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Introduction to GRE Quantitative Reasoning (Math) Section


GRE Math Section

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section assesses your basic mathematical skills, ability to understand mathematical concepts and ability to use mathematical knowledge and quantitative methods to model and solve real world problems. The GRE does not test how well you know a concept but rather how well you can apply the concept to solve complex real world problems.

On the test day, you’ll get 2 sections consisting of 20 questions each and the duration of each section will be 35 minutes. You might get a third Quants section under the Research or Unscored section.  

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section is based on the following four major areas

1.      Arithmetic : Number Properties (Divisibility and Factorization), prime numbers, odd and even integers, arithmetic operations, exponents and roots, absolute value, number line, percents, ratio and number sequences.

2.      Algebra:  Algebraic expressions, linear and quadratic equations, simultaneous equations, inequalities, functions, equations based on real world problems (distance, time and speed, distance, speed, time, work and rates, simple and compound interests).

3.      Geometry: Lines, triangles (Equilateral, Isosceles, 30-60-90 triangles), circles, rectangles, squares, quadrilaterals, polygons, 3D figures – cylinders, cones, spheres and cuboids,  area, perimeter, volume, co-ordinate geometry – lines (slopes and intercepts), graphs of functions and parabola.

4.      Data Analysis: Statistics – mean, median, mode, percentiles, quartiles, inter-quartile range, permutations and combinations, probability, data interpretation – line graphs, bar graphs, circle graphs, box plots, scatter plots and frequency distributions.


Breakdown of the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section – Question Types

·         10-12 Multiple Choice Questions ( One Answer Choice / One or More Answer Choice)

·         6-7 Quantitative Comparison Questions

These questions ask you to compare two quantities - Quantity A and Quantity B and choose the correct comparison from the following options:

1.      Quantity A is greater

2.      Quantity B is greater

3.      The two quantities are equal

4.      The relationship cannot be determined from the given information

·         1-2 Numeric Entry Questions

These questions ask you to enter either an integer or a decimal value in the entry box

·         2-3 Data Interpretation Questions

These questions ask you to interpret and analyze data sets – tables/graphs/box plots/scatter plots/frequency distributions and select the correct answer choice (Multiple choice or numeric entry)

Breakdown of the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section – Topic Wise

·         Word Problems (25%)

·         Arithmetic (23%)

·         Algebra (13%)

·         Data Interpretation (13%)

·         Geometry (12%)

·         Statistics (9%)

·         Probability/Combinatorics (5%)

Note that this is just a rough estimate based on the analysis from practice tests from the official ETS GRE Official Guide and the actual figures may vary on the actual GRE exam.

Best Books for GRE Quantitative Reasoning (Math) Section

1.            Manhattan 5LB Book of Practice Problems

2.            ETS Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions

3.            Magoosh.com Online Prep

4.            GRE Math Prep Course (Nova’s GRE Prep Course)

5.            Kaplan GRE Math Workbook

6.            1,014 Practice Questions for the New GRE (Princeton)

7.            Barron’s GRE Math Workbook