What You Need to Know About the New, Shorter GRE in 2024

In 2024, the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) underwent a significant transformation, transitioning to a shorter format that aims to streamline the testing experience while maintaining its rigorous assessment of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. This change reflects a broader trend in standardized testing towards more efficient and candidate-friendly formats. If you're planning to take the GRE, understanding these changes is crucial for your preparation and strategy. Here's the complete guide to understanding the newly shortened GRE.

Overview of Changes

The Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the GRE, announced that the revised test would reduce the total testing time, alter the number of questions, and modify the overall structure without compromising the quality of the assessment. This move is aimed at reducing test-taker fatigue and improving the overall testing experience. The modifications include adjustments to the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections, while the analytical writing section remains largely unchanged in terms of format but is integrated more seamlessly into the test.

Reduced Testing Time and Question Count

One of the most significant changes is the reduction in the total duration of the test. Before, completing the GRE, including breaks, required around 3 hours and 45 minutes. The new format has cut down the total test time by about 30 minutes. This decrease in duration was accomplished by reducing the number of items in both the verbal and quantitative reasoning portions. and by streamlining the experimental section, which does not count towards the test score but is used by ETS to validate new questions.

Adjustments to Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning Sections

In the verbal reasoning segment, while the variety of question types remains unchanged—encompassing reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence—the total number of questions has been diminished. The reduction in questions necessitates a more focused approach to studying, as each question now carries more weight towards the final score.

Likewise, the quantitative reasoning section experiences a comparable decrease in question quantity. However, the emphasis on high-quality, diverse questions that assess a range of mathematical skills and concepts has been maintained. This change means that test-takers need to have a solid grasp of fundamental mathematical principles and the ability to apply these principles in various contexts.

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

The AWA section continues to consist of two tasks: an "Analyze an Argument" task and an "Analyze an Issue" task. While the format remains unchanged, the integration of the writing section with the rest of the test has been streamlined to improve the flow of the testing experience. Candidates should continue to practice articulating complex ideas clearly and effectively, constructing reasoned arguments, and backing their concepts with pertinent illustrations and proof.

Implications for Test Preparation

The modifications to the GRE necessitate a revised approach to preparation. With fewer questions, the accuracy of each answer becomes even more crucial. Test-takers should focus on quality over quantity in their study habits, ensuring a deep understanding of the concepts rather than superficial coverage of a wide range of materials.

Practice tests that mimic the new format are essential for adapting to the timing changes and developing effective time-management strategies. Candidates should seek out updated preparation materials that reflect the new structure and question distribution of the test.

Strategies for Success

Focused Study: Concentrate your study efforts on understanding core concepts in verbal and quantitative reasoning. A depth of knowledge in fewer areas is more beneficial than a shallow understanding of a broad range of topics.

Practice with Purpose: Use practice tests to become comfortable with the new format and timing. Examine your performance to pinpoint improvement opportunities so that you make a strategy as per requirement.

Time Management: Develop strategies to manage the reduced testing time effectively. Work on managing your time effectively across each segment to guarantee you can answer every question without haste.

Stress Management: The shorter test duration can intensify the testing experience. Develop techniques to maintain focus and manage stress, such as deep breathing or positive visualization, to ensure peak performance on test day.

Seek Updated Resources: Ensure that your preparation materials and practice tests have been updated to reflect the new GRE format. Using outdated resources can lead to misaligned expectations and preparation gaps.

To End With

The shorter GRE in 2024 represents a significant shift in standardized testing for graduate admissions. While the changes aim to improve the testing experience, they also require test-takers to adapt their preparation strategies. By understanding the modifications to the test structure, focusing on core concepts, and practicing with the new format in mind, candidates can navigate these changes effectively. The revised GRE continues to be a comprehensive assessment of the skills necessary for success in graduate school, and with the right preparation, you can achieve a score that reflects your potential. Embrace the new format as an opportunity to showcase your abilities with confidence and precision.