Boost Your GRE Math Score: Top 5+ Concepts for the 2024 Exam

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GRE Math Concepts

GRE Math Concepts: The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) math section gauges test takers’ analytical and problem-solving abilities. It is widely perceived as a demanding component of the GRE, necessitating a comprehensive preparation strategy. While the initial impression of the GRE math section might be difficult, focused practice and a well-defined approach can lead to success.


To empower you to excel in this section, we have provided a list of commonly tested GRE math concepts that you should know in 2024. Work on these concepts to secure better scores in your GRE math section. GRE math concepts include algebraic operations, geometry, number properties, data analysis, word problems, rates, combinations and probability. That said, read the complete blog to learn more about the most frequently tested GRE math concepts. 

5+ GRE Math Concepts That You Should Know in 2024

GRE Math: Individuals aspiring to take the GRE in 2024 must hone their fundamentals of mathematics to score better. A good understanding of basic math concepts such as arithmetics, algebra, geometry, and data interpretation can bolster your chances of securing a seat in your preferred graduate school abroad. Here are some of the most frequently tested math concepts in the GRE. Have a look. 

  1. Number Properties: This includes understanding concepts like even/odd numbers, integers, fractions, divisibility rules, and properties of exponents and radicals.
  2. Algebraic Operations: You should have a solid understanding of the basic algebraic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) with polynomials, simplifying expressions, and solving linear equations and inequalities.
  3. Geometry: While the GRE doesn’t delve into complex proofs, it does test your knowledge of basic geometric shapes (triangles, rectangles, circles) and their properties like area, perimeter, and volume. Understanding concepts like the Pythagorean Theorem and special right triangle ratios (30-60-90 and 45-45-90) is also helpful.
  4. Coordinate Geometry: Be familiar with plotting points on a coordinate plane (x and y axes), understanding slopes of lines, and interpreting equations in two variables.
  5. Percent Problems: The GRE frequently tests your ability to convert between percentages, fractions, and decimals, along with solving problems involving percentage changes and markup/discount.
  6. Data Analysis: Interpreting and analysing data presented in various forms like charts, graphs, and tables is a key GRE math skill. You might be asked to solve problems based on averages, ratios, and probability.
  7. Word Problems: A significant portion of the GRE math section involves translating written descriptions into mathematical equations and solving them. This requires strong reading comprehension skills alongside your math abilities.
  8. Rates and Work: Be prepared for problems involving concepts like speed, distance, time, and work rate. Understanding how to calculate these values and solve related problems is essential.
  9. Sets: The GRE may test your understanding of basic set theory concepts like union, intersection, and difference of sets, along with solving problems involving Venn diagrams.
  10. Combinations and Probability: While not as heavily tested, understanding basic probability concepts and how to calculate combinations (arrangements of objects) can be helpful for some GRE math problems.

Essential GRE Math Formulas to Score Better

Students who wish to score better on the GRE must be familiar with the essential math formulas. Keeping these formulas at your tips will give you an edge and bolster your chances of scoring better. Have a look. 

  • Percentage Conversions: Effortlessly navigate between percentages, decimals, and fractions using the following relationships:
  1. Percent (%) = (part/whole) x 100
  2. Decimal = Percent / 100
  3. Fraction = Percent / 100 (expressed as a fraction with a denominator of 100)
  • Ratios and Proportions: Comprehending ratios and proportions is key to solving numerous GRE problems. A ratio expresses the relationship between two quantities (a:b), and a proportion equates two ratios (a:b = c:d).
  • Linear Equations: The ubiquitous slope-intercept form (y = mx + b) defines a linear equation, where ‘m’ represents the slope and ‘b’ is the y-intercept.
  • Inequalities: Formulate and solve inequalities using symbols like < (less than), > (greater than), ≤ (less than or equal to), and ≥ (greater than or equal to).
  • Absolute Values: Grasp the concept of absolute value, which represents the non-negative distance of a number from zero. |x| signifies the absolute value of x.
  • Area and Perimeter: Calculate areas and perimeters of common shapes like squares (Area = s², Perimeter = 4s), rectangles (Area = lw, Perimeter = 2l + 2w), and circles (Area = πr², Circumference = 2πr, where ‘π’ is a constant approximately equal to 3.14).
  • Permutations: Enumerate the number of ordered arrangements (permutations) of ‘n’ distinct objects, using the formula nPr = n!/(n-r)!, where ‘r’ is the number of objects chosen at a time.
  • Combinations: Calculate the number of unordered groupings (combinations) of ‘n’ distinct objects taken ‘r’ at a time, using the formula nCr = n!/(r! (n-r)!).
  • Probability: Determine the probability of an event by calculating the ratio of favourable outcomes to the total number of possible outcomes.
  • Mean (Average): Calculate the mean of a dataset by adding all the values and dividing by the number of values. 
  • Weighted Average: Account for varying importance of elements within a dataset using weighted averages.

How to Apply GRE Math Formulas? Things to Keep in Mind

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section presents a diverse array of problems. While memorising formulas is crucial, effectively applying them is the key to success. Here, we delve into strategies that transform those formulas from mere equations into powerful problem-solving tools, illustrated with clear examples:

1. Identify the Formula:

This initial step involves carefully analyzing the problem. What mathematical concept is at play? Is it calculating percentages, solving an inequality, or determining the area of a geometric shape? Recognizing the underlying concept is essential for selecting the appropriate formula.

Example: A recipe requires a 3:2 ratio of flour to sugar. If you have 12 cups of flour, how much sugar is needed?

  • Analyzing the problem, we recognize the concept of ratios. Therefore, the relevant formula for this scenario would be the ratio proportion.

2. Decipher the Variables:

Once you’ve chosen the formula, pinpoint the variables it uses. The problem might provide some information directly (e.g., the side length of a square) or require manipulating existing data to find the required variable values.

Example: Continuing from the previous example, the ratio formula uses variables for the quantities being compared (flour and sugar) and their respective amounts (12 cups for flour). We need to solve for the amount of sugar (represented by a variable).

3. Strategic Substitution:

Insert the identified values into the formula, ensuring they are in compatible units. Substitute carefully and simplify the expression following the order of operations (PEMDAS: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division from left to right, Addition and Subtraction from left to right).

Example: Our chosen formula for ratios is a:b = c:d (where a, b, c, and d represent quantities). In this case, a = 3 (cups flour), b = 2 (cups sugar), and c = 12 (cups flour). We need to solve for d (cups sugar).

  • Setting up the proportion: 3:2 = 12:d
  • Cross-multiplying the proportion: (3) x d = (2) x (12)
  • Solving for d: d = (2 x 12) / 3 = 8 cups of sugar.

4. Double-Check and Interpret:

Don’t rush to answer choices after plugging in the values. Ensure you haven’t made any calculation errors. Review the answer choices and interpret your result in the context of the problem. Does the answer unit make sense (e.g., cups for sugar)?

Example: In our example, we obtained 8 cups of sugar. This seems reasonable considering the 3:2 ratio and the 12 cups of flour.

GRE Math Syllabus 2024

GRE Math Syllabus: The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardised test widely required for admission to graduate schools abroad. The GRE math section assesses your basic understanding of mathematical concepts and your ability to apply those concepts to solve problems. 

The math section does not require knowledge of advanced calculus or trigonometry. However, a strong foundation in basic math concepts and the ability to apply them logically is crucial for success. Having said that, here’s a breakdown of the core concepts covered in the GRE math syllabus for 2024. Have a look. 

GRE Math ConceptSyllabus 
Arithmetic Properties of integers (even/odd, divisibility rules, primes)
Fractions and decimals (conversion, operations)
Exponents and radicals (properties, simplification)
AlgebraAlgebraic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) with polynomials
 Simplifying expressions and solving linear equations and inequalities. 
Geometry Basic shapes (area, perimeter, volume)
Pythagorean Theorem 
Special right triangle ratios (30-60-90 and 45-45-90)
Coordinate GeometryPlotting points on a coordinate plane
Slopes of lines and Interpreting equations in two variables.
Per cent Problems Conversion between percentages, fractions, and decimals
Problems involving percentage changes, markup, and discounts. 
Data AnalysisInterpreting and analysing data in charts, graphs, and tables
Averages (mean, median, mode)
Ratios and probability
Word Problems Translating written descriptions into mathematical equations. 
Solving word problems requiring the application of various math concepts. 
RatesSpeed, Distance, Time, Work Rate
Sets Union, Intersection, Difference 

GRE Math Sample Questions 2024 PDF: Download For Free

GRE Math Questions: The GRE math section can be challenging for some. This is why you must solve as many GRE sample questions as possible. Doing so will give you a drift about the GRE math questions and how to answer them. Click the link below to download the GRE math sample questions (PDF) for free. 

How to Score 130+ in GRE Math?

GRE Preparation: It can get quite challenging for students to crack the GRE maths section. This is why, to help you score higher in the stated section, we have shortlisted and curated some of the best GRE math tips and tricks. Keep them in mind to score better in your forthcoming exams. 

  • Familiarity with the types of questions typically asked in the GRE math section allows you to strategise your approach. You can estimate the appropriate time allocation for each question based on its difficulty level.
  • By reviewing the syllabus, you can identify areas requiring focused practice. This targeted approach ensures you address your weaknesses and maximize your score potential.
  • The GRE math section emphasises applying mathematical concepts to diverse problems, not just rote memorisation of formulas.
  • A comprehensive review of the core GRE math concepts equips you with the foundational knowledge necessary to tackle challenging GRE math problems.
  • Retention of essential mathematical formulas is crucial for success in the GRE math section.  These formulas serve as vital tools for calculations and solving equations.  
  • Dedicating time to solving practice tests is an invaluable strategy for GRE math preparation.  Practice tests provide numerous benefits:
  • Practice hones your problem-solving skills, leading to increased speed and accuracy in answering questions.
  • By analysing the practice test results, you can pinpoint areas requiring further practice. This targeted approach ensures you allocate valuable study time efficiently.

So that was all about GRE math concepts. Hope the blog has answered your queries regarding the topic. 

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8 Common GRE Mistakes That You Must Avoid!GRE Score Validity: Eligibility CriteriaGRE Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Test Format, & Marks


Q1. Is GRE math hard?

Ans. The GRE math section focuses on applying fundamental mathematical concepts typically encountered in high school curricula. While some test-takers with engineering or math-intensive backgrounds may find it familiar, the core concepts are accessible to a broad range of students.

Q2. Does the GRE have calculus?

Ans. The GRE’s Quantitative Reasoning section emphasizes strong foundational math skills and strategic problem-solving approaches, rather than testing advanced concepts like calculus. This means a solid understanding of high school-level math coupled with effective strategies will equip you to tackle the section effectively.

Q3. What is a good GRE score for math?

Ans. A good GRE score ranges from 164 or higher in the Quantitative Reasoning or Math section.

Visit the Leverage Live page of Leverage edu or contact our study abroad experts at 1800-57-2000 to strengthen your scores and application to secure your spot in your dream college. 

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