How—and what—to study for the Executive Assessment - Part 5

by , Feb 18, 2018

prep_studyWelcome to the final installment in our Executive Assessment (EA) series. If youre just joining us, head on back to part 1 and work your way back here to part 5. Today, were going to talk about how to use the Official EA Practice Questions tool.

One note before we start: You are also going to need test-prep-company materials to get yourself ready for the exam. As we discussed earlier in this series, the Official EA tool contains great practice questionsbut it wont actually teach you how to get better at the exam itself. If you take some kind of course, that course should come with study materials and a syllabus (homework assignments). If you study on your own, youll have to decide what materials you want to use and what kind of study plan you want to set upsee part 3 of this series for recommendations.

Whats the EA Official Practice Questions tool?

GMACs official study tool contains 300 practice questions, 100 of each type (IR, Verbal, and Quant). But its actually a lot more than just a question bank.

When you first start up, youll enter your planned test date and the software will feed you assignments spread out over your study timeframe. (You can also just do random question blocks of any length, but I recommend using the Study Plan page and doing the problems in the assigned sets of 10.)

See a screen shot of my Study Plan below. When I took it, I had 66 days to go until my test and Id completed 17% of my plan. Up next, Ive got a set of Integrated Reasoning questions (Set #2) to complete and then Set 3 of the Quant practice questions.

How should I use it?

Once you enter a test date, the official EA tool will spread out all of the problem sets over the length of time you have until your exambut you may not want to do the problem sets exactly on those days. Thats okay. Itll keep recalculating and spreading things out evenly. You can skip around tooif you want to do Verbal next, you can just click Load More to get to the next Verbal set.

The pre-made problem sets come in sets of 10 and are all mixed together for that section of the test (IR, Quant, or Verbal), so youll want to do a decent amount of upfront study first. For instance, learn the basics of the three verbal question types (SC, RC, CR) and then dive into your first Verbal problem set. As you add to your verbal skills (learning more grammar rules, for example, or practicing how to handle different kinds of RC and CR problems), continue to do problem sets a couple of times a week to put those new skills into practice.

I would finish the Foundations of Math strategy guide (if youre using our materials) before diving into either Quant or IR problem sets. I would also learn the basics of Data Sufficiency (see appendix A in any of our 5 main quant strategy guides) and how each IR question type works (see either our IR strategy guide or our IR Interact lessons).

For example, my next problem set in the screenshot above is Integrated Reasoning. If I were a student using Manhattan Prep materials, I would go into my IR Interact lessons and do those first (there are 5 lessons total). Then Id have a baseline for each of the 4 IR question types, and Id be ready to start practicing them in the official tool. (Technically, my screen shot above is assigning IR set #2Id already done #1but lets just pretend it says #1. :) )

You can bookmark individual problems, take notes that the software will actually save for you (tagged to an individual problem), and rate your confidence on each problem (low, medium, or high). Later, you can look at lists of problems sorted by this datasay, everything you tagged as Low, or every problem on which you saved a Note.

Heres a note I saved on a problem that I tagged Medium confidence:

(For copyright reasons, I cant show you the full text of the problem itselfits just below the green line that you see in my screen shot.)

If you want to do a 10-item problem set, click on the Study Plan link (on the menu to the left, not shown in my screen shot) and just do whatever the software presents to you as the next stepyou dont even have to think about it.

When youre done, though, dont review the problems right there (though you can). Instead, click on the Practice Questions link and click into the problem set you want to review there.

Why? In this area, you get a summary of all of your work to date, as the above screen shot shows. Click down into any problem set and youll see a neat little dashboard summary of the problemssee below.

Look at your performance in the overall set. How many did you get right? How much time did you spend? Do any seem obviously really fast or slow? From there, you can click down into any problem to review it, or you can review the whole set at once. The review screen also includes an official solution for the problem.

You can use this data to do your immediate review and also to decide what problems you might want to re-do in future. Put an appointment on your calendar for, say, a week from now, and list the date and name of the problem set along with the question numbers that you want to try again. Then, when your calendar appointment pops up, you already know what youre going to do for that study session!

In sum

If youre coming to the EA from the GMAT, make sure you educate yourself on the major differences between the two exams. There arent manybut theyre important.

Plan for a minimum of 4 weeks and probably closer to 6 to 8 (since you have lots of other things going on in your life too, right?).

Study IR, Verbal, and Quant pretty equallyyoure looking to get fairly even scores across all three sections, as much as possible. Your total score goal (as of this writing) is 150+, but do some research yourself whenever you are reading this to make sure things havent changed.

Youre going to want to practice from the only official EA tool available (as of this writing)but youre also going to need some test-prep-company materials to teach you the underlying skills and content for the exam.

Good luck and happy studying!