There are at least three different types of reviews and each one takes a significant amount of time.  Most departments pay at least $100 per application and you generally review about ten applications.  However, there have been reviews where I am sure that I did not make minimum wage due to long hours.

The first type of review is onsite.  All the work is done during five days in Washington DC. The time commitment for this review is intense (see blog, “A Week in the Life of an Onsite Reviewer”).   The second type of review is done at home and you generally have about two weeks to work at home and then a week for panel conference calls and corrections.  This review can be problematic if the telephone system is not functioning well or if a panel member has a barking dog (not to mention the missing panelist who might have gone to Jamaica for a vacation).  This is also a bit dicey because people tend to be more rude over the phone than they are face-to-face and the discussions can get heated.  The third (my favorite) type of review is a hybrid where you do the work at home and go to Washington DC for 2-5 days for paneling.     

In any case, be prepared to make a substantial time commitment to the grant review process.  This is a very serious commitment.  When you leave the review, make sure you have been fair to each and every applicant.  Your scores and comments can literally make or break programs.