What is the Math on the GRE?

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What is the Math on the GRE?

It is essential to know the kind of math you will be tested on when sitting for the GRE. There is a reason they were chosen to be the math on the GRE, and you should be familiar with them before the time. One point to note, however, is that they are relatable and are there to test your speed and accuracy primarily.

The mathematics GRE subject test is poised to assess not only your knowledge of advanced mathematical concepts but mostly your knowledge of the foundations of math. The GRE is typically considered to be more difficult compared to ACT or SAT, even though the math problems on the GRE are a lower level of difficulty when compared to the arithmetic in both the other two tests. This is in no way to scare you, but to prepare you properly when you do sit for the GRE.

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GRE math is also very similar to the GMAT or SAT math, however on the more accessible side. The easiest part of the math on the GRE can be easily solved using essential substitution, but, more than anything, the GRE tests how fast you can solve a question.

Like the SAT and ACT, Quant deals with a breadth of mathematical concepts. Amazingly, though, all GRE math topics are those you should have studied in middle school and high school. Interestingly, Quant doesn’t test any upper-level concepts like calculus and trigonometry. Therefore, go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief as Quant isn’t ridiculously difficult!

The Math on the GRE

The math on GRE covers the “Quant” component of the GRE. It also means; quantitative reasoning. The Quant is composed of 40 math questions. Each quant section contains 20 questions, and you have 35 minutes to solve them. Most calculations can be performed mentally, or on paper, however, you will be provided access to an on-screen calculator with the essential arithmetic function.

If you are taking the paper version of the GRE, mainly offered in countries where the computer version is not available, then each quant section will contain 25 questions instead of 20, this raises your total to 50 questions. You will be given some extra time of five minutes for each quant section without an experimental section. Just keep in mind that you will always have precisely two quant sections. You will also get ample scratch paper before the computer version of the GRE. This paper may be used for Quant and any other section you want, although most appropriate for writing down calculations.

Areas of Math Tested on Quant

There are four significant areas of math tested on Quant. They are; arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.


Arithmetic is more like the basic of all math, and it is merely the manipulation of numbers, on the GRE test, arithmetic will present: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, it will also present;

  • Integers, fractions, and decimals
  • PEDMAS (order of operations)
  • Exponents and square roots
  • Absolute values
  • Prime numbers
  • Even and odd numbers
  • Sequences
  • Ratios, proportions and cross multiplication


Algebra involves numbers and letters. The GRE concepts include;

  • Expressions and equations
  • Variables and constants
  • Inequalities
  • Functions
  • Coordinate systems
  • Coordinate geometry
  • Lines and slopes
  • Factorization


This is the study of shapes and angles. The GRE geometry covers the following;

  • Lines, parallel lines and perpendicular lines
  • Relationships among angles
  • Types of angles
  • Polygons, including triangles, rectangles, squares, trapezoids and parallelograms
  • Circles
  • Arc and sectors
  • Special right angle triangles and the Pythagorean Theorem
  • 3-D objects, including rectangular solids and right circular cylinders
  • Perimeter, area, circumference, and volume
  • Inscribed and similar shapes

Data Analysis

This focuses on your ability to interpret data. And you will be tried on the following;

  • Distribution of data and frequency
  • Graphical representations of data, including; bar graphs, pie charts, scatter plots, histograms
  • Statistics (mean, median, mode and range)
  • Quartiles and percentiles
  • Standard deviation
  • Factorials permutations and combination
  • Probability

Tips to Prepare for GRE Math

So, having looked at the primary and expected math on the GRE test, it is expedient to keep handy tips to navigate and ace this part much.

Study past tests

Sometimes patterns of questions are similar each year, so in preparation for the GRE math, you should take out time to study past questions on math to prepare you even better when faced with the test.

Don’t think too deep

Now, while this may sound dicey, most times the answer to a quant question is just at your fingertip. Don’t forget you have only a little over one minute to answer each question, so the test tests you on accuracy and speed. So, keep your thought within the problem and see what it’s trying to say directly.

The questions are usually Number Based

Since this is so, you need to follow the process of presentation and keep your mind within the context it is presented. This will give you the point of the question faster as the math questions are basic arithmetic dealing with numbers and what you can relate to.

Keep to Time

The math on the GRE has two quant sections and 40 questions in total, with 20 questions each and only 35minutes to answer one section. This leaves you with barely one minute and a few seconds to tackle a question. Therefore, you need to be fast but accurate as well. Put on your thinking cap and concentrate fully when on this part.

Scoring System in GRE Math

Finally, there is a scoring system in the math GRE. Quant just like verbal reasoning, is scored on a scale of 130-170. On this scale, however, 170 is a perfect score, while 130 is the lowest possible score. Presently, the average quant score is 152.57. This should give you an overview of what to expect and how to work towards achieving the best possible results.

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