GRE — Why the Quantitative Section is the Hardest?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a prerequisite test for enrollment in graduate university and professional schools. The exam assesses skills and knowledge needed to be successful at graduate schools. Educational Testing Service (ETS) examines the GRE, and the test requires adequate preparation to pass.


Some people consider the GRE difficult but the assumption depends on each student’s grasp of particular concepts. The exam has four sections—quantitative comparison, select-one-answer choice, select-multiple, and numeric answers. The quantitative section is considered the most difficult by many students for various reasons. The ultimate solution for the quantitative section is enough practice through accessing resources of past GRE questions.

What Makes the Quantitative Section Difficult?

The types of questions to expect in the quantitative section of the GRE are comparison, problem-solving, and data interpretation questions. The time allocation for each of the three parts is 35 minutes, requiring testers to figure out an efficient way of handling this section by addressing its difficulties.

The four main struggles of this section are:

1. Tricky Wording of the Questions.

The challenge of this section is in the question-wording. It tests the logical thinking and reasoning skills of the test takers. The segment has less of the typical straightforward question types. The student has to think through the intent of the questions before figuring out how to tackle them. The questions are also such that many answers are possible, but there is only one correct answer.

2. Rusty Edges in Mathematics.

If many years have lapsed before regularly practicing mathematics, you may have some challenges remembering particular formulae and how to apply them. To soften the rusty mathematical adeptness, you will need to build up this knowledge again before taking the test.

3. Time Limit.

The time required to complete the test is limited. On average, most questions have only just over a minute and a half to complete. The limited time means you have to allocate adequate time to understand the question, work out the answer, and select your best option. Some students find this aspect of the test difficult and have to race against time to complete each question successfully.

4. Challenging Questions Come Later.

The quantitative sections start with moderately manageable questions that develop into complex questions as they progress. The style of the questions can give you a false sense of security at the beginning, making you underestimate the effort and time it will take for the rest of the questions. The result of such lapse in judgment is failure to complete the questions or rushing through and not giving consequent questions adequate attention.

5. Reviewing for the GRE.

Preparation is critical to overcoming the difficulties of the GRE quantitative section. With the right tools and resources for studying, this part is manageable and guarantees you a pass.

Adopt Strategies to Ace the Exam.

Strategies you can adopt to help you prepare for the quantitative section include:

1. Practice Interpreting the Problem.

The quantitative questions are categorized just like any other test. You can attempt many practice questions for each category to test your interpretation skills. It is vital to figure out question frames when they require abstract thinking, picking all correct answers, etc. When studying, you are trying to figure out the intention of the question more than its computation.

2. Backsolve the Problem Using the Answers.

Studying by starting with the correct answer helps in the computation methods revisions. This mode of study helps in eliminating the wrong approaches to calculations. After several attempts, you can figure out what works for that same question category.

3. Do Not Use the Calculator for Every Question.

Using a calculator gives you an instant answer but you lose out on the reasoning process. The quantitative section is not all about getting the correct answer but also the testing of logical thinking. Using a calculator every time you are studying does not give you adequate reasoning skills testing for the needed outcome.

4. Practice and More Practice.

Practice is the magic bullet in the revisions. Practicing enables you to master particular category questions, enhancing your ability to tackle them in whichever form they come. A GRE math subject test prep allows you to have as much practice as possible with a challenging section of the test.

5. Beware of Numerical Entry Questions

Numerical entry questions in the quantitative section allow you to place a numeral in a provided space. It is a common mistake for test-takers to enter numbers incorrectly since it’s a computer-delivered test. You must be keen on such number question types.

Ace the Quantitative GRE Section.

The quantitative GRE section may be difficult for many students. However, it is possible to overcome as long as you study the material properly. Enough exposure to possible questions will give you the confidence you need to sit through the section and ultimately pass your GRE.