For the GRE Quant, you definitely need to know your geometry. But just how much should you be fretting about triangles, circles, and the like? Well don’t expect half of the questions in the math section to be geometry based. The real number is a little less than ten out of forty – though, depending on the test, you may get as few as a half dozen.
Geometry to total questions ratio
The geometry to total questions ratio is about 6-10 questions out of 40, or between 15% and 25% of your quantitative test. You should also not expect to have half of those questions be related to circles. You will see a smattering of geometry concepts – triangles, three-dimensional figures, coordinate geometry, polygons, overlapping shapes, and of course circles. Not all of these concepts are as likely to pop up as others. Finding the area of an octagon inscribed in a circle is far less important than knowing your 30:60:90 triangle ratios.
How many coordinate geometry questions?
Many folks out there are worried about coordinate geometry. For all of you worriers, you can definitely expect less than half of the geometry questions to be coordinate geometry questions (hopefully that helps assuage some of your anxiety).
GRE geometry question break down
Some of you may be looking for an even more granular answer to the title question. Below I’ve broken up the geometry questions in rough order of importance. By that I mean the likelihood a question will contain the concept. And remember – each type of question is worth the same points. You do not receive more credit for more difficult questions. You can find some useful formulas for these concepts here.
1) Triangle basics – area, total degrees
2) Circle basics – area, circumference
3) Slope formula
4) 45:45:90 triangles
6) Distance formula (coordinate geometry)
7) Surface area and volume (3-dimensional figures)
8) 30:60:90 ratios (triangles)
9) Total area of a polygon formula
10) Inscribed figures (e.g., square in a circle)
11) Equilateral triangles
12) Advanced 3-dimensional figures (e.g., cylinders, cones, spheres)
13) Area/dimensions of geometric figures on a coordinate plane (e.g., area of a triangle on the coordinate plane)
14) Parallel lines
So while no exact counts of question types are guaranteed to show up on your test, hopefully you can use this to gauge just how much time you should spend studying for geometry.
Have you taken the test recently? Let us know below if you saw too much or too little geometry!