive Assessment is simply not yet widely accepted by business schools. As of March 2017, it is currently only accepted at nine schools: CEIBS, Chicago Booth, Columbia, UVA Darden, HKU, IESE, INSEAD, LBS, and UCLA Anderson School of Management.
The Executive Assessment does have some strong pros in its favour, particularly for EMBA candidates who value flexibility and a condensed study schedule. But if you plan to apply to multiple business schools, or you’re interested in a school that doesn’t currently accept the EA, then it just doesn’t make much sense as a b-school admissions test option.
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