A frequent complaint is that the Amateur Extra multiple choice test is easier than the old "essay and draw some schematics format." As far as I can tell the test format changed to multiple choice in 1960.
To upgrade from a General to an Amateur Extra license a 50 question multiple choice test must be passed with a minimum score of 74%. And the FCC question pool to study has 291 questions. So, one who passes the 50 question test likely knows the correct answer to at least 215 of the 291 questions. The questions cover a wide range of subjects that did not exist in the days before the multiple choice format.
It seems to me that a newly minted Amateur Extra has a much broader but less deep knowledge base than the Extra of pre-1960. Would returning to a less broad but deeper test make the newly minted Extra a better Extra?http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php?topic=78492.0;wap2http://www.arrl.org/files/media/News/REVISED_2012-2016_Extra_Class_Pool.pdfhttp://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=licensing_2&id=amateur
I agree with your premise, but your numbers are wrong. By FCC rule, there must be at least 10 times as many questions in the pool as there are required questions on the test, so the minimum number allowed would be 500.
There are actually about 700 questions in the current (2012-2016) Extra class pool. I found one web site that listed a count of 702, but I can't tell if that's before or after deleting three that were withdrawn.