Understanding the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section


Wondering what level of mathematics you need to know in order to ace the GRE quant section? Read this article to learn more about the GRE quant section, the topics you’re tested on and what material you can use to enhance your preparation?

Before we begin, let us understand what the GRE is and its overall structure.

What is the GRE?

The GRE is a standard test conducted by ETS all over the globe and is accepted by business schools and universities as an essential admission criterion to their masters and PhD programs. The GRE comprises 3 sections: analytical writing, quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning. In this article, however, we will only focus on the GRE quantitative reasoning section.

What Does GRE Quantitative Reasoning Test You On?

The GRE quant section tests your mathematical skills. It gauges your ability to solve complex problems. So yes, it is math-heavy but how much mathematics do you need to know to ace the GRE quant section? To answer this, it is essential to know the GRE does not expect you to be a mathematical expert. Rather, the GRE wants to test your ability to use basic concepts of maths to solve problems by applying logical reasoning. 

The topics tested on the GRE are as follows:

Branch of Maths Topics
Arithmetic Integers




Number properties

Exponents and roots

Ratio and proportions

Simple and compounded interest 

Geometry Lines and angles





Three-dimensional figures

Area, perimeter and volume

Angle measurement

Data Analysis Descriptive statistics

Data interpretation


Permutation and combination

Venn diagram

Set theory 

Algebra Exponents

Algebraic expressions

Equations and inequalities

Linear and quadratic inequalities

Coordinate geometry

Word Problems Speed, distance and time

Profit and loss


How Do You Prepare for the GRE?

The best approach to start your GRE preparations is by taking a practice test online. Practice tests are a replica of the actual exam and are similar to solving GRE previous year papers. By solving practice tests even before you have started studying for the test, you can gauge your level of proficiency and familiarity with topics tested in the GRE. Moreover, the scores you receive on your practice test are a good predictor of how many days you will need to prepare and master the concepts of GRE.

After successfully taking a GRE mock test, identify your strengths and weaknesses based on the score report. Focus on your weaknesses first by understanding the concepts and practising problems using the GRE official guide. The advantage of starting with the GRE official guide is that you get access to GRE sample test papers with answers. Hence, once you have solved a few questions you can get a detailed explanation of each question. Once you have completed a certain portion of the GRE syllabus, you can take another mock test to gauge your progress. With the right combination of solving problems and taking mock tests, you will see gradual progress in your speed and overall scores.

Now that we have explained to you about the GRE quantitative reasoning, its syllabus and how to prepare for the quant section, you’re better positioned to start your preparation.