Shorter GRE 2023 – What The Changes Mean For Test Takers | GRE Update

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Introduction – New GRE is shorter! | GRE Update

Introducing Shorter GRE – Welcome to the new era of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) – a crucial stepping stone for students with dreams of higher education in graduate programs, business schools, or legal institutions. In an initiative to enhance the test-taking experience, minimize test anxiety, and respect the time of the candidates, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) is launching a shorter version of the GRE. Starting September 2023, the revised GRE General Test will only require less than two hours to complete, cutting the current test time in half. This evolution marks the GRE as the shortest and most time-efficient graduate school admissions test available, leading the way in modernized educational assessments.

If you’re planning to take the GRE General Test in or after September 2023, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with these changes and prepare accordingly. Let’s dive into the new world of the GRE, making your journey to your dream school smoother and more informed.

In this Blog Post, we will answer the major Questions:

  1. How is the Shorter GRE different from the Current GRE?
  2. How will it impact your Preparation Strategy?
  3. What are the changes to the Shorter GRE that we don’t know about yet?

What are the Major Changes in the Shorter GRE

Here’s a comprehensive list of all the major changes that will be implemented in the new, shorter GRE:

Change 1: Reduced Testing Time

The overall duration of the GRE General Test will be reduced by half, shortened from approximately 4 hours to just under 2 hours. This is a significant change aimed at reducing test fatigue and improving focus for test-takers.


Change 2: Removal of the “Analyze an Argument” Task from the Analytical Writing Section

 The Analytical Writing section will now only include the “Analyze an Issue” task. The “Analyze an Argument” task will be eliminated. This means the Analytical Writing section will only require you to write one essay instead of two, saving you time and energy.

Change 3: Reduced Number of Questions

 The Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections will have fewer questions. The exact number of questions per section will be decreased from 40 to 27. Despite the reduced number of questions, the average time available to answer each question remains the same.

Change 4: Removal of the Unscored Section

Currently, the GRE includes an unscored section that is used for ETS research. This section, which does not count toward the test-taker’s score, will be removed in the shorter GRE.

Change 5: No Scheduled Breaks

 Since the test duration will now be under 2 hours, the scheduled 10-minute break that currently exists after the second hour of the test will be removed. However, those taking the GRE in a test center can opt to take unscheduled breaks, but the clock won’t stop unless they have been approved for a test accommodation due to disability or health-related need. Unscheduled breaks are not allowed for those testing at home.

Change 6: Faster Score Reporting

Test-takers can expect to receive their official GRE scores much faster, within 8-10 calendar days. This is an improvement from the current time frame of 10–15 calendar days. This will help applicants complete their applications quicker.

Shorter GRE- Faster Score Reporting

Remember that despite these changes, the basic structure of the GRE (i.e., the inclusion of Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections) will remain the same. The score scales will also remain unchanged, which means scores from the shorter GRE will be directly comparable to those from the current GRE. This ensures that the test maintains its validity and reliability.

Comparison between Current GRE & Shorter GRE

Here is the Comparison of the major features of the Shorter GRE and the current GRE.

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ComponentCurrent GREShorter GRE
Analytical Writing tasksTwo essay tasks (60 minutes) – Includes “Analyze an Argument” and “Analyze an Issue” tasksOne essay task (30 minutes) – “Analyze an Issue” task only
Quantitative Reasoning questions40 questions (70 minutes)27 questions (47 minutes)
Verbal Reasoning questions40 questions (60 minutes)27 questions (41 minutes)
Unscored SectionVariesRemoved
Scheduled BreakA 10-minute break after the 2nd hourNo scheduled break
Total Test Time3 hours, 45 minutes1 hour, 58 minutes
Score Delivery Time10-15 days8-10 days

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What will remain unchanged in the transition from the current GRE to the shorter GRE?

Several elements of the GRE General Test will remain consistent, even with the transition to a shorter test. Here are the major aspects that are not changing:


Test Structure: The GRE will continue to include sections on Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning, maintaining its fundamental structure.

Scoring: The scoring process for all three measures will not change, and the score scales for the shorter test will be the same as on the current test.

Score Report: There are no changes to the Official Score Report format for the shorter GRE.

Adaptive Nature: The shorter GRE will still be section-level adaptive, meaning the difficulty of the second operational section of each scored measure is based on the performance on the first section of that measure.

Accommodation: The accommodations available for the shorter GRE test will be the same as those on the current version. Learn More

Test Fees: The costs associated with the GRE will remain the same despite the test’s duration being reduced.- Fee Details

Delivery Mode: The shorter GRE will continue to be delivered both at test centers and at home, like the current GRE.

Use of Scores: Graduate and professional programs will continue to use GRE General Test scores as they always have, regardless of the test length.

Retake Policy: The policy allowing you to take the GRE General Test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days), remains unchanged.

Score Validity: GRE scores continue to be reportable for five years following your test date.

For comprehensive information about the current GRE structure, we recommend checking out our detailed blog article

GRE exam pattern, test format, and sample questions.

When will the Shorter GRE be available?

The shorter version of the GRE General Test will be available starting from September 22, 2023. Students looking to take their GRE General Test on or after this date should expect to experience the revised format of the test.

If you plan to take the GRE soon, it’s important to note that your test date will determine the format of your exam. If your test is scheduled on or after September 22, 2023, you will be taking the shorter version of the GRE. This will be the case regardless of when you registered for the test.

On the other hand, if you are more comfortable with the current format of the GRE, you can still take it, but you will need to schedule your test for a date prior to September 22, 2023.

For students preparing for their tests, this flexibility provides an opportunity to choose the format they are most comfortable with based on their preparedness and test date.

Registration for these test dates is currently open, allowing prospective test-takers to secure their slots in advance.

Shorter GRE – Exam Structure and Number of Questions

The structure of the shorter GRE is quite similar to the current GRE, but the number of tasks/questions and the total time for each section have been adjusted to reduce the overall duration of the test. Here’s a breakdown of the structure and the number of questions for each section:

SectionNumber of Tasks/QuestionsTotal Time
Analytical WritingOne essay task (Analyze an Issue)30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning27 questions47 minutes
Verbal Reasoning27 questions41 minutes
Total1 hour, 58 minutes

Note: There won’t be any unscored section or scheduled break in the shorter GRE. However, those testing at a test center can opt to take unscheduled breaks, but the clock won’t stop unless they have been approved for a test accommodation due to disability or health-related need. Note that unscheduled breaks are not allowed for those testing at home.

What is yet to be announced?

Section-specific question distribution: We know that the total number of questions for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning is reduced to 27 each, but the exact distribution of questions within these sections is yet to be detailed.

Scoring Details: While it’s clear that the score scales for the shorter test will be the same as on the current test, further information on how the scoring algorithm might adjust due to the reduced number of questions is not yet provided.

Which version of the test should you take- Shorter GRE vs. Current GRE

Choosing between the shorter GRE and the current GRE depends largely on your application deadlines and your personal preferences.

The shorter GRE will replace the current test starting from September 22, 2023. If your application deadline is early in October or sooner, you might want to consider taking the current GRE. The reason is that official GRE scores will be delivered to you within 8-10 days of testing, so it’s best to leave yourself enough time to receive your scores and complete your applications.

On the other hand, if your application deadlines are not imminent, you may choose to take the shorter GRE for its streamlined format and faster score delivery. You might prefer this option if you want to spend less time testing or if you want to receive your scores faster.

Shorter GRE=reduced time

In either case, it’s important to remember that both versions of the GRE are designed to measure the same skills and produce valid, reliable scores. Your scores will be comparable whether they come from the current GRE or the shorter GRE. Your choice between the two versions should therefore be based on your own comfort, convenience, and timeline rather than on any perceived difference in the tests’ content or difficulty.

Shorter GRE and your current preparation

Despite the reduction in test length, the shorter GRE still assesses the same areas as the current GRE: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Therefore, your current preparation for these areas will still be highly relevant for the shorter GRE.

Here we have tried to answer a few important questions you might have about how the Shorter GRE exam might affect your preparation strategies.

Question 1: Given that the shorter GRE is removing one essay task from the Analytical Writing section, how should I adjust my preparation strategy?

Answer: In the shorter GRE, the “Analyze an Argument” task will be removed, leaving only the “Analyze an Issue” task. This means that your preparation should now focus solely on the skills needed to successfully complete the “Analyze an Issue” task. While some skills such as critical thinking, articulating complex concepts, and writing coherently will still be necessary, you can save time by not preparing specifically for the “Analyze an Argument” task.

Question 2: Considering the reduced number of questions in the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections, should I change my test-taking strategy?

Answer: While the number of questions has been reduced, the overall structure and content of the GRE remain the same. This means the skills you need to answer these questions effectively are unchanged. However, given the fewer number of questions, each question may weigh more towards your final score. It’s still crucial to answer each question to the best of your ability. Time management will still be important, even though you may find you have slightly more time per question.

Question 3: I’ve been preparing for the current GRE. Should I consider taking it instead of waiting for the shorter GRE, given the amount of preparation I’ve already done?

Answer: The choice between the current GRE and the shorter GRE largely depends on your application deadlines. The shorter GRE will replace the current test on September 22, 2023. If your application deadlines are the first week of October or sooner, it might be best to take the current test. If your application deadlines are not a factor, you can choose based on your comfort with the test length and structure. Remember, the content and skills tested remain largely the same, so your preparation won’t be wasted either way.

Shorter GRE – FAQs

What are the major changes in the new shorter GRE?

The new shorter GRE has reduced the testing time from about 4 hours to just under 2 hours. This has been achieved by reducing the number of questions in each section and removing the unscored section. Additionally, the “Analyze an Argument” task has been removed from the Analytical Writing section and faster score reporting has been introduced, promising quicker results for test takers

Does the shorter time mean less time to answer each question?

No, the average time available to answer each question remains the same despite the reduction in overall testing time.

How does the new GRE format affect the test’s validity and reliability?

The ETS assures that despite the changes, the GRE test will maintain its high quality, with valid and reliable scores that continue to inform graduate and professional program admissions and scholarship decisions.

When will the new shorter GRE be available for test takers?

The new shorter GRE will be available from September 22, 2023. Students who schedule a test appointment on or after this date will take the shorter GRE test.

What factors should I consider when deciding which version of the test to take?

The application deadline might be the primary factor to consider when deciding which version to take. It’s recommended to take the current test if the application deadlines are in the first week of October or sooner. If the deadlines are not a factor, it’s a personal choice.

Can the shorter GRE be taken both at test centers and at home?

Yes, the shorter GRE will be delivered at both test centers and at home.

Will there be any changes in the GRE scoring process with the new format?

The scoring processes for all three measures will not change. However, the Analytical Writing score will be based on one essay task instead of two.

Will there be any changes in the GRE fees with the new format?

No, the GRE fees will remain the same for the shorter version of the test.

Can I reschedule my test date to take the current GRE instead of the shorter GRE, or vice versa?

Yes, you can reschedule your test appointment through your ETS Account

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