The GRE is getting shorter!

As of September 22, 2023, the length of the GRE will be decreasing from 3 hours and 45 minutes to just under two hours (1 hour and 58 minutes). The test, which will will take 48% less time to complete, is now considered so short that it doesn't even have a scheduled break!

A close up of a calendar with a yellow thumbtack and the word Exam written on the 20th.
Analytical Writing 1 30 minutes
Quantitative Section 1 12 21 minutes
Quantitative Section 2 15 26 minutes
Verbal Section 1 12 18 minutes
Verbal Section 2 15 23 minutes

Changes on the Shortened GRE

The current GRE includes two essays: Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument. The time allotted for each essay is 30 minutes. The new, shorter version of the GRE will include only the Analysis of an Issue essay. The deletion of the Argument Essay reduces the testing time by 30 minutes. Most schools do not prioritize the essay (or AWA) score when evaluating candidates for admission. So, it makes sense to halve the number of essay tasks.

The current GRE has an experimental section that is either 30 minutes (verbal) or 35 minutes (math). The new, shorter version of the GRE will not have this unscored section, which means that you don't have to spend your time helping ETS try out new questions.

The test makers at ETS have also reduced the number of questions in each section. However, the time per question remains the same, which means that you’ll spend less time overall in each section.

Consistency on the Shortened GRE

Verbal sections will still consist of a mix of Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence, and Reading questions.

Quantitative sections will still test Algebra, Arithmetic, Geometry, and some data analysis topics. There will also still be Quantitative Comparison, Multiple Choice Single Answer, Multiple Choice Multiple Answer, and Numeric Entry questions.

In general, these changes are a positive development for test takers. After all, it’s easier to stay focused for a little less than 2 hours than for almost 4 hours. However, it will now be even more important to practice for accuracy when preparing for the shorter GRE. There are so few questions in each section that each mistake will affect the final score a little more.