Word Problems on the GRE Math Test — Practice Questions - dummies

Word Problems on the GRE Math Test — Practice Questions

By Ron Woldoff, Joseph Kraynak

Word problems on the GRE Math test cover a wide range of topics, from algebra to geometry to trigonometry. They require some strategy because before you plug in numbers, you first have to decide which equations or formulas to use to find your solution.

Read the word problem carefully and make sure you know exactly what you’re being asked to find.

Practice questions

  1. If a committee of 12 members were to choose a president, vice president, and secretary from the committee and each member can hold only one position, in how many ways can these roles be assigned?

    A. 220

    B. 320

    C. 440

    D. 1,320

    E. 1,440

  2. Bob traveled 40% of the distance of his trip alone, went another 20 miles with Anthony, and then finished the last half of the trip alone. How many miles long was the trip?

    A. 240

    B. 200

    C. 160

    D. 100

    E. 50

Answers and explanations

  1. D

    Use the permutations formula to solve this one:


    If n equals the 12 members on the committee and they’re k = 3 positions, then


  2. B

    If Bob traveled the last half of his trip alone, then the 40% and the 20 miles make up the first half, or 50%. Because 50% – 40% = 10%, 20 miles is 10%. Thinking in terms of fractions may be easier:


    of something is 20, that something is 200. Arithmetically, you have


    Multiply both sides by 10 to get x = 200.