5 Best Ways to Study for the GMAT Quantitative Section


The GMAT exam includes the Quantitative section, Verbal section, Integrated Reasoning and the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section. The GMAT Quantitative or Math section requires solving 31 multiple-choice questions in 62 minutes. The Quantitative section scores range roughly from 6 – 51. The Quant score is a factor of 200 to 800.

The most important tip to ace the GMAT quantitative section is to master the fundamental concepts and not rely on solving the questions through any kind of shortcuts. While the concepts are not difficult but the questions can be tricky and the test makers would do their best to throw you off your game. So, the more you prepare the chances of you falling for one of their tricks are likely to be less. Hence, a lot of hard work and an innovative approach and the ways that are listed in this blog are enough to overcome the data sufficiency and other math problems.

The five best ways to study for the GMAT Quantitative section:


1. Review the GMAT Quantitative Syllabus

GMAT Quantitative Syllabus

Before moving on to GMAT Quantitative prep, we recommend you to go through the topic tested in the exam. The Quant section tests the knowledge of high-school Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry. Review the basic concepts and required formulae of these topics as you might not have practised these topics since high school. According to Official Guide;

Arithmetic includes the following topics:

  • Properties of Integers
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Real Numbers
  • Ratio and Proportions
  • Percentage
  • Powers and Roots of Numbers
  • Descriptive Statistics
  • Sets
  • Counting Methods
  • Discrete Probability

Algebra includes the following topics:

  • Simplifying Algebraic Expressions
  • Equations
  • Solving Linear Equations with One Unknown
  • Solving Linear Equations with Two Unknown
  • Solving Equations by Factoring
  • Solving Quadratic Equations
  • Exponents
  • Inequalities
  • Absolute Value
  • Functions

Geometry includes the following topics:

  • Lines
  • Intersecting Lines and Angles
  • Perpendicular Lines
  • Parallel Lines
  • Polygons
  • Triangles
  • Quadrilaterals
  • Circles
  • Rectangular Solids and Cylinders
  • Coordinate Geometry


2. Take a GMAT Quantitative Practice Test

GMAT Quantitative Practice Test

After having the knowledge of what topics are tested in the Quant section, it is very important to understand the test, in terms of its structure, skills needed to solve questions quickly, question format, etc. To understand these, take a GMAT Quantitative section mock test. Several websites offer free GMAT sectional tests as well as full-length tests which are very similar to the real GMAT test. The GMAT Quantitative questions and format of the questions are similar to the real test but not the scoring algorithm. So focus more on accuracy and not the score in the beginning. Note that calculator is not allowed in the GMAT Quantitative Reasoning section whereas as Basic function online calculator is accessible during the Integrated Section.

There are two types of questions in the Quantitative section:

I. Problem Solving: It tests your analytical and logical reasoning to solve quant questions. There are five options available to each question of this type and you have to choose the best of the five answer choices.

Which of the following is nearest to ¾?

(a) 8/11

(b) 7/9

(c) 5/7

(d) 4/5

(e) 10/13

II. Data Sufficiency: This type of problem consists of a question stem followed by two statements, numbered as (1) and (2), in which some data are given. You are supposed to decide whether the data given in the statement are sufficient to answer the question. All Data sufficiency questions have exactly the same set of answer choices in the same order.

What is the value of x?

(i) 3x + 2y = 5

(ii) 1.5x – 2.5 = – y

(a) Statement (i) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (ii) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.

(b) Statement (ii) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (i) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.

(c) BOTH statements (i) and (ii) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.

(d) EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.

(e) Statements (i) and (ii) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data specific to the problem are needed.

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3. Prepare the GMAT Quantitative Section in a Structured and Systematic Way

Prepare the GMAT Quantitative Section

Now it’s time to analyze the mock test carefully. This test will be the basis of your future GMAT Quantitative section preparation. Maintain an error log table as follows:


Test Errors Due to:
  Content Knowledge Application of Techniques Carelessness/Trap Answer Pacing
Test 1        
Test 2      


Content Knowledge Errors: Find the number of questions you get wrong because of lack of content knowledge. If you don’t know how to solve any question then make a note of that question before guessing it. This will help you to set the priority of preparation.

Errors due to Application of Techniques: Find the number of questions for which you have the content knowledge but you got it wrong because you used the traditional way (time-consuming) of solving instead of technique.

Errors due to Carelessness/Trap Answer: Find the number of questions you got wrong because of misreading, calculation error, common mathematical errors, etc.

Errors due to Pacing: Find the number of questions you got wrong because you were running out of time for some questions.

The errors you have been making should consistently go down from test to test.

Now after knowing your strong and weak areas, prepare a study plan based on the time available to you. You can also take the help of your teacher to prepare a smart study plan. Now it’s time to find a reliable, standard, and effective source of material to get your best possible score.

Since the GMAT test is timed, it’s important to get the answers quickly and accurately. Manya – The Princeton Review offers ten standard full-length tests, an Adaptive drill that works the way test works, and also another unique feature called Drill builder where a student can allow the portal to optimize drills basis his performance in the previous tests or customize his own drills basis selected topics, desired difficulty, etc. For every question, you get the solution and the explanation using the techniques with the difficulty level of the question. For every full-length test, you get question-wise, topic area-wise, format-wise, strategy-wise, and time-analysis-wise detailed test analysis like the one shown below.

Test Analysis


4. Plan More Quantitative Sectional Tests/Full-Length Tests During your Preparation

Plan More Quantitative Sectional Tests

After analyzing the first test, select the topics that need to practice before the next test. Work only on one or two weak areas before every test. In the initial stage of your preparation, start with easy questions to learn concepts and identify the faster and accurate way to answer questions, then gradually move on to medium level and hard level of questions for a particular topic.

Once you are ready with the topics take another mock test and see have you really improved on those topics. The gap between each test depends on the target completion set by you. Similarly, fix your content and strategy test by test, and if you start getting 29+ questions correct then you are test ready.


5. Be a Smart Test Taker

Be a Smart Test Taker

Stick to the strategy you prepared during the practice. Don’t change it every now and then. If you find difficulty in pacing, follow the following pacing strategy and stick to it.

Questions 1-10 11-20 21-31
Time 22 Minutes 20 Minutes 20 Minutes
Running Time 40 Minutes 20 Minutes  1 Minute (Test to be submitted)


You can score the maximum even if you have made 2-3 mistakes, but your mistakes should be far apart. So sometimes you might need to guess on some questions to manage the above pacing. For example, you are at question number 8 and the running time is 44 minutes, which means you have to finish 3 questions (8th, 9th, and 10th) in 4 minutes so you have to guess one question out of the 3 questions to manage the required pacing. Practice will help you to decide which question is to be skipped.

Here are some basic strategies to score more in the test:

  • Avoid consuming over three minutes on any question.
  • Avoid answering within one minute as that might be a trap answer, verify again before answering.
  • Use the process of elimination and approximation to answer the question if you get stuck or run out of time on some questions.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q1. Does GMAT Quantitative section test Calculus?

GMAT Quantitative section tests high school Math which includes Algebra, Arithmetic and Geometry. It doesn’t test Calculus.

Q2. Does GMAT change the order of answer choices for Data Sufficiency questions?

GMAT never changes the order of answer choices for Data Sufficiency questions.

Q3. Do I get more Probability & Permutation questions if my difficulty level gets higher?

No. The difficulty level is not restricted to one or two topics. Difficult questions can be asked from any of the topics such as Algebra, Arithmetic and Geometry.

Q4. How to manage to pace for the quantitative section?

The most important pacing guidelines are:

  • Start slowly and carefully.
  • Eliminate careless mistakes.
  • Gradually pick up speed so that you can finish the section.
  • Don’t waste time on killer questions. Guess and move on.


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