Quantitative Reasoning Section

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GMAT exam will test your ability to appreciate and interpret data, and utilizing your reasoning skills, you need to make a conclusion from those sets of data.

This is the most dreaded part of the GMAT exam because it deals with numbers and some people are not very fond of math.

The Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies survey, which rates the literacy for developed nations, shows the US lags in math compared to other countries. What’s more surprising is that American adults are not doing well compared to high school students.

So it’s understandable that you feel anxious about the Quantitative Reasoning in the GMAT test. It should be noted though that you can reduce your anxiety by taking the best GMAT prep course.

What to expect in the GMAT Quantitative Reasoning Section

The QR section in your GMAT will assess your ability to think mathematically, interpret graphical data, and analyze qualitative problems. There are 31 questions in all, and you have only an hour to finish them all.

In the QR section, you can expect to encounter two types of questions:
  • Data Sufficiency - It will test your ability to appreciate the data and prioritize which aspects are important. These sets of data are essential in trying to analyze a qualitative problem.
  • Quick tip: Don’t overanalyze the question. The answer is not there. Two mathematical statements come along with the question. Pay attention to them. The trick is to determine if the data presented are enough to answer the question.

For instance, statement 2 by itself is adequate to answer the question but not statement 1 by itself

Statement 1 by itself is enough to answer the question but not statement 2 by itself

Both statements are sufficient to answer the question but not one of them alone

Problem Solving - This will gauge your analytical reasoning ability to break down and dissect quantitative problems. You will pick from the five multiple-choice questions to answer the question presented.

Problem solving example:

If 1> 2, 3 > 4, 2 > 3 and 5 > 2, which of the following statements must be true?

I. 1> 5

II. 5> 4

III. 1 > 3
  • (A) I only
  • (B) II only
  • (C) III only
  • (D) II and III
  • (E) I and III

Whether data sufficiency or problem-solving, you will display your knowledge about algebra, geometry, and basic arithmetic. Depending on the problem, you will also encounter ratios, factors, percentages, integers, and the like.

However, they only serve as foundational support to what the QR measures - your analytical skills.

Don’t worry; however, the test doesn’t include calculus.

Quick Tips on Passing Your QR Test

The best GMAT prep courses will prepare you for what’s ahead. So, don’t get taken aback when you’re already sitting down and looking at the questions.

Here are some quick tips to increase your chances of passing this section:

Go back to basics. Most of the mathematical principles you will employ in the test are rooted in elementary and high school math. You should especially do this if you don’t like math in the first place.

Testers love to give vague questions and problem statements to test your higher-reasoning skills. According to Magoosh, the most common math mistakes in QR include:
  • Distributing the root
  • Distributing a fraction
  • Dividing by the numerator
  • Ignoring the negative sign
  • Distributing a square

The questions start from the easiest to the most difficult. Some people like to tackle the most difficult questions first. Manage your time efficiently so you can answer as many as you can.

Recognize the principle of data sufficiency. Most people fail at the data sufficiency questions because they are not clear on how it works. Unlike problem-solving, it’s not as straightforward. You need to understand if the question being asked is a value question or it’s answerable by yes or no.

Sometimes, the sentence construction is a double negative, which will test your ability to process a question carefully.

Make use of your scratch paper. Although the questions are in multiple-choice format, you still need some calculating to do. You are not allowed a calculator, so use your scratch paper.

The best way to practice the Qualitative Reasoning section of your GMAT exam is to practice and practice. Preparatory courses will provide you with clear examples with which you can practice.