The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section tests your basic mathematical knowledge (understanding of high-school level mathematical concepts) and your ability to interpret and solve problems using quantitative methods. The questions asked in this section are either placed in real-life settings or based on pure mathematics. However, even if you are not good with numbers, you can easily score high in this section if you revise and practice your elementary level mathematics consistently.
The Quantitative Reasoning section is divided into two sections with four question types. A basic overview of the GRE Quantitative Reasoning syllabus and different question types will help you understand the concepts you will be tested on and the questions you can expect in the GRE. Let’s take a look at the same.
GRE Quantitative Reasoning Syllabus
The GRE Quant section is divided into two subsections, each of which have 20 questions. Each section is timed at 35 minutes (the computer-based test), so a total of 1 hour and 10 minutes have been allotted to the Quant section in the GRE test. The Quant section is computer-adaptive, which means that subsequent questions get harder or easier depending on whether you answered the previous ones correctly or not.
The GRE allows you to move back and forth between questions as long as you haven’t moved to the next section, so you can mark a question if you are having trouble with it and return to it later.
The scores of the GRE Quantitative section contributes to the total GRE score. It is scored between 130 to 170, wherein the score increases by one-point increments. This score is derived by scaling the raw score, in order to account for the difficulty of the questions you solved over the course of the section (as the Quant section is computer-adaptive).
GRE Quantitative Reasoning
Number of Questions
Time Given to Complete Section
20 x 2 sections =40
35 mins x 2 = 1 hr 10 mins
130 – 170 with intervals of 1 (scaled)
Now that we have spoken of the sections and the scores, let’s look at the question types asked in the GRE Quant section.
GRE Quantitative Question Types
There are four types of questions asked in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section. The questions could be in any form, such as word problems or numeric problems. Here’s a brief overview of each question type.
- Quantitative Comparison Questions – Each question presents two quantities with or without a short description regarding the quantities. You must analyze each quantity, compare them and select the best option from the answer choices.
- Multiple-choice Questions (Select One Answer) – These questions present a problem (word problems, equations and more) and five answer options. These are classic MCQ questions, where you have to solve the problem and select one answer.
- Multiple-choice Questions (Select One or More Answer) – Unlike the classic MCQ questions, this type of question requires you to choose all the possible correct answers from the options. Though some questions specify how many answers to pick, others leave that up to you. Besides, you will only get credit if all your selected answers are correct.
- Numeric Entry Questions – Numeric Entry Questions have no answer options. Instead, each question presents two boxes, wherein you have to type the correct answer. If your answer is an integer or a decimal, you must type it in a single box, and if it is a fraction, you’ll be given two separate boxes (for the numerator and one for the denominator).
Additionally, the GRE Quantitative Reasoning consists of a set of questions called GRE Data Interpretation, wherein you have to interpret the given data and choose the best possible answer choice. All the questions in this set are based on the same data, that is presented in the form of tables, graphs, etc. The questions asked could be in any format like Multiple-choice (both types) or Numeric Entry.
GRE Quant Concepts
The GRE Quantitative syllabus mainly consists of high-school-level mathematical concepts such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data interpretation. Let us have a brief look at the topics that come under each concept.
- Arithmetic – Types of integers (divisibility, prime numbers, remainders etc) exponents and roots, estimation, percentage, the number line, sequence of numbers, ratio, decimal representation etc.
- Algebra – Rules of exponents, solving linear equations, solving quadratic equations, solving linear inequalities, coordinate geometry graphs of functions, etc.
- Geometry – Parallel and perpendicular lines, triangles (all types), quadrilaterals, polygons, three-dimensional figures, the Pythagorean theorem, area, volume, etc.
- Data Analysis– Mean, standard deviation, mode, interquartile range, median, quartiles and percentiles, interpretation of data in multiple formats, basic probability, combinations, permutations, etc.
Quantitative Reasoning Sample Questions
Practice is the key to ace the GRE maths syllabus. Though a lot of topics are tested in this section, you can easily get a good score by solving some GRE sample questions. To begin with, here are three GRE quantitative questions and their answers. You can find similar questions and answers on the official website of GRE.
1. If a and b are two distinct positive integers such that a > b, and both a and b are divisible by 3 and 5, then which of the following could be the value of a – b?
A number divisible by 3 and 5 is also divisible by 15.
So, the difference of two numbers should also be divisible by 15.
So only answer choice 45 is divisible by 15.
Hence the answer is E.
2. In a certain office, ratio of smokers to non-smokers is 4:5, then approximately what percent of the employees in the office were non-smokers?
Non-smokers proportion is 54+5=59
So, in percent
Hence the answer is C.
3. mnpq>0 and m>q>0
|Quantity A||Quantity B|
- Quantity A is greater.
- Quantity B is greater.
- The two quantities are equal.
- The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.
Rule: If a*b<0, then a and b will have alternate signs. One positive and one negative.
If a*b>0, then a and b will have the same signs. Both positive or Both negative.
Given that, m>q>0 then,mq>0
Since mq>0, then np>0
np>0 means then n*p>0
Quantity A is greater than Quantity B.
Hence the answer is A.
- Can you go back to a question in the GRE Quant section?
Yes, you can move back and forth between questions within a section as long as you haven’t moved to the next one.
- How can I prepare for the GRE Quant section?
Practice is the key to success when it comes to the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE. There are GRE books available with plenty of practice questions for each of the topics tested in this section. You can also find practice tests and sample questions for each topic online. Solving questions regularly will familiarize you with the contents of the Quant section.
- How long will I have to solve the GRE Quant section?
There are two subsections timed individually at 35 minutes each, so the duration of the Quant section on the computer-based test will be 1 hour and 10 minutes total.