How to prepare for the EA

If you would like to pursue a career in business you might come across the Executive Assessment (EA). Many universities worldwide use the EA as a tool to identify capable candidates who are prepared for their graduate business programmes.

EMBA graduates are equipped with the tools to accelerate professionally by taking on more responsibility earlier in their careers. 

If you’re thinking of applying for an Executive Master of Business Administration and would like personalised advice and guidance on choosing which universities to apply to, and preparing for the EA, reach out to our team today.


What is the EA?

An Executive Assessment evaluates a candidate’s readiness for a business programme by testing their knowledge and skills while also assessing their work experience. The convenience and flexibility of the Executive Assessment allows candidates to prepare swiftly and take the assessment when it suits them. The results of the assessment provide insights that help candidates improve their weaknesses before their programme begins.

Who takes the EA?

If you are already a working professional, in the midst of paving your career, with real-world business skills and a busy schedule, the EA is designed for your experience and lifestyle. It is specifically created as an admissions test for executive MBA programmes.

What is the EA used for?

The EA is a business and management exam aimed to prepare and test students for their graduate degrees at business schools.

The EA (introduced in 2016) was created after the GMAT (introduced in 1954), hence it is a newer version and alternative to the GMAT and GRE. 

Historically, the purpose of the EA has been to assess students who are completing EMBA applications. However, more traditional MBAs are starting to accept the EA. It is often used as an opportunity to continue career progression at a current job while also pursuing an advanced degree. It might also be taken by those aspiring to start a business as it is a valuable test for a budding entrepreneur.

Typically the GMAT exam is accepted by more UK universities than the EA. The EA is more commonly used by US universities, including Berkeley, Howard, and Stanford. However, it’s worth noting that the EA is becoming more common, so many universities that have traditionally accepted the GMAT/GRE are starting to accept the EA too. 

The first step is to determine what degree you want and at what university and what admissions tests they accept.

Which universities require the EA?

Below is a table of some of the most prestigious universities in the UK for business that require the EA for one or more of their business degree programmes.

UniversityReputationEA requirements
London Business School Consistently ranked as one of the top business schools in the worldRequires MBA for its Executive MBA, EMBA, and LBS programmes
Cambridge Judge Business School Part of the world-renowned University of CambridgeRequires the EA for the Executive MBA
Oxford Said Business SchoolPrestigious business school of the University of OxfordRequires the EA for the Executive MBA
Imperial College Business School Top ranked for Finance programmesRequires EA for the Executive MBA and Global Online MBA
Manchester Business SchoolStrong programmes in Entrepreneurship and ManagementAccepts EA for multiple MBAs
King’s Business School at KCL (King’s College London)Offers a variety of MBA and Master’s degreesAccepts EA for the Executive MBA

The Profs’ MBA admissions consultants can help you determine which universities are the best fit for your academic profile, interests, and long-term ambitions. Our team has helped hundreds of students achieve places at some of the best business schools in the country, including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, and London Business School. Reach out to our team today for a free welcome call. 

When is the EA taken?

There are no set exam dates for the EA. It is available to sit year-round. However, it is recommended that you take your test a year prior to your expected entrance into business school so that you have time to retake it if necessary. Ensure that you double-check the admission deadlines for your course and university to calculate your timings accurately.

For the EA, it is recommended to prepare 1-3 months in advance. Test scores are valid 5 years from the test date.

You can retake the EA up to four times in your lifetime – two times at a test centre and two times online.

How much does the EA cost?

Inside the UK£280
In the US$350

What is the structure of the EA?

Where is the test taken?This test is offered at over 600 test centres around the globe, or online from your own home.
How much time do you get? 1.5 hours
How many sections are there?The UCAT is divided into three parts, each concentrating on a different skill.
What is included in these sections?Section 1: Integrated reasoning (12 questions, 30 minutes)

Checks your ability to succeed in a data-driven world by requesting your evaluation of information provided in multiple formats and from multiple sources.

Section 2: Verbal reasoning (14 questions, 30 minutes)

Measures the ability to evaluate arguments and read, understand, and edit written English materials.

Section 3: Quantitative Reasoning (14 questions, 30 minutes)

Tests the ability to evaluate data and make conclusions using reasoning skills and maths skills.

Please note: The EA is only offered in English. If you’re an international student and English is your second language, we have excellent TEFL tutors here at The Profs! Don’t let language barriers stand in your way.

EA preparation factors to consider:

  • Structure: The EA has a set section order, you can’t choose what to answer first. However, you can skip questions and come back to them.
  • Content: The EA contains quantitative concepts with challenging maths concepts, and verbal sections.
  • Weight of sections: As there are few sections in the EA, they carry a lot of weight towards the score. For example, the Integrated Reasoning section is crucial and very important as it counts for a third of your score. 
  • Access: The top schools that accept the EA don’t tend to publish their average scores, so there may be some more flexibility when it comes to the pass rate.

For information on the EA versus the GMAT, check out our previous article. We also have a previous blog on the GMAT and the GRE.

How is the EA marked?

Test takers should be aware that each section of the assessment is scored from 0 to 20. The scores of all three sections are equally weighted to calculate the total score, which ranges from 100-200.

What is a good EA score?

Prestigious business schools seem to prefer an EA score of 150 to 155.

Want to know more about how your EA exam will be marked and how you can maximise your score? Speak to one of our experienced MBA admissions consultants today. Over many years of helping hundreds of students excel in their EA tests, and with ex-admissions officers themselves in our tutor network, we’re the ideal place to start your preparation.

6 tips to prepare for the EA

Now you know about the EA, it’s time to start preparing! Your EA score could make or break whether you get an offer to your chosen university. Hence, it is a crucial component of your university application process and should not be overlooked. Here are three tips to help you prepare:

1. Work out if the EA is suited to you

Before you start preparing for the exam, you need to work out whether it is suited to you. Start by researching the universities themselves by attending open days and reading about them online. 

Work out which business schools you most want to apply to, as well as which specific Business programmes you’re interested in pursuing. Next, find out if they require/recommend the EA. The Profs can also walk you through EA, admission and application advice.

Finally, register via the online application form for the EA! Remember, postgraduate applicants do not make a UCAS application, they apply directly to the university. Similarly, you need to register for the EA independently, rather than through your chosen university. 

2. Understand the test structure

The EA consists of three sections:

  • Integrated Reasoning.
  • Verbal Reasoning.
  • Quantitative Reasoning. 

Familiarise yourself with the specific types of questions asked in each section. Each section is 30 minutes long with 14 questions in the Verbal and Quantitative sections and 12 in the Integrated Reasoning section. Your understanding of the test structure can help you better organise your study plan and manage time during the exam.

3. Practice makes perfect

Obviously, the best way to understand the test and prepare for it is to practice. Take a bunch of the official EA practice exams; these are a valuable tool, as they simulate the real test environment. 

The EA is a computer-adaptive test that’s 90 minutes long, so it’s important to get used to this format. Practice in a quiet environment with no interruptions, and stick to the allotted time for each section to build your stamina and time management skills. This practice will help you become comfortable with the test format and reduce anxiety on the actual test day.

There are official GMAC EA preparation materials available. These materials include retired EA questions, so they’re an excellent resource for understanding the style and difficulty of actual questions. Try to get anything you do marked or mark it yourself! Make notecards with key information and practise relevant skills.

4. Focus on your weaknesses

Once you’ve practised enough questions, you will start to notice patterns in the types of questions or sections where you struggle the most. Spend more time improving these areas. For example, if you find Integrated Reasoning challenging, take time to master the skills needed for multi-source reasoning, table analysis, graphics interpretation, and two-part analysis, which are the four main question types in this section.

5. Know what scores you’re aiming for

In order to prepare for the exam effectively, you should have an idea of what scores you’re aiming for. Each university has its own idea of what a ‘good’ score is and you should be aiming for the average score of successful applicants to your first choice business school. To be safe, make sure you check your specific course’s requirements. 

6. Work with an expert tutor

Preparing for the EA can be stressful. There’s a lot of pressure to perform well so that you can get into your dream university. Unlike school or university, you won’t necessarily have a structured learning plan that ensures you are prepared for all the content, or teachers who understand the test specifications. 

Working with an admissions test expert will offer you structured guidance and a bespoke approach to preparing the best you can for the test. Here at The Profs, we have an expert team of EA tutors

Working with one of our amazing tutors can help you to identify and focus on areas in which you need extra support, gain insider knowledge on the admissions test you are taking and what the assessors will be looking for, make preparation more fun and engaging, and so much more. 

How we can help

Reach out to our team of expert MBA tutors who have extensive knowledge and experience on how quantitative and business tests work and what EA score you should be aiming for, helping you reach the marks you need to receive an offer from your ideal business school.

More than 95% of The Profs’ students receive an offer from their first or second choice medical school – reach out to us today to maximise your chances of success.