The GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section Guide & Tips

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section can be a tough nut to crack. But never fear! We’ve compiled some top tips to help you ace this section of the test. So whether you’re a math whiz or just looking to brush up on your quantitative skills, read on for everything you need to know to score high on the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section.

What does the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section test? 

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section measures your ability to use basic math concepts and solve problems under time pressure. While the quantitative reasoning section does assess some high-level math, it focuses primarily on real-world problem-solving skills.

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning – 4 Question Categories 

The math you learned in high school is mostly what’s on the GRE. The majority of GRE math questions won’t require tons of number-crunching if you know how to approach them, but they will test your critical thinking and problem solving abilities. GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions will generally fall into one of four major categories: 

1. Arithmetic

The arithmetic category covers basic math concepts such as integers, fractions, and decimals. It also includes the concepts of ratio, absolute value, and sequences of numbers. GRE quantitative reasoning questions in the arithmetic category may also ask you to calculate percentages or solve word problems.  

2. Algebra

GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions that fall into this category may test your ability to solve equations or inequalities. Questions in this area often require you to know the properties of basic algebraic functions (for example, solving linear and quadratic equations, equations and inequalities, factoring) as well as their graphs. 

3. Geometry

GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions in this category may test your knowledge of angles, triangles 30°-60°-90°, three-dimensional figures, or coordinate geometry. Questions in geometry often ask you to calculate the area of a shape or determine the distance between two points on a plane. 

4. Data analysis

In this part, you will be asked to interpret data from graphs such as bar and circle charts, box plots, scatter plots. This includes finding the mean, median, mode, range, standard deviations, interquartile range, quartiles, and might include probability questions as well. 

An example might be two six-sided dice, each side has a number between 1 and 6. What is the probability of getting a sum of 7 when two dice are thrown?

There are 36 possible outcomes when two dice are thrown. Out of those, six outcomes will result in a sum of 7. This means that the probability of getting a sum of 7 when two dice are thrown is 6/36 or 1/6.

Format

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section is composed of two 35-minute sections. In both sections you can expect:

  • Quantitative Comparison questions

    These questions always include a column of numbers and a column labeled “A” or “B”. Your task is to compare the two columns. GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions in this category may also ask you to identify which number is larger, which number lies between two other numbers, or which of two expressions is an integer.

  • Problem Solving questions

    GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions in this category will test your ability to solve problems. You will be asked to determine the solution set of an equation or graph, interpret data, or solve a problem based on real-world scenarios.

  • Data Interpretation

    GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions in this category may ask you to interpret data presented in a table, graph, or text passage. You may also be asked to determine the relationship between variables or predict future outcomes based on trends.

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning – 4 Types of Questions

1. Quantitative Comparison questions

You will be given 4-option-multiple-choice questions. You will need to use your skills to determine the relationship between quantities.

Example:

Quantity A
The least prime number greater than 24

Quantity B
The greatest prime number less than 28

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. 

Answer: For the integers greater than 24, note that 25, 26, 27, and 28 are not prime numbers, but 29 is a prime number, as are 31 and many other greater integers. Thus, 29 is the least prime number greater than 24, and Quantity A is 29. For the integers less than 28, note that 27, 26, 25, and 24 are not prime numbers, but 23 is a prime number, as are 19 and several other lesser integers. Thus, 23 is the greatest prime number less than 28, and Quantity B is a prime number less than 28. The correct answer is Choice A, Quantity A is greater.

2. Multiple-choice questions (One Answer Choice)

These are questions that have five possible answers. You need to choose the correct answer from among these choices.

Example: A certain jar contains 60 jelly beans — 22 white, 18 green, 11 yellow, 5 red, and 4 purple. If a jelly bean is to be chosen at random, what is the probability that the jelly bean will be neither red nor purple?

A. 0.09
B. 0.15
C. 0.54
D. 0.85
E. 0.91

Answer: There are 5 red and 4 purple jelly beans in the jar. That means there are 51 jelly beans that are neither red nor purple. The probability of selecting one of these is 51/60, or 0.85. The correct answer is D

3. Multi-select questions (One or More Answer Choices)

In this category you are allowed to select more than one answer choice. GRE quantitative reasoning questions in this category usually begin with a series of answer choices and present data in a table, graph, or text passage.

Example: Which of the following integers are multiples of both 2 and 3?Indicate all such integers.

A. 8
B. 9
C. 12
D. 18
E. 21
F. 36

Answer: There are a few different ways to figure out the answer. You can find the multiples of 2, which are 8, 12, 18, and 36. Then you can look for the multiples of 3, which are 12, 18, and 36. Another way to do it is if you know that every number that is a multiple of 2 and 3 is also a multiple of 6. So then you would just pick the choices that are multiples of 6. The answer is C (12), D (18), and F (36).

4. Numeric Entry Questions

GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions in this category allow you to type your own answers into empty boxes. This means that you won’t be given answers to choose from. 

Example: One pen costs $0.25 and one marker costs $0.35. At those prices, what is the total cost of 18 pens and 100 markers?

Answer: $0.25 multiplied by 18 equals $4.50. This is the cost of the 18 pens.

$0.35 multiplied by 100 equals $35.00, which is the cost of the 100 markers. The total cost is therefore 4.50 + 35.00 = $39.50. Equivalent decimals, such as $39.5 or $39.500  (or any equivalent), are considered correct answers.

Remember to only use the decimal point and negative sign when entering the numbers in the answer box. No need to add the dollar sign since it’s already added in the answer box.

Tips to Ace The GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section

1. Plug in numbers

It can be very helpful to plug in numbers when you’re in doubt of the correct answer. ETS GRE Quantitative Reasoning is not testing your math skills but rather how well you can solve problems.

2. Memorize the answer choices 

In Quantitative Comparison questions the answers are always in the following order:

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.

You should be able to answer questions within 2 minutes and, therefore, this will save you time.

3. Make sure the answer is in the correct format

In the Numeric Entry questions, you will have to fill in an empty box. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are writing your answer in the correct format. Keep an eye on questions that might ask you to round the answer. 

4. Pay extra attention to words

Make sure to spot words such as “between”, “except”, “not”, “approximately”, “about”. Make sure that you don’t round down or up. You don’t want to lose points because you misread the question when you actually knew the correct answer. 

5. Process of elimination

The strategy of eliminating wrong answers can be your best friend. If you’re having trouble with GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions, you can always use the process of elimination to help you narrow your choices.

6. Do practice questions

Practicing will help you to become familiar with the examination pattern. The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section contains many similar questions with slight variations on the same concept. Practicing will help you be more relaxed and confident on the day of the exam. The GRE Quantitative Reasoning tests your understanding and not just your ability to remember formulas or mathematical concepts. 

Keep in mind that on the exam day, you can use a basic calculator. So make sure you are using a simple calculator while practicing because you won’t have extra features on the exam.

GRE Private tutoring

If you are not comfortable with GRE Quantitative Reasoning, if you find it difficult, or if you are not confident with your math skills, you can always sign up for private GRE tutoring. Apex private GRE tutors focus on your needs and personal strengths, tailoring personalized GRE lessons to best help you achieve your goals.

Remember, the GRE Quantitative Reasoning is not testing your math skills, but rather how well you can solve problems. The best way to do well on this exam is to familiarize yourself with the types of questions by practicing. We hope these insights have been helpful so far, but if not, feel free to reach out anytime with more specific inquiries.

 

Contributor: Cynthia Addoumieh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.