The GMAT quantitative is one of the most important sections of the GMAT exam as it contributes to your total score. Moreover, this section can be very daunting for you if you are not good with numbers and mathematics. However, the GMAT quantitative questions are based on high-school-level mathematics; hence, if you brush up on your basics, you will be able to sail through with practice.
GMAT scores are given maximum weightage in your B-school application, so you need to have a smart strategy in place and stick to it throughout your preparation. A well-planned strategy, focused approach, and consistent practice of each section — Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning — can help you ace the GMAT exam.
Having said that, since the Quant section contributes to your total score as mentioned before, it’s imperative you plan extremely well for it particularly. This section consists of 31 questions that have to be answered in 62 minutes. At the outset, you need to familiarise yourself with the syllabus. Once you are well-versed with the syllabus, you devise a topic-wise preparation strategy.
This article will provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of the GMAT quantitative syllabus.
GMAT Quantitative Section – Pattern
The Quantitative Reasoning section is designed to analyse your logical and analytical skills. Here you are expected to interpret graphic data, reason mathematically and solve quantitative problems. A sound knowledge of elementary or basic maths — algebra, geometry and arithmetic — can help you tackle the questions easily. Not to forget, you need to be aware of all the important formulas.
Note: You cannot use a calculator in the exam, so you need to be excellent at mental calculations.
Types of GMAT Quant Questions:
The quantitative section of the GMAT exam consists of 2 different types of questions:
Data sufficiency Questions: Data sufficiency — based on different topics like algebra, arithmetic, geometry, probability, etc. — consists of 2 statements of data followed by a question. You need to determine whether the data given is sufficient to answer the question and select the correct answer from the options. This section of the test measures your ability to analyse different problems, recognise the relevant data and determine where there is enough data to solve the problem.
sample Data Sufficiency questions
sample Data Sufficiency solutions
Problem-solving questions: These questions are based on high-school level mathematics. It consists of standardised word problems where you need to use your analytical and mathematical skills. You need to solve the given problem and select the best from five answer choices. This section of the test measures your ability to use logic and analytical reasoning to solve quantitative problems.
Topics Covered Under the GMAT Quantitative Syllabus:
The syllabus for GMAT has not been exclusively defined. You cannot narrow down the syllabus to a few topics. You need to prepare everything you have learned till your high school. Moreover, to ace the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GMAT exam, it is essential to know what to study and how. Given below are a few topics that you should prepare well before appearing for the GMAT exam:
Word problems are the most common type of questions asked in the GMAT exam, with an occurrence rate of 58.2%. These are simple high-school level mathematical concepts that are presented in the form of real-life scenarios or situations. You need to solve them and find the correct answer.
Integer and Arithmetics
This is another important topic that appears 31.1% of the time in the test. It consists of topics like LCM, HCF, prime numbers, etc. You need to be well-versed with all the properties of integers and arithmetics.
One of the most common in your GMAT quantitative syllabus, Algebra accounts for 16.3% of the quant section of GMAT, so brush up on your concepts. You need to remember all the formulas and concepts of algebra to ace the quant section.
Percentage, Ratios, and Fractions
These questions occur in the test 14% of the time. They can either come in the form of word problems or data sufficiency questions. You can practice this topic from various online sources or revisit your high school books to revise the concepts.
Questions based on the concepts of two-dimensional geometry appear 10.6% of the time in the GMAT quantitative section. These questions test your spatial reasoning ability. You need to memorise all the relevant formulas, properties, and concepts.
The questions based on this topic can be very complex as they require you to have strong visualisation skills. You need to be able to visualise the diagram using the text given and also revise all the formulas and concepts related to this thoroughly.
Statistics account for 6.3% of the quant section. You need to thoroughly revise the key topics in statistics like mean, median, mode, range, quartile, standard deviation, etc. You must be able to recall all the formulas on the day of the test.
Powers and roots
This is one of the most basic mathematical concepts that you must have learned in school. It accounts for 6.3% of the quant section. You need to know these properties of powers and roots thoroughly. Moreover, memorising the square roots and cube roots of the first 50 numbers can help save time in the exam.
Probability, in mathematical terms, is the possibility of the happening of an event. This is a relatively easy topic and can help you score well. Just a little revision can help you solve complex problems. It makes up 5% of the quant section.
Permutation and Combination
Permutation and combination involve finding the number of ways in which a set of objects or people can be arranged. There are a few formulas you need to memorise. The rest depends on your analytical and logical reasoning skills.
You are given a missing number series, and you have to identify the pattern and answer. You also need to have strong conceptual knowledge of arithmetic progressions, geometric progressions, and harmonic progressions.
This topic generally appears in the Integrated Reasoning section. But you might also find one or two sets in the Quantitative Reasoning section. It consists of questions presented in the form of graphs, charts, and tables.
Now that you have a brief idea of the Quantitative Reasoning Syllabus, let’s take a look at the Quantitative scores.
Scoring and Resources
The highest score you can obtain in the quant section is 60. You can get 97% in quantitative reasoning if you score 51 out of 60. This section is graded on a score range of 6-51 with 1 point increment. Most importantly, as mentioned before it adds to your total score(200-800).
We all know practice makes perfect. Hence, keeping that in mind, devise a smart plan and strategy and practice consistently. Since you now have a clear idea of what topics you need to study and emphasise on, you are ready to start your preparation soon if you are serious about making it to top institutions across the globe. You can find resources for preparing for the GMAT Quantitative section on the official website for the GMAT. You can also buy the GMAT Official Quant Review from MBA.com or use books and online resources to prepare. Also, do enrol for courses to get a good score or take mock tests or GMAT quantitative practice tests, and check out GMAT quantitative practice questions or sample papers for a better understanding of the exam.