GMAT Quant - All you need to know

The GMAT Quant section might seem overwhelming at first.; however, it is not necessarily so. This article decodes the Quantitative section and discusses the different types of quant questions you can expect on the exam.

The Quant section is one of the four sections of the GMAT: Quantitative reasoning, Verbal ability, Integrated Reasoning (IR), and Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). Many business schools place a lot of emphasis on the Quant Score because it predicts how well you will perform in your subsequent MBA program. The quantitative reasoning section and along with verbal section, contributes to the most sought-after “out of 800” score of the GMAT. 

Is GMAT Quant easy? For starters, it primarily tests your knowledge of high-school-level math. But that doesn’t necessarily make things easy! The GMAT Quantitative section is designed to test your analytical knowledge and measure your ability to understand and solve questions.Most questions typically have some twist, as we shall see. 

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • What’s tested on the GMAT Quant
  • The Question types – sample questions
  • The adaptive nature of the test
  • Best Way to Study for the GMAT Quant section
  • 5 Steps to Include in your GMAT Quant Preparation
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What’s Tested on the GMAT Quant

GMAT tests your potential to determine the correct answer choices from multiple-choice questions. How quickly you can identify information to solve a problem? The capability to analyze the information from the question statements accurately and quickly is what is needed to ace the GMAT.

This section tests your ability in solving quantitative questions broadly covering  the following topics:

  • Number properties
    • Types of numbers
    • Divisibility rules
    • Factors and multiples, GCD and LCM
    • Factorials
    • Remainders and Units digit
    • Exponents 
    • Sequences
  • Algebra
    • Linear and Quadratic equations
    • Basics of functions 
    • Coordinate geometry
    • Inequalities & modulus
  • Geometry
    • Lines and triangles
    • Polygons and circles
    • Solids
  • Arithmetic
    • Percentages & Interest
    • Ratios
    • Mixtures
    • Time, work and distance
    • Statistics
  • Combinatorics
    • Permutation Combination
    • Probability
    • Overlapping sets

As you can clearly see, the topics are mainly at high-school level. The best strategy to master this section is to focus on the concepts from the beginning. With enough practice thereafter, the quant section should be the one that helps you get the high “out of 800” score!

The Question types 

The GMAT Quant section, which includes 31 questions, has a time limit of 62 minutes. Apparantly, it seems that you need to give 2 minutes to each question.  However, you should know that not all questions would require 2 minutes, while some would require more time. Therefore,  you need to strategize your timing and solving ability according to the difficulty level of the questions.

Another important point is that there are two question types in this section: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. There are roughly 16 to 20 Problem Solving questions and the remaining 11 to 15 are Data Sufficiency questions. 

Problem Solving questions in GMAT exams are presented with a standardized question type with 5 possible answer choices. Data Sufficiency questions consist of a question stem having some information provided, followed by two statements. You need to determine whether the statements or a combination of them is sufficient to answer the question, i.e. whether you can get a unique answer using the given information from only one statement, from either statement, by combining the statements or you cannot solve the question at all.

How to approach Data sufficiency questions? Have a look at the flowchart below: 

Let us have a look at the two sample questions to understand the general format. – the explanations aren’t provided, but the correct answer is. Give both questions a try!

Sample PS question: 

In a class, 30% of the students are boys. 25% of the boys and 50% of the girls wear glasses. What is the minimum number of students in the class?

  • A) 20
  • B) 40
  • C) 100
  • D) 120
  • E) 200

Answer B

Sample DS question: 

Is (a – b)(b – c) even, where a, b and c are positive integers with a > b > c?

I) a x b x c is odd

II) a x b x c is even

  • A) Statement I is alone sufficient to answer the question, but II is not
  • B) Statement II is alone sufficient to answer the question, but I is not
  • C) Both statements I and II together are required to answer the question
  • D) Either statements alone is sufficient to answer the question 
  • E) The question cannot be answered even after combining the statements 

Answer A

“To get a better idea of the questions and to check your present level you can take our free mini diagnostic test with 24 questions, to be taken in 45 minutes”

Things to remember while solving:

  • Screen-Timer: Keep in check the screen-timer and increase your speed to solve the questions and move on to the next question within time. Remember – you cannot skip any question. Also, the penalty for not completing all the questions within the stipulated time is very high
  • Use Notepad: Use the reusable notepad or the whiteboard to  write down the steps and do your calculations.
  • Answer Choices: Read the question and the corresponding options carefully while marking the correct answer. There should not be any confusion on what has been asked to be solved.
The Adaptive nature of the test

GMAT is an adaptive test. What does that mean? 

There is a program that decides which question will be shown to you from a pool of questions, graded according to levels of difficulty. The first few questions, for example, typically are of average difficulty level. Depending on your performance – correct or incorrect, the program will decide to show you an easier or a tougher question. Obviously, the reward is higher for answering a tough question correct than for answering an easy question correct. 

So, essentially, there isn’t any negative marking for getting an answer incorrect. 

The program keeps altering the level of difficulty of the questions till, by the end of the section, it more or less zeroes in to the difficulty level of questions that you are able to solve – this translates to the quant score – for example, Q40 or Q49, or Q51, etc. and also to the verbal score – for example, V35 or V38, or V45, etc. These Q and V scores are combined to give the score out of 800. 

5 Steps to include in your GMAT Quant preparation
  1. Review the basics of all topics – the most important ones being numbers, arithmetic,  inequalities, and geometry. 
  2. Practice tests for the quantitative section can help you understand the test elements and accordingly prepare your strategy – take tests regularly, under testing conditions. 
  3. Review your practice tests analyze the incorrect answers.  Go through the relevant concepts and make sure to make an error log. It will help you keep track of the topics you are weak in.
  4. Make notes of quant concepts and review  the same regularly.  
  5. Make a habit of attempting a set of 31 questions in 62 mins at least 2 times in a week – this will help you get accustomed to the actual GMAT quant section.

GMAT Quantitative section is best studied using a topical learning method – instead of trying to go through questions across all topics from the beginning, you focus on one particular topic and all the relevant concepts under the topic. Once you have mastered that topic, you move on to the next topic. This is a proven and effective strategy to prepare for the quant section.

Bottom line

Hopefully, by now you have received a solid understanding of the quant section of GMAT. If you’re still somewhat confused about the practicality of the questions, reach out to us for a profound understanding. 

Our Mentors have more than 15 years of experience in nurturing students for GMAT. We help you to plan and execute an advanced GMAT preparation strategy for your exams.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  1. Can an average student crack GMAT?

Yes, with dedication, practice, and a consistent approach to learn the concepts of the GMAT, an average student can crack the GMAT with high scores. It is essential to follow expert guidance.

  1. Is GMAT Quant easy?

The quant section of the GMAT does not look easy at first glance because of its tricky and analytical questions. However, since the quant topics are questions from the high school level, a candidate can learn to answer them easily with time. One needs to be aware of the verbiage used in the questions to be able to tackle them effectively. 

  1. What are the types of GMAT  quant questions?

In the quantitative section, problem-solving, and data sufficiency are two question types that appear in your GMAT tests. There will be the 16-20 questions approx. of problem-solving and  11-15 questions approx. of data sufficiency.

  1. How many questions do I need to get right on GMAT quant section?

Well, you need to avoid mistakes to get the correct answer scores for your quant test. Avoid consecutive mistakes and unanswered questions to save your percentile points for each question. Remember that the lower the difficulty of the incorrect answers, the lower will be the score. The higher the mistakes are spread out; the higher will be your score.

  1. Can a non-math background student crack the GMAT?

Every year candidates from different professional fields opt for GMAT to test their scores even if they are not from a mathematical background. A smart preparation strategy with clarity in concepts can help anyone to crack the GMAT with good scores. Book a complimentary online counselling session and understand your ability to prepare for the GMAT.