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Math Section Breakdown


Welcome to this lesson in which we're going to do a very high-level breakdown of the math section. This is important to give you an idea of the different types of questions you'll see in the math section, and the number of those questions. As a reminder, here is the quantitative reasoning breakdown, you have two math sections.

In math section 1, there are 12 questions in 21 minutes. In math section 2, there are 15 questions in 26 minutes. What will make up all of those questions that you have to answer in a total of 47 minutes? There are two main types, quantitative comparison and problem solving. Let's start with quantitative comparison.

You will typically see about 9 in total, which is about a third of all the math questions. Expect around 4 in the first math section and around 5 in the second. If you are unfamiliar with this question type, which is likely if you are new to the GRE test, here is an example. In quantitative comparison questions, you're given two quantities, creatively named quantity A and quantity B.

Your task is to compare these quantities and determine their relationship using one of the following options. You choose a if quantity a is greater, b if quantity B is greater, c if the two quantities are equal. And d if the relationship cannot be determined from the information given. We aren't going to dig in too deeply here since this is just an introductory lesson.

But if you feel tempted and you really wanna know more about quantitative comparison. Then feel free to navigate to the Lessons page, where you can check out our many lesson videos and learn more about quantitative comparison. Now, let's discuss problem solving. First and foremost, problem solving on the GRE is not your typical math question where you have a question and you have a series of answer choices.

GRE likes to get a little bit more creative, as we're going to see in the next slide. For now though, know that problem solving's going to make up the bulk of the math questions, about 66%. You should see around 8 in the first math section and around 10 in the second. Now, let's talk about what I mean by GRE fancy-pants problem solving question types.

You'll see a mix of these, the first one is the run-of-the-mill problem-solving question type. You'll be given a question to solve and five potential answer choices. It's the most common type of problem, you should see around 12 in total, with 5 in the first section and around 7 in the second. The next type is numeric entry, that's the one that is often the most daunting for people.

That's essentially where you have a box and that's all you have below the question. And you have to input your number, the numeric value you think answers the question correctly, into that box. No multiple choice, which is definitely a little bit stressful. For these, expect 3 in total, 1 in the first section and 2 in the second.

Finally, there are multiple answer problem solving types, you have a question followed by as many as ten possible answers. So, we're talking like a, b, c, d, all the way down through to answer choice j, and any one of those can be correct. And, of course, that can be incredibly daunting. For the GRE, expect 3 in total, 1 on the first section and 2 in the second.

From the slide, you'll notice that there aren't that many numeric entry and multiple answer question types and that's good news. Because those types seem to give test-takers the most trouble. In general, you now have a better idea of just how many of these problem solving questions you'll see. But, by far, the most common problem solving question type is our good old five-answer multiple choice question.

So, you can kind of exhale, breathe a little sigh of relief that what you're used to is actually what you will interact with most often. One last thing that you should be prepared for. Three of the questions of any of the problem solving types above will belong to the same set of questions that we call data interpretation. These three questions will have something like a graph or chart that's used in all three questions.

You might see up to two of the sets, but one set is most likely. If you are feeling a little bit unnerved by any of these question types, we've got you covered. We will do a deep dive into each type of question in the coming lessons.

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