GMAT Quantitative Reasoning Section

The GMAT Quantitative Section: Back to Math

The Quantitative section of the GMAT has 31 question that test takers are given 62 minutes to complete. The section tests arithmetic, algebra and geometry. While you will be expected to use these math skills to solve the problems presented, the test is focused more on your critical-reasoning and problem-solving skills themselves than difficult math concepts. In fact, many of the math questions are high school level – there is no calculus or trigonometry – but test takers should be sure they have confidence in their knowledge of the basic concepts, rules and equations for these mathematical subjects. There are no calculators allowed for this section, so test takers should also be prepared to perform basic calculations relatively quickly. The test also evaluates critical thinking. This will be explained in further detail below in the description of Data Sufficiency questions.

The 62-minute time limit for this section means that test-takers have two minutes per question. Questions vary greatly in difficulty and the amount of time required for completion. Therefore, rather than limit themselves to two minutes per question, test takers should budget their time more broadly. For example, planning on having 10 questions finished at the end of 20 minutes would be a better way to benchmark than question-by-question pacing.

Approximately 28 of the 31 questions are scored. The other few unscored questions are sample questions that are being tested for use in future tests. There are two types of questions in the Quantitative section. Somewhere between one quarter and one third of the questions are Data Sufficiency questions, while the rest are Problem Solving questions. Each of these question types are described in further detail below.

Quantitative Question Types

As mentioned above, you will find two different types of questions in the Quantitative Section of the GMAT. These are:

  • Problem Solving

    The majority of the questions in the Quantitative section fall into this category. These are multiple-choice questions framed as word problems which you will need to employ algebra, geometry and arithmetic to solve.

  • Data Sufficiency

    These questions assess test takers' abilities to discern what data is needed to solve equations. These questions involve primarily algebra and geometry. In a Data Sufficiency question, two pieces of information will be given, and then a question will be asked. You have to discern which, if any, of the data given is enough to accurately answer the question given.