GRE prep tips: Quantitative section


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Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Sep 22, 2021 18:31 IST

GRE Quantitative Prep Tips: The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test examines the candidates' basic mathematical skills, understanding of elementary mathematical concepts, and ability to reason with numbers and to solve problems with quantitative methods. In this article, we are going to discuss GRE Quant strategies, GRE Quant Topic, GRE Quant preparation books and GRE Quantitative prep tips to help GRE aspirants ace their GRE exam. 

Top GRE Quantitative Prep Tips

As mentioned earlier, in this article we are going to be discussing the top GRE Quant prep tips for the benefit of aspirants appearing for the GRE exam.

  1.  Do not ignore Math fundamentals
  2. Give due importance to the math topics
  3. Refer to the Official Guide
  4. Time Management
  5. Practice GRE Quant Sample Papers

GRE Quant Strategies from Experts

Subhajit Bandyopadhyay, Academics - Head (Emeritus) writes about the section-wise preparation tips for GRE. Candidates wanting to read about the GRE preparation Quantitative Section can read the most important GRE Quant tips below:

  • Do not ignore Math fundamentals. Although there may be very few questions solely based on math fundamentals, it may be impossible for you to solve several maths questions unless you are thorough with math fundamentals.
  • Give due importance to the math topics that are tested more extensively on the GRE rather than the topics from which there are likely to be fewer questions. For example, give more importance to the number system, averages, percentages, and ratio-proportion, etc. rather than to permutation-combination and probability. You can start paying more attention to the latter topics after you have mastered the former more commonly tested topics.
  • Refer to the Official Guide and take a look at the list of all the math topics that may appear on the GRE; make sure you master each and every topic.
  • Keep in mind that although GRE doesn’t test you on esoteric math concepts, questions are often tricky. You should, therefore, learn to identify and avoid trap answers.
  • While you do have a (drop-down) calculator to use in the quant section, remember that it provides you only basic mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division (and square root). Further, the calculator is not very easy to use, but you must use it when necessary. Therefore, start using the calculator from the very beginning for practice, but remember that very often the moot point to determine is whether or not to use the calculator. 
  • Note that there is a 'Transfer Display' feature available along with the calculator and you may use it in juxtaposition with numeric entry math questions (with single answer boxes). Use it whenever necessary.
  • One area of concern for most of us is charts. However, you do not need to learn any new concepts to solve chart questions. Many of us find the chart questions very time-consuming. However, most of the time it takes too much time just because we want to do the complete calculation while it may not be necessary to do so. Many a time, an important point to decide upon is whether or not to use the calculator.
  • Another topic that many of us find very challenging is geometry because there are several geometry related formulas and concepts that you need to remember. However, here too, give more importance to the more frequently tested topics such as triangles and circles. Pay deeper attention to the other topics after you have mastered the more commonly tested topics. Do take note that even within these topics there are concepts such as special triangles and Pythagorean triplets that are more frequently tested on the GRE.
  • Some test-takers also often struggle with "word problems". The way to become comfortable with such questions is extensive practice. That way you will become familiar with the various common expressions and that will help you understand the problems better. Another way to cope with word problems is to translate English into Mathematics. Do not read a question completely and then come back and read it once again and start taking notes. Start taking notes from the very beginning.
  • Very often students come to us and say that they are not able to solve harder questions relating to Permutation-Combination and Probability and, therefore, need to master these topics. It's not that these topics are not important, but it's found that a poor score in the quant section is often because of getting a few questions relating to common math topics (such as averages, percentages, etc.) wrong rather than getting Permutation-Combination and Probability questions wrong. Focus on what matters most and whatever is easier to handle, although your ultimate aim should be to get all the questions right and get a 170 in the quant section.
  • While reviewing your performance in practice tests and the drills, for every question that you got wrong and every question that took you longer than usual to solve, figure out what do you learn from that question and note it down to review all such points before your next practice test and/or the GRE.

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How should Indian test-takers prepare for the GRE?

Meticulously written by Arun Jagannathan, the founder and CEO of Crack Verbal. Check out the top GRE preparation for quantitative section 2021, below:

  1. Be smart and think out of the box. In case you find it difficult to solve a problem, try working backwards with the answer options you’ve been given. As long as you determine the right answer, it doesn’t matter which method you choose. As Indians, we are told to use the brute-force approach but remember on the GRE the tactic could fail.
  2. Complement the method of back solving with that of elimination. First, remove those obvious answer choices that you’re sure are incorrect. Once you’ve done that, you can use the backsolving process with the remaining options to arrive at the correct answer. On the GRE remember that the answer choices are giving you a BIG clue on how to solve the question – don’t miss out on this advantage.
  3. This one’s called the 'plugging in' process and once you’ve mastered this technique, it works wonders for answers that have a numerical value. Most answers on GRE would be within a range – you need to have an idea where within the range the answer could lie. Once you are able to arrive at a rough estimation of the size of the number just knock off the wrong answers. This method could appear to be crude but a lot of GRE toppers swear by this.
  4. Attempting the Quantitative Comparison section? Save some time by making it a point to remember all the four options by heart. Why? That’s because all the answer choices are exactly the same for whatever question you get on the GRE. Every opportunity you get to shave off time and effort on the GRE leads to a potential for an increase in score. To read the entire blog, visit: How should Indian test-takers prepare for the GRE?

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GRE Quant Preparation Books 

GRE Quant Strategies: In this section, we are going to look at the GRE Reasoning section that is mainly made up of math and reasoning. Test takers can check out our carefully crafted GRE prep tips: Quantitative section and also try their hand at solving the GRE Quantitative Practice Test that has questions and solutions from very renowned publishers all under one roof. 

GRE Prep Book: Official GRE® Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Volume 1, Second Edition ($20 USD plus shipping): This guide provides 150 real, never-before-published Quantitative Reasoning questions with complete explanations and valuable hints and tips. It also includes a review of the math topics likely to appear on the test.

GRE Quant Preparation - Sample Paper

GRE Quant Sample Paper: For the benefit of our readers, we have also collated a set of GRE question papers with answer keys that are based on past year GRE exam papers for the benefit of our readers. The following GRE Quant exam question papers have been sourced from various authentic websites and ETS - the conducting body of the GRE 2021. 

GRE Quantitative Reasoning Questions with Answer Key Set - 1 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Questions with Answer Key Set - 2
GRE Practice Test GRE Quantitative Practice Test

GRE Quant Section Pattern

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning has two sections, each with 20 questions which should be completed within 35 minutes. You will get questions from three math topics mentioned below. Here are the GRE Quant section pattern for candidates to understand the type of questions they can expect in the GRE Quant section of the exam.

Compare quantities – (6 to 8 questions)

These questions ask you to compare two quantities (A and B) and then determine the relationship between them; whether A is greater, B is greater, the two are equal, or the relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Data Interpretation or Graphs – (5 to 7 questions)

These questions require you to compute information and chose a correct answer based on visual graphs and tables. You need to interpret the data given in those forms and choose the correct answer accordingly.

Numeric Entry questions – (2 questions)

These questions require you to enter your answer in an answer box rather than choose among alternatives. The best part about the GRE quantitative section is that the math topics covered are taught in schools like algebra, introductory statistics courses etc. this section does not include higher-level mathematics lie inferential statistics, trigonometry, or calculus.

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GRE Quant Topic

As informed earlier, the GRE Quantitative section of the exam is primarily made up of the following four topics. Candidates should pay attention to the GRE Quant topics mentioned below to ace their GRE exam. 

  1. Arithmetic questions: These questions could be on types of integers, exponents and radicals, estimation, per cent, ratio, absolute value, the number line, decimal representation and sequences of numbers.
  2. Algebra questions: These include operations with exponents, factoring and simplifying algebra expressions, solving linear and quadratic equations, solving simultaneous equations and inequalities, and coordinate geometry.
  3. Geometry questions: The topics included would be parallel and perpendicular lines, circles, triangles, quadrilaterals, three-dimensional figures, area, perimeter, volume, the Pythagorean Theorem, and angle measurement in degrees.
  4. Data analysis questions:  these questions include basic statistics such as mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation, interquartile range, quartiles and percentiles. Interpretation of data in tables and graphs would include questions like line graphs, bar graphs, circle graphs, scatterplots and frequency distributions, and elementary probability.

Tips and Tricks for the GRE Exam

When you're preparing for the GRE, it can feel like you're awash in a sea of advice. Some of it's good, some of it's bad, and some of it's just plain unhelpful. So, let's narrow it down. What can you do now to ensure you get the best score before your exam? There are ten tricks and tips that will actually help.

  1. Plan ahead. Whether because of sudden decisions or new information, some students don't have a lot of time to plan for the GRE Exam. Can you still get a good score on the GRE? Absolutely. Is it harder? Absolutely. No matter what your situation is, though, make sure that registering for your GRE test date is the first thing you do. Spots fill up early (sometimes months in advance!), and if you're at your mental best on weekends, afternoons, or have any other special requirements, lock the date down now.
  2. Know what you're getting into. It may be too late to turn back now, but familiarize yourself with both the exam and your own strengths and weaknesses by taking a GRE diagnostic test. There's no time like the present…
  3. Take lots of practice tests. A lot of students prepping for the GRE think that taking/reading lessons and doing practice sets is sufficient. Not so! The GRE is a marathon, and staying alert for almost four hours takes practice. Taking at least one practice test a week, for a total of around ten in all, is ideal.
  4. Start studying vocabulary. GRE Verbal is extremely vocab heavy, and (particularly if you're applying to humanities or social science programs) will be important to master. This isn't SAT/ACT-level stuff, either. These are some hard words!
  5. Focus on your subject. Well, broadly speaking. This is a little blurrier for those in the social sciences, but if you're applying to an English grad program, your Quant score will have little bearing on your application. Similarly, Engineering admissions committees won't care too much about your English scores. Continue Reading: 10 Tips and Tricks for the GRE

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About the Author
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

With over 8 years of experience in overseas education, Rahul Singha has been previously associated with prominent education houses. He is also responsible for keeping a sharp eye on education policies of major study... Read Full Bio



3 years ago

For master degree biotechnology only GER exam is mandatory ya any other exams is there for Master's, and which books is best for masters international entrance exam. Please must reply

Reply to

Swameeka Medhi

3 years ago

Hi Sarmista, international students must also take IELTS or TOEFL. Also, GRE requirement vary from country to country. Decide where you want to study firstly. Every university got its own set of admission requirements. Check here for GRE material and preparation tips.

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