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The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Tests) are administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Most colleges across the US and many other countries require your GRE scores to be submitted along with the application forms for admissions to academic programs in undergraduate and business studies offered by them. The General Test is designed to evaluate your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that are considered essential for doing well in your first year of graduate studies. The General test consists of the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and the Analytical Writing sections.

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Format of the GRE Math Section

The GRE General Test is generally offered as a computer based test. However, in certain locations the paper version of the test is available. The computer based test will consist of one math section, called the Quantitative section, consisting of two sections, each section consists of 20 questions and you are given 35 minutes per section to answer the questions given in a  section. The questions are taken in from mathematics courses offered at the under-graduate level. They contain questions from Calculus and its applications (50%), Algebra (25%), Abstract and Discrete mathematics, and Geometry (25%). The percentages mentioned along with the topics are an approximation and may vary between different test editions. In the paper format of the test, you will be presented with two math sections. Each of the sections will consist of 25 questions per section. You will be given 35 minutes for each of the  sections. Both the formats of the test contain an additional unscored section the scores of which do not count towards your final test scores. The length of the unscored section varies. This additional section may be a math section or a verbal reasoning section.

The math section evaluates your skills in understanding the basic concepts of Calculus, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and other topics. You will also be tested for your ability to reason quantitatively and to solve problems related to quantitative analysis. You will be tested for your quantitative abilities and reasoning skills in:

  • understanding quantitative information
  • analyzing and interpreting data from quantitative information including drawing inferences from a given dataset
  • using mathematical methods and graphs to solve quantitative problems

All the questions asked in this section are based on multiple-choice answers. The math section consists of four types of questions as given below:

  1. Quantitative comparison questions.
  2. Multiple choice questions – select one answer choice.
  3. Multiple choice questions – select one or more answer choices.
  4. Numeric entry questions.

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Preparing for the GRE Math Section

Most of the students taking the GRE develop cold feet at the mention of this section. The reason behind this is lack of confidence in the knowledge of the fundamentals of math. This section can be tackled easily if one is aware of the exact format of the questions that will be asked. The key to succeeding in this section is loads and loads of practice in solving problems specific to the math section.

You can prepare yourself by carrying out extensive review of the content tested by the math section in addition to thorough practice and utilization of strategies and tactics for solving the problems. You will find numerous websites and study books that offer you a variety of sample questions aimed at providing you practice in solving problems specific to the math section. The official website of GRE, contains a number of free sample questions as well as a wide variety of prep material that is available for a nominal cost. Include a number of practice tests in your preparation schedule. The more practice problems you solve, the more comfortable you will be at the time of taking the actual test. A rigorous preparation plan with due emphasis on adequate practice will ensure that you are able to score high in the math section.


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