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    Non-evaluated Section: A Prominent Change in the GRE Exam for Test Takers 2023

    In a game of education between the creators of standardized tests for business school admissions, the GRE has confidently responded with a bold move. The Educational Testing Service (ETS), responsible for the administration of the Graduate Record Exam, has announced a significant reduction in the test duration, cutting it by nearly half to less than two hours. This revamped exam will be available for test takers starting September 22nd.

    This decision by ETS follows the footsteps of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which had previously shortened the GMAT exam by almost an hour. GMAC’s changes involved eliminating the essay requirement and converting all questions to multiple-choice format. Although GMAC announced its decision in March, the new GMAT Focus Edition test won’t be accessible to test takers until the fourth quarter of this year, and registration for a test date won’t open until August 29th.

    The new GRE exam will be approximately 17 minutes shorter than the new GMAT exam. While the new GMAT will last for two hours and 15 minutes (excluding breaks), the new GRE will only take one hour and 58 minutes. It is worth noting that the current GRE exam has a duration of three hours and 45 minutes, whereas the current GMAT test lasts three hours and seven minutes (without optional breaks). 

    The changes in test duration have raised uncertainties among business school admission officials regarding the test requirements. Although both testing organizations assure that the validity of the exams will remain intact, it remains unclear whether the shorter tests will demonstrate the same correlation with a student’s ability to succeed in the core curriculum as the longer tests did. Furthermore, schools will need to determine when to accept the new versions of these exams for MBA applicants who submit a standardized test for admission. Harvard Business School, for instance, has recently announced that it will not accept the shorter GMAT exam for mainstream MBA applicants in the upcoming admissions cycle, but it will accept them for its 2+2 deferred admissions program with a deadline in April. 

    Both the GMAT and the GRE are being streamlined in order to attract more prospective students to take standardized examinations and urge more colleges to demand them. The testing organizations claim that the new tests will require less time to take and prepare for. 

    Test StructureThe New GMATThe New GRE
    Analytical Writing SectionEliminatedReduced to 1 essay, 30 minute
    Data Insights SectionA new section with 20 questions, 45 minutesNone
    Exam Cost$275$220
    Launch DateFourth QuarterSeptember 22
    Length Of Exam Without Breaks2 hours, 15 minutes1 hour, 58 minutes
    Quantitative ReasoningReduced to 21 questions, 45 minutesReduced to 27 questions, 47 minutes
    Registration Start DateAugust 29May 31
    Scoring205-805130-170 for each Q & V section
    Verbal ReasoningReduced to 23 questions, 45 minutesReduced to 27 questions, 41 minutes

    It’s important to note that the GRE will still include a writing section, whereas the new GMAT no longer features a writing section. This difference may favor the GRE among admission officials who value the results of a required essay in a test setting. On the other hand, the new GMAT introduces a Data Insights section, which may be advantageous for schools and employers placing greater emphasis on data analysis in decision-making.

    Another aspect to consider is the time allotted for answering each question. In the quant section, for example, the GMAT allows an average of 2.14 minutes per question, while the new GRE allows 1.74 minutes. This places slightly more pressure on test takers. Additionally, the GMAT has reduced its quant questions to 21 (from the previous 31) within a 45-minute period, whereas the GRE has reduced its quant questions to 27 (from 40) within a 47-minute timeframe. 

    The aim of shortening the exams for both GMAC and ETS is to reduce the obstacles faced by applicants when applying to graduate business programs. With many business schools adopting a test-optional approach or waiving standardized test requirements, the GRE has gained market share, and GMAT test-taking has reached historic lows.

    To achieve the goal of reducing the GRE, the new test will remove the “Analyze an Argument” task from the Analytical Writing part. ETS has also decreased the number of questions in the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections and eliminated the ungraded section of the test.

    Current GRE® General TestShorter GRE® General Test
    tasks / questions total time tasks / questions total time
    Analytical Writing2 essays60 minutes 1 essay30 minutes
    Quantitative Reasoning40 questions 60 minutes 27 questions 47 minutes
    Verbal Reasoning40 questions 70 minutes 27 questions 41 minutes
    Unscored section to test new questionsVariesVariesNoneNone
    Scheduled break *10 minutes None
    Total 3 hours, 45 minutes 1 hour, 58 minutes

    Related Exams: IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, SAT, GRE, GMAT

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