The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is an evaluative test required to qualify for admissions in many graduate schools in Canada, the United States, Germany, and other countries. Started in 1936 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the test is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The GRE test assesses Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning skills of students. This blog can help candidates learn how to score 170 in GRE quant while preparing a strategy for the test. But let us first understand the significance of scoring 170.
Why is it important to score 170 in quant GRE?
Apart from the cumulative GRE score students also get individual percentile scores in the three sections of the test. A score of 170 is considered the top score in the sections of verbal and quantitative ability. The quantitative section of the GRE test assesses the candidates’ expertise in high school level mathematics and comprises algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and data analysis. Scoring between 165 and 170 in quant will earn you a top percentile score. The section tests the candidates’ aptitude for problem-solving and quantitative reasoning. It has around 40 to 60 questions that have to be solved in 70 to 105 minutes.
Sections of GRE
The 3 hours and 45 minutes long test is divided into 6 sections, one of which is unidentified or unscored. The first section of the GRE test is always analytical writing. However, the sections of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and unscored may be in random order. Here is a brief overview of each section of the GRE test:
- Analytical writing assessment: This section tests the candidate’s ability to evaluate presented evidence, dissect arguments, analyze facts, and present a point of view. The candidates are asked to present their viewpoint through 2 essays. You would be asked to analyze a given paragraph and address the topic based on your viewpoint in the first question. The second question includes an argument which you need to critique and discuss. The total time allocated for this section is 60 minutes and the score ranges between 0 and 6.
- Verbal reasoning: The verbal reasoning assessment includes aspects like antonyms, synonyms, analogies, sentence completion, and comprehension. It has two parts and the tests are scored between 130 and 170. It is a difficult section for non-native English speakers. The 40 to 60 questions in the section have to be answered in 60 to 90 minutes. Your comprehension skills, ability to think clearly & critically, understanding of the English language, and vocabulary, all play important roles here.
- Quantitative reasoning: Quantitative reasoning or Quant evaluates the students’ ability to solve problems and analyze quantitative data through mathematical techniques. The questions in this section can be solved using high-school-level mathematics. Quantitative reasoning also has two parts, each comprising 20-30 quant questions. The time allowed to complete the section is 70 to 110 minutes.
Why are students unable to score 170?
Despite thorough preparation and the desire to succeed, students may not be able to score 170 in quant GRE due to some common mistakes. Here are some of the common errors that prevent candidates from scoring high in their GRE quant:
- Over-reliance on calculators: While the GRE allows candidates to use calculators during the test, it can have a detrimental effect on their performance. Calculators can make it difficult for the candidates to think clearly while switching back and forth between the device and the test. Candidates might also commit errors while keying numbers or even lose track of the step that they were on while solving the problem.
- Rushing through: The candidates are generally under immense time pressure and often get only 90 seconds to solve a problem. If they haven’t practiced solving problems within this given time frame, they may end up spending too much time on one problem. They will have to rush through the other questions. Over that, the GRE test is adaptive, meaning, the questions adapt themselves to the student’s ability and get more difficult.
- Not managing math anxiety: Candidates can get disheartened by a particular type of question that they get wrong repeatedly during practice. This can cause undue anxiety about those types of questions and seeing them in the main test can make them nervous and prone to committing mistakes.
- Calculation errors: Since quantitative analysis is a very precise field of study, getting one small calculation wrong or missing a sign can cause an error. Candidates may make simple calculation errors leading to a wrong solution to the problem.
How to score a perfect 170 in GRE quant?
Even average candidates can secure good marks in their GRE quant with proper preparation and practice. Here are some preparatory tips that can make the process of getting a perfect score easier:
- Attempt mock tests: An important part of preparing for GRE quant is to accustom yourself to the test pattern and the types of questions. Attempt the mock tests sincerely and build up stamina for the real test.
- Tackle word problems slowly: The underlying concept of the word problem questions needs to be understood properly as a single word can alter its meaning. It is important to familiarize yourself with English-to-math translation tables.
- Do not rely excessively on calculators: As most GRE quant questions are meant to be answered within three minutes, it is unlikely to involve elaborate calculations. Do not use a calculator unless you really need it, practice mental math instead.
- Move over where needed: There are 20 questions in each quant section and only 35 minutes to solve them. You cannot spare more than 2 minutes on any of the questions without taking that time away from another question. If a question seems too stubborn, move on. You can revisit it if you have spare time.
- Backsolve wherever possible: When the options or answer choices involve numbers, you can use backsolving for plugging the answers into questions and working out a solution. Choose the most likely answer and then backsolve it.
- Don’t abandon your method and logic: There may be questions of different difficulty levels and complexity. You need to evaluate the information and select the approach applicable to the particular question. Apply the various approaches and methods in a logical succession so that you can address all problems objectively.
- Study the whole graph or table: The data interpretation questions may seem time-consuming and complex. However, they can be managed effectively by thoroughly studying the graph or the table. Take note of the titles, units, and labels so that you can identify the data trend early in the solution. This way, you can draw conclusions faster and without much hassle.
The candidates need to extensively attempt the mock tests to gain a thorough understanding of the test pattern and the realistic challenges of the test. The candidates should also take advantage of the ‘no negative marking’ policy of the GRE test and attempt all the questions.