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The New GRE: What We Know So Far


GRE prep is all I do, so I've been tracking with interest the rollout of the new "short GRE" that debuted Sep. 22nd, 2023. If you're unfamiliar with the new format, number of questions, and so on, I suggest reading ETS's FAQ here.

The TL;DR is that the short GRE is just like the long GRE, only shorter. Let's take a look at each section.


Analytical Writing

The AWA section now is just the Issue Essay (the Argument Essay has been removed). It's exactly the same as the Issue Essay on the old GRE. The pool of prompts is still sitting there on the ETS website for you to practice with. That's it. No change at all.



So far, the verbal sections have been structured as follows:

Section 1 (12 questions)

Questions 1-3 are Text Completion

Questions 4-5 are about a short Reading passage

Questions 6-9 are Sentence Equivalence

and Questions 10-12 are about a medium-length Reading passage

Section 2 (15 questions)

Questions 1-4 are Text Completion

Questions 5-6 are about a short Reading Passage

Questions 7-9 are about a medium-length Reading passage

Questions 10-12 are Sentence Equivalence

Question 13 is Critical Reasoning

and Questions 14-15 are about a medium-length Reading Passage



So far, the quant sections go like this:

Quant Section 1 (12 questions)

Questions 1-4 are Quantitative Comparison

Question 5 is problem solving

Questions 6-8 are Data Interpretation (about the same chart / graph)

and Questions 9-12 are problem solving

Quant Section 2 (15 questions)

Questions 1-5 are Quantitative Comparison

and Questions 6-15 are problem solving


What We've Noticed

So far, there have not been any "long" Reading passages on the new test, i.e., passages that require you to scroll to read the whole thing (usually, with multiple paragraphs). However, my contact at ETS has told me there potentially will be long passages, so I'd be ready for them.

I would stress that just because the question breakdown above is what we've observed thus far, it doesn't mean it's engraved in stone. The test has only been out for a few days. So your experience may vary.


The Bottom Line

As you might infer from the brevity of the above paragraph, the new test is really the same as the old in terms of what they test and how it's tested. We're getting the same proportion of questions in each section. So all current GRE practice material is still relevant (save the Argument Essay).


Vince's Tips

Since ETS has only released two short-form practice tests ("Powerprep") for the new GRE, I strongly recommend purchasing the longer Powerprep tests now, since they have more practice questions. If those longer tests are removed, we'll be stuck waiting for ETS to publish more short practice tests... which will take some time. And FYI, the questions on the short Powerprep tests are recycled from the long Powerprep tests.

Let me know if you have any concerns about the new test - happy to answer any questions!

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