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Last time, we talked about the IR and Verbal sections of the new Executive Assessment (EA) exam for EMBA candidates. Today, we’re going to dive into Quant and also talk more about your overall study.
As I mentioned last time, not much has been released as of yet, so the conclusions we’re drawing are preliminary. This is what I would do if I had to take the test soon, given limited data. As more information and practice materials are released, we’ll update our thinking and approach.
The Quant section will consist of the same two question types (Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency) that appear on the Verbal section of the GMAT, but you’ll only have to answer 14 of them, not 37. You’ll be given 30 minutes or just over 2 minutes per question; this is about the same as on the GMAT.
The single biggest thing that I noticed: not one of the 15 released sample questions contains any geometry. This isn’t really surprising, since geometry doesn’t come into play at all in business school—but I’m still glad to see it. (Well…to not see it!)
Disclaimer: the absence of a particular topic from these 15 questions doesn’t automatically mean they won’t test it. In this case, though, we’re talking about an entire branch of mathematics! I think they would have included at least one geometry question if they were planning to test geometry on the EA.
As on the IR section, a number of the quant questions tested knowledge of percents (including percent change), fractions, and population growth / rate of change. This section did include some full-on rates material and I would expect ratios to be in the mix, as well as basic statistics: average, median, possibly some weighted average.
The sample questions do include algebra, but not some more advanced topics such as quadratic equations, functions, sequences, or absolute value. The algebra is limited to linear equations (you will, at times, have to translate words to math). This one is a bit harder to call: will they test exponents or roots, for example?
I don’t know, but I did notice that a large proportion of the questions dealt with real numbers. It seems that the EA is downplaying more “textbook” math and emphasizing stories that are a bit closer to how you would calculate something in real life. (Again, this makes sense, given the target audience for this exam.)
Several questions covered number properties topics, including divisibility and odd & even. I would guess that positive & negative will be fair game, too. I would imagine that they won’t get into combinatorics and possibly not probability—though that’s just a guess.
If you’ve studied for the GMAT and are familiar with the strategies Choose Smart Numbers and Test Cases, you can use these strategies on the EA, too. You also can (and should!) estimate at times. I would expect that other strategies, such as Work Backwards, will also come into play on the EA.
In short, it looks like the EA is mostly limited to concepts and strategies that we would, in fact, use in business school. Here’s what I would study from the books that we publish:
Foundations of Math: nearly everything! You can skip geometry, roots, quadratics, and absolute value.
Fractions, Decimals, & Percents: fractions, percents, ratios
Algebra: linear equations; the basics of exponents and inequalities
Word Problems: translations, statistics (average, median, weighted average), rates, population
Number Properties: divisibility and prime, odd and even, positive and negative
In our main strategy guides (everything but Foundations of Math), there are “Extra” chapters with more advanced material. Ignore all of those chapters.
So…how should I study?
Pretty much the same way you’d study if you were getting ready for the GMAT. You just don’t have to learn as much, thankfully. 🙂 Learn the underlying rules and concepts, and then learn to think your way through GMAT-format questions.
It’s unclear at this point what kind of score will be considered competitive at various schools, so we’re all going into this a little bit blind right now. It has historically been the case that EMBA programs don’t place as much emphasis on standardized test scores as MBA programs, so I wouldn’t worry about trying to get an amazing score. You just want to do well enough that there aren’t any questions about your ability to handle the quantitative and analytical work that will be necessary once you start school.
If it were me, I’d plan for about 4 to 8 weeks of regular study—perhaps 1 hour a day Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and then a couple of 1.5 to 2-hour sessions over the week-end. You could probably cram your studies into a shorter period of time, but your brain will retain the material better if you give it some time to sink in across multiple practice sessions. And you’ll likely be using most of the math concepts in business school, so you really do want to learn the material for real.
Are you planning to take the EA? Have you already taken it? Let us know about your experience in the comments. Good luck and happy studying! 📝
Stacey Koprince is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Stacey has been teaching the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT for more than 15 years and is one of the most well-known instructors in the industry. Stacey loves to teach and is absolutely fascinated by standardized tests. Check out Stacey’s upcoming GMAT courses here.