GRE Post

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

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May 2023

In March of 2023, 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, on 9/22/23 ETS released a much-shorter 1 hour, 58-long version of the GRE—with only one essay and no experimental section.

New GRE Old GRE (top) vs. New GRE (bottom) / Source: ETS

How did ETS achieve such a drastic reduction in total GRE testing time—from 100 questions in 3 hours, 45 minutes, to just 54 questions in 1 hour, 58 minutes?  The essay (Analytical Writing) portion was cut in half from 60 minutes to 30 minutes by eliminating the Argument essay, and keeping only the Issue 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—which is both disappointing, and not at all surprising if you know ET$.

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.  Early score reports from the shorter GRE have indicated that students will lose about 1.5 points per incorrect question, versus the 1 point per incorrect question they would have lost on the 100-question GRE.

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.

GRE Action Plan - How to Study and Prepare for the Graduate Record Exam

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