Taking the Executive Assessment (EA): Test Center and Online Test
Test Center and Online Test Availability
You can take the EA one of two ways: you can complete it at a local test center or you can take it online from the comfort of your own home. Regardless of where you take the test, you will start by creating an account at www.mba.com and registering for the EA, selecting your testing location of choice. After you have paid the $350 registration fee, you will receive an email confirming your test date and location (see "EA Information" and "EA Registration" for more details).
Testing is available on the majority of days during the year, typically Monday through Saturday (Sunday administrations are uncommon). Specific dates vary by test center, but registration at least three months in advance will yield the largest number of available dates at any given location. Major metropolitan areas in the United States house dozens of test centers, and for most American students it is not difficult to find a convenient location in close proximity to home, work, or school. Overseas test centers are less numerous, but they can be found in 114 countries, usually in or near major cities. When you decide to take the EA at home, appointments are available around the clock and exist on a rolling basis, allowing the greatest amount of scheduling flexibility.
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.
Distinctions between Taking the EA at a Test Center versus Online
When it comes to the content of the EA, there is no difference between completing it at a test center or taking it online. The EA is 90-minutes long and contains 40 sections across three sections (Integrated Reasoning, 12 questions; Verbal Reasoning, 14 questions; Quantitative Reasoning, 14 questions.
Regardless of the location where you complete your testing, the EA is a computer-adaptive exam, which means your performance on one section will determine the level of difficulty of a subsequent section. Every test taker starts with six Integrated Reasoning questions. 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 receive will depend on how well you did completing those 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 easier, medium, and harder 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.
When you complete the EA at a test center, it is recommended that you arrive to the center 30 minutes early. If you arrive 15 minutes or more after your scheduled testing time, you will not be allowed inside the building, you will not be permitted to take your scheduled exam, and you will forfeit your entire $350 registration fee. At the center, you will present proof of identification (typically a government-assigned passport or driver’s license). You will also review and sign privacy and confidentiality documents. You will store items you cannot take into the testing room (such as a cellphone) in a provided locker. You will be assigned a computer, and video and audio recording will take place during the entire time you are testing. There are no scheduled breaks in the EA administration. If you need to leave the room for whatever reason, you must have permission from the proctor to do so. You will begin after the proctor has reviewed necessary information and instructs you to start. You will be provided with a white board and markers to complete calculations on during the Integrated Reasoning section, and these must all be turned in to your proctor before you can leave the testing room. An embedded online calculator is available for your use.
When you complete the EA online at home, you must take the test in a walled room with a door that is closed. No one else may enter the room while you are taking the test. You should check the technology specifications associated with taking the EA at home to ensure you have the appropriate operating system, power cords, and any other required software. You will be required to present proof of identification (typically a government-assigned passport or driver's license), which will be compared to how you currently look through facial recognition software. You will review and agree to or electronically sign privacy and confidentiality documents. You will be monitored through video and audio recording at all times. There are no scheduled breaks in the EA administration. If you need to leave the room for whatever reason, you must have permission from the proctor to do so. You will begin after the proctor has reviewed necessary information and instructs you to start. A virtual white board will be provided online for you to complete calculations on during the Integrated Reasoning section. An embedded online calculator will be available for your use.
The Online EA Test as a Practice Tool
Some students may wonder whether it makes sense to treat the online version of the EA as a practice test, given that these tests are considered separate from those taken at a test center. It is best to treat every EA test, regardless of where it is taken, as a serious attempt, and this is mostly due to the nature of the test itself. Unlike the GMAT where a higher score is always better, the EA was developed to serve as a threshold indicator. This means if you score above the threshold of the business school you hope to attend, they can be confident you are prepared for the academic rigor of their program.
Say you score a 152 the first time you take the EA. If the threshold score for your targeted business schools is 150, there is really no need for you to take the test again, as a score of 153 or 155 is really no different from your original score of 152. While you certainly can take the EA again, once you have proven you can meet or exceed a threshold score, higher scores do not increase your chances of being accepted to a business program. Because of this, preparing for the EA might look different from preparing for the GMAT. Students generally spend 100-200 hours preparing for the GMAT, while the average EA test taker spends 20-30 hours preparing.