If you’ve experienced the GRE, you may have noticed that your score is higher on some sections than others. Some otherwise strong graduate school candidates struggle with their score on the quantitative section. The problem might derive from preparation style, in which case, you might consider professional GRE tutoring, a service offered by a number of organizations including Apex GRE. Until then, these tips will help kick start your prep process so you’re ready to ace the quant section.
What’s on the GRE Quantitative section?
First, let’s talk about what exactly the GRE quant section consists of. Test takers have 70 minutes to answer 40 math problems. This means that on average, each question should take about two minutes. However, this isn’t a hard rule, so there’s no need to get nervous if one problem takes longer than others.
The GRE focuses on numerous types of math skills, the majority of which have been learned and taught in your high school courses. Most likely, when studying for the GRE, you will have to brush up on and study these concepts.
Why is the GRE Quantitative section so difficult?
Based on the above description, you might think that the quant section won’t be too difficult. That isn’t exactly true. The GRE is designed to confuse and restrict test-takers in various ways. For example, each problem has a time limit and calculators aren’t allowed. Furthermore, the two sections don’t differentiate between the various types of questions, so test-takers must alternate between the question types. These factors can cause stress.
6 Tips To Improve Your GRE Quant Score
The following tips will help you remain calm and collected as you prepare for the quant section.
Tip 1: Don’t overthink the math
First and foremost, don’t forget that the GRE quant section consists of simple math problems. Use this to your advantage. Don’t do all of the calculations; rather, determine what makes a problem look more difficult than it actually is.
Tip 2: Start managing your time before the test
You can start saving time before you even pick up your pencil by practicing arithmetic. Limiting the time it takes to do simple equations means you can spend more time on the problems. Be sure to review exponent rules and brush up on decimals with fractions. And don’t forget about higher powers!
Tip 3: Use alternative strategies to find solutions
If you can’t solve a problem with simple math, try using an alternative path to the solution. There’s usually an easier way to solve quant problems –the GRE is designed to test for efficient problem-solving. Sometimes, straightforward logic or plugging in numbers will solve a problem faster. Keep in mind that a traditional approach might not be necessary for every problem.
Tip 4: Analyze each sentence step by step
During the GRE preparation process, learn how to simplify each question. Some problems might seem daunting, but they can be broken into smaller steps that you can solve one-by-one. Trying to solve the whole problem at once can lead test takers to answer the wrong question. The more you break down the problem, the easier it will become. Don’t worry–you’ll actually save time by (re-)reading the questions.
Tip 5: Scratch paper is a mustAlthough scratch paper may seem unnecessary for quant problems, it can help you keep track of calculations and clarify your thought process. It might take a little extra time, but ultimately, avoidable mistakes are even more time-consuming.
Tip 6: Plug in the answer choices
Another way to save time with alternative solution paths is to start by reading all of the answer choices and plugging them into the problem. If you don’t know which answer choices to start with, start from the middle.
The most important tip of all is practice, practice, and practice! There are many different ways to prepare: memorizing rules and formulas, watching GRE problem-solving videos (don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel), and enrolling in professional GRE courses.