How to Score a Perfect 170 in GRE’s Quant Section

 

The one question that lingers in the minds of GRE test takers is what is a good score on the Quant section of the GRE. A 160 or a 165 might be good, but a 170 will place you on a different pedestal. In this blog, let us look at ways to improve your quants score and reach the coveted 170. Is 170 on the quants possible? Yes, 170 on the quants corresponds to the 97th percentile. That means, 3 in 100 students who take the GRE score this mark. The average GRE Quant score is around 152.

To score 170 in the GRE Quant section, we need to know the GRE exam syllabus and also the question types that appear on the test. The verbal section on the GRE tests the students’ reading and vocabulary skills. The GRE quant syllabus includes topics that you would have studied up to your tenth grade – Algebra, Arithmetic, Geometry, and Data Analysis and Interpretation. The GRE subject test though has complex topics involved.

We can often see students getting stagnated at say 165. If the topics are so simple, then why don’t many students score 170? One reason is the way the topics are tested on the GRE. So, the first step is to know the different question types on the GRE.

The four different question types that you can see on the test are Quantitative Comparison, Numeric Entry, Multiple choice questions (select one answer), and Multiple-choice questions (select one or more answers). You should understand clearly how these question types work. Also, the test is section adaptive, as in how you perform in the first section decides the difficulty of the next section. One way of familiarizing yourself with the quant section and also the entire GRE syllabus is to take a free GRE mock test.

The second reason for not reaching 170 is because of the complacent nature of these students towards math. They think that they are very good at math and hardly prepare for this section. But there is no replacement for hard work and the right practice.

 

The common mistakes the students make during the preparation:

Common-mistakes

  1. Calculation Errors – These errors can result from not reading or understanding the questions properly. As a result, the student might end up calculating things that are not asked in the question. Sometimes the students may end up marking the wrong answers in spite of solving correctly.
  2. Conceptual Errors – These include not knowing the right formula. Geometry, Probability, and Permutation and Combination are some of the areas where these errors are common.

 

How to reach the 170 score?

170-scores

  1. Not everyone is smart enough to walk into the GRE test and score a 170 in the Quant section. For most of you, understanding how the test works and the tricks that are involved and identifying the strategies that work for you will yield the desired results.
  2. You have to be extremely motivated to get the perfect score. Find out reasons and visualize them when you are enervated.
  3. Learn to manage time – Each math section has 20 questions to be completed in 35 minutes. That leaves you with a little less than 2 minutes per question. Remember not every question on the test requires the same amount of time. A simple MCQ can take you much less time than a quant comp or a chart based question. While practicing, ensure that your timings are within these specified limits. On the test, it will be a wise step to Mark those questions which are taking a longer time and get back to them later. Do not miss out on questions because of time constraints. Rather complete the test by guessing the questions if need be.
  4. Buy the best materials for preparation. The books should contain all the concepts that GRE tests you on. The questions should be comparable to that of the actual GRE. The must include materials for practice are the Official Guide for GRE practice and a book from a good GRE prep company.
  5. It is necessary to practice quality materials rather than a large number of problems. The students tend to download a lot of free materials from the internet in vain, Most of these materials are of inferior quality and may not mimic the real GRE test.
  6. If you plan to attend GRE online coaching to improve your score, then look for the ones that will not just teach you concepts but also the right strategies to tackle GRE type questions. The trainers should not only teach you but help you identify the areas of weakness and work through them.
  7. Avoid distractions while preparing – You may spend two or three hours every day for the GRE preparation. But a part of this time might be wasted on social media and daydreaming. Have a quiet room with an exam like ambience while practicing.
  8. Plan a schedule and stick to it. Your schedule should include time for classes, practice, tests, and reviews.
  9. Do not restrict your practice to areas that you are very good at, this will end up feeding your ego and may result in a lesser score. Work on the harder areas such as probability and try to master them.
  10. Your learning should be accompanied by practice and regular tests. These tests have to be computer based with quality questions. You can use GRE model papers for practice too.
  11. It is not the mistakes but the learning you take from them that ensures success. Ruthlessly work on your mistakes to figure out if it is a calculation or a conceptual mistake. Learn the new concepts and remain agile to eliminate the silly mistakes in the upcoming tests. Maintaining an error log will help you in this regard.
  12. Use the scratch paper extensively. Don’t retain too many things in your mind. Put them on the scratch paper.
  13. Build the physical and mental stamina to tackle this 4- hours computer based test.

These are some of the general tips.

 

Let us look into some math specific strategies:

Math

  1. Make yourself familiar with the GRE math syllabus and brush up or learn all the concepts necessary for this test.
  2. Use the calculator optimally on the test. Simple calculations could be done using processes like factorization.
  3. If the answer options are widespread, then try to ballpark the answers rather than solving for the exact values.
  4. Back solve in case of questions that number in the answer option and the question asks for a specific value. You know that one of the five answers has to be correct. Start with the middle number and work through the steps in the question and see which answer matches the conditions given in the question.
  5. In case of algebra questions try to substitute numbers rather than working with alphabets/variables. The only criterion is you have to choose numbers that are generic like 2, 3, or 5 and not specific like 0 or 1, or weird like 0.0127.
  6. In quantitative comparison, the substitution comes in really handy. Use all the weird numbers to eliminate all possible options. Choose the one that you are still left with.
  7. In case of longer word problems, break them into small sized pieces and work through them.
  8. In case of chart questions, don’t memorize the numbers. Read the headings, the axes, units, and the keys. Come back to charts based on the values you need. Remember though the chart questions sound difficult and time consuming, they test you on very basic arithmetic concepts and are conquerable through meticulous practice.

So are these steps to be followed only by those who want to score a 170. Not at all, anyone who wants to boost his or her score on the GRE can incorporate these steps in your preparation.

 

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