Meet GRE Math
AAAAAGGGHHHH!!!! If that’s your general reaction to math, then you’ve come
to the right place. If you’re like many test takers, you might be dreading the
math portion of the GRE, known officially as the “Quantitative Section.” (No
need for such formality—we’ll just call it Math.) Many of the
questions cover topics you may not have seen in a really long time, even if you
majored in math. Plus, the test makers have a knack for wording questions in
unfamiliar, unintuitive ways. That’s the not-so-great news.
The great news is that the GRE Math section only tests basic
math. Thankfully, the math content never goes beyond a junior high or
early high school level, and advanced topics, such as trigonometry and calculus,
are never tested. Calculations, when required, are basic enough
to do by hand—you know this for a fact since you’re not allowed to use a
calculator. Brush up on the basics covered in “Math 101” and the specific
techniques and methods presented in chapters 3–5, and you’ll be good to go. If
you’re actually not too bad at math but haven’t used any to speak of beyond
occasionally balancing your checkbook by hand, then the refresher we provide
will do you just fine too.
On test day, you’ll have 45 minutes to get through 28 questions. This
chapter introduces you to the types of questions you’ll see and offers some
general strategies that will help you to succeed. We’ll get to all that in just
a bit, but first let’s take a quick look at scoring.