The Executive Assessment Timing Practice

The Executive Assessment (EA) is a test designed to assess the leadership and business management skills of candidates seeking admission to top MBA programs. It is typically taken by mid- to senior-level professionals with at least eight years of work experience.

An ideal pacing strategy for the EA will depend on a number of factors, including your personal strengths and weaknesses, the specific format of the test, and the amount of time you have available to prepare. Here are some general strategies that you may find helpful:

  1. Pace yourself throughout the test. The EA features three sections (verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and integrated reasoning) and a total of 12 questions. It’s important to pace yourself so that you have enough time to complete all of the questions and review your work.
  2. Start with the questions that you feel most confident in. Many test-takers prefer to do this as this can give them a sense of accomplishment and boost their confidence for the rest of the test.
  3. Don’t spend too much time on any one question. It’s important to keep an eye on the clock and make sure that you are moving through the test at a reasonable pace. If you find yourself stuck on a particular question, it may be helpful to skip it and come back to it later.
  4. Review your work before submitting. Make sure to carefully review your work before submitting the test, checking for any errors or mistakes. This can help you avoid careless mistakes and improve your overall score.

Overall, the key to pacing yourself on the EA is to find a balance between working efficiently and taking the time you need to think through each question. By following these strategies, you can increase your chances of success on the test.

EA Timing: A Better Way

The biggest mistake a lot of students make when it comes to pacing the Executive Assessment is that they think about timing on a per-question basis. On the Integrated Reasoning section, you have 30 minutes to complete 12 questions, equating to 2:30 per question. On the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, you have 30 minutes to complete 14 questions, or approximately 2:08 per question.

But it’s not quite that simple. Some questions take longer to complete than others. Reading Comprehension often takes longer than Sentence Correction, for example. But even within Sentence Correction, some sentences are simply harder — and therefore take longer — than others.

And even if you average it out and assume roughly two minutes per question on the Quant and Verbal sections, that still may not sound like a lot of time to you — especially if you’re not particularly strong on a particular question type. We hear it all the time: Wait, you want me to solve this question in under two minutes!?

The problem with this way of thinking is that when you don’t think you have enough time, you rush. And when you rush, you make mistakes. And when you make mistakes… well, it’s hard to get the EA score that will get you into your target business program.

Fortunately, there’s a better way.

Indeed, the solution is simple: Rather than worrying about how much time you’re spending on each individual question, think about it in terms of blocks of questions.

Here’s how it works.

Let’s use Verbal Reasoning for illustrative purposes. As previously mentioned, you’re given 30 minutes to complete 14 questions. But as you may remember about the EA scoring algorithm, those 14 questions are broken up into two 7-question sub-sections. So a better way to think about it is that you have 15 minutes to complete seven questions. This suggests a clear check-in point for you. Once you complete Question #7, ask yourself: Where am I in relation to the 15:00 mark? If you’re ahead of pace, great! You have a little extra breathing room for the next seven questions. If you’re a little behind pace, don’t freak out. But mentally acknowledge that you’ll need to pick up the pace a bit or perhaps skip one or two of the particularly hard questions to ensure that you have enough time to fully work on the questions you have a good shot at getting right.