Everything You Need to Know About GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Jun 02, 2023 06:58 PM IST

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section helps to assess candidates' basic understanding of math concepts along with the ability to reason quantitatively. So, if you are preparing for GRE Quantitative Reasoning test, then this article is certainly for you.

Everything You Need to Know About GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section has been designed to test the candidate's mathematical skills in four major topics - arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. Some of the quantitative reasoning questions are also based on real-life situations. Almost all of them are word problems that need to be translated and modelled mathematically. 

The content in the four areas is generally based on high school mathematics and the statistics portion is no higher than second-course algebra. GRE quant questions are not based on calculus, trigonometry and other high-level mathematics. The mathematical terminologies, symbols and conventions used in GRE Quant are of high school standard. Though the concepts in the GRE Quant syllabus are basic, the GRE quantitative questions are not extremely easy to crack. 

Success in GRE Quant depends on the understanding of the GRE Quant questions. Relying only on basic knowledge will not always help. Therefore, students should invest a sufficient amount of time in official GRE quantitative reasoning practice questions. Let us now take you through the GRE Quant pattern, syllabus, topics, preparation tips, practice test, questions and sample. 

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GRE Quantitative Reasoning Pattern

The test structure of the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section is simple. The paper under this section contains a total of 27 questions which need to be completed in 47 minutes. Each of the sections is composed of at least eight quantitative comparisons, nine problem-solving questions, and three data interpretation questions. 

The GRE quant test calculates the score based on test sections, adjusting the difficulty of the second Quantitative Reasoning section. It also depends on the student's performance in their first section. Candidates who have performed excellently in their first section will "level up" their test, to get more difficult questions in their second section. 

However, the GRE quant section is somewhat different from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), which aims to test the difficulty level after every question. The main lookout of this difference to candidates is that while taking the GRE quant questions they can review their answers, and can even mark difficult questions to make it easier further after completing the rest of the section.

GRE Quantitative Reasoning Syllabus and Topics

As earlier mentioned, the question types in the quantitative reasoning section are based on mathematical topics. The skills, abilities and concepts are judged based on some specific areas. Students or candidates who are sitting for the Quantitative Reasoning section are required to pay full attention to the GRE quant syllabus and different types of GRE quant questions to remain mentally fueled so that they know how to answer such questions efficiently. 

The tests also contain algebra, geometry, arithmetic and data analysis. These are at a level i.e not higher than the second course in algebra and do not include any higher level of mathematics like trigonometry or calculus.


The topics under Arithmetic in GRE Quant include properties and types of integers, such as remainders divisibility, factorisation, prime numbers, and odd and even integers; concepts such as estimation, absolute value, per cent, ratio, rate, decimal representation, the number line, and sequences of numbers; and arithmetic operations, exponents and roots.


The GRE quant syllabus under the algebra portion include operations with exponents, factoring and simplifying algebraic expressions, relations, functions, equations and inequalities, solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, solving simultaneous equations and inequalities, setting up equations to solve word problems, and coordinate geometry, including graphs of functions, equations and inequalities, intercepts and slopes of lines, etc. 


In the geometry GRE quant syllabus, there are a few topics that get covered - parallel and perpendicular lines, circles, triangles — including isosceles, equilateral and 30°-60°-90° triangles — quadrilaterals, other polygons, congruent and similar figures.  Other than those, three-dimensional figures, area, perimeter, volume, the Pythagorean theorem and angle measurement in degrees are also included in the syllabus.

Data Analysis

In data analysis, there are various topics that are in the GRE Quant syllabus- basic descriptive statistics, like mean, median, and mode. The syllabus also includes range, standard deviation, interquartile range, quartiles and percentiles. Interpretation of data in tables and graphs - line graphs, bar graphs, circle graphs, box plots, scatter plots and frequency distributions. Elementary probability - probabilities of compound events and independent events, conditional probability, random variables and probability distributions, etc.

GRE Quantitative Reasoning Question Types

Basically, the GRE Quantitative Reasoning has four types of questions - quantitative comparison, MCQ (one answer), MCQ (multiple answers) and numeric entry questions. Let us learn more about them.

Quantitative Comparison

The quantitative comparison can be based on real-life settings or purely mathematical or might be written as word problems which the students must be able to solve and interpret mathematically. The GRE quant topics assess a combination of basic math skills that includes understanding basic math concepts, elementary maths, problem-solving skills, ability to reason quantitatively, etc. 

This GRE quant section has four possible answers: Quantity A is greater, quantity B is greater, both the quantities are equal or their relationship cannot be determined. The questions are critical enough so it is highly suggested to practise sample problems as much as possible. 

Multiple Choice

Multiple-choice questions have five options out of which the student is required to pick one correct answer. Another MCQ with multiple answers requires more than two correct answers as per the question. These GRE quant questions may not specify sometimes on how many answers to select.

Numeric Entry

This type of GRE quant question asks for answers as integers or decimals in a single or two boxes for a fraction (one for numerator and the other for denominator). This is a computer-based test and hence the students are required to use only a mouse and keyboard.

Benefits of GRE Quantitative Practice Test, Sample Papers

GRE Quantitative practice tests and sample papers can be the best resource when preparing for the exam. Let us find out why you should attempt GRE Quant practice tests and sample papers:

  • Practice tests can improve your chances of getting a high Quant score, which is extremely significant for admission to various Master's programmes including MBA.

  • Practising from previous year's GRE Quant papers can help you get an idea of the actual exam and the types of questions asked in the exam over the years. 

  • Quant also demands good time management skills, which can be honed by practising a number of practise tests or sample papers. 

  • The content, question types and format of GRE Quant practise tests mimic the real test. So, they can be the best way to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. 

Writing Tips for GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section

To prepare for this important section, follow accordingly by reading these tips to master the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section:

Begin Doing Practice Problems

Based on your review of GRE math concepts and your way of learning strategies, begin doing practise problems from GRE quant practice papers. Do keep in mind to stick to your time limits and always remember that you can learn from both your correct and incorrect answers. Try to practise different question formats. Study the best books for GRE quant.

Redo Questions You Get Incorrect

Make a habit to resolve questions from GRE quant mock test that are getting wrong so that during the final exam you can avoid making the error. 

Get Used to On-Screen Calculator

Since the GRE gives you an on-screen calculator instead of a physical calculator, become familiar with the functions of the GRE calculator and how and when to use it. 

Pace Yourself

Try to remain focused and act quickly in a way that you do not run out of time. Learn the GRE quant formulas by heart.  Approximately, you will have one minute and 45 seconds per question. 

Skip Difficult Sections for a While

Doing this will keep you on pace. Focus on other strategies as well if possible when returning to more difficult questions.

After reviewing the GRE quant questions you are served with, try to cover the basic math concepts, and use the strategies to solve the practice problems. Do not get anxious, take a deep breath as you are on your way to achieving your target GRE score.

Problem-Solving Strategies for GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section

Check out these fourteen strategies to help solve GRE Quantitative Reasoning problems: 

  • Translate words to arithmetic or algebraic representation

  • Translate words to a figure or diagram

  • Translate algebra to a graphical representation

  • Translate from a figure to an arithmetic or algebraic representation

  • Simplify arithmetic or algebraic representation

  • Add information to a geometric figure

  • Find a pattern

  • Search for a mathematical relationship

  • Estimate

  • Trial and error

  • Divide into cases

  • Try to adapt solutions to related problems

  • Be determined whether a conclusion follows from the information provided

  • Stay determined on what additional information is sufficient to solve a question or problem

Always remember that sitting for a practice test or working with a tutor or instructor may help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and keep in mind what preparation materials would be most useful for you.

If you want more help on the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section, feel free to write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com for the best expert advice.

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How long is the GRE Quant section?

The GRE quant section is 35 minutes per section. There are two GRE quantitative reasoning that makes it 1 hour 10 mins for both sections. 20 questions are asked from each section of GRE quant making it a total of 40 GRE quant questions. As students get less than a minute to answer each question, they need to be very prompt at answering. 

What topics are covered in the arithmetic and geometry of the GRE quant section?

Arithmetic and geometry form the two important parts of GRE Quant. Some of the topics that are covered under GRE quant arithmetic are property and types of integers, power and roots, estimations, percentage and ratio and proportion. The geometry portion contains lines and angles, circles, triangles, quadrilateral, polygons, area, perimeter and volume. 

What topics are covered in the algebra and data analysis of the GRE quant section?

The other two important GRE quantitative reasoning sections are algebra and data analysis. In algebra, there are topics such as exponents, equations and inequalities, speed, time and distance, profit and loss and linear and quadratic equations. Data analysis contains set theory, Venn diagram, probability, permutation combination, median, mean, mode, range and percentile and etc.

How difficult is the GRE quant section?

The GRE quant section is moderately difficult which means that the difficulty level of most of the questions is moderate while for some, it is difficult. As the GRE is a multi-stage test, the quant section adapts to the test taker's performance. The performance is based measured between the 25th and 75th percentile.

What types of questions come on the GRE quant section?

The GRE quant section has four types of questions. They are quantitative comparison questions, one-answer multiple-choice questions, one or more answers multiple-choice Questions and numeric entry questions. All the questions appear on their own as separate questions or as a part of a set of questions under data interpretation.

How is the GRE quant section score calculated?

The total GRE quantitative reasoning score is calculated on a scale of 130-170. The factors on which the GRE quant score depends are the number of questions answered, speed of answering the questions and the difficulty level of answering. The score range help students secure a GRE percentile and ranking.

How to prepare for the GRE quant section?

To prepare for the GRE quant section, students have to do an in-depth analysis of the question paper format. Then they should make a target GRE score based on the GRE average score of their target university. They will have to make a study plan and fill up the gap in their mathematical knowledge. After that, students should take GRE practice tests to understand and evaluate their level of preparedness.

What are the best books for GRE quant section?

The best books for GRE quant are ‘Barron's New GRE’, ‘Kaplan GRE Math Workbook’, ‘Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions’, ‘Princeton Math Workout for the GRE’ and ‘Nova’s GRE Math Prep Course’. The benefits of studying the best GRE books are that they comprise questions that come in the real test and the questions are described elaborately which helps strengthen the basics.

How hard is a 160 GRE quant score?

It is not extremely hard to score 160 in GRE quantitative reasoning section. As the test adapts to the proficiency level of the test taker, the questions can get harder or easier. There is no leisure to think much while answering the questions. One has to be very quick and agile as it is what gives students an edge over others.

Where can I get free GRE quant practise papers?

The best free GRE quant practice papers are available online from which you can practice. You can take the help of our test prep services to prepare for the GRE quant section as well as other sections of the GRE. You will be trained by the best faculties in GRE.

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