Retaking the Executive Assessment (EA)
GMAC Policies on EA Retakes
The EA can be taken online at home or in an approved test center. You can take the EA 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.
Exam retakes may be prohibited for violation of test center rules or of the required non-disclosure agreement. Depending on the severity of the violation, bans on retakes typically last from 31 days to five years, and lifetime bans can be given in exceptional cases. EA retakes necessitated by testing issues such as administrative errors, malfunction of testing equipment, or other circumstances beyond the test-taker's control are offered free of additional charge. In these instances, students must retake the entire exam in order to receive valid scores. Students whose scores are cancelled due to testing issues also have the option of declining a retake and receiving a refund.
EA Retakes and Business School Acceptance
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.
Making Decisions on EA Retakes
The advisability of retaking the EA depends on the score received on prior test attempts and the standards of the student's preferred business schools. There is a marked difference between the EA and the GMAT…whereas a higher score is always better on the GMAT, that is not the case on the EA. 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.
Adequate preparation for any EA test attempt gives a student his or her best chances of success. This is another reason why completing practice tests is so important, as the more familiar you are with the test, the better you can manage your time while also identifying question types and applying the best strategy to efficiently arrive at the correct answer. Tests like the EA are not currently common among standardized test offerings, and focusing on reaching a particular score requires a different mindset than focusing on achieving the highest score possible. However, the vast majority of EA test takers have reported preferring this approach and appreciate that this exam does not require the hours of extensive preparation associated with the GMAT. This does not mean the EA is necessarily an easier exam than the GMAT, merely that the two are different types of tests, one of which is likely to be a better fit for you and your professional knowledge and experience, as well as the available time you have to study and prepare.