Limits on Retaking the Executive Assessment (EA)
EA Retake Policies
According to GMAC's policies on the EA, the EA can be taken up to two times in person at a test center, and these attempts are considered separate from taking the EA online. You may take the online EA up to two times, meaning you could, in theory, take the EA up to four times total. You may take the EA as early as 24 hours after registering for it. If you are seeking to take the EA a second time at a test center, you may register for the second exam as early as 24 hours after completing your first exam. If you are seeking to take the EA a second time online, you will need to allow 16 days between your first and second test administrations. EA scores are good for up to five years.
Comparison with Retake Policies for Other Graduate-Level Tests
EA retake policies are not too dissimilar from the retake policies of other graduate-level exams and in some cases, the policies are more generous. The GMAT can be taken up to five times during a rolling 12-month period and up to eight times across a person's life. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) can be taken once every 21 days and up to five times in a 12-month period. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT), for example, may only be taken three times within any two-year period, although exceptions may be made in extenuating circumstances. While there is no time limit on the number of times a student may take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), there is a mandatory waiting period of 12 days between test attempts.
Retaking the EA to Meet Minimum Admission Standards
As previously mentioned, 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. If the score a business program suggests an applicant obtain in order to be competitive is 153 and you score a 154, there is no need to retake the test, as a score of 155 or 156 is no better than your original 154. The only reason to retake the EA is if you do not meet the threshold score set by the business programs you most desire to attend. If the score a business program suggests an applicant obtain in order to be competitive is 153 and you score a 151, it is worth taking the EA again in order to reach or exceed the desired score.
Based on available data, many MBA programs prefer candidates to obtain a score of 150 on the EA. The most selective MBA and EMBA programs seek a score of 155 or higher. It is important to know the EA score that is desired by the business programs you most wish to attend, and applicants are encouraged to reach out to individual programs and gather more information on the specific EA scores favored by the business school program of their choice.
How Business Schools Consider GMAT Retakes in the Admissions Process
Next to nothing has been published about the impact taking the EA multiple times might have graduate school acceptance. Given this, we can examine the information that is available about a similar test, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Available information indicates that business schools do not necessarily develop a negative view of students who take the GMAT multiple times, and some business school officials will even encourage their applicants to do so. However, there is a limit to the number of times it is advisable to take the GMAT, and this seems to be about three test attempts. Business schools tend to be understanding about second and third test attempts if scores improve, but they will likely see applicants who have taken the GMAT four or more times as lacking the skills necessary for success in their programs. It is important to note that, when it comes to the EA, schools do not receive scores for every test taken…they only receive the specific scores they have been selected to receive, as chosen by the test taker. This means they will not be comparing your scores across efforts unless you share scores from each completed test taken with them.
EA Retakes and Merit Scholarships
While there are merit-based scholarships related to GMAT scores, no specific scholarships currently exist for EA scores. This may be an important factor to consider when deciding between the GMAT and the EA. That being said, there are a number of business school-related scholarships available that accept whatever test score was required by the program you plan to attend, but it is important to do you own research on this matter. If there are scholarships you intend to apply to, it is worth reaching out to them before taking either the GMAT or the EA and learning whether they accept EA when granting scholarships. As the EA continues to increase in popularity and is accepted by more graduate programs, it is likely EA scores will be accepted by more scholarship programs, as well, but it is best to do your due diligence and perform your own research so you are thoroughly aware of scholarship application policies and what graduate-level test scores are considered acceptable.