Skip to main content

From the Assistant Director of Admissions: Why the Executive Assessment Might be the Right Test for You

David Daniel shares tips on prepping for the Executive Assessment, a readiness exam the EMBA program accepts in place of the GMAT and GRE.


Hello from the MBA for Executives Office of Admissions! The leaves outside my office window are changing color, which means it’s application season. If you’re considering our Round 1 application deadline of November 13, you may be busy writing essays, gathering documents, and speaking to recommenders. For us, this is a season where we’re answering lots of questions as we try to help you put together the strongest application possible. (A quick plug: my colleagues recently did an excellent application tips webinar.)

One of the most common topics I’m asked about when counseling prospective students and applicants is standardized testing. EMBA applicants have an average of 12 years of post-undergraduate work experience, so it’s probably been close to two decades since you’ve taken a standardized test.When you add onto this the demands preparation place on your already busy schedules, tests like the GMAT and GRE can be daunting. With that in mind, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) offers a new standardized test specifically designed for executive MBA programs—the Executive Assessment (EA). To provide more information on this relatively new exam, we recently hosted an information session in New York with Eric Chambers, market development director, Americas, at GMAC.

Joined by a number of prospective students who braved flash flooding warnings and harsh UN Week traffic, Eric discussed the history of the EA. Three years ago, GMAC (who also delivers the GMAT) saw the need for a new test, tailored to the needs of EMBA programs and their applicants. Out of their discussions with EMBA programs was born the EA, and Yale SOM first accepted the test in 2017. Unlike the GMAT or GRE, the EA is a readiness exam. The Yale SOM EMBA Admissions team doesn’t need an exam to help us determine who the most qualified candidates are; we need a benchmark for academic preparedness, and the EA provides that.

Eric also outlined the adaptive structure of the Executive Assessment. The EA is broken into three half-hour sections—integrated reasoning, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. Each test starts with six integrated reasoning questions of medium difficulty. Depending on performance in those questions, test takers get an additional set of easier or harder integrated reasoning questions. The test will then offer either easier or harder verbal or quantitative reasoning questions. This computer adaptive format, Eric explained, “makes for a better testing experience, and it also makes for a more accurate test.”

Finally, Eric spoke on EA prep considerations. “A big part of prep,” Eric shared, “is being honest with yourself. What is your learning style?” There are a number of ways test takers prepare, including with the online resources available from GMAC, working with tutors, or even taking a class. Most EA test takers recommended about 15 to 20 hours of study. For a personal account of what to expect, I encourage you to read a blog post by one of my colleagues who took it herself last year.

Ultimately, the Executive Assessment is an excellent test for any of you thinking about applying to the MBA for Executives. We encourage you to check it out. For more information on the EA please visit their website. And, as always, please feel free to contact us at

David Daniel signature

David Daniel
Assistant Director of Operations and Marketing
MBA for Executives