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Did you know the GRE Quant section only tests you on mathematical skills and concepts that you learnt during high school? A significant proportion of the questions in the section are “word problems,” that necessitates basic mathematical skills and ability to reason. So, with the right approach anyone can better their chances of scoring 160+ in the Quantitative Reasoning section. In this blog post, we will discuss how to approach this section effectively to maximise your GRE score.

In this blog:

GRE Prep Course: Overview

The GRE General Test’s Quantitative Reasoning measure evaluates your:

  • Basic mathematical skills
  • Understanding of elementary mathematical concepts
  • Ability to reason quantitatively
  • Skills to model & solve problems with quantitative methods

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GRE Quantitative Reasoning Syllabus

Your GRE prep course for the quant section should necessarily include the following four content areas:

  1. Arithmetic

    The first content area is Arithmetic, which includes properties and types of integers (e.g., divisibility, factorization, prime numbers, remainders, odd and even integers), arithmetic operations, exponents, roots, and concepts like estimation, percentage, ratio, rate, absolute value, the number line, decimal representation, and sequences of numbers.

  2. Algebra

    The second content area is Algebra, which encompasses operations with exponents, factoring, and simplifying algebraic expressions, relations, functions, equations, and inequalities. It also involves solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, simultaneous equations and inequalities, setting up equations to solve word problems, and coordinate geometry, including graphs of functions, equations, and inequalities, intercepts, and slopes of lines.

  3. Geometry

    The third content area is Geometry, which includes parallel and perpendicular lines, circles, triangles (e.g., isosceles, equilateral, and 30°-60°-90° triangles), quadrilaterals, other polygons, congruent and similar figures, three-dimensional figures, area, perimeter, volume, the Pythagorean theorem, and angle measurement in degrees. However, the ability to construct proofs is not tested.

  4. Data Analysis

    The fourth and final content area is Data Analysis, which covers basic descriptive statistics, such as mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation, interquartile range, quartiles, and percentiles. It also covers the interpretation of data in tables and graphs, such as line graphs, bar graphs, circle graphs, box plots, scatterplots, and frequency distributions. Elementary probability, such as probabilities of compound events and independent events, conditional probability, random variables, and probability distributions, including normal distributions, and counting methods, such as combinations, permutations, and Venn diagrams, are also part of this content area. These topics are typically taught in high school algebra courses or introductory statistics courses. However, inferential statistics are not tested.

Also read: 15 Hardest GRE Math questions with solutions

GRE Quant Syllabus: Topics Covered

S. No. Arithmetic Algebra Geometry Data Analysis
1. Property and types of integer Exponents Lines and angles Descriptive statistics such as Median, Mean, Range, Mode, Percentiles, etc.
2. Power and roots Algebraic Expressions – Factoring and Simplifying Circles Interpretation of data based on graphs, circle graphs, scatter plots, etc
3. Statistics   Equations and inequalities Triangle Probability
4. Estimation Linear and Quadratic inequalities Quadrilaterals Permutation and Combination
5. Number properties Linear Equations Polygon Venn Diagrams
6. Percentage Quadratic equations Three-dimensional figures Sets Theory
7. Exponents and Roots Word Problems Area, Perimeter, Volume
8. Ratio and proportions Speed, distance, and Time Angle Measurements
9. Simple and Compound Interest Profit and Loss
10. Arithmetic Operations Coordinate geometry

Complete GRE Exam Syllabus PDF

How To Approach GRE Quant Questions

An important thing to note here is that content in the aforementioned areas includes high school mathematics and statistics at a level that is generally no higher than a second course in algebra. Since the GRE syllabus does not include trigonometry, calculus or other higher-level mathematics, students who have studied maths only till class 10 can also ace the test. Given below are some pints to keep in mind while approaching GRE quant questions:

  • The use of numbers is restricted to real numbers only.
  • Unless explicitly stated, all figures should be approached  in a two-dimensional plane.
  • Geometric shapes like triangles, circles, quadrilaterals, and lines are not necessarily drawn to scale. It is unwise to assume that measurements like lengths and angle measures are accurately represented in the figure. However, it is safe to assume that lines that are straight in the figure are indeed straight, points are in the order they appear, and all geometric objects have the relative positions as shown. You should base your answers on geometric reasoning rather than visual estimation of measurement when dealing with geometric figures.
  • Coordinate systems such as xy-planes and number lines are drawn to scale, so you can estimate or compare quantities using sight or measurement.
  • Graphical data representations like bar graphs, circle graphs, and line graphs are drawn to scale, so you can read, estimate, or compare data values by sight or by measurement.

Step-By-Step Approach To Solving Quant Questions

While solving multiple-choice questions from the GRE preparation course, you will encounter questions that ask you to select only one answer choice from a list of five choices. If your answer is not listed among the five given choices, assume it’s incorrect and take the following steps to address this:

  1. Carefully reread the question to ensure that you haven’t missed any important details or misinterpreted any information.
  2. Verify your computations for errors, such as entering incorrect numbers into your calculator.
  3. Re-evaluate your solution approach to check for any logical flaws.

How to Solve GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions

Take a look at the answer choices. For some questions, you might need to determine which choice has a specific property. In such cases, you may have to consider each option individually, or you might be able to identify a connection between the options that will help you find the answer more quickly. 

For other questions, working backward from the choices may be beneficial. For example, you could substitute the choices in an equation or inequality to see which one works. However, be cautious as this method may be time-consuming compared to using reasoning.

For questions that require approximations, look at the answer choices to see how close of an approximation is required. It may also be beneficial to quickly scan the options before solving the problem to get a better understanding of what the question is asking for. 

If your solution involves computations, it might be necessary to carry out all computations accurately and only round your final answer to achieve the necessary degree of accuracy. Alternatively, in some questions, estimation might suffice, enabling you to avoid spending excessive time on lengthy computations.

Find out how GRE-ready you are with this quick 20-question GRE diagnostic test!

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