The quantitative (math) section of the GRE can be an intimidating roadblock for those trying to get into grad school. For many in the humanities and arts taking the GRE, it may have been several years or more since their last true math class, and it can be frustrating to be tested on material that is completely unconnected to your chosen subject area.
However, there’s reason for optimism, even for the last math-oriented GRE test-taker. With a few key strategies, you can navigate the quantitative section of the GRE with confidence.
Work backwards on all multiple choice problems
Many answer options will reveal themselves as false the second you plug them into the equation or problem. Also, if you work backwards from the suggested answers, you are only opening yourself up to the possibility of three wrong answers, whereas there are infinite incorrect answers if you’re working from scratch.
Use your reading comprehension skills to break down word problems
Instead of reading word problems as math questions, read them as narratives you’re assessing for logic. Use your understanding of language to help you determine which operation is taking place in the problem (addition, subtraction, division, etc.) and what kind of answer the question is looking for before you start. In this way, you can actually use your existing strengths to prop up your area of weakness on the test.
Don’t agonize over every single question
It’s also important to remember that your graduate program of choice will emphasize content that’s most closely related to your area of study. If you’re in the arts or humanities, they won’t be overly concerned with the minutia of your quantitative score. If you’re in a language-based field, focus your energy on hitting a home run on the verbal section! With that said, it’s crucial to put your best foot forward and show your adaptability and ability to thrive, even outside of your comfort zone!
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