Yes, I meant easier to do well on as separate parts not easier as far as the challenge of the questions and tasting.
As far as six beers and 15min per, that is better than a typical flight in most of the contests I've judged recently (8-12+). Plus with different beer styles you won't get quite the palate fatigue you would with ten stouts. Do you say how many of the six are to be good examples versus having a noticeable fault? I think that was spelled out somewhere in the old format.
As for the essay part, I agree that just not getting the hand and mental fatigue with a 90min exam. I enjoyed focusing on the essay parts of the exam anyway. Granted, you come up short on one question and theres going to be more severe consequences as far as score.
If I'm squarely in Certified territory with my retake I'll probably put off taking the new one. If one or the other is close to the next level, I know I'll be tempted to try the new format. And it'd be sweet not to have to take both parts again to get National.