Introduction to the Quantitative Reasoning Measure

The Quantitative Reasoning measure of the GRE® revised General Test assesses your:

  • basic mathematical skills
  • understanding of elementary mathematical concepts
  • ability to reason quantitatively and to model and solve problems with quantitative methods

Some of the questions in the measure are posed in real-life settings, while others are posed in purely mathematical settings. The skills, concepts and abilities are tested in the four content areas below:

  • Arithmetic topics include properties and types of integers, such as divisibility, factorization, prime numbers, remainders and odd and even integers; arithmetic operations, exponents and roots; and concepts such as estimation, percent, ratio, rate, absolute value, the number line, decimal representation and sequences of numbers.
  • Algebra topics include operations with exponents; factoring and simplifying algebraic expressions; relations, functions, equations and inequalities; solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities; solving simultaneous equations and inequalities; setting up equations to solve word problems; and coordinate geometry, including graphs of functions, equations and inequalities, intercepts and slopes of lines.
  • Geometry topics include parallel and perpendicular lines, circles, triangles — including isosceles, equilateral and 30°-60°-90° triangles — quadrilaterals, other polygons, congruent and similar figures, three-dimensional figures, area, perimeter, volume, the Pythagorean theorem and angle measurement in degrees. The ability to construct proofs is not tested.
  • Data analysis topics include basic descriptive statistics, such as mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation, interquartile range, quartiles and percentiles; interpretation of data in tables and graphs, such as line graphs, bar graphs, circle graphs, boxplots, scatterplots and frequency distributions; elementary probability, such as probabilities of compound events and independent events; random variables and probability distributions, including normal distributions; and counting methods, such as combinations, permutations and Venn diagrams. These topics are typically taught in high school algebra courses or introductory statistics courses. Inferential statistics is not tested.

The content in these areas includes high school mathematics and statistics at a level that is generally no higher than a second course in algebra; it does not include trigonometry, calculus or other higher-level mathematics. The Math Review provides detailed information about the content of the Quantitative Reasoning measure.

The mathematical symbols, terminology and conventions used in the Quantitative Reasoning measure are those that are standard at the high school level. For example, the positive direction of a number line is to the right, distances are nonnegative and prime numbers are greater than 1. Whenever nonstandard notation is used in a question, it is explicitly introduced in the question.

In addition to conventions, there are some assumptions about numbers and geometric figures that are used in the Quantitative Reasoning measure. Two of these assumptions are (i) all numbers used are real numbers and (ii) geometric figures are not necessarily drawn to scale. More about conventions and assumptions appears in Mathematical Conventions.

Quantitative Reasoning Question Types

The Quantitative Reasoning measure has four types of questions. Click on the links below to get a closer look at each, including sample questions with rationales.

Each question appears either independently as a discrete question or as part of a set of questions called a Data Interpretation set. All of the questions in a Data Interpretation set are based on the same data presented in tables, graphs or other displays of data.

You are allowed to use a basic calculator on the Quantitative Reasoning measure. For the computer-based test, the calculator is provided on-screen. For the paper-based test, a handheld calculator is provided at the test center. Read more about using the calculator.

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