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Ready for a New Question Type on the Revised GRE?

Just as the verbal section on the Revised GRE is offering up multiple answer questions, so, too, will the math section. The new GRE is officially calling these Multiple Choice Questions: Select One or More Answers. For brevity’s sake, I’m going to call them Multiple Answer Questions.

Doesn’t sound much more complicated than the Sentence Equivalence Question? Well, I could ask you to imagine a question that has ten possible answer choices, any number of which could be correct. Or, I could just ask you to turn to page 123 of the ETS Revised GRE book, for those of you who’ve already picked up a copy.

Those well-versed in their combinations/permutations problem know the chances of guessing correctly on this question is 1 in 1,023, odds so slim the question might as well have been a big empty fill-in the blank (yeah, the math section has those too).

I’m probably making these quantitative Multiple Answer Questions scarier than they actually are. Most will probably only have five or six possible answer choices, not ten. The bottom-line: if you know the concept being tested, and are careful and methodical, then you should be able to get this cumbersome question type correct.

Here is a math question, of the ilk described above, that I think many of us are capable of getting right if we’re careful:

If n is a two-digit number, in which n = x^y. If  x + y < 8, and x and y are positive integers greater than one, then the units digit of n could be which of the following?

(A) 0

(B) 1

(C) 2

(D) 3

(E) 4

(F) 5

(G) 6

(H) 7

(I) 8

(J) 9

As a side note, on the actual Revised GRE test each answer choice will have a square around it. When you see the square you know you’re dealing with Multiple Answer Questions. If there is a circle around the answer choice, then it is business as usual—one answer only.

As for the question above, the answers are (B), (C), (E), (F), (G) and (H).

If you missed the question, remember that x + y has to be less than 8. Also, make sure you write something down when tackling Multiple Answer Questions. Trying to juggle all the information on a Multiple Answer Question will surely get you in trouble.

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

17 Responses to Ready for a New Question Type on the Revised GRE?

  1. Jessica June 5, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    Hello, I had the same question about the inclusion of 3^3. When they use different letters on the GRE are we supposed to assume they can be the same number unless specifically stated they are different numbers?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 6, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

      You’re absolutely correct. Two different letters indicate two different variables, but not necessarily two different values. Two veriables might have the same numerical value. Unless the GRE specifically indicates otherwise, as you say. 🙂

  2. Meirkhan May 31, 2016 at 11:25 pm #

    Good afternoon, why 8 is not included to the answer if 3^4 = 81?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 2, 2016 at 7:24 am #

      Hi Meirkhan,

      Good question! In this practice problem, we’re asked for the units digit of n. While you’re totally correct that 3^4 = 81, the units digit of n in this case is 1 and not 8.

      Hope that clears things up 🙂

  3. Cooper Cui February 1, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    I think 7 should not be an answer to this questions. Though it is not clearly defined that x and y are different. Usually we use different letters to represent different values in the algebra expressions. So I think in this case, x should not equal to why, and therefor we should not have 3^3=27.

  4. Jared September 29, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    MAC Question: Is it possible for the actual GRE exam multiple answer question to have only one answer? I ask this because I haven’t come across a one correct answer MAC question in my magoosh practice but the ETS practice has a few test problems that are multiple answer but only had one correct answer… I missed these questions due to thinking there HAD to be more than one answer on a MAC question. Wasted valuable time trying to figure out what other selection(s) were correct that I missed lol.

    Is this common?
    Any tips which may help identify if there is indeed only one answer.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele October 2, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

      Hi Jared,

      It is indeed possible for an actual test question to have just one answer choice in a MAC question. It’s hard to say what the case is, but when it seems a question must have many possible correct answers, but due to some subtle wording, actually has only one, then that question would make a pretty good candidate. All in all, I don’t think it is too common, but it is good to know that an MAC question can have exactly one correct answer.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  5. Glenn B. Wing October 24, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    What does the upside-down symbol represent?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele October 25, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      Hmm…I can’t seem to find what “upside-down symbol” you are talking about…maybe I’m missing something obvious :).

  6. Jash September 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm #


  7. shraddha July 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    Could you please explain all answers for above question?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 30, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      Sure :),

      2^4 = 16 so (G)
      2^5 = 32 so (C)
      3^3 = 27 so (H)
      3^4 = 81 so (B)
      4^3 = 64 so (E)
      5^2 = 25 so (F)

      Hope that helps!

  8. Loch April 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    Hey, how do you get the “7” in the answer? I got all the others except 7.. is that 3 to the power of 3 to get 27 where the unit is 7?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele April 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Loch,

      Yes that is correct :). 3^3 will get you n = 27, so 7 is our units digit.

      Hope that helps!

      • Loch April 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

        Cool, thanks Chris..
        Appreciate the help!

  9. kireeti September 28, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    9 is also one of the answer……3 squared is 9

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 28, 2011 at 9:27 am #

      Hi Kireeti,

      This is a tricky question. If you read carefully, it says that n is a 2-digit number.

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