How is the Executive Assessment scored?

Executive Assessment Test Structure

The Executive Assessment is made up of three sections: Integrated Reasoning (IR), Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning, appearing in that order. Each section is divided into 2 “stages” of equal size, and you have a total of 30 minutes to complete the section. Although the sections are broken in half, you can allocate your total section time of 30 minutes in any way you like. Check out the chart below for a closer look at the test structure.

Exam Section Number of Questions Questions per Stage Total Section Time
Integrated Reasoning 12
  • Stage 1: 6 Questions
  • Stage 2: 6 Questions
30 min
Verbal Reasoning 14
  • Stage 1: 7 Questions
  • Stage 2: 7 Questions
30 min
Quantitative Reasoning 14
  • Stage 1: 7 Questions
  • Stage 2: 7 Questions
30 min
Total Number of Question 40 Total Exam Time 90 min

It’s important to note that the stages for a given section always appear in successive order. So, you won’t see the first IR stage followed by the first Quant stage followed by the second IR stage.

EA Section Adaptivity: Why It Matters

One thing that makes the Executive Assessment unique is its stage structure. This structure allows the EA to be computer-adaptive not at a question level like the GMAT, or at a section level like the GRE, but at the stage level. In other words, the Executive Assessment adapts its difficulty from one section stage to the next, based on your performance. The adaptability of the stages is contained within each section; there is no “cross-pollination” between Quant and Verbal. So, performance on the Quant stages does not affect the difficulty level seen in the Verbal stages, and vice versa.

Executive Assessment Score Scales

When you take an Executive Assessment test, you receive an individual score for each section and a total score. The 3 exam sections are all scored using the scale of 0 to 20. The total score is given on a scale of 100 to 200. Have a look at the chart below which shows the official range of scores:

The “Official” Range of EA Scores

Exam Section Score Scale
Integrated Reasoning 0-20
Verbal Reasoning 0-20
Quantitative Reasoning 0-20
Total Score 100-200

The reality is different however. In practice it seems to be impossible to get a score below “2” and above 18 in any of the sections.

The final score is then calculated by adding up each of the three section scores and adding 120 to the total. For example, if you score a 11 in each section, you’ll score 11 + 11 + 11 + 120 = 153 overall. Therefore, the actual range of EA scores is:

The “Actual” Range of EA Scores

Exam Section Score Scale
Integrated Reasoning 2-18
Verbal Reasoning 2-18
Quantitative Reasoning 2-18
Total Score 126-174

As you can see, the score scales for the section scores don’t correspond to the number of questions in each section, nor does the score scale for the total score correspond to the total of 40 questions on the exam. In other words, we’re not looking at a “1 point per question” situation.

How Are EA Scores Calculated?

Unsurprisingly, GMAC does not make the ins and outs of the Executive Assessment scoring algorithm public knowledge. After all, why would the test-maker give people information they might be able to use to “game the system”?

There are, however, a few important things we know about the EA algorithm. First, we know that your total score is calculated based on your performance in each of the 3 exam sections and that all 3 sections are weighed equally in calculating your total score. So, for the purposes of calculating your total score, your Verbal score is no less important than your IR score, and your IR score is no less important than your Quant score, etc.

Second, we know that your scores for each section are for the most part calculated separately from each other. The score you’re given on one section has absolutely no effect on the score you’re given on any other section. (Though your performance on the IR section impacts the difficulty of the questions you’ll see on the Verbal and Quantitative sections).

Third, we know that the difficulty of the questions you answer correctly (and incorrectly) plays a part in how your scores are calculated. So, you can’t simply look at the raw number of questions you got correct in the IR section, for example, and expect that to translate directly to a numerical section score. In other words, you can’t assume that because there are 12 questions in the IR section, and the section is scored on a scale of 0 to 20, each question you see is worth 1.66 points. Based on test-taker data that GMAC collects when beta testing new questions, some of those questions may be considered harder questions and some may be considered easier, and some will be somewhere in between.