GMAT vs Executive Assessment: What’s The Difference?

GMAT vs Executive Assessment: What’s The Difference?

The GMAT and executive assessment are exams that should test the skills needed for anyone seeking to be successful in the business world. The examinations’ primary focus is to test a person’s critical thinking, use of logic, and data analysis together with basic math and English skills. With these skills combined, it is a guarantee that any aspirant in the business landscape will navigate their path with more ease while reaping the full benefits. However, as much as the goal for both examinations is the same, there are a few things that separate one from the other. For this reason, let us look into GMAT vs Executive Assessment to assist you in determining which exam is more suitable for you.

GMAT vs Executive Assessment: Who should take which examination?

Since the GMAT came way before the executive assessment test, globally, most people consider it the gold standard for whoever wishes to get admission into graduate-level business and management programs. Mostly, it’s for people with minimal work experience. These people are able to commit full-time or part-time to MBA programs due to their flexible schedules.

The executive assessment created in 2016 is mostly suitable for working professionals who wish to upgrade their EMBA. It uses more business-focused questions that test critical reasoning and advanced thinking skills. They require little to no preparation, unlike the GMAT exams hence suitable for busy professionals. Executive assessment exams are suitable for working individuals with business skills acquired from management-level tasks in their careers, usually within 5-10 years.

Exam Composition and Style – GMAT vs Executive Assessment 

  • Exam time- Executive assessment exams take a maximum of 90 minutes with no breaks and only 40 questions tested. This is because the test does not include Analytical Writing Assessment(AWA) essay. 

GMAT exams, on the other hand, take twice as much time as the EA test. It takes 3.5 hours with 79 questions and 1 AWA essay question. It also permits two 8-minute long breaks, which are optional.

  • Test section order- In EA, you are not allowed to choose a section order; hence they appear in the default order, which is:

Integrated reasoning(IR) – Verbal reasoning – Quantitative reasoning(Quant)

However, the GMAT gives candidates two minutes to select the order in which they want their sections to appear on the introductory screen. Below are the ordered arrangements in which they appear:

  1. Writing – IR – (Break) – Quant – (Break) – Verbal
  2.  Verbal – (break) – Quant – (Break) – IR – Writing
  3. Quant – (Break) Verbal – (Break) – IR – Writing

The two minutes used for selecting section orders are not included in the time required to sit for the test. After the two minutes run out without a candidate selecting a section order, the computer defaults to the first order.

  • Exam section structure – GMAT has four sections, while EA has three sections. Unlike the GMAT, in EA, each exam section is divided into two subsections. Each subsection contains an equal number of questions.

EA allows candidates to review questions and answers from the previous subsection in each section before proceeding to the next subsection. You can also skip questions and return to them at the end of the module or leave them entirely blank while moving to the next modules.

GMAT does not allow candidates to skip questions or leave them blank. This is because, for the next question to appear on your screen, you must answer the presented question first. Candidates are also not allowed to review their work, and once you submit your answers, there isn’t room for changing them. This is due to the fact that the ease or toughness of the respective question is influenced by the number of questions you get right or wrong.

  • Looking at GMAT vs Executive Assessment, the exams have the following similarities in relation to exam structure and format:

– Both have the same computer screen display,

– Both exams have multiple-choice questions,

– Questions for both exams come from the same pull of questions and topics.

Computer adaptivity

One feature that makes the GMAT stand out among other tests is that its verbal and quant sections are computer adaptive at the question level. The computer at GMAT selects your respective questions according to how you have answered the previous questions. The question difficulty also increases or decreases according to the questions you’ve answered correctly or incorrectly. The downside to this method, however, is that you cannot skip a question or go back to a previously answered question.

The EA, on the other hand, is computer adaptive at the module level, not the question level. This applies to the quant and verbal sections. This means that the difficulty or ease of questions is not determined by how well you’ve answered the previous questions.

For both GMAT and EA, the performance in one section does not affect the level of ease or difficulty in another section. Computer adaptivity in one section does not influence adaptivity in the other sections.

Exam content

Most of the exam content is the same for GMAT and EA. Both tests get questions from the same examination content. The only noticeable difference is seen in the quant section, where EA tests fewer topics as compared to GMAT and omits some of the advanced questions. EA quant questions are a bit easier as they mostly test on fresh-man-level high school algebra and arithmetic. Topics like statistics, probability, and permutations and combinations are not common here.

Scoring criteria

Each has a distinctive scoring scale and different ways of calculating a candidate’s total score. In EA, a candidate’s score sums up to about 100-200 marks, while in GMAT, it sums up to about 200-800 marks.

A candidate receives a score for each section of the exam and a total score. For the GMAT, a candidate’s total score mostly depends on their performance in the quant and verbal sections. However, in the EA, scores from all the sections are measured equally. The scores are valid for five years from the test date for both examinations.

Exam expenses

The exam cost for EA is quite high than that of GMAT. To register for GMAT, you need to pay 275$ registration fee, while that of EA amount to 350$. Policies around test rescheduling and cancellation for EA are a bit lenient as they cater to working professionals with busy schedules as compared to those of GMAT.

This table expands further on the exams expenses:


EA – 350$

GMAT – 275$ , 250$( for online exams)


EA – 48+ hours in advance results in free rescheduling.

     –  24 – 48 hours in advance pays a 75$ fee

GMAT – More than 60 days in advance; 50$

           –  15-60 days in advance; 100$

            –  14 days or less in advance; 150$

            –   Online exam; 25$


EA – 24+ hours in advance;100$ (250$ refund)

GMAT – More than 60 days in advance;150$ (100$ refund)

           – 15 to 60 days before your test; 175$ (75$ refund)

           – 1 to 14 days before your test; 200$ (50$ refund)

           – Online exams;100$

GMAT vs Executive Assessment: Registration and testing

For both GMAT and EA, you can register for your exams online via the MBA website. There are more than 600 test centers worldwide offering both physical and online testing.

The EA exams allow a candidate to retake the exam twice, both for physical and online exams. You can register for a retake as early as within the first 24 hours of taking your test and sit for an in-person retake 48 hours later.

GMAT retake policies are quite strict as they have a maximum of 5 attempts within12-months and a maximum of 8 attempts overall. A candidate is also required to wait for at least sixteen days before applying for a retake.

If you encounter a technical issue while taking your exams, your remote proctor should verify that an issue occurred. This means that you won’t be charged another registration fee when applying for a retake, as it will not be considered a retake.

These are some of the differences and similarities between the EA and GMAT exams which can guide you as to which exam you should take. 

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