Scared of the GMAT? Try the Executive Assessment

Taking standardized tests causes anxiety. Even more so when the stakes are as high as the GMAT. It is natural to feel scared given the role that the GMAT score plays in determining your career trajectory and earning potential for years to come.

What is test anxiety?

Test anxiety is a combination of stress and fear of failure that occur before or during test situations. This anxiety creates significant barriers to both learning and performance. Research suggests that high levels of anxiety have a direct correlation to reduced academic performance and test-anxious students may score up to 12 percentile points lower.

What are the reasons for GMAT test anxiety?

GMAT test anxiety can be caused due to one or a combination of the following reasons:

  • Inability to solve a question
  • Running behind schedule according to the time limit for the section
  • Facing multiple difficult questions from a weak area
  • Having an unrealistic score target
  • Poor nutrition, exercise and sleeping habits
  • Lack of preparation or unfamiliarity with the test content and format.

For most people, the GMAT induces anxiety because it is a timed test. This is by design, as the makers of the test argue that in business school and real business environments, you will be exposed to similar situations where your ability to make good reasoned decisions under pressure will be put to the test.

How does GMAT test anxiety affect your performance?

There are 4 major ways in which GMAT Test anxiety can affect your performance:

  • Making you unsure of your responses to questions
  • Mind-wandering or a lack of focus
  • Distraction due to the physical test environment
  • Physical discomfort

Try The Executive Assessment

The Executive Assessment is a test administered by the GMAC. It was originally designed for admission to executive MBA programs but in recent years it’s become increasingly accepted by regular MBA programs.

Why the Executive Assessment is better for those with text anxiety

The EA is better than the GMAT for test anxiety because:

  • You can move back and forth between questions to have more control over the test and of how you spend your time.
  • The GMAT takes 3.5 hours and the EA takes just 1.5 hours with just 30 minutes devoted to each section. It is much easier to stay focused for a shorter period of time.
  • The lack of certain topics such as geometry means you have to study fewer topics.
  • It’s easier to score a higher percentile on the EA than on the GMAT because the population that takes the EA isn’t as well-prepared as the population that takes the GMAT.
  • Since the exam is designed for busy working professionals the GMAC allows assessment-takers to reschedule their Executive Assessment for free up to 48 hours before the scheduled test appointment. This allows you flexibility to only take the exam once you’re ready and to move it if you’re having an off day.

Executive Assessment vs GMAT

There’s no essay (Analytical Writing Assessment) on the Executive Assessment. The Executive Assessment test is also “multi-stage” computer adaptive. This means that groups of questions are selected for you depending on your answer to the previous question. This is unlike the GMAT which only releases one question at a time depending on whether you got the previous question right or wrong. Seeing a group of questions at once gives you a lot more control in terms of time and scoring strategy.