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ETS Trims the GRE—Fewer Questions, Less Time

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On the heels of a new GMAT format, Educational Testing Service (ETS) has announced a shortened version of the GRE General Test starting September 22 of this year. The changes to the GRE translate to a graduate admissions exam that can be completed in under two hours–about half the time of the current version.

“The changes we’re announcing today underscore the emphasis we place on keeping our customers at the center of all that we do,” said ETS CEO Amit Sevak in the press release. “As we continue to introduce product innovations, we’re committed to balancing two things — maintaining rigor and validity, while improving the test-taker experience.”

What Has Changed about the GRE?

In the Analytical Writing section, “Analyze an Argument” has been dropped and so has the unscored section. Both the Quant and Verbal Reasoning sections will have a reduced number of questions.

Starting in September, the Analytical Writing section will contain one section and one task to be completed in 30 minutes. Quantitative Reasoning will pose 27 questions over two sections for 47 minutes. The Verbal Reasoning section will also have 27 questions across two sections with 41 minutes allotted. The total test time clocks in at 1 hour 58 minutes.

While elements of the test have changed, the score scales will remain the same.

When Will the New GRE Be Available?

Registration for the shorter test is now open for test dates beginning September 22, 2023. Official GRE test prep resources and practices based on the new test will be available in September; however, existing materials will still apply to the new test given that the nature of the questions is unchanged.

What Is the Future of Standardized Testing for MBA Programs? 

“The big question many are asking is ‘Where is this all heading?’,” says Clear Admit Co-founder, Graham Richmond.  “And while I don’t necessarily have an easy answer on the future of testing, it’s true that both the GRE and GMAT were likely on the long side and will benefit from the streamlining that ETS and GMAC have planned” Richmond continues.  “This is also consistent with the general trend towards removing barriers to b-school application; schools requiring fewer essays, moving from two recommendation letters to one, offering more online events, conducting virtual interviews, and more.”

In all instances, applicants should be careful to read the fine print of their target schools’ policies, since at least one leading program has indicated that they will not accept the new GMAT exam for the 2023-24 application cycle.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.