When it comes to the GRE (or the Graduate Record Examination), aspiring graduate students understand the significance of mastering both Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections.

The Quantitative Reasoning (“Quant” or “Math”) section of the GRE demands precision, critical thinking, and a thorough grasp of mathematical concepts. Just as a high score in the Verbal Reasoning portion of the exam is indispensable for certain graduate programs and a high total score is important for ultra-competitive grad programs like MBA programs, a stellar Quant score holds equal weight for others—particularly in fields like engineering, mathematics, and economics.

This article is tailored for individuals aiming to excel in the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE, whether they are pursuing programs that prioritize quantitative skills or simply need to balance their overall GRE score with a strong showing in math.

We will delve into the intricacies of the Quant section, explore the types of questions asked, and equip you with strategies to conquer the GRE quant section on test day.

Like the Verbal Reasoning section, the Quantitative Reasoning measure of the GRE is split into two further subsections.

In total, the GRE Math section will take 47 minutes to complete. Its subsections last as follows:

- Section One: 21 minutes, 12 questions
- Section Two: 26 minutes, 15 questions

The GRE is section-level adaptive, so your performance in Section One will determine the difficulty level in Section Two. Your total GRE Quantitative Reasoning measure score will be based on how many correct answers you get as well as the difficulty level of those questions.

Test takers are allowed to move back and forth between questions in each separate GRE Math section.

An on-screen calculator is provided for test takers on the entire Quant section of the GRE. This GRE calculator can add, subtract, multiply, divide, and find the square root.

If you read about the GRE on the ETS website, you’ll find that they refer to two different concepts as “question types”.

For the sake of clarity, our in-house GRE expert, David Baird, teaches students to tie the question types together with their respective answer formats to simplify the process.

Working in this way, the question types and their respective answer formats are as follows:

1a. Problem Solving – Select One Answer

1b. Problem Solving – Select One or More Answers

2. Quantitative Comparison

3a. Data Interpretation – Select One Answer

3b. Data Interpretation – Select One or More Answers

4a. Numeric Entry – Single Box

4b. Numeric Entry – Double Box

Multiple Choice Problem Solving questions are the first of four main Math question-type variations tested on the new, shorter GRE exam.

The Problem Solving questions in the GRE Quantitative section aim to evaluate a test taker’s ability to use mathematical concepts to solve real-world problems effectively. While a solid understanding of fundamental mathematical principles is crucial, success on these questions also hinges on strategic thinking and efficient problem-solving techniques.

There are two types of Problem Solving questions on the GRE:

- Multiple Choice — Select One Answer Choice
- Multiple Choice — Select One or More Answer Choices

These questions ask the test taker to select *only one *correct answer from a list of five answer choices.

This type of multiple-choice question asks to you select *one or more* answer choices from a list of possible answers. The question will not necessarily tell you how many choices you must select.

The average (arithmetic mean) age of the people in group G is 41 years, and the average age of the people in Group H is 36 years. The average age of the people in the two groups combined is 38. If no person is in both groups, what fraction of the people in the two groups combined are in group H?

A. 2/5

B. 1/2

C. 3/5

D. 2/3

E. 3/4

To view the answer to this question, read our article on GRE Problem Solving questions.

Many people think of GRE problem-solving questions as just plain math questions, but in most cases, they are much more than that. The GRE is an effective exam because it does not simply measure basic mathematical skills—it is equally interested in your ability to reason based quantitatively based on the information available.

Although they are likely the most familiar GRE Math question type, many students approach problem solving questions in the wrong ways.

To succeed on GRE problem solving questions, test takers need the requisite knowledge related to the content area being tested—math skills related to arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statistics, etc. However, it is just as important to read the question carefully, leverage every hint, and choose the most efficient and effective strategy (e.g. backsolving, number picking, conceptual thinking, etc.).

To improve your results on problem solving questions, we recommend using the following tips:

**Use the fact that the answer is there:**It isn’t always efficient to work out the answer to a problem solving question using algebra or arithmetic. Instead, students should consider how long an extensive formula is likely to take them to produce versus simply plugging in an answer choice for a given GRE question. Working with an experienced GRE tutor can help you develop the pattern recognition skills you need to quickly evaluate the best method for arriving at the correct answer. Instead, examine the answer choices available and use them strategically to find the right answer. We cover these tactics in more detail in these GRE Problem Solving practice questions.**Note whether you’re asked to indicate a specific number of answer choices or all choices that apply:**This is a simple trap that some GRE students fall into. Pay close attention to the question to figure out how many answer choices you should provide in case you lose valuable points over such a tiny error!**In some questions that involve conditions that limit the possible values of the numerical answer choices, it may be efficient to determine the least and/or the greatest possible value:**By determining these extreme values, test takers can narrow down the range of possible answers. This strategy is particularly useful when the problem involves inequalities, constraints, or specific conditions that impose limitations on the potential solutions. By understanding the boundaries set by these conditions, test takers can effectively eliminate answer choices that fall outside the acceptable range and focus on the most plausible options.**Avoid lengthy calculations by recognizing and continuing numerical patterns:**In certain GRE Problem Solving questions, test takers can save time and effort by identifying recurring or predictable numerical patterns within the problem. Instead of performing complex calculations, test takers can leverage their ability to recognize and extend these patterns to arrive at the solution more efficiently. This approach allows for an expedited and more intuitive problem-solving process, particularly when dealing with repetitive sequences, series, or numerical relationships. Actively looking for patterns and trends in the provided data or equations allows test takers can make educated guesses that lead them closer to the correct answer without the need for extensive calculations. This strategy not only saves time but also reduces the risk of computational errors.

Quantitative Comparison questions on the GRE ask test takers to evaluate and compare two quantities, designated as Quantity A and Quantity B, and determine the relationship between them. These questions offer four possible answer choices:

- Quantity A is greater.
- Quantity B is greater.
- The two quantities are equal.
- The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

To excel in Quantitative Comparison questions, it’s crucial to grasp the structure of these questions and employ effective strategies for comparison. Here are some tips to enhance your performance:

**Familiarize Yourself with Answer Choices:**Quantitative Comparison questions consistently feature the same set of answer choices. Pay close attention to each option, especially the “The relationship cannot be determined from the information given” choice. Only select this option if it’s evident that the relationship between the quantities cannot be determined through computation.**Avoid Unnecessary Computations:**Minimize unnecessary computations by simplifying, transforming, or estimating the given quantities only as needed for comparison. Focus on the key aspects that facilitate comparison without delving into exhaustive calculations.**Be Aware of Scale in Geometric Figures:**Recognize that geometric figures presented in Quantitative Comparison questions may not be drawn to scale. If aspects of a figure are undetermined, mentally redraw the figure while keeping fixed elements intact. Explore the possible variations in lengths of line segments or measures of angles.**Employ Number Substitution:**Substitute simple numbers for variables in algebraic expressions to evaluate and compare the resulting quantities. Experiment with various types of numbers, including zero, positive and negative numbers, fractions, and decimals. If conflicting results emerge, indicating an indeterminate relationship, choose the appropriate option.**Simplify the Comparison:**When faced with complex algebraic or arithmetic expressions for both quantities, employ a step-by-step simplification approach. Set up a comparison involving Quantity A and Quantity B, utilizing placeholder symbols for the relationship between them. Gradually simplify the comparison until you can determine a definitive relationship or conclude that it’s indeterminate.

By applying these strategies and familiarizing yourself with the structure of Quantitative Comparison questions, you can enhance your ability to analyze and compare quantities effectively within the given time constraints. Practice using these techniques to sharpen your quantitative reasoning skills and optimize your performance on the GRE exam.

Test takers should use official GRE Quantitative Comparison practice questions to prepare effectively for this section of the exam.

(x + 5)² – (y – 3)² = 0

x + y = 2

**Quantity A:** x – y

**Quantity B:** 0

A. Quantity A is greater.

B. Quantity B is greater.

C. The two quantities are equal.

D. The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

To view the answer to this question, read our article on GRE Quantitative Comparison Practice Questions.

Data Interpretation questions ask test takers to refer to a specific table, graph, or other visual display. These questions require the test taker to be able to interpret and analyze data and are typically multiple-choice questions (both types).

Data interpretation involves visualizing and comprehending data presented in various formats. Usually, each set comprises three questions, allowing candidates to delve deeper into the information provided.

- Multiple-choice (Select One Answer): In this question type, candidates are asked to select a single correct answer from the provided options based on the interpretation of the data.
- Multiple-choice (Select One or More Answers): These questions require candidates to choose one or more correct answers from the options provided, depending on the information presented in the data. The question will not necessarily specify how many answer choices are expected.

To excel in Data Interpretation questions, practice interpreting various types of data presentations, such as pie charts, column charts, line charts, and scatter plots. Familiarize yourself with strategies for efficiently extracting information and answering questions accurately within the given time constraints.

Although Data Interpretation questions may initially appear challenging, with consistent practice and the use of effective strategies, students can make significant improvements to their Data Interpretation score and, by extension, their overall GRE score.

**Briefly Scan the Data Presentation:**Start by scanning the data presentation to understand its content. However, avoid spending excessive time studying every detail initially. Note the title of the data presentation and any labels on the axes or segments. These often provide crucial context about what is being measured and compared. Check the units of measurement (such as millions, percentages, or specific units like miles or kilograms) and the scale increments. Look at any legends, keys, or notes that clarify the data. These elements can provide definitions for symbols, colors, or specific data points and offer insights into the data’s context.**Rely on the Provided Data:**Avoid incorporating any external or specialized knowledge unless it is explicitly derived from the data provided. Focus exclusively on the data shown in the graphs, charts, tables, or other visuals. The questions are designed to be answered using this data alone, and bringing in outside information can lead to incorrect conclusions. Carefully read any accompanying notes, titles, labels, and legends that clarify the data. These often provide necessary context and details that are essential for answering the questions accurately.**Interpret Quantities by Sight or Measurement, According to the Corresponding Scales**: Identify the axes, scale markings, and units of measurement. Read exact values directly from the graph and estimate values by interpolating between marked points. Compare quantities by observing the relative heights of bars or the slopes of line segments. These techniques can help test takers analyze trends and make quick assessments without over-precision, ensuring they rely on the graph’s provided data for accurate interpretations.

Numeric entry questions ask test taker to manually type their answer as an integer, decimal, or fraction depending on the question rather than selecting from multiple-choice options. In these questions, test takers will be presented with a problem or scenario that requires a quantitative solution.

A single answer box will be provided for integer or decimal answers, and two separate boxes will be provided for fractional answers – one for the numerator and one for the denominator.

- Single Box Numeric Entry Questions: In this format, you will see a single text box where you enter your answer. This format is used for answers that are a single number, such as an integer, decimal, or a simple fraction (if a fraction, you should enter it as a decimal).
- Double Box Numeric Entry Questions: This format is used for entering fractions. You will see two separate boxes: one for the numerator and one for the denominator. This format is specifically designed to handle fractional answers.

Numeric Entry questions assess your ability to perform mathematical calculations accurately and efficiently. They cover a wide range of mathematical concepts, including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and statistics. These questions often involve solving equations, finding numerical values, or performing calculations based on given data or conditions.

It’s essential to pay attention to formatting guidelines when entering your answer, such as decimal points, fractions, or scientific notation, as incorrect formatting may result in an incorrect response.

**Answer the Question That’s Asked:**Carefully analyze the problem statement to ensure you understand the specific information being requested. Many students fall into the trap of performing a complicated calculation that’s necessary for getting the correct answer, but they’ll miss one minor, final detail that makes their hard work ultimately fruitless. Re-reading the question after you’ve given your answer can help students avoid this mistake.**Round to the required degree of accuracy:**Pay close attention to any instructions regarding rounding in the question. If rounding is required, ensure that you round your answer to the specified degree of accuracy—whether it’s to the nearest whole number, decimal place, or significant figure—rather than simply providing the exact answer to your calculation. This is another simple mistake students make, but it’s an easy one to overcome.**Examine your answer to see if it’s reasonable with respect to the information given:**Perform a quick sanity check on your answer to make sure that it makes sense given the context of the problem. For example, if the question involves the average of a set of numbers and your calculated average is significantly larger or smaller than the values in the set, it might indicate a mistake in your calculation. Similarly, if the question involves a real-world scenario with certain limitations or constraints, ensure that your answer falls within those boundaries.

Most test takers need to study over a timeframe of two to three months to achieve their target GRE Quant score. It takes time to build a deep understanding of the tested concepts, grasp specific strategies, complete enough GRE math practice questions for each concept under timed and untimed conditions.

The GRE Quant section includes questions relating to Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and Data Analysis topics. Most test takers will have been exposed to these topics in high school, through Algebra and Introduction to Statistics courses. Higher level math content areas, such as Trigonometry or Calculus, do not appear in the GRE Math section. Additionally, the Quantitative Reasoning section uses standard, high-school level mathematical symbols, terminology, and conventions.

ETS offers a free GRE Math Review, which identifies most topics that will appear in the Quantitative Reasoning section. However, looking over the Math Review is not the only thing you need to do to prepare for this section of the GRE. Rather, you need to spend ample time figuring out the best way to solve official GRE practice problems to gain enough experience to excel on the actual exam.

Quantitative Reasoning questions on the GRE are made to be complicated and disguise what GRE math concepts are being targeted. This section tests your ability to think with math skills, rather than just solve math problems robotically. Therefore, instead of spending too much time memorizing formulae, effective GRE preparation involves working through ample official GRE practice questions, keeping track of the mistakes you make.

Finally, a strong GRE study plan can make all the difference when preparing for the Quant section of the GRE. With a structured plan, students can avoid spending any more time on the GRE than they absolutely have to.

Excelling in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section requires a strategic approach and thorough preparation. From understanding the structure and types of questions to mastering efficient problem-solving techniques, test-takers must have a strong foundation in various mathematical concepts and be flexible and strategic in their application. Consistent practice with official GRE materials, a thorough study plan, and a focus on recognizing patterns and avoiding common pitfalls can significantly enhance your performance on test day.

If you’re seeking personalized guidance and tailored GRE quant strategies, Menlo Coaching offers expert GRE Tutoring that has been proven to maximize your performance in the GRE exam. Our curriculum is tailored to each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as their needs—so if you only need support in the Quant section of the exam, our tutors can provide the guidance you need.

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