GRE Post

The New GRE is Nearly 2 Hours Shorter: Everything You Need to Know

A couple of months ago, GMAC announced that it would be shortening the new GMAT (the "GMAT Focus Edition") from 3.5 hours to 2.25 hours. 

Not to be outdone in the never-ending battle of the MBA standardized test duopolies, ETS has just announced a much-shorter 1 hour, 58-long version of the GRE—with only one essay and no experimental section—which begins on September 22, 2023. 

How did ETS achieve such a drastic reduction in testing time—from 3 hours, 45 minutes, to only 1 hour, 58 minutes?   Essay time was cut in half from 60 minutes to 30 minutes by eliminating the Argument essay.  The number of questions per Quant and Verbal section has been reduced from 40 to 27, and overall multiple-choice testing time has been reduced by 42 minutes: 13 minutes on Quant, and a whopping 29 minutes on Verbal. Finally, the 10-minute break was eliminated. (The 130-170 scoring system will stay the same, and so will the price of the exam.)

Everyone wants an easier, quicker exam these days—and getting rid of the experimental section / argument essay on the GRE is undoubtedly a universally welcome development. The question is: how short is too short? I can't see how these exams could become any shorter, and yet still provide the sufficient sample size of questions for an accurate test score.

To state the obvious, a shorter GRE with 46% fewer questions (just 54 multiple-choice questions instead of 100, 80 of which counted toward your score) means that each question on the upcoming GRE will be worth significantly more points—and that the exam's scoring curve will be more sensitive to careless and/or unlucky errors.  

Thus, if anything, score variability aka "the casino effect" on both the new GRE and GMAT Focus exams will increase as a result of these changes.

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