New GRE Math Tips and Tricks

This is a fraction, not a word problem

The new GRE Quantitative section places a greater emphasis on word problems. Here are a couple of good examples of the types of word problems that will be more common on the new GRE.

Problem #1 –   This first problem is a numeric entry problem, one of the new problem types. For these problems, you will not be given multiple choices.  Here is the problem:

The best way to solve a problem like this is to form an equation.  When you’re forming an equation, first identify your unknown or unknowns. Here, the number of gallons is our unknown, so use the variable x to represent that number.

To get to the total bill, we first start with the fixed charge of $13.50.  The charge of $0.0075 is multiplied by the number of gallons, and this amount is added to the fixed charge.  This total will equal the total amount of the bill. As an equation, this looks like the following.

13.50 + 0.0075x = 40.50

To solve for x, first subtract 13.50 from both sides of the equation.

13.50 + 0.0075x – 13.50 = 40.50 – 13.50

0.0075x = 27

Now, divide both sides of the equation by 0.0075. Don’t be afraid to use your calculator for the arithmetic!

0.0075x / 0.0075 = 27 / 0.0075

x = 3600

It wouldn’t hurt to work backwards to quickly double check your answer. Multiply 3600 by 0.0075 and you get 27. (Again, use your calculator.) Add 27 to 13.50 and we have our total of 40.50.

The correct answer is 3600.

Problem #2 –

This next question is a little more difficult, and it demonstrates another of the new GRE question types. For this problem, you will select all of the answers that apply. Remember, you only receive credit for the question if your answer is exactly correct. You must select all of the correct answers and none of the incorrect answers to receive credit.

Again, let’s start by identifying our unknown. Here, the unknown is Kate’s gross income, so we’ll let x represent that income. She spent between 1/3 and 1/4 of her income on mortgage payments. In other words, her mortgage payments will be less than 1/3 of her income but more than 1/4 of her income.  We know the total amount of the mortgage payments was $13,470, so now we can form two inequalities.

13470 < 1/3 x (Mortgage payments are less than 1/3 of income)

13470 > 1/4 x    (Mortgage payments are more than 1/4 of income)

Look at each inequality separately and simplify both of them.

13470 < 1/3 x

Simplify this inequality by multiplying both sides by 3. This will eliminate the 1/3.

13470· 3 < 1/3 x · 3

40410< x

This means that $40,410 is less than the gross income. In other words, the gross income must be greater than $40,410. Now, simplify the second inequality. Here, you will multiply both sides by 4.

13470> 1/4 x

13470· 4 > 1/4 x · 4

53880 > x

This means that the gross income must be less than $53,880.

Since we know that the gross income must be between $40,410 and $53,880, select all of the answers that are between these two numbers. The answer is (B), (C), (D), and (E).

9 Responses to “New GRE Math Tips and Tricks”


  • The word problem states the amount as “$13,470″ but then in the equations you use “$13,740″ which alters everything. The (B), (C), (D), (E) answers are correct, but the math is not.

  • Hi
    I am preparing for GRE and evaluating different resources which can be of help to my preparation. I find this post helpful because of the tips given here. Quant is my weakness and I dread it. I came across this resource http://www.wiziq.com/course/2526-improve-your-gre-quantitative-score and iv checked a few test prep too. What do you suggest is the best for me. I am looking for something that will help me start with basics and then move forward to tougher problems.

    Thanks
    Simmi

  • @Simmi

    If you are looking for tried and true professional test prep, Test Masters is a great place to start. We offer comprehensive 12-session courses (with a 10 point score increase guarantee!), as well as private 1 on 1 tutoring with the flexibility to focus on the parts of the exam you would like to improve on. Our instructors are all highly trained in what they do, and are very familiar with the GRE itself. You can find out about what Test Masters has to offer here: http://www.testmasters.com/gre.html

    On a more basic note, there is no substitute for repetition, even as you work your way up to more challenging problems. There is a lot of truth in the old adage that “practice makes perfect.” I would encourage you to continue to familiarize yourself with the problems that will appear on the revised GRE and work through them consistently. Good luck on all your GRE endeavors!

  • @Will
    Thank you so much for your advice :) Will check out the test preps you have mentioned.

  • An easier method for problem 2 was to multiple each of the answers by 1/4 (.25) and 1/3 (.33). It made a lot more sense to do this than create some equation for it.

    • i just multiplied the the 13470 firstly with 1/3 and then by 1/4 and go the minimum and maximum range but yeah as the admin states this is up to everyone how they feel comfortable solving the problem. but i have come to the conclusion that this test is not for those who could ONLY solve the problems by using algebra or whatever the equation they make but this is a test to analyze your logic and how you come closer to the answers. this is how i believe i have a very strong feeling for that, cheers!

  • @Kattie

    Thanks for the feedback! As per the majority of math problems, there are certainly multiple ways to solve. Problem 2 can be solved using your method, and this can be an easier way of looking at the problem. The advantage with the method illustrated above is that it takes fewer steps than doing 2 separate calculations for each of the 5 answer choices. However, an advantage to your method is that it is simpler than setting up the algebra. The bottom line is that whichever method you find most helpful is the correct one to use.

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