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22 September 2023

9 minutes read

Advanced GRE Quantitative Questions: Challenging Practice for GRE Math Mastery

Preparing for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) involves mastering a variety of mathematical concepts. To help you excel in the quantitative section, we’ve compiled a set of advanced GRE quantitative questions that cover a wide range of topics. Whether you’re looking for challenging practice questions or aiming for the highest score, these questions will test and enhance your GRE math skills.

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Quantitative Comparison Questions

Quantitative Comparison questions are a unique and distinct type of problem in the GRE quantitative section. They assess your ability to compare two quantities and determine whether one is greater, less than, or equal to the other.

These questions require a different approach compared to standard multiple-choice or numeric entry questions. Let’s explore how to tackle Quantitative Comparison questions effectively.

Understand the Basics

Before diving into complex Quantitative Comparison questions, make sure you have a solid understanding of basic mathematical operations. These operations form the foundation of your comparisons:

  1. Addition and Subtraction: Be comfortable with adding and subtracting numbers. Understand how different values change when you add or subtract them.
  2. Multiplication and Division: Know how to multiply and divide numbers, including fractions and decimals. Understand the concept of scaling and proportionality.
  3. Absolute Values: Be familiar with the concept of absolute value, which represents the distance of a number from zero on the number line. |a| is the absolute value of ‘a.’
  4. Inequalities: Understand the symbols for inequalities (<, >, ≤, and ≥) and their meanings. Recognize the direction of inequalities and how they affect comparisons.

Examine Both Quantities

In Quantitative Comparison questions, you are presented with two quantities, often labeled as Quantity A and Quantity B. Always evaluate both quantities independently before making a comparison. This step is crucial for understanding the nature of each quantity and can provide valuable insights:

  1. Calculate Each Quantity: Calculate the value of both Quantity A and Quantity B separately. Ensure your calculations are accurate and follow the given information.
  2. Identify Patterns: Look for patterns, relationships, or special properties within each quantity. Some quantities may involve formulas or mathematical properties that simplify the calculations.

Consider Specific Values

In many Quantitative Comparison questions, you can plug in specific values for variables when applicable. Testing different values can help you visualize how the quantities behave and make comparisons easier:

  1. Select Values Strategically: Choose specific values for variables that make calculations manageable. Sometimes, picking values that simplify calculations can lead to a quicker solution.
  2. Avoid Extreme Values: While specific values can be helpful, avoid selecting extreme values that might lead to overly complex calculations or undefined results.

Utilize Estimation

Estimation can be a powerful tool in Quantitative Comparison questions. It involves rounding numbers and simplifying expressions to make comparisons more manageable:

  1. Round Numbers: Round numbers to their nearest whole values or simple fractions. This can help you quickly assess whether one quantity is significantly larger or smaller than the other.
  2. Simplify Expressions: If you encounter complex algebraic expressions, consider simplifying them by canceling out common factors or terms.

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Numeric Entry Questions

Approaches to Numeric Entry Questions

Numeric entry questions require you to calculate and provide a numerical answer. Here are some approaches to tackle these questions effectively:

Isolate the Variable

In most numeric entry questions, you’ll need to solve for a specific variable. Start by isolating that variable on one side of the equation or expression.

Show Your Work

Even though you’re providing a numerical answer, showing your work can be beneficial. If you make a calculation error, you can still receive partial credit for your correct steps.

Check Your Answer

After calculating the value, double-check your answer to ensure accuracy. It’s easy to make a small mistake in calculations, and a quick review can catch these errors.

Practice Mental Math

While you can use a calculator on the GRE, practicing mental math can save you time and increase your confidence in numeric entry questions.

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Multiple-Choice Questions

Strategies for Multiple-Choice Questions

Multiple-choice questions in the GRE quantitative section present you with answer choices. Here are some strategies to improve your performance on these questions:

Eliminate Wrong Answers

Instead of trying to find the correct answer right away, start by eliminating obviously wrong choices. This narrows down your options and increases your chances of selecting the correct answer.

Use the Answer Choices

In some cases, you can use the provided answer choices to your advantage. Plug them back into the problem to see if they fit and solve for the unknown.

Manage Your Time

Multiple-choice questions can be time-consuming. Keep an eye on the time and allocate a specific amount to each question. If you get stuck, move on and come back if time allows.

Practice the Process of Elimination

Practicing the process of elimination in your preparation can sharpen your skills. It’s a valuable technique for answering multiple-choice questions efficiently.


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Arithmetic and Algebra

In the GRE quantitative section, a solid foundation in Arithmetic and Algebra is essential, as these topics form the basis for many questions. Let’s delve deeper into these areas, explore the key concepts you should master, and provide effective strategies to excel in Arithmetic and Algebra on the GRE.

Review Basic Operations

  1. Addition and Subtraction: Ensure you are comfortable with adding and subtracting both whole numbers and decimals. Familiarity with positive and negative numbers is crucial.
  2. Multiplication and Division: Practice multiplying and dividing numbers, including fractions and percentages. Understanding the order of operations (PEMDAS/BODMAS) is vital for complex calculations.
  3. Fractions and Decimals: Be proficient in working with fractions, decimals, and percentages. Simplify fractions, convert between forms, and perform operations involving fractions and decimals.
  4. Powers and Roots: Master the concept of exponents and square roots. Practice solving equations involving powers and roots.

Understand Algebraic Concepts

  1. Linear Equations: Be comfortable with solving linear equations, including equations with multiple variables. Understand the concept of slope-intercept form (y = mx + b) and how to find the slope and intercept.
  2. Inequalities: Work with inequalities and understand their properties. Solve both linear and quadratic inequalities.
  3. Expressions and Equations: Simplify algebraic expressions and solve equations involving variables. Practice factoring expressions and using the distributive property.
  4. Systems of Equations: Learn how to solve systems of linear equations using various methods such as substitution, elimination, and matrix notation.
  5. Quadratic Equations: Be prepared to solve quadratic equations, including those with complex solutions. Understand the quadratic formula and how to factor quadratic expressions.

Work with Word Problems

Many GRE questions are presented as word problems that require translating verbal information into mathematical expressions. To excel in this aspect:

  1. Identify Key Information: Read the word problem carefully and identify the key information, including what is given and what is being asked.
  2. Define Variables: Assign variables to unknown quantities mentioned in the problem. This helps you create equations to solve the problem.
  3. Translate into Equations: Write equations based on the information provided in the problem. Often, word problems involve setting up linear equations, inequalities, or systems of equations.
  4. Solve Systematically: Solve the equations systematically, keeping track of your steps. Ensure that your final answer addresses the question posed in the problem.

Build Problem-Solving Skills

Arithmetic and Algebra questions on the GRE require strong problem-solving skills. Here are some strategies to enhance your problem-solving abilities:

  1. Practice Mental Math: While you can use a calculator on the GRE, practicing mental math can save you time and boost your confidence. Work on your mental calculation skills to tackle problems more efficiently.
  2. Apply Logical Reasoning: Analyze problems logically. Break down complex problems into smaller steps and use logical reasoning to navigate through them.
  3. Use the Calculator Wisely: While the GRE provides an on-screen calculator, use it judiciously. Reserve it for calculations that are time-consuming or prone to errors if done manually.
  4. Review Your Work: After solving a problem, review your work to check for errors. Ensure that your answer makes sense in the context of the problem.

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Geometry and Data Analysis

In the realm of GRE quantitative questions, Geometry and Data Analysis stand out as two distinct yet interconnected categories. Mastery of these topics is crucial for performing well in this section. Let’s delve deeper into both of these areas and explore strategies to conquer them.

Geometry Fundamentals

Geometry questions in the GRE often encompass various shapes, angles, and spatial relationships. To excel in this area, ensure you have a solid grasp of the following fundamentals:

  1. Angles and Lines: Understand different types of angles (acute, obtuse, right, and straight angles) and their properties. Comprehend the various relationships between lines (parallel, perpendicular) and the angles they form.
  2. Triangles: Familiarize yourself with the properties of triangles, including the Pythagorean theorem, special triangles (e.g., 30-60-90 and 45-45-90 triangles), and the concept of congruence and similarity.
  3. Circles: Learn about the parts of a circle, such as the radius, diameter, circumference, and area. Know the formulas for calculating these measurements.
  4. Quadrilaterals and Polygons: Recognize the characteristics of various quadrilaterals (e.g., rectangles, squares, parallelograms) and polygons. Understand their properties and angles.
  5. Coordinate Geometry: Practice working with coordinates on a Cartesian plane, calculating distances, slopes, and equations of lines.

Visualization Skills

Geometry often requires visualizing shapes and spatial arrangements. Enhance your visualization skills through consistent practice. When presented with a geometry problem, sketch the given figures and add any relevant information to the diagrams. Visualization can make complex problems much more manageable.

Data Interpretation

The GRE frequently includes data interpretation questions that involve understanding and analyzing data presented in various formats, such as tables, charts, graphs, and diagrams. Here’s how to approach data analysis effectively:

  1. Read Carefully: Begin by carefully reading the data and any accompanying text. Pay attention to titles, labels, units, and any notes or explanations.
  2. Identify Trends: Look for patterns, trends, and relationships within the data. Determine if there are any significant outliers or unusual data points.
  3. Practice with Real Data: Familiarize yourself with different types of data commonly found in GRE questions, including percentages, averages, and proportions. Work with real-world data sets to sharpen your skills.
  4. Interpret Graphs: Understand the different types of graphs used in data interpretation, such as bar graphs, line graphs, and pie charts. Interpret the information presented in these graphs accurately.
  5. Make Inferences: Use the data provided to make inferences and draw conclusions. Be cautious not to make assumptions beyond what the data supports.

Challenging GRE Math Problems

As you prepare for the GRE quantitative section, you’ll encounter a variety of math problems that can be described as challenging. These problems are designed to assess your problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills, and your capacity to apply mathematical concepts in novel ways. Let’s dive deeper into this category of questions and explore effective strategies for tackling them.

Break Down the Problem

When you encounter a challenging GRE math problem, your first step should be to break it down into smaller, more manageable parts. These problems often appear daunting at first glance, but by deconstructing them, you can approach each component separately.

  1. Identify the Key Components: Determine what the problem is asking for and identify any given information. Break the problem into segments, and focus on understanding each part individually.
  2. Recognize Mathematical Concepts: Analyze the problem to identify which mathematical concepts and formulas are relevant. Knowing which tools are at your disposal is crucial for solving challenging questions.
  3. Formulate a Plan: Once you’ve dissected the problem and recognized the necessary concepts, formulate a plan of attack. Decide on the steps you need to take to solve each part of the problem.
  4. Take It Step by Step: Don’t rush. Proceed one step at a time, ensuring that you understand and complete each component before moving on to the next. This systematic approach reduces the risk of errors and helps you stay organized.

Identify Key Concepts

Challenging GRE math problems often require you to apply specific mathematical concepts or principles. Recognizing these key concepts is essential for finding the most suitable solution method. Here are a few examples of such concepts:

  1. Algebraic Manipulation: Be prepared to rearrange equations, factor expressions, or simplify complex algebraic expressions. Mastery of algebraic techniques is invaluable for tackling various problem types.
  2. Geometric Properties: Geometry plays a significant role in challenging GRE questions. Be familiar with the properties of shapes, angles, and spatial relationships. Use geometric theorems to your advantage.
  3. Probability and Combinatorics: Some challenging problems involve calculating probabilities or combinations. Understand the fundamental principles of probability and combinatorics to address these questions effectively.
  4. Number Properties: Problems may revolve around number properties like prime numbers, divisibility, or factors. Brush up on your knowledge of number properties and number theory.

Practice Time Management

Challenging GRE math problems can be time-consuming. Managing your time effectively is crucial to ensure that you have enough time for each question on the test. Here’s how to approach time management:

  1. Allocate Time Wisely: When you begin working on a challenging problem, estimate how much time you should spend on it. If you find yourself spending too much time without making progress, consider moving on to other questions and returning to the challenging one later.
  2. Mark Questions: The GRE allows you to mark questions for review. If you encounter a particularly challenging problem, mark it and come back to it if time allows. It’s essential not to get stuck on a single question and sacrifice time for the rest of the section.
  3. Skip and Return: If you’re struggling with a problem, don’t hesitate to skip it temporarily and return to it after you’ve tackled other questions. Sometimes, solving easier problems can provide insights into more challenging ones.

Review Advanced Topics

Challenging GRE math problems may delve into advanced mathematical topics beyond the core GRE syllabus. While these topics are less common, being prepared can give you an edge. Consider reviewing concepts such as:

  1. Calculus: Familiarize yourself with the basics of calculus, including differentiation and integration. While advanced calculus problems are rare on the GRE, having a foundational understanding can help.
  2. Advanced Algebra: Explore advanced algebra topics, such as quadratic equations, inequalities, and systems of equations. These concepts may appear in challenging problems.
  3. Number Theory: Delve deeper into number theory, including prime factorization, congruences, and modular arithmetic. These concepts can be useful in some GRE questions.


These advanced GRE quantitative questions are an essential part of your GRE preparation. They will not only challenge you but also help you build the problem-solving skills necessary for success on test day.

Don’t forget to time yourself and review your answers carefully. With dedicated practice, you can achieve a high score on the GRE quantitative section and open doors to your desired graduate programs.

So, are you ready to tackle these challenging GRE math questions and take your preparation to the next level? Let’s get started! In the next sections, we’ll explore more strategies and practice questions to help you achieve GRE math mastery.


Q1: What is the GRE quantitative section?

The GRE quantitative section assesses your ability to understand, analyze, and solve mathematical problems. It includes topics such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.

Q2: Why should I practice advanced GRE quantitative questions?

Advanced GRE quantitative questions go beyond the basics and prepare you for the most challenging math problems on the GRE. Practicing these questions will improve your problem-solving skills and increase your confidence on test day.

Q3: Are these questions similar to those on the real GRE?

While these questions are not official GRE questions, they are designed to be similar in style and difficulty. They provide valuable practice to help you perform well on the GRE.

Q4: How can I use these questions effectively in my GRE preparation?

Use these questions to identify your weak areas and focus your study efforts. Time yourself to simulate test conditions and track your progress.

Q5: Can I use a calculator for these questions?

The GRE allows the use of an on-screen calculator for some quantitative questions. However, it’s a good idea to practice both with and without a calculator to ensure you’re prepared for any scenario.

Q6: What is the format of these practice questions?

These practice questions include quantitative comparison questions, numeric entry questions, and multiple-choice questions. They cover a wide range of GRE math topics

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