# Creating a Math-Focused GRE Study Schedule

The GRE can be challenging, particularly if math isn’t your strong suit. Some of us haven’t thought much about quantitative (math) subject matter since high school, which could have been a few or many, many years ago. If you feel that it’s going to take significant time and effort to either learn quant concepts for the first time or brush the cobwebs off those that have been lying dormant in the deepest recesses of your mind, you’ll need a GRE schedule that focuses on improving your quantitative reasoning skills.

So, while many study plans emphasize dividing your focus pretty evenly between quantitative and verbal, this article will guide you through how to modify a Magoosh GRE study guide for those who need to devote more time to improving their quant scores.

## General Advice for Quant Prioritization

Before diving into the modifications, it’s essential to understand the core strategies that will help you succeed on the quantitative reasoning section:

### Solidify Fundamental Concepts

The GRE quantitative section covers a wide range of topics from arithmetic to data analysis. Make sure you have a strong grasp of the basics, as advanced problems often build on fundamental concepts. If you’re weaker here, you’ll want to spend more time with introductory lessons. You also might look into supplementary materials to build foundational skills:

1. The Math Review from ETS, the folks who write the GRE, is an excellent resource.
2. Khan Academy has partnered with ETS to provide a bank of free math lessons that cover the topics tested on the GRE.
3. For additional practice questions, check out ETS’s The Official Guide to the GRE as well as its big ol’ book of Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice questions.
4. It’s a good idea to make a habit of reviewing Magoosh’s Math Formula Cheat Sheet.

### Practice with Purpose

Focus on areas where you’re weakest, but be aware of how frequently concepts are tested. Arithmetic, algebra and geometry are tested far more often than counting, statistics, or probability. So, if you’re weaker in high-frequency concepts, be sure to prioritize mastering those before dedicating much time to the rarely tested ones. Furthermore, you should practice not just to complete problems, but to understand underlying principles and improve your problem-solving strategies and techniques.

### Try to Think Like a Test Writer

The GRE is largely template-based. The test writers follow particular patterns and structures for both Quantitative Comparison and Problem Solving question types. Therefore, the more familiar you are with the question types and associated common trap answers, the easier it will be for you to navigate the twists and turns of the exam–both in Verbal and Quant. The ability to think like a test writer is a large step towards efficiently navigating the quant section of the exam.

### Recognize Opportunities to Make the Math Easier

Plugging in Numbers and Backsolving are essential tools in your GRE strategy arsenal. They can turn an exceedingly complex algebra problem into a much gentler arithmetic one, which can greatly reduce the time it takes to solve it. These techniques also help efficiently and effectively knock out quantitative comparisons. Thus, it’s important to understand when and how to use them. Be sure that you are immediately able to recognize clues that indicate a problem might be approached thorough plugging in or backsolving.

FAQ: Are there tricks or techniques to help quickly solve the Numeric Entry question type?
Unfortunately, No. Numeric Entry questions require you to work a problem (without a list of answer choices) and then enter the numerical value of your solution into the box. Because these don’t offer opportunities to shortcut or make the math easier, consider skipping and solving them later OR just making a guess and moving on. The good news: You should only see a total of around three Numeric Entry questions on the GRE.

### Master Data Interpretation

Data interpretation (DI) questions can be tricky. In terms of how much time to devote, keep in mind that these are low-frequency question types. Still, you should learn how to quickly and accurately interpret graphs, tables, and other data presentations. This will help you manage time effectively during the test. Check out the advice Chris shares for solving a DI question in the following video:

### Pacing and Accuracy

As you progress in your study plan, work on answering questions more quickly while maintaining accuracy. You have an average of 1 minute and 45 seconds per quant question–timing is crucial on the GRE, and being able to solve problems efficiently will significantly impact your score.

## Week-by-Week Modifications for Math Focus

Note: We’ve based these modifications on our 3-Month schedule for beginners, but these substitutions can be applied to any study schedule. Ultimately, you’ll want to scale back on Verbal and add additional time for Quant.

### Weeks 1-2: Establishing a Strong Foundation

• Original Plan: Introduction, GRE Math, GRE Verbal.
• Modified Plan: Increase the emphasis on math from the start. After the initial introduction, dive deep into fundamental math concepts. Allocate more time to math videos and practice sessions, and reduce time spent on verbal tasks.

Example:

• After watching the introductory math videos, spend additional time practicing foundational math concepts. As you practice, review any mistakes in detail using your error log and focus on understanding why you missed certain questions. Additional Practice in the schedule suggests that you devote time to both math and verbal flashcards. Prioritize the math flashcards, reviewing the concepts therein should become essential daily practice. Once you start identifying areas of weakness, dig into ETS’s math content review for further study of those topics.

### Weeks 3-4: Building Math Skills

• Original Plan: Arithmetic, Fractions, and Intro to Verbal.
• Modified Plan: Focus on math practice and theory by extending your sessions on arithmetic, fractions, and ratios. Replace some of the verbal practice with more intensive math drills.

Example:

• Introduce more quant early on by swapping out some of the verbal-focused days for math-focused days. Look ahead in the schedule to find those math days and move them earlier in the timeline. You can level-up by solving advanced arithmetic and fraction problems. Use any extra time to review related math flashcards. You should also be using the Official Guides (mentioned in list of resources above) for additional practice.
• NOTE: If you are pretty darn certain that you don’t need to study some of the verbal concepts tested on the GRE, go ahead and skip the lessons but still do some of the associated practice and review of those topics. You might need some exposure to how the GRE tests them or to uncover an unexpected area of weakness–particularly hellacious vocabulary, for example 🤓

### Weeks 5-6: Strengthening Math Proficiency

• Original Plan: Algebra, Geometry, and Practice Tests.
• Modified Plan: During these weeks, shift the balance further towards math. Replace some verbal practice with additional math problem sets, especially in areas like algebra and geometry, which are heavily tested on the GRE.

Example:

• After completing scheduled algebra practice, add another set of 10-15 geometry problems. Spend time reviewing the concepts you find most challenging, and focus on improving your speed and accuracy. Do not forget that pacing is key. That includes knowing which questions you are likely to skip to do later or those on which you’ll just make your best guess and move on. You should also use a Mixed Practice or Flex day to fully focus on math drills and spend additional time reviewing what tripped you up when you missed a question. Remember to use the OG as well as Magoosh for practice questions.

### Weeks 7-8: Advanced Math Practice

• Original Plan: Advanced math strategies, Geometry, and Flex Days.
• Modified Plan: Use flex days to focus exclusively on math. Continue practicing advanced topics, but also begin integrating more full-length math practice sections. This will help simulate test conditions and help you refine your pacing strategy.

Example:

• Instead of using the flex day for self-guided verbal practice, spend the entire session on one or more timed math sections followed by a detailed review. Now is the time to uncover any elusive patterns in the mistakes you make and adjust your study focus accordingly.

### Weeks 9-12: Refining Math Skills for Test Day

• Original Plan: Probability, Statistics, Practice Tests.
• Modified Plan: As the GRE test date nears, increase the frequency of full-length math practice sections. If you are aiming for a topnotch quant score, continue to refine your knowledge of complex topics like probability and statistics and to practice the hardest question types across all content areas. On practice test days, prioritize reviewing math sections thoroughly.

Example:

• Dedicate most of the session to probability and statistics. Follow up with a set of challenging questions to reinforce the concepts, and review any mistakes in detail.

### Final Tips for Math Success on Test Day

As your GRE test day approaches, shift your focus from learning new concepts to refining your existing knowledge. Use the last few days to review your error log, focusing on areas that still pose challenges. On the day before the exam, avoid cramming; instead, relax and ensure you’re well-rested.

## Conclusion

Tailoring your study plan to focus more on math can make a significant difference in your quantitative scores. By consistently practicing and refining your skills, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the math section with confidence.

Good luck with your GRE preparation—you’re on the path to achieving your best possible score!

## Author

• After graduating from CU Boulder with degrees in Literature and Women’s Studies, Linnea Newman stumbled into the world of test prep and never looked back. Over the last 15 years, Linnea has worked with students of all ages and abilities in the U.S. and abroad, trained new teachers for the classroom, and written curricula for various test types. Her past experience includes tutoring for GRE, ACT, SAT, LSAT, and GMAT for The Princeton Review and working as the Director of Instruction Management for The Princeton Review Taipei. Her expertise runs the gamut of standardized tests, but there’s a special place in her heart for the verbal and essay components. Looking for a way to help more students, especially those who were unable to afford access to expensive test prep programs, Linnea joined Magoosh in 2019. She is a member of the Content & Instruction Team, who connects with students as an instructor for live classes, a blog contributor, and through various lessons and other content on the Magoosh platform.