GRE quant section has several questions on probability. These questions generally test two basic concepts of the candidates – simple probability and permutation and combination. Broadly all questions in the GRE exam section will test only these two aspects. Simple probability is used to ascertain the likelihood of that particular event to happen. On the other hand, permutation and combination are slightly complex where permutation refers to sequences and combination refers to groups. In permutations, the order is important while it is not the same with combinations.
Probability is a sub-topic of data analysis, one of the 4 major math topics tested on Quant (arithmetic, algebra, and geometry). Unlike these broader topics, however, probability doesn’t play a significant role in the GRE. In fact, you’ll probably have to answer only a couple of GRE probability questions – no more than two or three.
Still, it’s very important you to understand what probability is and how it’s usually tested on the GRE. This way, you’ll be able to solve for the right answer, and as a result, raising your chance of achieving a high Quant score on the GRE.
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So what exactly is a probability? Well, in math, the probability is a way to describe uncertainty and the possible outcomes of an experiment using numbers. These numbers indicate the prospect of a certain event or group of events occurring and can be written as fractions, integers, or decimals.
Probability questions on the GRE can take on a variety of formats, such as numeric entry, multiple-choice, and Quantitative Comparison. Whether a question calls for fractions or decimals is usually clarified by the question or answer choices. So, a probability question discussing probabilities in fractions will probably ask for an answer in fractions. Answer choices, if supplied, are typically written either all in fractions or all in decimals.
If you are answering a Numeric Entry probability question, look closely at the blank to determine how you should write your answer. A single blank means the question is looking for either a decimal or an integer. A double blank means the question is looking for a fraction.
All GRE probability questions will test your knowledge of two basic concepts:
Here are few things to remember in order to tackle GRE probability questions
In the GRE exam, questions are not tagged as arithmetic or probability. You need to decide if it is from probability by looking for the “probability” word. If you can’t find it, then look for related keywords such as “outcome”, “random selection”, etc.
For a great quant score, it is advised to memorize key formulas of probability. Since time is extremely limited, try not to waste time in figuring out the exact formula. Most of the top-scoring GRE aspirants spend more time learning the formula and concept by heart rather than practicing sums.
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Below are some of the key probability formulas that you should memorize if you want to clear the GRE quant section with a higher percentile:
The probability of an event = Favourable number of event: Number of total outcomes
Odds in favor of an event = Number of favorable outcomes: Number of total outcomes
Odds against an event = Number of unfavorable outcomes: Number of total outcomes
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To score a higher percentile on the GRE Quant section, it is imperative that you have a clear and thorough understanding of probability concepts. In fact, getting the perfect 170 in GRE Quants is not that difficult if you practice and have proper guidance related to preparation. Understand and avoid some common mistakes that aspirants often make during the GRE exam.
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