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The Quantitative Section

The Quantitative Section

The quantitative section of the GMAT contains 37 questions. Each question has 5 possible answers and only one correct answer. You cannot skip a question without answering it and you cannot go back to a question once you have answered, due the adaptive nature of the test.

 

The duration of the quantitative section is 75 minutes, without internal division of time for the questions. This means that you need to manage your time and decide how much to invest in each question (note: matters such as time management and correct conduct during the test are extremely important in an adaptive test like the GMAT and may impact the score significantly).
 
 
The quantitative GMAT test requires intermediate quantitative skills. Beyond these abilities, in order to succeed in the test, you need to show good logical and analytical skills. The difficulty in the GMAT stems from the complex wording of the questions.  Most of the difficult questions are more similar to logic riddles than to regular mathematics problems.

The following chart shows a map of the question types in the quantitative section of the GMAT:

 

 

The precise number of questions from each subject can vary between the tests.

Question formats in the quantitative section:

In each subject, the questions in the quantitative section of the GMAT can be presented in one of two formats: Problem Solving or Data Sufficiency.

Problem Solving (PS):
This is the well known format, in which a calculation question is presented. We have to choose one of the answer choices that provides a solution to the question.

Data Sufficiency (DS):
In this kind of problem, we are presented with a question that there is no way of answering. We will then be provided with two statemens containing data and additional information.  We will need to determine if the information in this data allows us to answer the question. In this format the answer choices are invariable. They are always:

(A)   Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient to answer the question, but statement (2) ALONE is not.
(B)    Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient to answer the question, but statement (1) ALONE is not.
(C)    Statements (1) and (2) taken together are sufficient to answer the question, even though neither statement alone is sufficient.
(D)   Either statement by itself is sufficient to answer the question.
(E)    Statements (1) and (2) taken together are not sufficient to answer the question, and additional data are needed to answer the question.

As you can see, this format adds additional challenges to the subjects on which the questions are based. Therefore it's very important to work methodically and thoroughly when solving DS questions in the GMAT.

The following flowchart shows how to start solving DS format questions in the GMAT:

 

 

An example of a Data Sufficiency problem in the quantitative section of GMAT:


A store owner bought Q windows at a price of $150 per window and W shelves at a price of $75 per shelf. What is the total cost of the windows and shelves that he bought?

 

(1) The Q windows cost $600
(2) Q+W/2=12
 

(A)   Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient to answer the question, but statement (2) ALONE is not.
(B)    Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient to answer the question, but statement (1) ALONE is not.
(C)    Statements (1) and (2) taken together are sufficient to answer the question, even though neither statement alone is sufficient.
(D)   Either statement by itself is sufficient to answer the question.
(E)    Statements (1) and (2) taken together are not sufficient to answer the question, and additional data are needed to answer the question.

As aforesaid, in DS questions, we don't need to provide an answer to a question, but rather determine if there is enough information to answer it. We will begin by analyzing the question: it is possible to write the question as an equation: 150Q+75W=?
Or, if we take out the common factor (75), the refined question will be: 2Q+W=?

Notice that that they don't ask us for the value of Q or W (though, of course, if we knew that, we could have solved the question).

Let's check the data:

The first statement tells us the value of Q but tells us nothing about W. Insufficient.
The second data tells us that Q + W/2 = 12 and if we multiply this equation by 2, we will get 2Q+W=24, meaning, an answer to our question. Sufficient.
Because the first statement wasn't sufficient and the second one was, the answer is B.

Do you want to see more questions and ways to solve them? In this website you can solve for dozens of questions for free.

GMAT score – the quantitative section
The GMAT quantitative score ranges from 6 to 51 and it reflects your abilities, as they were calculated by the adaptive algorithm of the test. In order that you, and mainly the business schools you are applying for, are able to understand the score's significance and compare it to other applicants' scores, the score comes with a percentile.
The following chart shows the current percentiles of the quantitative section in the GMAT:

 

 

 

What does the GMAT score mean? Let's look at an example:  A score of 50 is in the 89 percentile, meaning that 89% of the examinees who took the GMAT test worldwide in the last three years (almost one million people) got 50 or less.

Do you have any questions? The GMAT test is important for your future. Don't just settle for talking to a sales rep. You are welcome to send us your details and one of our GMAT instructors will contact you.