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The Quantitative Reasoning section of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) may be the most imposing section that test-takers anticipate facing as they study and prepare. Even students with strong math backgrounds should not neglect this section during their review; while many of the questions it features are of a familiar format, if challenging, other questions are presented in a way that likely departs from mathematical material one has before encountered on standardized exams. Don’t let the GMAT’s Quantitative Reasoning section deflate your confidence or stall your studies; instead, arm yourself with knowledge of each question type you will face and practice the different approaches required to avoid surprises on exam day. Whether you need top GMAT tutors in New York, GMAT tutors in Chicago, or top GMAT tutors in Los Angeles, working with a pro may take your studies to the next level.

The GMAT Quantitative section consists of thirty-seven questions to be answered in seventy-five minutes, and each of these questions is one of two types: Problem Solving or Data Sufficiency. Each are multiple-choice and present you with five potential answer choices. Though vastly different in the types of answers and approaches they require, each problem type concerns mathematics principles from algebra, arithmetic, or geometry, and may present information in the context of word problems.

Widely considered the easier of the GMAT Quantitative Section’s question types, Problem Solving questions should seem somewhat familiar if you have past experience with the math sections of other standardized tests like the ACT or SAT. These questions present you with a problem and ask you to determine its solution. Despite being relatively straightforward in format, these questions can be difficult, so while one should keep the two types of GMAT Quantitative Reasoning problems distinct, one shouldn’t assume that Problem Solving questions are necessarily easier than the other question type, Data Sufficiency questions. Varsity Tutors also offers resources like a free GMAT Math Practice Tests to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider a GMAT tutor.

Data Sufficiency questions are much more likely to be the source of test-takers’ apprehension. While they present a mathematical problem and two points of information that you can use as you try to solve it, these questions are not interested in the correct answer; rather, they are interested in your ability to recognize exactly what information was sufficient in order to solve the question at hand. This requires a two-step approach; one must first attempt to solve the question presented and then reflect on one’s process. Was the first point sufficient? Did you need the information in point two? Would either of the points alone have sufficed? Did you require aspects of both to figure out the answer? Sometimes the questions featured on Data Sufficiency questions cannot be solved at all with the provided information, and test your ability to recognize this fact. Test-takers have likely not encountered material with such a reflective focus on the process of solving a question on other tests; while such unfamiliarity can lead to confusion and stress, such negative results can be avoided with proper preparation. In addition to the GMAT Math Flashcards and GMAT tutoring, you may also want to consider using some of our free GMAT Math Diagnostic Tests.

Considering the notably different focus of each question type featured on the Quantitative Reasoning section, is easy to feel overwhelmed when beginning to review for this part of the GMAT. Spending time practicing your methods of solving each kind of problem well before test day can allow you to analyze your abilities, bolster them where necessary, and gain confidence in your knowledge. Your review can benefit from the numerous free GMAT resources provided on the Learning Tools question database. If you are just beginning to study and unsure of the topics on which to focus your attention, our free GMAT Quantitative Reasoning diagnostics can provide guidance in the form of detailed performance reports outlining your current skill in answering each type of question and in your knowledge of each of the mathematical topics covered on the test. With these free diagnostics and other valuable GMAT study tools like practice tests and flashcards at your disposal, you can begin your review with efficient focus.