GRE Quant question types explained with strategies and sample questions
Worried about your Maths score on the GRE ? Cheer up. We have good news for you.Even though the GRE is considered more difficult than ACT and SAT, the Math tested on the GRE is at a lower level than that of the SAT and ACT.Like most things in life, practice and understanding the format of the section will make it easier to deal with 

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test evaluates your skills in basic mathematics, reading and interpreting graphs and figures, and engaging in basic mathematical reasoning. There are two portions of the Quantitative Reasoning section. Each has 20 or 25 questions (20 in the computer version and 25 in the paper version), with 35 or 40 minutes (35 for the computer version and 40 for the paper version) to complete each portion. 

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test is scored on a scale of 130-170 in 1-point increments.
Question Types 
There are four types of questions in the Quantitative Reasoning Section of the GRE. 
Quantitative Comparison Questions 
The Quantitative Comparison (QC) Questions are a subset of Quantitative Reasoning Section, which assesses:  

  • Basic mathematical skills 
  • Understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts 
  • Ability to use quantitative methods to logically reason and model practical problems

In Quantitative Comparison questions, you will be provided with information on two quantities, such as Quantity A and Quantity B. From the given information, you should compare Quantity A and Quantity B, and select an answer that is based on these choices: 

(A) Quantity A is greater. 

(B) Quantity B is greater. 

(C) Quantities A and B are equal. 

(D) The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. 
Hints for answering QC questions: 

  • Carefully examine choices (A) through (C), before selecting choice (D). 
  • Avoid unnecessary and lengthy computations. Sometimes, you need to simplify the results of computation in order to find the answer in choices (A) through (C). 
  • Keep in mind that geometric figures may not be drawn to scale. 
  • If quantities A and B are mathematical expressions, plug your answer into the expressions in order to validate your choice of answer. 
  • You may need to simplify the mathematical expressions for quantities in order to use them effectively. 

Example:

Lisa is younger than Jaden.

Quantity A                                  Quantity B

Twice Lisa’s age                               Jaden’s age

(A) Quantity A is greater.

(B) Quantity B is greater.

(C) Quantities A and B are equal.

(D) The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Explanation: 

The correct answer is (D).

Let us look at what we understand from the given question. We know that Lisa is younger than Jaden but we do not know by how much and what their actual ages are.

Since we don’t know Lisa and Jaden’s ages, they could be any age just so long as Lisa is younger than Jaden. If Lisa is 2 and Jaden is 10, twice Lisa’s age is 4, which is less than Jaden’s age. But if Lisa is 19 and Jaden is 20, twice Lisa’s age is 38, which is greater than Jaden’s age.

Since whether or not Quantity A or B is greater depends on the actual ages of Lisa and Jaden, which we don’t know, the answer is (D) the relationship cannot be determined from the information given.
Multiple-Choice Select One Answer Questions 
The Multiple-choice-Select One Answer Questions form a subset of the Quantitative Reasoning Section, which assesses: 

  • Basic mathematical skills 
  • Understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts 
  • Ability to use quantitative methods to logically reason and to model practical problems 

In the MCSO (Multiple-choice-Select One) section, you will be asked to select only one answer to a question from a list of choices. 

Example:

If the average (arithmetic mean) of four distinct positive integers is 11, what is the greatest possible value of any one of the integers?

(A) 35

(B) 38

(C) 40

(D) 41

(E) 44

Explanation: 

The correct answer is (B).

Use an Average Pie to solve this one. Write in the number of things, which is 4, and the average, which is 11.

Multiply to find the total, which is 44. Now you have to be careful with the vocabulary in the question. We know that the four distinct positive integers add up to 44. To find the greatest possible value of one of them, you need to figure out the smallest possible value of the other three. Since distinct means different, the other three numbers have to be the smallest positive integers: 1, 2, and 3. Those add up to 6, so the fourth number must be 44 – 6, or 38.
Multiple-Choice-Select Multiple Answers Questions 
The Multiple-Choice-Select Multiple Answers Section of the GRE is a subset of the Quantitative Reasoning Section, which assesses 

  • Basic mathematical skills 
  • Understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts 
  • Ability to use quantitative methods to logically reason and to model practical problems 

In the MCSM (Multiple-choice-Select Multiple) Section, you will be asked to select one or more answers to a question from a list of choices. 
Hints for answering multiple-choice questions: 

  • Carefully compute to validate the selected answer. 
  • Avoid unnecessary and lengthy computations but check your calculations for careless errors. 
  • Keep in mind that geometric figures may not be drawn to scale. 
  • If you need to guess at the answer, you should perform validation tests (such as plugging the selected answer into the problem). 
  • You may need to simplify the mathematical expressions for quantities in order to use them effectively. 

Example:

If 𝑏 < 2 and 2𝑥 − 3𝑏 = 0, then which of the following can be values of 𝑥?

Select all that apply.

(A) 4

(B) 3

(C) 2

(D) 1

(E) 0

(F) −1

(G) −2

(H) −3

(I) −4

Explanation: 

The correct answers are (C), (D), (E), (F), (G), (H)and (I).

First solve the equation for 𝑏

2𝑥 − 3𝑏 = 0 

2𝑥 = 3𝑏 

2𝑥/3 = 𝑏

Then by substitution, the inequality 𝑏 < 2 becomes 

2𝑥/3 < 2

𝑥 < (3/2) (2)

𝑥 < 3

So, 𝑥 is valid for all values less than 3.
Numeric Entry Questions 
Numeric Entry (NE) questions are one of the four types of questions in the Quantitative Reasoning Section of the GRE. Questions of the NE type ask you to answer a question by typing your answer into a box. For paper-based tests, answers are submitted by filling incircles in a grid. Your answers may be integers, decimals, or fractions, and they could be negative quantities. 
Hints for answering NE questions:

  • Because there are no answer choices for an NE question, it is necessary to read the question carefully, and to answer the question in the form that is expected.
  • It is also important to pay attention to units (such as feet, yards, miles/hour, km/hour, and so on), and to give answers that are fractions or percentages, if requested. 
  • You may be asked to round an answer to a certain number of decimal places. 
  • Because NE questions do not allow you to guess at an answer, it is necessary to check your answer carefully after you have expended some time to obtain it.

Example:

150 regular size chocolate bars include 10 lbs. of sugar total. When promotional size bars are made 20% more sugar is needed. How many pounds of sugar will be required to make 250 promotional size chocolates? 

____________ lbs

Explanation: 

The correct answer is 20 lbs.

If 150 promotional size chocolates are made they need 10 × 1.2 = 12 lbs of sugar. (1.2 represents a quantity increased by 20% in decimal form). Using simple ratio proportion, 

12/150 = 𝑥/250

𝑥 = 20

The above is an excerpt from the Test Prep Series book, GRE Quantitative Reasoning: 520 Practice Questions.

Test Prep Series books that will give you ample Math practice questions for the GRE:

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