EA Verbal Reasoning Section Overview

Verbal Reasoning Section Overview

The purpose of the Verbal Reasoning section of the Executive Assessment (EA) is to measure your competency in reading and comprehending written material, reasoning and evaluating arguments, and correcting writing for clarity in standard written English.

You will be given 30 minutes to complete 14 questions, budgeting you just over roughly two minutes per question. There are no experimental sections on the EA, which means that every question you answer correctly will count towards your sectional score. It is therefore important to treat each question as equally important. 

The test is adaptive, meaning that each question is assigned a difficulty level, and you will be presented with questions based on your performance on the previous question. The score will also change throughout the exam based on your performance as opposed to being scored at the end. Note that because of this, it is detrimental to miss many questions at the end of the exam because of time mismanagement. The Verbal Reasoning section is always the second section presented to test takers. Unlike the GMAT, which offers some flexibility around the order in which you complete sections, every EA administration follows the same order: Integrated Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning.

Question Types in the Verbal Reasoning Section

There are three types of questions you will encounter on the Verbal Reasoning section of the EA: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction. In the Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning sections, you will be given a passage of information to read and then answer questions about. You will not need to study any specific subject material. 

Reading Comprehension Questions

Reading Comprehension questions will start off with a passage about a particular topic. You are expected to read the passage and then answer 3 to 4 questions about the passage. 

This part of the exam is similar to other standardized tests you have probably encountered thus far on your academic and/or professional journey. You are being evaluated for your ability to:

  • Find and summarize the main idea of the passage
  • Differentiate between ideas implied by the author and those plainly stated
  • Infer information based on other facts or information presented
  • Analyze the structure
  • Identify the author's attitude and tone regarding the topic 

You can expect to see passages on social science, business, historical events, and science. These are generally written in an academic and neutral tone. 

Critical Reasoning Questions

A Critical Reasoning question will also start with a reading passage, although this passage will be a written argument. You will then answer one multiple-choice question about the argument presented. You are looking for something that either weakens or strengthens the argument being made. First, you will want to understand the argument's structure, then find the conclusion being made. Once you have done that, you can determine what evidence is presented to support the conclusion. Finally, you will want to find any assumptions being made about the evidence which may lead the author to erroneously jump to a conclusion. 

These questions are known for tricky wording, so it is imperative to read the passage and answer choices closely. Missing even a word or two can change the answer you arrive at, which can cause you to answer incorrectly if you are not paying close attention. 

Sentence Correction Questions

Sentence Correction questions test your knowledge of written standard English grammar. You will be presented with a sentence that has some portion (or all) of it underlined. You then select the best version of the underlined portion of the sentence from the multiple-choice responses below. 

These sentences are generally very long with a lot of attention to detail, which can make them confusing, even for native English speakers who have a decent grasp on grammar. Because of that, these questions can be deceptively difficult if you have not practiced them in advance. 

As with all standardized tests, the more familiar you are with the content of the Verbal Reasoning section, the less challenging the questions you encounter will be. While you might feel comfortable with your ability to read and comprehend a passage or correct the grammar in a sentence, being able to perform certain tasks is not enough…you must be able to correctly perform them in the given amount of time. Completing practice questions and practice tests not only ensure you know what to expect on the EA, it also ensures you understand how to pace yourself and have a good sense of the time you can reasonably spend answering each individual question.