The GRE, the Graduate Record Examination, is a high-level test aimed at determining your viability at the highest levels of education. As such, its math section is no breeze. It’s designed to test you on several distinct skills in mathematics, including Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry. If you’re out of practice or simply need a leg up before the test, we’ve put together a list of GRE math tips to help you get through this section of the exam with confidence.
Tip #1: Review What’s On the GRE Math Section
Adequate preparation starts with knowing what to study! Here are the math subjects you can expect to tackle during the GRE:
- In arithmetic, expect to deal with percentages, ratios, absolute values, number sequences, factorization, and divisibility
- In algebra, you’ll be expected to solve equations, linear inequalities, as well as intercepts and line slopes
- In geometry, except to deal with parallel and perpendicular lines and the properties of their angles, shapes, as well as solving perimeters and areas
In addition, you should be prepared for data analysis. That means understanding how to solve means, medians, and standard deviations.
Tip #2: The Right Answer Comes from the Right Approach
Let’s consider an example. If you’re solving an algebraic equation, your primary strategy is usually simplification. In the simplest example, you might notice that if 2x = 2y, then you simply need to divide both sides by 2 to prove that x = y.
This is an example of utilizing the right approach to suit the mathematical problem presented. It’s important that you understand what these methods are and which strategies are suited to which problem.
By looking at a question (such as in algebraic equations), you should be able to determine that you need a specific strategy right away. In the case above, that would be reduction or simplification. Being able to match the appropriate strategy to the appropriate question will save time and ensure you start off each answer on the right foot.
Tip #3: Use a Reverse Solving Strategy When You Get Stuck
The GRE will present you with multiple choices. When you have multiple choices, you have an advantage: you know what the answer may be. Although it would take you too long to try each answer thoroughly, you can use a reverse solving strategy when you’re stuck on an answer—if there’s time.
A reverse solving strategy involves using an answer you suspect may be correct and then trying it out through your own solution. Simply take the answer and plug it in for the variable to see if the equation matches up as expected. If everything lines up, you’ll have some confidence that this is the right answer. At the very least, you may find immediate ways to eliminate answers—and if you run out of time, you can use this information to make better educated guesses.
Tip #4: Work With A GRE Tutor
The GRE is a tremendous challenge, so consider working with a GRE tutor to better prepare. An effective tutor will help you diagnose the right strategy for each problem and manage your time.
Work with a GRE Prep Tutor from Jantzi Test Prep today!