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When it comes to masters admissions to universities abroad, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a common requirement for many programs. Among the GRE sections, the GRE Quantitative Reasoning (QR) portion often causes anxiety among test-takers. In this blog post, we will delve into the foremost question that often gives GRE test-takers the jimjams: Is GRE Quantitative Reasoning hard? We will explore the nature of the GRE Quant section, examine the challenges it presents, and provide tips and strategies to help you conquer this challenging part of the exam.

In this blog:

    1. What’s on the GRE Quantitative Reasoning?
    2. GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section: Challenges
    3. Tips for Mastering GRE Quantitative Reasoning practice questions

What’s on the GRE Quantitative Reasoning?

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section is designed to assess your mathematical skills and problem-solving abilities. It consists of two 35-minute sections, each containing 20 questions, totaling 40 questions in all. The questions are multiple-choice, and they fall into four main categories which are discussed below.

Understanding the GRE QR Section

      1. Arithmetic: Basic mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, probability.
      2. Algebra: Test your knowledge of algebraic concepts, equations, and inequalities.
      3. Geometry: Geometric figures, properties, and theorems.
      4. Data Analysis: Interpretation of data from tables, graphs, and charts.

Also read: What’s on the new shorter GRE General test?

Topics in GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section

Arithmetic Geometry Data Analysis Algebra
Property and types of integer Lines and angles Descriptive statistics such as Median, Mean, Range, Mode, Percentiles, etc. Exponents
Power and roots Circles Interpretation of data based on graphs, circle graphs, scatter plots, etc Algebraic Expressions – Factoring and Simplifying
Statistics Triangle Probability Equations and inequalities
Estimation Quadrilaterals Permutation and Combination Linear and Quadratic inequalities
Number properties Polygon Venn Diagrams Linear Equations
Percentage Three-dimensional figures Sets Theory Quadratic equations
Exponents and Roots Area, Perimeter, Volume Word Problems
Ratio and proportions Angle Measurements Speed, distance, and Time
Simple and Compound Interest Profit and Loss
Arithmetic Operations Coordinate geometry

GRE Quantitative Reasoning Question Types

Each question in the GRE Quantitative section is categorised as either a quantitative comparison or a problem-solving question. In the quantitative comparison questions, you must compare two quantities and determine whether one is greater than the other, or if they are equal. Problem-solving questions, on the other hand, require you to find the answer to a mathematical problem.

Now that we understand what GRE Quantitative Reasoning entails, let’s address the types of questions you will encounter. 

      1. Quantitative Comparison (QC) questions: These questions present you with two quantities and ask you to compare them. The answer choices are A (Quantity A is greater), B (Quantity B is greater), C (The quantities are equal), D (Insufficient data to determine), and E (The relationship cannot be determined).
      2. Multiple-choice questions (select one answer choice): These questions are the most common type of GRE Quantitative Reasoning question. They present you with a problem and ask you to choose the correct answer from the given five choices.
      3. Multiple-choice questions (select one or more answer choices): These questions are less common, but they can be more challenging. They present you with a problem and ask you to choose all of the correct answers from a list of choices.
      4. Numeric entry questions: These questions present you with a problem and ask you to enter the correct answer in a numeric box.

Checkout: Tips to master GRE Quantitative Reasoning

GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section: Challenges

Time Pressure: One of the most common challenges test-takers face in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section is time pressure. With only 35 minutes for each section, you have limited time to answer 20 questions. This time constraint can make even straightforward problems seem challenging.

Diverse Content: The GRE Quant section covers a wide range of mathematical topics, from basic arithmetic to more advanced algebra and geometry. This diversity means you must be proficient in various areas of mathematics, which can be daunting if you haven’t studied these topics recently.

Complex Language: Some questions in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section may have complex wording or involve multiple steps to arrive at a solution. This adds an additional layer of difficulty, especially for non-native English speakers.

Adaptive Format: The GRE is a computer-adaptive test, meaning the difficulty of the questions you receive depends on your previous answers. If you answer a question correctly, the next one may be more challenging. This can be intimidating for test-takers who find themselves facing increasingly difficult questions.

Also read: What’s on the GRE work-rate problems?

Tips for Mastering GRE Quantitative Reasoning Questions

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning might not come naturally, especially when it has been some time since you last looked at an equation! But it is achievable with the right preparation and resources (mostly good quality GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions and practice tests). Here are some tips to help you get there:

      1. Review Mathematical Concepts: Brush up on fundamental mathematical concepts and formulas, especially if it has been a while since you studied them. Focus on arithmetic, algebra, and geometry as they form the core of the section.
      2. Time Management: Practice time management by setting a timer when you practise. Aim to complete each set of 20 questions in the allotted 35 minutes. This will help you get used to the pace required on test day.
      3. Practice Regularly: Consistent practice is key to improving your GRE Quantitative Reasoning skills. Utilise official GRE quantitative practice tests, online prep resources, and study books to hone your abilities.
      4. Work on Mental Math: Developing strong mental math skills can save you precious time on the exam. Practise mental calculations for basic arithmetic operations.
      5. Simulate Test Conditions: Mimic test conditions as closely as possible when practising. Take full-length GRE practice tests to get a feel of the actual GRE exam format and time constraints.
      6. Seek Help if Needed: If you find that you’re struggling with a specific math concept or question type, consider seeking help from a tutor or enrolling in a GRE prep course. Perhaps with an institute with 30+ years of GRE expertise and 170,000 successful students in their study abroad list! Click here to experience Jamboree’s unique teaching methodology with a free GRE demo class.

Also read: Shorter GRE vs GMAT Focus Edition

Coming back to – Is GRE Quantitative Reasoning hard? The answer ultimately depends on your mathematical background, preparedness, and the effort you put into your GRE preparation. While this section presents its challenges, with consistent practice, a solid understanding of the underlying concepts, and effective time management, you can conquer the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section and improve your chances of getting into your desired graduate program. Remember that your GRE score is just one part of your application, and a strong overall application can help offset any perceived difficulty in this section. So, roll up your sleeves, practice diligently, and approach the GRE with confidence.

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