Executive Assessment Basics – About the EA
The Executive Assessment (EA) is a 90-minute, computer-adaptive, standardized assessment designed to provide information on business school readiness by incorporating both industry-specific knowledge and real-world experience. Intended to measure higher-order reasoning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, the EA is becoming an increasingly popular test for those intent on attending an advanced business program. Created by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) in 2016, the EA is now accepted at more than 100 part-time, full-time, hybrid, and Executive MBA (EMBA) programs around the world. The EA consists of 40 questions delivered across three sections: Integrated Reasoning (12 questions), Verbal Reasoning (14 questions), and Quantitative Reasoning (14 questions).
Unlike the traditional Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), the EA is not intended to function as the type of test where the higher you score, the better. Instead, the EA serves as a threshold indicator, meaning if you score above the threshold of the business program you hope to attend, they can be confident you are ready for the academic rigor of their program. Designed with busy professionals in mind, the EA can be taken at home or a local testing center, and unlike the 100-200 hours of test prep recommended for the GMAT, the average test taker spends approximately 30 hours preparing for the EA.
The EA is a computer-adaptive exam, meaning your performance on one section determines the level of difficulty of a subsequent section. Every test taker starts with six Integrated Reasoning questions. It is important to note that there are no penalties for wrong answers, so every question should be answered to the best of your ability. After completing the first six questions, you will be given six more Integrated Reasoning questions, and the mixture of easier, medium, or harder questions you will receive depends on how well you did completing the first six questions.
After you complete the Integrated Reasoning section, you will move to the Verbal Reasoning section, where you will receive seven questions. The mixture of easy, medium, and difficult questions will depend on your performance on the entire Integrated Reasoning section. The start of a new section does not mean you have a "clean slate," as those who perform well on the Integrated Reasoning section will start with more difficult questions on the Verbal Reasoning section, just as those who perform poorly on Integrated Reasoning will begin with easier questions on the Verbal Reasoning section. The complexity of the last seven Verbal Reasoning questions will depend on your performance on the first seven Verbal Reasoning questions.
The Quantitative Reasoning section works the same way: your first seven questions will depend on your overall performance on the Integrated Reasoning section and the difficulty of your last seven questions will depend on your performance answering the first seven Quantitative Reasoning questions.
The EA is scored on a scale ranging from 100 to 200. Each of the three sections (Integrated Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning) receives a score ranging from 0 (low) to 20 (high). In addition to these three scores, you also receive a total score, which is calculated by combining the scores from each section and adding 120. If you received a score of 10 on Integrated Reasoning, 8 on Verbal Reasoning, and 12 on Quantitative Reasoning, you would have a combined section score of 30 and with the addition of 120, your total score would be 150. An EA score of 150 to 155 has been noted to roughly approximate a GMAT score in the upper 500s to lower 600s range, although conversions between the two scoring systems are not standardized.
Given the relative newness of the EA, one would expect limited information about scores to be available, but this is compounded by the fact that business programs do not regularly publish the average EA scores of incoming students. While 150 is considered an average EA score, such a designation may have more to do with statistics (the average score in a range of 100 to 200 is 150) than what business school applicants are most frequently scoring on the exam.
The GMAC has published limited information about EA percentiles, providing only the following:
EA Composite Score
Perhaps in response to the hyper-focus on individual scores prompted by the usage of the GMAT, MBA programs have reportedly deliberately asked the GMAC not to release extensive information about EA scores. The mindset appears to be thus: if your EA score is within a reasonable range for your targeted business programs, you have a strong chance of being accepted. Beyond that, test takers do not need to spend time stressing over the exact definition of a "good" or "great" EA score.
EA Scores Required for Business School Acceptance
Given that individual programs do not generally report EA scores, whether they are averages or percentiles, there is very little publicly available about "standard" or "typical" EA scores at a given business program. A few programs have published some data:
The Wharton 2024 EMBA incoming class had a median EA score of 156.
Since 2020, Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia has reported an average EA score of 153.
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business reported a 2021 EA average score of 154.
Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management reported an average EA score of 151.
New York University's Stern School of Business noted that, "While a specific [EA] average is not available for the class, historically most admitted part-time MBA students score between a 147-162 on the exam." Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley notes that while applicants are typically required to submit GMAT or GRE scores, applicants with seven or more years of work experience as of the start of the fall semester may take the EA instead. While it seems that an EA score in the low-to-mid 150s is a good benchmark for being considered a competitive applicant, as always, we recommend contacting the specific MBA programs you plan on applying to and learning about their expectations regarding EA scores.