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    How to Prepare for the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section?

    GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section

    The best way to learn mathematics is to do mathematics,” said famed American mathematician Paul Halmos. This wisdom holds true whether you’re a math expert or have areas you’d like to solidify. Regardless of your current skill level, aiming for a strong score (typically 155–167) in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section requires dedicated preparation. But where do you begin? How can you ensure you’re focusing on the right areas?

    The GRE quantitative section demands a strategic approach. This blog will be your one-stop guide. We’ll discuss the importance of the GRE quant section, provide practical strategies and time management techniques, and recommend suitable study materials.

    Overview of the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section

    To gain admission to your desired program, you’ll need to meet the specific score requirements set by each college, including quantitative reasoning. Here’s a breakdown of the GRE quantitative section to help you prepare effectively:

    • Structure: The GRE quantitative reasoning section consists of two 35-minute parts, with 20 questions in each.
    • Scoring: Scores range from 130 to 170, with a 1-point increment. The test is adaptive. It means that the difficulty of subsequent questions adjusts based on your performance on the preceding ones.
    • Content areas: The GRE quantitative syllabus covers core mathematical topics like arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.
    • Question formats: You can expect a variety of question types, including quantitative comparison, multiple-choice (single answer or multiple answers), numeric entry, data interpretation, and more.

    What is the Importance of the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section?

    The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE is focused on math. It’s designed to assess your foundational understanding of mathematical concepts. This doesn’t dig into advanced mathematics but rather evaluates whether you have a solid grasp of the elementary core mathematical concepts, such as algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and data analysis.

    But more importantly, the GRE Quant section goes beyond memorising GRE math formulas. It tests your quantitative reasoning abilities. This means the test looks at how you approach problems, how you analyse information presented mathematically, and how you apply logic to solve them.

    This focus on quantitative reasoning skills reflects the demands of many graduate programs. Success in these programs often hinges on your ability to think critically, analyse data, and solve problems using a quantitative lens. The GRE Quant section acts as a predictor of how well you’ll handle these aspects of graduate coursework.

    Suggested: 15 Hardest GRE Math Questions with Answers

    How to Study for the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section?

    Every student has a different experience with the GRE quantitative test. Some struggle with algebra or geometry, while others find data analysis particularly challenging. Regardless of your initial difficulties, you can ace the GRE quant section by following these steps.

    1. Check the format

    Before getting started on specific topics, familiarise yourself with the GRE quantitative test format. This includes understanding the different question types (multiple choice, quantitative comparison, numeric entry), covered topics (algebra, geometry, data analysis), number of questions (20 per section), time duration (35 minutes per section), and other features like the on-screen calculator and answer review options.

    2. Take a diagnostic GRE test

    Take a free GRE quantitative diagnostic test with Yocket Prep+ to find your baseline score. This will assess your current strengths and weaknesses without any prior preparation. Here are some tips for taking the diagnostic test effectively:

    • Find a quiet environment: Minimise distractions for an accurate assessment.
    • Gather the necessary materials: Have a pen, paper, and a calculator (if allowed) ready.
    • Avoid pausing: Simulate the actual test environment by completing the diagnostic test in one sitting.

    3. Set a goal score

    Setting a realistic and achievable goal score is crucial for your GRE preparation. Here’s how to do it:

    • Research university requirements: Check the score requirements for the specific programs and universities you’re interested in.
    • Add a buffer: Once you have the minimum score requirement, add two points to it. This buffer accounts for potential score fluctuations on the actual test day.

    4. Create a study plan

    A well-structured study plan is important to achieve the target score in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section. While the ideal daily study time can range from 4 to 6.5 hours, it’s important to tailor this to your individual needs and remaining preparation time.

    Here’s a personalised two-month approach to acing the quantitative section of the GRE. Remember that the earlier you begin, the better it is! Ideally, aim to start at least 3 to 6 months before your exam date. This two-month plan focuses on two key aspects: solidifying your understanding of quantitative concepts and developing strong practice through question-solving.




    Weeks 1-2

    Assessment and foundation

    • Take a diagnostic practice test to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
    • Review basic math concepts (algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and data analysis).
    • Familiarise yourself with the GRE calculator.

    Weeks 3-4

    Concept review and practice

    • Focus on 1-2 weak areas identified in the diagnostic test.
    • Practice question types specific to those areas (e.g., Percent Problems, Rate Problems).
    • Review solutions to practise problems, focusing on understanding the thought process.

    Weeks 5-6

    Strengthening skills and time management

    • Continue practising weak areas, gradually increasing difficulty.
    • Start incorporating time management strategies while practising (e.g., estimation, skipping difficult questions).
    • Analyse practice test performance and adjust the study plan as needed.

    Weeks 7-8

    Mixed practice and strategy development

    • Practise mixed sets of questions covering all GRE quant topics.
    • Develop test-taking strategies like answer elimination and plugging in answer choices.
    • Review common GRE quant question traps and how to avoid them.

    Week 9

    Practice tests and review

    • Take 2-3 full-length practice tests under timed conditions.
    • Review all practice tests thoroughly, focusing on areas for improvement.
    • Analyze missed questions and identify recurring patterns in mistakes.

    Week 10

    Strategy refinement and weaknesses

    • Refine test-taking strategies based on practice test performance.
    • Dedicate focused practice to the remaining weak areas.
    • Consider additional targeted practice resources.

    Weeks 11-12

    Peak performance and test-day preparation

    • Continue taking practice tests (1-2 per week) to maintain peak performance.
    • Focus on building test-day stamina and managing anxiety.
    • Review key concepts and strategies the day before the test.

    Week 13 (Test Week)

    Relaxation and focus

    • Minimise studying and focus on getting enough sleep and staying calm.
    • Review key formulas and concepts briefly the day before the test.
    • Arrive at the test centre well-rested and prepared.

    5. Choosing the right resources

    Selecting the most effective study materials is important. Look for online GRE practice tests that mirror the actual exam format. Supplement these with a few well-regarded GRE quant workbooks. Popular choices include the ETS Official GRE Guide, Barron’s New GRE Guide, and the Kaplan Math Workbook.

    Before purchasing, dig deeper into each resource. Analyse the structure, question types, difficulty level, and most importantly, the quality of answer explanations. These explanations should be clear and concise and guide you through the thought process behind each solution.

    6. Mastering strategies and techniques

    The GRE quant section isn’t just about raw mathematical ability. Learning effective test-taking strategies is equally important. Focus on mastering essential formulas, shortcuts, and GRE-specific quantitative tips. These strategies can significantly improve your efficiency and accuracy. It will allow you to solve problems faster and avoid common pitfalls.

    7. Tracking your progress

    Once you’ve chosen your study materials and honed your strategies, it’s time to gauge your progress. Take a full-length GRE quantitative practice test to assess your current level and identify areas for improvement.

    Compare your results to your baseline score and target score. This will help you determine which concepts and strategies require further attention.

    8. Refine and win

    Based on your practice test results, revisit any challenging concepts or areas where your strategies need refinement. Use your chosen study materials to solidify your understanding and practice applying your newfound knowledge in timed practice settings. This continuous cycle of learning, practicing, and refining will allow you to solve the GRE quant section with confidence.

    Note: While focusing on the GRE quantitative reasoning section is important, it’s equally crucial to maintain consistent study for the verbal reasoning and analytical writing sections. This 3 month GRE study plan allows you to strategically integrate verbal classes, question-solving practice for the verbal section, and analytical writing exercises alongside your quantitative reasoning preparation.

    Consider watching the included video interview with a student who scored a perfect 170 on the GRE quant section. His insights and experiences can provide valuable inspiration and guidance throughout your preparation journey.

    Suggested: Best GRE Practice Questions with Answers for 2024

    Dos and Don’ts for the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section

    You can also consider these dos and don’ts to study for the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section.



    Do understand the question types (Multiple Choice, Quantitative Comparison, Data Analysis).

    Don’t get bogged down in complex calculations for every question.

    Do develop strong math foundations (algebra, geometry, arithmetic).

    Don’t rely solely on memorising formulas.

    Do practice estimating and approximating answers.

    Don’t panic if you don’t remember a specific formula.

    Do learn to identify key information in word problems.

    Don’t get overwhelmed by extraneous details.

    Do use the answer choices to your advantage (plug in values).

    Don’t spend too much time on any one question.

    Do manage your time effectively (skip and come back later).

    Don’t rush through the entire section.

    Do become familiar with the on-screen calculator (if applicable).

    Don’t use the calculator for simple math.

    Do review your flagged questions strategically.

    Don’t change your answer unless you have a strong reason.

    Do stay calm and focused throughout the test.

    Don’t let test anxiety cloud your judgement.

    Do practice with realistic GRE practice tests.

    Don’t underestimate the difficulty of the actual GRE.

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    6 Tips to Ace the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section

    Along with the given GRE preparation quantitative section steps, explore these GRE quantitative tips and tricks to improve your test scores further:

    1. Analyse your mistakes

    Spend time analysing the mistakes you make in your GRE quantitative practice tests. This will help you identify common errors and develop practical solutions to avoid them in the actual exam.

    2. Read carefully, don’t rush

    Get in the habit of reading the questions carefully to understand them completely. Don’t get pressured by the time limit; rather, be attentive to the tricky answer choices that the GRE is known for.

    3. Simplify for speed

    Learn to simplify word problems into easy equations. This will allow you to solve them faster than other test-takers. It will also give you more time for the complex questions.

    4. Stay calm and confident

    The GRE exam gives you 5 attempts to achieve your desired score. So, stay calm and optimistic, and don’t burden yourself with the pressure. You can always retake the test if needed.

    5. Organise your work

    Maintain neat and organised rough work. This will help you understand your calculations for each question and avoid confusion, especially when coming back to review your work.

    6. Practice makes perfect

    Finally, the most important tip—practice, practice, and practice! The more you practice GRE quantitative problems, the more comfortable and confident you will become on test day.

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    How to Ace the GRE with Yocket Prep+

    Yocket Prep+ is your one-stop solution to achieving a top GRE score and securing admission to your dream program. Our comprehensive platform streamlines your entire GRE preparation process, offering a variety of resources to fit your needs.

    • Full-length mock tests: Simulate the real GRE experience and assess your overall readiness.
    • Diagnostic test: Identify your strengths and weaknesses to personalise your study plan.
    • Over 40 adaptive practice tests: Difficulty adjusts based on your performance, keeping you challenged.
    • Instant feedback with detailed solutions: Gain a deeper understanding of concepts and avoid repeating mistakes.
    • 7 ultra-realistic GRE-style tests: Replicate the actual exam environment for optimal preparation.
    • In-depth topic-wise tests: Target specific areas that require extra attention.
    • Priority dashboard: Manage your study schedule, track progress, and stay motivated.

    Learn from Yocket’s experienced instructors (over 15 years) who share invaluable test-taking strategies and GRE mastery techniques. Sign up for Yocket Prep+ and begin your journey towards GRE success! You can even start for free by taking the full-length GRE diagnostic test. Get a feel for the platform and see if Yocket Prep+ is the perfect fit for you.

    From the Desk of Yocket

    While the GRE assesses foundational math skills, the true challenge lies in applying those concepts efficiently under pressure. The quant section itself assesses your problem-solving abilities and how you approach quantitative information. By strategically studying for the GRE, you’ll improve your test score and gain valuable analytical tools.

    The key to good GRE quant prep is focused practice. Familiarise yourself with the question types and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Practice tests are a great way to simulate the real exam experience and pinpoint areas that need more work. There are many resources available online and in libraries to help you target specific topics and build your test-taking stamina.

    Frequently Asked Questions on GRE Quantitative Reasoning

    Is there any negative marking in the GRE quantitative reasoning section?


    What are the vital calculation tips and tricks for the GRE quantitative reasoning section?


    Is the GRE quantitative section more challenging than the GMAT quantitative section?


    What is a good GRE quantitative reasoning score?


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