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From the Director of Admissions: Tips on Tackling the Standardized Test

Joanne Legler offers tips to make the standardized test portion of the EMBA application a bit easier.

As things slow down around the holidays, you might be considering using some of the downtime to put together a Round 2 application, and you might be thinking about one of the elements that tends to produce some anxiety: the standardized test.

It comes up in nearly every conversation I have with those considering an application. Many students are surprised to learn that there is a requirement for standardized testing. Some know about it, but don’t think they have the time to study and sit for an exam. For others, it’s been quite a while since they’ve taken an exam and the recollection of their last one immediately causes some discomfort. All of these alarm bells are very understandable and, thankfully, also completely surmountable.

For admissions consideration to the Yale SOM MBA for Executives program, applicants need to take the GMAT, the GRE, or a newer exam called the Executive Assessment, or EA (more on that in a second). We understand that this may come as a surprise to some; not all EMBA programs require an exam, so we encourage you to review the requirements for each school you may be considering.

The GMAT and GRE both come with some war stories—many of which may in fact be fair—from MBA alums about the length and time required to prepare for these tests. Testing can be daunting, which is in part why Yale SOM chose to accept the EA. The EA is an exam created about two years ago, designed  for working professionals who are considering pursuing an executive MBA. You’ll find that the time required to prepare and take the EA exam is quite a bit less than that required of other tests. At this point, most applicants to our program are taking the EA, and most EMBA programs now accept it. On Friday, December 20, we’ll be hosting a webinar for those looking to learn more about the EA, where you can hear from one of the test’s creators and from some current students who have taken it (moderated by yours truly). Tune in for more information!

Test anxiety is a real thing. It’s OK to be anxious about taking the exam, especially if it’s been a while since you last took one! To combat this feeling, a good piece of advice is to get familiar with the exam now. GMAC provides some great preparation materials and practice exams for the GMAT and EA to get you started. The next step is to schedule your exam in plenty of time to meet the application deadlines for each school, especially given the time required to prepare the other pieces of the application, such as the essays or working with your recommenders to submit your letters of support.

Finally, keep in mind that the exam is just one part of a holistic admissions process; we consider all elements of the application when making decisions about admission, so try not to stress out too much about any one piece. If you’ve already taken the exam and want to discuss your experience or your score with a member of our team, you can always contact us or you may wish to complete a résumé pre-assessment for more comprehensive feedback on your candidacy.

Director of Admissions