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GRE Problem Solving

Updated March 04, 2010

The GRE’s Quantitative Section contains Quantitative Comparison questions, Data Interpretation questions, and Problem-Solving Questions

GRE Problems

The Arithmetic part of the GRE exam consists of several multiple choice questions on various topics, including:

  • Basic number properties
  • Fractions, decimals and percentages
  • Arithmetic word problems
  • Algebra- equations and inequalities
  • Averages, ratios, proportions
  • A tiny bit of probability, permutations/combinations, etc.
  • Geometry: lines, angles, triangles, squares, a tiny bit about circles, and coordinate geometry

Make sure you know all of these areas of math. They’re usually asked at an American high-school level, which isn’t very difficult to be honest.

There are approximately 10 distcrete-quantitative, or regular, math problems in the quantitative section of the GRE. You get about 1.5 minute per question, which means timing is crucial- you want to practice until you can solve these questions within the proper time limit.

Sample Problems:

On a coordinated grid with O(0,0), line AB goes from (0,3) to (3,0). Line CD goes from (0,4) to (4,0). What’s the area of ABCD?

Answer: In the GRE, you’ll likely be given a picture to help you, but here you should just draw it out yourself. The easiest way to solve this is to find the area of triangle AOB and subtract it from the area of triangle COD, as the remainder will constitute of area ABCD. Now, each perpendicular side of AOB is 3, so the area is \frac{3 * 3}{2} = 4.5. The area of COD is similarly \frac{4 * 4}{2} = 8. Therefore the remining area of ABCD is 3.5.

Question: a - 2b = 50, while a + 4b + 9c = 20. Find 2a + 6c.

Answer: The trick here is to manipulate the equations you’re given to eliminate b. You can do this easily by adding two of the first equation to the second one: 2(a - 2b) + (a + 4b + 9c) = 3a + 9c = 2(50) + 20 = 120. Cool. Now, we know that a + 3c = 40, so 2a + 6c = 80. See, it’s pretty easy.

Online GRE Practice Tests

To prepare for GRE Problem Solving Section, you must practice lots of GRE questions to improve both speed and accuracy.

Here are some great problem solving questions for you to practice:

GRE Quantitative (10 questions), GRE Quantitative Practice (10 questions), GRE Quantitative Practice Test (10 questions), GRE Quantitative Questions (10 questions), GRE Quantitative Comparison (10 questions), GRE Arithmetic Practice (10 questions), GRE Arithmetic (5 questions).

More Quantitative Stuff!

Don’t forget to practice for the other parts of the Quantitative Sections: Data Interpretation and Quantitative Comparison questions. Good luck!