Are you getting ready for the GMAT? One of the most important sections to master, and one of the most challenging sections for many of our clients, is the Quantitative Section. This part of the GMAT tests your ability to solve problems on the spot, under significant time pressure.

Contrary to popular belief, though, preparation for the quant shouldn’t involve just “getting faster”, but should focus on your underlying creative problem-solving skills. It’s helpful to think of these questions as riddles with math elements rather than pure math problems. As such, the test’s intent isn’t for you to showcase your quantitative skills or demonstrate that you’re a mathematical savant, rather it encourages you to solve problems in a more innovative way than your peers.

The GMAT is an adaptive exam, meaning that as you solve problems correctly you’ll be given even more difficult problems. Consequently, it will adjust to find your point of failure, which is where the true test begins, assessing how well you can navigate uncertainty and solve problems without a clear, pre-built solution. This is why so many people, particularly engineers, struggle with the exam.

## What is GMAT Quant?

The GMAT Quantitative Section is the most unique and, from an MBA perspective, possibly the most important section of the GMAT Focus Edition. It accounts for one-third of your overall score, but many programs will dig down into the sub-scores to determine if your quantitative skills will allow you to thrive in their MBA or Master’s program.

The skills required to excel in GMAT Quant are essential for succeeding in the new Data Insights section as well, which accounts for another third of your overall score. This means that mastering Quant in the latest GMAT edition is more crucial than ever for your GMAT success.

You can prepare for GMAT more effectively and achieve a great score if you know which questions to expect; a key element in our preparation program. Get to know this section better with our comprehensive overview of the various problem “forms” that you’ll be most likely to encounter on your path to a 645+/700+ score.

## GMAT Quant Section Overview

**TIP: Bank time early on in the Quant section to allocate to the most challenging problems that occur at the end.**

A common error is to expend the same amount of time on each question. The GMAT adaptive test gradually increases the average difficulty of the GMAT quantitative questions as you progress through the section. Therefore, you’ll need more time to solve each question as you proceed further.

A much stronger strategy is to save time early on with lightning-fast solution paths for expected problems in order to reallocate that time to the problems later on that require more creative problem-solving and out-of-the-box thinking, which can’t be rushed.

Struggling to keep up on time, even on the first seven questions? If you’ve already taken the test and it’s felt overwhelming, working with us can help you manage your time better. At Apex, we deliver higher-level solution paths that allow you to find the correct answer while skipping the math, ensuring you can keep up with the exam’s pace and improve your overall performance.

### GMAT Quantitative Questions

The Quant section lasts for 45 minutes, just like the verbal and Data Insights sections, and consists of 21 multiple-choice problem-solving questions.

From a pacing perspective, aim to complete the first 7 problems in about 10 minutes, leaving the bulk of your time for the later problems.

### Be Careful with the ‘Questions Review and Edit’ Feature

GMAT’s Focus Edition has a new feature called “Question Review and Edit”, which allows you to go back and change up to three of your answers once you’ve completed a section.

However, it’s important to note that all questions within a section must be answered before you can do so, and this has tremendous repercussions for your strategy.

Since the GMAT is an adaptive test, any incorrect answers given will have a negative impact on the difficulty level of subsequent questions. This means that if your initial answer is incorrect, it will lead to a lower score, even if you go back and revise it later on.

In summary, it’s best to avoid guessing on questions and only use the Question Review and Edit feature to make necessary changes when you realize later on that you “missed” something on a particular problem. By doing so, you can ensure you achieve the best possible score.

## Breakdown of GMAT Quant Topics

Compiling a comprehensive and clear list of topics featured on GMAT Quant is a challenging task because many topics overlap and more complex problems often rely upon the complexity of having multiple “layers” to work through.

The official score reports do provide an important distinction for Quant questions – pure contexts and real contexts. Pure contexts are the questions that involve doing “math for math’s sake,” without any real-world context, often with formulas and variables. Using this distinction, we can create a list of GMAT math topics, quant topics, and other question types.

**Operations**

- Exponents, powers, and roots
- Negative exponents and bases
- Inequalities and absolute value
- Functions, domain, and range
- Sequences, series, and sets
- Units digit cycles
- Quadratic expressions and equations

**Real Contexts**: Questions that involve doing “real world” math

- Overlapping sets
- Weighted averages
- Profit/revenue/cost
- Interest/growth
- Algebraic translation

**Pure/Real Quant**: Topics that have both pure contexts and real context expressions

- Properties of even and odd numbers
- Relational expressions (fractions, ratios, percents)
- Powers of 10 and the decimal system
- Correlations, minimizing and maximizing
- Statistics
- Percent change and composite percent

**Rates**: GMAT rates is a category of real context questions involving time

- Rate, work, and time
- Speed, distance, and time
- Combined rates and net rates
- Average speed
- “Two-leg” average speed
- Fuel consumption
- Unit conversions

**Number Properties**: Usually (but not always) presented as real context questions that revolve around factors, divisibility, and remainders

- Divisibility
- Prime numbers and prime factorization
- Counting factors/divisors
- Least common multiple and greatest common factor
- Intervals of multiples
- Remainders
- Decimal termination
- Factors of 10 and zeros
- Prime factors of perfect squares, perfect cubes, etc

**Combinatorics**** and ****Probability**: Real context questions built around the number of real or possible cases in which a given event occurs

- Ordering
- Permutations (ordered selections)
- Combinations (selections)
- Special rules, inclusion, and exclusion
- “And” vs “or” in probability
- Selection with/without replacement

## GMAT Quant Scoring and Percentiles

### GMAT Quant Percentiles

GMAT Quant Percentiles are used to indicate how your score compares to the scores of other test-takers. For instance, if you score in the 90th percentile, it means you performed better than 90% of the test-takers.

In reality, your percentile score is the more relevant one for admissions committees and the raw score is more window dressing. This is why the scores for the new GMAT appear to have changed, while the percentile scores that top schools are looking for have remained the same.

### GMAT Quant Scoring

The Quant section is scored in one-point increments with a minimum score of 60 and a maximum score of 90. The mean score is 78. To score above the 90th percentile, you need a score of 86.

### How to Calculate Your GMAT Overall Score

One of our tutors, Elijah Mize, who has achieved a perfect 90 on the Quant section, explains how the total score might be calculated from the sectional scores on the Quant, Verbal, and Data Insights.

- Total Score: (Quantitative + Verbal + Data Insights – 180)(20/3) + 205

Note that in some cases, it will be necessary to round the resulting total score to the nearest integer ending with a 5.

Section | Score Range | Contribution to Total Score |

Verbal | 60-90 | 1/3 |

Quantitative | 60-90 | 1/3 |

Data Insights | 60-90 | 1/3 |

Read more about the GMAT score chart in our comprehensive guide.

## Prepare for GMAT Quant with Apex

The GMAT Quant test delivers myriad challenges in the form of clever problems and abstract concepts to test your mental flexibility. With the help of an Apex tutor, you’ll go beyond mere memorization and rote practice to learn to use your innate problem-solving skills in innovative ways, on the Quant section and beyond.

Succeeding on the GMAT isn’t about being a great mathematician or excelling through repetitive drilling, but rather about your ability to think critically, see around corners, and outthink your peers.

Personalized preparation is where Apex tutoring truly shines. A one-size-fits-all approach often leads to a plateau in scoring around the 60th to 70th percentile. To achieve an Olympic-level 700+ performance, you’ll need to understand your unique strengths and weaknesses and develop a strategy to work with them. We’ll help you do just that.

Apex guides you through this complex landscape, identifying not just what you know, but also what you don’t know, and most importantly, provides an outside perspective on *what you don’t know that you don’t know*. This tailored approach is crucial for reaching the highest levels of achievement on the GMAT. Book your complimentary consultation today.

## Frequently Asked Questions About GMAT Quant

### How Difficult Is Quant on GMAT?

The Quantitative section of the GMAT is widely regarded as challenging, primarily because most people don’t understand what’s actually being tested. While still a challenge, it becomes much more surmountable (not to mention fun, engaging, and ultimately rewarding) when you begin developing skills that meaningfully change how you interact with math and permit you to leverage logic and analytical thinking under time pressure.

### Does the GMAT Quant Have Data Sufficiency Questions?

No, the GMAT Quantitative section no longer includes Data Sufficiency questions. These questions were phased out of the Quant section and moved to the Data Insights section in the GMAT Focus edition, beginning in late 2023.

Data Sufficiency questions require a different approach compared to traditional problem-solving questions. Instead of finding the exact answer, you need to evaluate the sufficiency of the given data, which aligns closely with real-world decision-making processes where information is often incomplete or ambiguous. Learn more about them on our Data Insights page.

### What Math Skills Do You Need for GMAT?

The essential math skills required for the GMAT Quant are high school arithmetic, algebra, and statistics. You’ll also need to be comfortable with word problems, data analysis, and advanced problem-solving. Finally, strong mental math is a must.

### What Kind of Math Is on the GMAT?

The GMAT Quantitative section tests a specific subset of math skills that are covered in a typical high school curriculum. The GMAT focuses on arithmetic, algebra, statistics, and basic data analysis. It does not cover calculus, trigonometry, nor other advanced mathematics.

We have a saying here at Apex: “If you’re doing math, then you’re doing something wrong”. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to know or use math, but instead, most problems on the Quant section are solvable without a lot of computation by using logic and general reasoning once you’re familiar with the underlying mathematical concepts.

If you find yourself doing extensive calculations and scratching out a lot of work on paper, it’s a signal that you’ve missed the bigger picture. This is what we here at Apex call a “test signal”.

Every problem on the GMAT, whether quant or verbal, has multiple solution paths, with some being more efficient than others. When you’re bogged down with heavy calculations or super complex logic, it’s often an indication that you’re not seeing the most efficient solution path.

### How Do I Improve My Math Skills for GMAT Quant?

Improving your math skills for the GMAT Quantitative section involves a strategic, multi-step process. A first approach should focus on understanding core concepts and having strong mental math. This is what the GMAT expects as a *starting point*. From there, it is essential to develop practical problem-solving strategies, develop proficiency with multiple solution paths and implement test-taking strategies that complement your existing strengths while compensating for your weaknesses.

Need help to tackle the GMAT? Reach out to our team and consult with an expert GMAT tutor!