GMAT Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GMAT measures the ability of the student to analyse data and draw conclusions using logical thinking. The concepts tested in this section of the GMAT are no greater than what is learnt by the students in high school.

This section consists of 31 Multiple Choice Questions and 62 minutes are allowed to complete the test. Approximately 25% (3 to 4 questions) of the questions are experimental and are not scored. These are used by GMAC for their research purpose.

The GMAT Quantitative questions come in two flavours – Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. The section tests Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry. Note that topics such as Trigonometry and Calculus are not tested on the GMAT exam. Some questions may appear to require Trigonometry formulas for getting the answer. This will happen only if you lack knowledge of certain concepts which are a part of the US curriculum but not taught in other curriculums. Remember that GMAT is a US test and hence, requires a thorough knowledge of the concepts tested on the US curriculum.

On the GMAT, a student is required to answer the questions in the most time efficient and smart ways using critical reasoning and problem solving skills. Solving the questions in the conservative school way will not be effective in solving most of these problems. Thus, plugging in techniques come really handy in getting the answers to these questions quickly and accurately. Also, thorough knowledge of the basic mathematical concepts can not be ignored. All the basic concepts should be on tips. It is imperative to learn, practice, and apply the strategies specially designed to crack the GMAT problems.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The calculator is not allowed on the GMAT exam. Thus, it is crucial for the test-taker to be number savvy and learn ways to do the basic calculations quickly.

Different Sections on the Quantitative Reasoning

There are two types of questions tested on the Quantitative section of the GMAT – Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. Approximately 17 to 18 Problem Solving questions and 13 to 14 Data Sufficiency questions are tested on the Quantitative section of the test.

Problem Solving:

These questions measure the ability of the student to use logical and analytical reasoning. Each question has 5 answer choices with exactly 1 correct answer and 4 tempting trap answers. It is easy to fall prey to the wrong answers and thus, it is critical to read the question carefully before answering.

All the questions tested are high school level questions. So, you will not experience anything which you have never seen before, however, sufficient practice is required as the questions are designed in a tricky way and most of the test-takers have not practiced high school questions in years.

Process of elimination and other strategies come really handy while solving problem solving questions. If you do not know how to solve a problem, make a guess and move on, especially on some of the word problems where multiple concepts are packed in. Do not marry the wrong question. There is no point in wasting your time on harder questions and spoiling the pacing of the entire section.

Data Sufficiency:

This question type measures the ability of the student to analyze a problem and deduce the point at which the statement(s) provide enough data to answer the question. Each Data Sufficiency problem has a question stem followed by two statements and the job of the test-taker is to use his knowledge of mathematical concepts to figure out if the statement(s) is sufficient to answer the question or not.

These questions can be really tricky as most of the test-takers have never witnessed this question type before and thus, understanding this problem type may take a lot of time.

The answer choices are fixed for Data Sufficiency questions. Learning and applying the strategies specifically created for DS questions is vital. Don’t rush. Slow down on DS questions. They may look easy but they can be really knavish. Be organized and use scratch paper wisely.

GMAT Quantitative Reasoning Scoring pattern

The GMAT exam measures Quantitative, Verbal, Analytical Writing, and Integrated Reasoning skills. The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are item-level adaptive and the scoring is done on a scale of 6 to 51. Scores are reported in intervals of 1 and the standard error of measurement is 3 points. The score is based on three factors:

  1. Number of questions answered
  2. Number of questions answered correctly
  3. Difficulty and other parameters of the questions answered

A higher score can be earned by attempting more questions, getting more of them correct, and reaching questions of a higher difficulty level. The penalty for leaving the questions, in the end, is heavy. Thus, it is important to finish the section in the allotted time.

GMAT Percentiles:

A percentile ranking in both Verbal and Quant sections is also provided. This percentile corresponds to the percentage of people whose score is lower than yours. For example, if you are at the 80th percentile, this means you scored as well or better than the 80% of the population taking the exam and 20% did not do as well. This percentile is based on the last three years of GMAT scoring. It means that your score will not change but your percentile may change with every passing year. Currently, the mean score for the Quantitative section is 40.38 and the score of 40 on the Quantitative section is equivalent to 36 percentile which is quite low. It is because the performance of the test-takers on the Quantitative section is much higher.

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Quantitative Reasoning Comparison

Arithmetic Question GMAT MCQ-1
Algebra Question GMAT MCQ-2
Geometry Question GMAT MCQ-3

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GMAT FAQ's

What is a good score in GMAT Quant?

A good GMAT Quant score is the one which helps you get a good overall score on the scale of 200-800 as required by your target B-school. Quant score ranges from 6 to 51 (in 1-point increments). Currently, the mean score for the Quantitative section is 40.38 and the score of 40 on the Quantitative section is equivalent to 36 percentile which is quite low. This is because the performance of the test-takers on the Quantitative section is much higher. Thus, you will need to do much better than the average in order to get admission into your dream B-school.

MBA schools do check the individual Quant and Verbal scores but the combined score on the scale of 200-800 is much more significant. Take a couple of mock tests in the simulated environment in order to understand the number of points you will need more to reach your baseline score in the Quant section.

How do I study for GMAT Quantitative?

There is no fixed answer to this question as every individual is different and comes with a different educational background and may not have the same time available to study and practice. However, there are a few things which every GMAT aspirant must follow while preparing for the GMAT Quantitative section.

• Learning and applying the techniques – Learn the techniques especially designed for cracking GMAT quant questions and practice them thoroughly.
• Take notes and revise regularly – Make proper notes of the various strategies and techniques you learn during your practice period. Revise them every week. Use of scratch paper is critical.
• Practice online – Practicing on the online portal is important as the GMAT is a computer adaptive test. Practicing on paper and practicing online makes a big impact on the actual test day.
• Cultivate test-taking habits – Take at least 1 test every week. Increase the frequency of the tests taken as you approach the actual test date. While taking any test, the focus should be on the application of the strategies learnt during the preparation. use of scratch paper is critical for a great Quant score on the GMAT.
• Include GMAT Official practice tests in your test plan, preferably just before the actual GMAT exam.
• Work on your pacing.
• Test Analysis – Either do the test analysis yourself or get help from an expert teacher. Focus should be both on the questions you get wrong as well as the questions where you spent more than 3 minutes (even if they are right). Look for the strategies you might have missed while taking the test.
• Organized Scratch paper – For a thorough test analysis, it is essential that you set up your scratch paper properly — write question numbers and draw a line after every question.
• Maintain an error log.

What are some of the good books to prepare for the GMAT Quant section?

The GMAT Official Guide is a must buy for any GMAT aspirant. It will give you a fair idea of the type of questions and the difficulty level of the questions that will be tested on the GMAT exam. However, if you want a thorough practice (including basics), it is better to buy a subscription from a renowned and established test prep company. Since GMAT is an online test, practicing online is imperative. You may buy a subscription from Manya – The Princeton Review which includes quality online material and hardbooks. Its student portal includes 3000+ practice questions, 10 full-length adaptive practice tests, 10 IR full section practice drills, 100 adaptive video-based lessons, 91 quick review lessons, and essay evaluation at no cost. It also includes videos for learning the strategies and techniques. The hardbooks consist of hundreds of selected questions for learning strategies and practicing various concepts tested on the GMAT.

What are the different type of questions asked in the GMAT Quantitative aptitude Section?

There are two types of questions tested on the Quantitative section of the GMAT – Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. The section consists of approximately 17 to 18 Problem Solving questions and 13 to 14 Data Sufficiency questions.

Which topic has the maximum number of questions in the GMAT Quant section?

It is difficult to name one topic which is specifically tested more on the GMAT. However, there are a bunch of topics which are tested more often as compared to the others such as — Number Theory, Inequalities & Absolute values, Percentages, Statistics, and Geometry.

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