 Tips for Mastering the Math Section of the GRE - dummies

Tips for Mastering the Math Section of the GRE

Success on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) Math section has a great deal to do with applying logic and common sense. Following are some tips for how to do your best on this section of the test:

Before you start

• Lose the calculator (it’s not allowed). The proctor will provide scratch paper.

• Remember that the GRE tests algebra, geometry, and arithmetic, not calculus or trigonometry.

• Memorize formulas before you take the test. The GRE doesn’t provide them.

Following are some tips for those tricky Quantitative Comparison questions:

• Triple-check your answer before hitting the Confirm button on the computer, because the answers to Quantitative Comparison (QC) questions often aren’t the obvious, first-response answers.

• Remember that the answer choices are the same for every question. Choose A if Column A is greater; B if Column B is greater; C if the two columns are equal; and D if insufficient information is given. E is never a choice in the QC-question realm.

• If the columns seem to be equal, do the required calculations to prove that they are.

• Play the “what if” game by plugging in 1, then 2, 0, –1, –2, and 1⁄2. If the answer depends on what you plug in for the variable, choose D.

And now for some Problem Solving tips:

• Note what the question specifically asks you to find: perimeter, area, length, degree, fraction, percentage, and so on.

• Before you begin working on a problem, read the answer choices. You may be able to estimate and answer without working out the solution.

• Plug answer choices into the question to see which one works. Do the easy choices first; you may not have to do the hard ones.