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The GRE Quantitative Reasoning Sections — Structure, Skills Tested and Math Topics Covered

Quantitative Reasoning is one of three broad skill areas that the GRE is designed to measure. (The other two are Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing.) Here are the key features of the exam's Quantitative Reasoning sections:

How many: Two scored sections, and possibly one unscored section

Time limit: 35 minutes for each section

Number of questions: Approximately 20 available questions per section (1 minute, 45 seconds per question, on average)

Basic format: Most questions are multiple choice; some are numeric entry

Skills tested:

  • Your basic math and algebra skills
  • Your understanding of basic quantitative concepts
  • Your ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems, and interpret data presented graphically

GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions involve quantitative concepts typically covered in basic high-school math coursework. The exam does not cover trigonometry, calculus or other advanced math topics.

A GRE Quantitative Reasoning question might involve any of the math topics listed below. The number of questions from each category (in bold face) are per exam section, and the numbers can vary slightly from the ranges indicated here because some questions can fit into more than one category.

Arithmetic, number theory, statistics (8-9 questions)

  • arithmetical operations
  • the number line and ordering
  • integers, factors and multiples
  • decimals, percentages and ratios
  • exponents and square roots
  • mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation
  • basic probability
  • number patterns (series, permutations, factorials)

Interpretation of graphical data (2-3 questions)

  • tabular data (tables)
  • line charts, bar charts and scatter charts
  • pie graphs

Algebra (5-6 questions)

  • operations on variables
  • factorable binomials and polynomials
  • algebraic equations
  • algebraic functions
  • algebraic inequalities

Geometry (3-4 questions)

  • lines and angles
  • triangles, quadrilaterals and other polygons
  • properties and characteristics of circles
  • 3-dimensional solids
  • coordinate geometry