Magoosh’s very own Mike McGarry, GMAT/Math Teacher/Tutor/Foosball player extraordinaire, went through 5 different sets of Official GMAT Practice Material and tallied questions based on the subject material they tested to find the most common GMAT questions.

Here are the samples of Official Material he used to figure out the GMAT Quant breakdown:

1.GMAT Official Guide (12th Edition) Problem Solving Practice Questions (Pg. 152-265)*

2. GMAT Official Guide (12th Edition) Data Sufficiency Practice Questions (Pg. 272-351)*

3. GMATPrep Test #1

4. GMATPrep Test #2

5. Released past exam from GMAC, test code 14, from the 90s/early 2000’s

**Side note: we have video explanations for all of the practice questions in the Official Guide here.*

*GMAT Official Guide (12th Edition) Problem Solving Practice Questions (Pg. 152-265)*

Total |
Percentage |
||

Arithmetic | Percents | 21 | 10.71% |

Arithmetic | Properties of Integers | 18 | 9.18% |

Arithmetic | Descriptive Statistics | 12 | 6.12% |

Arithmetic | Fractions | 11 | 5.61% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, Two Unknowns | 11 | 5.61% |

Algebra | Simplifying Algebraic Expressions | 9 | 4.59% |

Arithmetic | Powers & Roots of Numbers | 8 | 4.08% |

Arithmetic | Counting Methods | 7 | 3.57% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, One Unknown | 7 | 3.57% |

Algebra | Functions/Series | 7 | 3.57% |

Geometry | Coordinate Geometry | 7 | 3.57% |

Word Problems | Rate Problems | 7 | 3.57% |

Arithmetic | Ratio & Proportions | 6 | 3.06% |

Arithmetic | Decimals | 5 | 2.55% |

Arithmetic | Discrete Probability | 5 | 2.55% |

Algebra | Exponents | 5 | 2.55% |

Algebra | Inequalities | 5 | 2.55% |

Geometry | Quadrilaterals | 5 | 2.55% |

Geometry | Circles | 5 | 2.55% |

Word Problems | Interest Problems | 4 | 2.04% |

Algebra | Solving Quadratic Equations | 3 | 1.53% |

Geometry | Triangles | 3 | 1.53% |

Geometry | Rectangular Solids & Cylinders | 3 | 1.53% |

Word Problems | Work Problems | 3 | 1.53% |

Word Problems | Mixture Problems | 3 | 1.53% |

Geometry | Intersecting Angles and Lines | 2 | 1.02% |

Word Problems | Profit | 2 | 1.02% |

Word Problems | Sets | 2 | 1.02% |

Word Problems | Measurement Problems | 2 | 1.02% |

Word Problems | Data Interpretation | 2 | 1.02% |

Arithmetic | Real Numbers | 1 | 0.51% |

Arithmetic | Sets | 1 | 0.51% |

Algebra | Solving by Factoring | 1 | 0.51% |

Geometry | Polygons | 1 | 0.51% |

Word Problems | Discount | 1 | 0.51% |

Word Problems | Geometry Problems | 1 | 0.51% |

Algebra | Equations | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Absolute Value | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Perpendicular Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Parallel Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

*GMAT Official Guide (12th Edition) Data Sufficiency Practice Questions (Pg. 272-351)*

Total |
Percentage |
||

Arithmetic | Properties of Integers | 30 | 19.23% |

Arithmetic | Descriptive Statistics | 13 | 8.33% |

Arithmetic | Percents | 11 | 7.05% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, Two Unknowns | 11 | 7.05% |

Word Problems | Rate Problems | 9 | 5.77% |

Algebra | Inequalities | 8 | 5.13% |

Arithmetic | Sets | 7 | 4.49% |

Arithmetic | Ratio & Proportions | 6 | 3.85% |

Geometry | Triangles | 6 | 3.85% |

Geometry | Circles | 6 | 3.85% |

Arithmetic | Decimals | 5 | 3.21% |

Geometry | Coordinate Geometry | 5 | 3.21% |

Arithmetic | Fractions | 4 | 2.56% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, One Unknown | 4 | 2.56% |

Algebra | Exponents | 4 | 2.56% |

Geometry | Rectangular Solids & Cylinders | 4 | 2.56% |

Arithmetic | Discrete Probability | 3 | 1.92% |

Algebra | Functions/Series | 3 | 1.92% |

Word Problems | Interest Problems | 3 | 1.92% |

Geometry | Lines | 2 | 1.28% |

Word Problems | Work Problems | 2 | 1.28% |

Word Problems | Discount | 2 | 1.28% |

Word Problems | Profit | 2 | 1.28% |

Arithmetic | Real Numbers | 1 | 0.64% |

Arithmetic | Counting Methods | 1 | 0.64% |

Algebra | Simplifying Algebraic Expressions | 1 | 0.64% |

Algebra | Absolute Value | 1 | 0.64% |

Geometry | Quadrilaterals | 1 | 0.64% |

Word Problems | Measurement Problems | 1 | 0.64% |

Arithmetic | Powers & Roots of Numbers | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Equations | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Solving by Factoring | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Solving Quadratic Equations | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Intersecting Angles and Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Perpendicular Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Parallel Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Polygons | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Mixture Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Sets | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Geometry Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Data Interpretation | 0 | 0.00% |

*GMATPrep Test #1*

Total |
Percentage |
||

Arithmetic | Properties of Integers | 6 | 17.14% |

Arithmetic | Ratio & Proportions | 4 | 11.43% |

Arithmetic | Descriptive Statistics | 4 | 11.43% |

Algebra | Exponents | 3 | 8.57% |

Algebra | Functions/Series | 3 | 8.57% |

Arithmetic | Percents | 2 | 5.71% |

Arithmetic | Powers & Roots of Numbers | 2 | 5.71% |

Word Problems | Interest Problems | 2 | 5.71% |

Arithmetic | Fractions | 1 | 2.86% |

Arithmetic | Counting Methods | 1 | 2.86% |

Algebra | Equations | 1 | 2.86% |

Geometry | Intersecting Angles and Lines | 1 | 2.86% |

Geometry | Triangles | 1 | 2.86% |

Geometry | Circles | 1 | 2.86% |

Word Problems | Work Problems | 1 | 2.86% |

Word Problems | Sets | 1 | 2.86% |

Word Problems | Measurement Problems | 1 | 2.86% |

Arithmetic | Decimals | 0 | 0.00% |

Arithmetic | Real Numbers | 0 | 0.00% |

Arithmetic | Sets | 0 | 0.00% |

Arithmetic | Discrete Probability | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Simplifying Algebraic Expressions | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, One Unknown | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, Two Unknowns | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Solving by Factoring | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Solving Quadratic Equations | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Inequalities | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Absolute Value | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Perpendicular Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Parallel Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Polygons | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Quadrilaterals | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Rectangular Solids & Cylinders | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Coordinate Geometry | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Rate Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Mixture Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Discount | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Profit | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Geometry Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Data Interpretation | 0 | 0.00% |

*GMATPrep Test #2*

Total |
Percentage |
||

Arithmetic | Descriptive Statistics | 6 | 18.75% |

Arithmetic | Properties of Integers | 4 | 12.50% |

Arithmetic | Ratio & Proportions | 2 | 6.25% |

Arithmetic | Percents | 2 | 6.25% |

Algebra | Simplifying Algebraic Expressions | 2 | 6.25% |

Algebra | Exponents | 2 | 6.25% |

Geometry | Coordinate Geometry | 2 | 6.25% |

Arithmetic | Fractions | 1 | 3.13% |

Arithmetic | Powers & Roots of Numbers | 1 | 3.13% |

Arithmetic | Counting Methods | 1 | 3.13% |

Algebra | Equations | 1 | 3.13% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, Two Unknowns | 1 | 3.13% |

Algebra | Inequalities | 1 | 3.13% |

Algebra | Functions/Series | 1 | 3.13% |

Geometry | Triangles | 1 | 3.13% |

Geometry | Circles | 1 | 3.13% |

Word Problems | Rate Problems | 1 | 3.13% |

Word Problems | Discount | 1 | 3.13% |

Word Problems | Measurement Problems | 1 | 3.13% |

Arithmetic | Decimals | 0 | 0.00% |

Arithmetic | Real Numbers | 0 | 0.00% |

Arithmetic | Sets | 0 | 0.00% |

Arithmetic | Discrete Probability | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, One Unknown | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Solving by Factoring | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Solving Quadratic Equations | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Absolute Value | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Intersecting Angles and Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Perpendicular Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Parallel Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Polygons | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Quadrilaterals | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Rectangular Solids & Cylinders | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Work Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Mixture Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Interest Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Profit | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Sets | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Geometry Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Data Interpretation | 0 | 0.00% |

*Released past exam from GMAC, test code 14*

Total |
Percentage |
||

Arithmetic | Properties of Integers | 7 | 13.73% |

Arithmetic | Ratio & Proportions | 5 | 9.80% |

Arithmetic | Percents | 5 | 9.80% |

Arithmetic | Descriptive Statistics | 4 | 7.84% |

Word Problems | Sets | 4 | 7.84% |

Arithmetic | Powers & Roots of Numbers | 3 | 5.88% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, Two Unknowns | 3 | 5.88% |

Word Problems | Rate Problems | 3 | 5.88% |

Arithmetic | Fractions | 2 | 3.92% |

Arithmetic | Counting Methods | 2 | 3.92% |

Algebra | Exponents | 2 | 3.92% |

Algebra | Inequalities | 2 | 3.92% |

Geometry | Triangles | 2 | 3.92% |

Algebra | Simplifying Algebraic Expressions | 1 | 1.96% |

Algebra | Equations | 1 | 1.96% |

Algebra | Functions/Series | 1 | 1.96% |

Geometry | Quadrilaterals | 1 | 1.96% |

Geometry | Circles | 1 | 1.96% |

Geometry | Rectangular Solids & Cylinders | 1 | 1.96% |

Geometry | Coordinate Geometry | 1 | 1.96% |

Arithmetic | Decimals | 0 | 0.00% |

Arithmetic | Real Numbers | 0 | 0.00% |

Arithmetic | Sets | 0 | 0.00% |

Arithmetic | Discrete Probability | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, One Unknown | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Solving by Factoring | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Solving Quadratic Equations | 0 | 0.00% |

Algebra | Absolute Value | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Intersecting Angles and Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Perpendicular Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Parallel Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Polygons | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Work Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Mixture Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Interest Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Discount | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Profit | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Geometry Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Measurement Problems | 0 | 0.00% |

Word Problems | Data Interpretation | 0 | 0.00% |

*Breakdown by concept type, all material*

Total |
Percentage |
||

Arithmetic |
Properties of Integers | 65 | 13.83% |

Fractions | 19 | 4.04% | |

Decimals | 10 | 2.13% | |

Real Numbers | 2 | 0.43% | |

Ratio & Proportions | 23 | 4.89% | |

Percents | 41 | 8.72% | |

Powers & Roots of Numbers | 14 | 2.98% | |

Descriptive Statistics | 39 | 8.30% | |

Sets | 8 | 1.70% | |

Counting Methods | 12 | 2.55% | |

Discrete Probability | 8 | 1.70% | |

Algebra |
Simplifying Algebraic Expressions | 13 | 2.77% |

Equations | 3 | 0.64% | |

Linear Equations, One Unknown | 11 | 2.34% | |

Linear Equations, Two Unknowns | 26 | 5.53% | |

Solving by Factoring | 1 | 0.21% | |

Solving Quadratic Equations | 3 | 0.64% | |

Exponents | 16 | 3.40% | |

Inequalities | 16 | 3.40% | |

Absolute Value | 1 | 0.21% | |

Functions/Series | 15 | 3.19% | |

Geometry |
Lines | 2 | 0.43% |

Intersecting Angles and Lines | 3 | 0.64% | |

Perpendicular Lines | 0 | 0.00% | |

Parallel Lines | 0 | 0.00% | |

Polygons | 1 | 0.21% | |

Triangles | 13 | 2.77% | |

Quadrilaterals | 7 | 1.49% | |

Circles | 14 | 2.98% | |

Rectangular Solids & Cylinders | 8 | 1.70% | |

Coordinate Geometry | 15 | 3.19% | |

Word Problems |
Rate Problems | 20 | 4.26% |

Work Problems | 6 | 1.28% | |

Mixture Problems | 3 | 0.64% | |

Interest Problems | 9 | 1.91% | |

Discount | 4 | 0.85% | |

Profit | 4 | 0.85% | |

Sets | 7 | 1.49% | |

Geometry Problems | 1 | 0.21% | |

Measurement Problems | 5 | 1.06% | |

Data Interpretation | 2 | 0.43% | |

Total |
470 | 100.00% |

*Ranked by frequency, all material*

Total |
Percentage |
||

Arithmetic | Properties of Integers | 65 | 13.83% |

Arithmetic | Percents | 41 | 8.72% |

Arithmetic | Descriptive Statistics | 39 | 8.30% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, Two Unknowns | 26 | 5.53% |

Arithmetic | Ratio & Proportions | 23 | 4.89% |

Word Problems | Rate Problems | 20 | 4.26% |

Arithmetic | Fractions | 19 | 4.04% |

Algebra | Exponents | 16 | 3.40% |

Algebra | Inequalities | 16 | 3.40% |

Algebra | Functions/Series | 15 | 3.19% |

Geometry | Coordinate Geometry | 15 | 3.19% |

Arithmetic | Powers & Roots of Numbers | 14 | 2.98% |

Geometry | Circles | 14 | 2.98% |

Algebra | Simplifying Algebraic Expressions | 13 | 2.77% |

Geometry | Triangles | 13 | 2.77% |

Arithmetic | Counting Methods | 12 | 2.55% |

Algebra | Linear Equations, One Unknown | 11 | 2.34% |

Arithmetic | Decimals | 10 | 2.13% |

Word Problems | Interest Problems | 9 | 1.91% |

Arithmetic | Sets | 8 | 1.70% |

Arithmetic | Discrete Probability | 8 | 1.70% |

Geometry | Rectangular Solids & Cylinders | 8 | 1.70% |

Geometry | Quadrilaterals | 7 | 1.49% |

Word Problems | Sets | 7 | 1.49% |

Word Problems | Work Problems | 6 | 1.28% |

Word Problems | Measurement Problems | 5 | 1.06% |

Word Problems | Discount | 4 | 0.85% |

Word Problems | Profit | 4 | 0.85% |

Algebra | Equations | 3 | 0.64% |

Algebra | Solving Quadratic Equations | 3 | 0.64% |

Geometry | Intersecting Angles and Lines | 3 | 0.64% |

Word Problems | Mixture Problems | 3 | 0.64% |

Arithmetic | Real Numbers | 2 | 0.43% |

Geometry | Lines | 2 | 0.43% |

Word Problems | Data Interpretation | 2 | 0.43% |

Algebra | Solving by Factoring | 1 | 0.21% |

Algebra | Absolute Value | 1 | 0.21% |

Geometry | Polygons | 1 | 0.21% |

Word Problems | Geometry Problems | 1 | 0.21% |

Geometry | Perpendicular Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

Geometry | Parallel Lines | 0 | 0.00% |

*The categories*

The list of concepts tested on the quantitative section is from GMAC, which you can see on page 107 of the Official Guide (either 12th or 13th edition). It isn’t perfect– “Integer Properties” is a wide area of knowledge, whereas something like “Circles” is very specific.

*Observations*

- Based on the master chart alone, Arithmetic is the clear “winner”, while Word Problems and most Geometry question are ranked much lower.
- Though the rankings vary slightly from chart to chart, there are no extreme outliers in terms of the sets of data– even the old released exam is quite consistent with all of the other exams.

*“Well, I guess I’ll just throw parallel/perpendicular lines out the window, then”*

NO. For the sake of simplicity and accuracy in reporting absolute frequency, we’ve only assigned each question to one concept. This means that even though GMAC lists “Perpendicular lines” as a topic tested on the GMAT, and we have 0 questions marked as pertaining to that topic, that certainly doesn’t mean the idea of perpendicular lines did not come up at all on all of the exams. It certainly appeared, but often in questions that were better categorized, overall, as “Coordinate Geometry”, or “Intersecting Angles and Lines”.

*Takeaways*

We hope this serves as a guideline for the relative frequency of math topics tested on the GMAT to help you decide how to focus your time! In Magoosh practice, you can set up customized practice sessions to focus on specific concepts, as well as review your performance on individual concepts to identify your weak spots using our Review tool.

Let us know whether you find this type of breakdown helpful, and whether you have any questions about any of the information above! 🙂