GRE Quantitative Reasoning: How to Prep to Score Well

Updated on 19 May, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

quantitative reasoning gre

GRE Quantitaive Reasoning is a GRE (Graduate Record Exam) section where you will assessed for your mathematical skills. This section will challenge your critical thinking skills and quantitative aptitude. With right practice and strategies, you will be able to get ready to solve such questions and prove your mathematical skills.
Before delving deeper into the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section, let’s have a look at the examination itself. The GRE General Test is an examination that measures the necessary skills required for success across contemporary educational programs at graduate schools, inclusive of law and business.

The computer-based GRE examination gives aspirants sufficient flexibility in terms of skipping questions, returning to answer them, changing the answers, and selecting the questions to answer them first in any section. The GRE Quantitative Reasoning is a part of the examination. It measures the aspirants' quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking. 

Importance of Quantitative Reasoning GRE 

Before getting into GRE Quantitative Reasoning details topics, you should learn a little more about all the sections in the exam. Itself. The overall testing time is about 3 hours and 45 minutes. There are six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section

Section

Number of Questions

Time

Analytical Writing (One section with two separately timed tasks)

1. “Analyze an Issue" task

2. "Analyze an Argument" task

30 minutes 

Verbal Reasoning (Two sections)

20 questions 

30 minutes 

Quantitative Reasoning (Two sections)

20 questions 

35 minutes 

Unscored 

Varies

Varies

Research Section


 

Varies

Varies

 

82 questions in total

3 hours 45 Minutes

Quantitative Reasoning makes up for 24% of all the sections in the GRE exam. There are two sections attributed to the Quantitative Reasoning section in which 20 questions are asked that need to be answered in 35 minutes.

This section tests candidates on their basic skills in mathematics along with their knowledge of elementary concepts in mathematics. It also tests their quantitative reasoning abilities, along with their acumen in modeling and solving problems with methods of a quantitative nature. Many questions have real-life backgrounds or contexts, while some are purely mathematical by nature.

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GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section in Detail: Syllabus

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning syllabus includes the following: 

  • Topics in arithmetic- These include integer types and properties (prime numbers, factorization, divisibility, remainders, odd/even integers), roots, exponents, arithmetic operations, percent, estimation, rate, ratio, absolute value, decimal representation, number line, and number sequences. 
  • Topics in algebra- Exponents and their usage, simplification and factoring of algebra expression, inequalities, equations, quadratic and linear equations and inequalities, simultaneous equations with inequalities, word problem solutions with equations, coordinate geometry along with slopes of lines, graphs of functions and more. 
  • Topics in geometry- These topics include perpendicular and parallel lines along with triangles, circles, isosceles and equilateral triangles, other polygon types, quadrilaterals, three-dimensional forms, congruent, perimeter, Pythagorean theorem, volume, measurement of angles in degrees, and more. Proof construction abilities are not tested in this examination. 
  • Topics in data analysis- This includes descriptive and basic statistics, inclusive of median, mode, mean, standard deviation, range, quartiles, interquartile range, percentiles, data interpretation through graphs and tables, line graphs, circle graphs, bar graphs, scatter plots, box-plots, elementary probability, frequency distribution, conditional probability, random variables, distribution of probability, permutations, combinations, Venn diagrams and more. 

GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions and Types

Here are some examples of GRE quantitative practice question types that will help you prepare for the examination.

  1. Quantitative Comparison Questions
  2. Multiple-Choice Questions (Select One Answer Choice)
  3. Multiple-Choice Questions (Select One or More Answers Choices)
  4. Numeric Entry Questions 
  5. Data Interpretation Sets

Quantitative Comparison

These questions usually require comparisons of two quantities, namely A and B, and then working out which statement is the best fit.Typically, the answer choices include four options:

  • Quantity A is greater.
  • Quantity B is greater.
  • The two quantities are equal.
  • The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Multiple-Choice Questions (Select One Answer Choice)

In this kind of question, five choices are provided to you in the form of MCQs, and out of those choices, you need to pick one choice as your answer.

Multiple-Choice Questions (Select One or More Answer Choices)

In this kind of question, multiple-choice questions are asked, and you need to select one or more answer choices from the number of options available. A question may or may not specify the number of choices to select.

Numeric Entry Questions

In this type of question, you are asked to enter the answer as an integer or a decimal in a single answer box or to enter it as a fraction in two separate boxes — one for the numerator and one for the denominator. 

Data Interpretation Sets

In this type of question, the data is given in the form of a table, graph, or any other data presentation and requires you to interpret or analyze the given data. The types of questions can be both Multiple Choice (both types) or Numeric Entry. The questions belonging to the data interpretation sets are grouped together.

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Tips for Quantitative Reasoning GRE

  • For multiple-choice questions, answer the actual question and watch out for except or not and any format/unit asked for. 
  • You can start by plugging back your choices if you do not know the method of solving any multiple-choice questions. Start with reasonable choices and let the process of elimination do the rest. 
  • Multi-choice multiple-answer questions will require the selection of a suitable number of answers. Follow the question guidelines carefully. 
  • For numeric entry, ensure that you are answering in the format that is asked for. 
  • Watch out while transferring figures from your calculator. This is because it should be compliant with the format sought in the answer.

Do’s and Don’ts for GRE Quantitative Reasoning

Do’s

  • Solve the problems using paper and pencil.
  • Move to the next question only after solving one question completely.  
  • Ensure you have little time for revision after solving all the problems. 

Don’ts

  • Don’t waste time in solving lengthy calculation questions. Better to leave them for the end. 
  • Don’t carry and use a calculator in the exam center. An online calculator tool is provided during the exam.
  • Don’t give too much time to review the questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is quantitative reasoning in GRE?

The Quantitative Reasoning section analyzes the quantitative reasoning abilities of aspirants along with their capabilities in terms of modeling and solving problems with the help of quantitative techniques and methods. It analyzes the mathematical aptitudes of aspirants.

Is GRE quantitative hard?

According to experts, GRE quantitative can have medium levels of difficulty for first-time aspirants. This means that there could be a few questions that are easier and some that are tougher than anticipated. However, careful practice and preparation do make things easier.

How do I study for GRE Quantitative Reasoning?

You should get a grip on the various types and formats of questions. You should always have a baseline score in mind. Keep reviewing concepts and solving practice test papers. Build up your understanding and knowledge of basic and elementary mathematical concepts alongside.

What score do I need to achieve in the GRE Quantitative section?

Typically, the 75th percentile, i.e., a 157 score and above, is considered good for admission to top universities. However, scoring less than this will also help you get admission to universities that may or may not be your desired university.

What kind of math topics are covered in the GRE Quantitative section?

Following are the math topics covered in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section:

  • Arithmetic topics that include arithmetic operations, roots, exponents, percent, rate, ratio, estimation, absolute value, the number line, integers (prime numbers, factorization, remainders, and odd and even integers), sequences of numbers, and decimal representation.
  • Algebra topics that include operations with exponents, relations, functions, equations, inequalities, solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, factoring and simplifying algebraic expressions, solving simultaneous equations and inequalities, coordinate geometry (graphs of functions, equations and inequalities, intercepts and slopes of lines), and setting up equations to solve word problems.
  • Geometry topics that include circles, parallel lines, perpendicular lines, triangles (isosceles, equilateral, and 30°-60°-90° triangles), quadrilaterals, polygons, congruent and similar figures, 3-dimensional figures, area, perimeter, volume, the Pythagorean theorem, and angle measurement in degrees.
  • Data Analysis topics that include basic descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation, interquartile range, quartiles, and percentiles), elementary probability (probabilities of compound events and independent events), conditional probability, interpretation of data in tables and graphs (line graphs, bar graphs, circle graphs, boxplots, scatterplots, and frequency distributions), random variables and probability distributions (normal distributions), and counting methods (combinations, permutations, and Venn diagrams).

How is the GRE Quantitative section structured?

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section is structured into five following question types:

  • Quantitative Comparison Questions
  • Multiple-Choice Questions – Select One Answer Choice
  • Multiple-Choice Questions – Select One or More Answers Choices
  • Numeric Entry Questions 
  • Data Interpretation Sets

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