Having looked closely at the online practice exam and the formats of the tasting and written proficiency exams, I think that the new exams will be about as hard as they were before.
The online proficiency exam appears to focus on the topics mentioned by Jonathan. There look to be a lot of questions which focus on style details, whereas previously you could gut out a 60% score on the essay exam by just describing the broad outlines of various beer styles with some errors and a lot of omissions.
On the other hand, the fact that it is multiple choice, true/false and multiple answer really helps. That sort of test challenges passive rather than active memory, so it's easier to make good guesses even if you're not sure of the answer.
My ignorant guess is that it's easier than the legacy written exam, but you'll still need to know your stuff in order to pass it.
The tasting exam is longer and perhaps more physically fatiguing than the tasting portion of the legacy exam, but it is basically the same format. Also, 6 beers rather than 4 gives a better chance for you to show your abilities, and the scoring section of the exam has been reworked to be a lot fairer; you now lose points based on how far off your scores are from the proctors' scores for each beer, rather than overall.
Just describe the beer in front of you, address each one of the descriptive elements listed on the scoresheet (i.e., "malt, hops, esters and other aromatics" for aroma), and try to be precise in your descriptions (i.e., "intense initial chocolate malt, backed by moderate toasty, bready and caramel notes" rather than just "malty") and you'll be fine.
The written proficiency exam has been altered to be less of a series of sprints and more of a marathon.
There are 6 questions, one question consists of 20 true or false questions (sort of like Part 3 of Question 1 on the legacy exam, the others are mostly recycled questions from the written portion of the legacy exam, but with a few new ones.
It's too early to say what questions will always be on the exam, but my guess is that the All-Grain Recipe question will be a perennial, as will the "compare 3 styles" question.
For the first question, you don't gain any points; you just lose 0.5% from your score for each wrong answer. That's harsh, but as the introduction to the test says, the questions are the sort of stuff that any National or better judge should know cold. It's a question you can blow through in 5 minutes tops.
The fact that you have more than 15 minutes to answer each of the essay questions indicates that the graders will be looking for a lot of depth in each answer. That probably means that bullet point answers, grids and all the other time-saving tricks used to answer questions on the old exam won't cut it. The graders will probably be looking for well-constructed essays of at least two pages.
Since the written proficiency exam is something of an unknown quantity, however, the graders will have to figure out what constitutes "National" or "Master" or "Thanks for playing" scores as they go along. It will probably be a couple of years before there is enough data to work with. It should be fun.
Summary: Possibly easier to get Recognized or Certified rank. About the same difficulty to get National or better rank, plus the extra hassle factor of having to take two different exams on two different occasions.