I regularly speak with students who ask how to get faster at GRE math. Despite the search by students from across the globe to come up with the definitive answer to the question, there is not one universal response. Instead, **there are many levers you can pull to get faster when answering GRE quant questions. **This article will tackle some strategies you can implement to improve your speed, without sacrificing accuracy.

**The Format of the GRE Quantitative Section**

GRE quant is made up of two sections (not counting the experimental section). **Each section is 35 minutes long, with 20 questions. **Thus, you have an average of 1 minute and 45 seconds to complete each question. However, this is just an average; you don’t have to complete all questions in 1 minute and 45 seconds. Some questions may take you 20 seconds and others 3 minutes.

Another key point about the GRE quantitative section is that you can skip and return to questions within a section. So, let’s say you don’t understand a question. You can always take a guess, mark the question for review, and then return to the question later, time permitting.

Now, before we begin our discussion about getting faster at GRE quant, let’s discuss some things to avoid doing.

**Rushing Is Never the Answer**

Think about anything you do, including everyday activities such as driving, editing documents, and even cooking dinner. Would you say that hurrying produces more mistakes than taking your time? I think we all know the answer …

Solving GRE quant questions is no different. When a student rushes through a question, the outcome is frequently a wrong answer. **Rushing is a dangerous game!** It teaches your brain to work irresponsibly. Thus, blindly rushing through GRE quant questions will negatively impact your GRE quant score.

**Use the Navy SEAL Motto When Moving Through GRE Quant Sections**

So, what have we learned thus far? First, furiously rushing through GRE quant won’t do you any good. If the point of the GRE were *just* to get to the finish line, then perhaps we’d be having a different conversation. However, on the GRE, you need to work efficiently *and* accurately. So, I tell all my students to follow the Navy SEAL motto when moving through GRE quant: “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.”

In other words, **taking your time will lead to consistent results, and thus fewer mistakes.**

However, let’s make one thing clear. When I say “slowly,” I don’t mean that you have all the time in the world. We could replace the word “slow” with “methodical” to be more precise. The overall point is, don’t rush for the sake of rushing. Be deliberate and calculated with every move.

**Focus Only on Accuracy at the Beginning of Your Prep**

We all know that the GRE is a timed exam. However, when first starting your quant prep, you shouldn’t worry about speed. Instead, your initial priority should be correctly answering questions.

Moving too quickly will lead to careless mistakes, disorganized thinking, and a loss of focus. When your brain is processing information more quickly than it should be, you are almost certain to make mistakes. Therefore, it makes sense to work at a slower pace, enabling you to comfortably understand new information and answer questions accurately.

As you accurately answer questions and develop confidence and knowledge, **you will naturally get faster at answering questions.**

**Know GRE Quant Like the Back of Your Hand**

I will make an obvious point, but it still needs to be said. The more in tune you are with GRE quant, the faster and more accurate you will be. Super obvious, right? Well, you would not believe how many students do not see this aspect of their GRE prep as part of the equation for getting faster. Instead, students think that they can flip a switch and make themselves faster. In other words, they ignore the fact that their lack of speed is partly due to a lack of content mastery.

**Follow a Topical and Linear Study Plan**

There is a ton to learn to succeed on GRE quant. Following a topical study plan is a great way to learn so much information. For example, is it practical for you to move from Geometry to Number Properties to Probability all in one study session? Of course not!

Mastering each GRE quant topic takes time and care. So, initially focus on just one topic at a time, until you have it mastered. In other words, when learning any GRE quant concept, first learn all you can about that topic, and then practice in just that topic until you have achieved mastery.

Consider a topic many GRE students initially struggle with: units digit patterns. I’m sure the first time you saw a units digit patterns question, you were unsure of how to handle it. However, imagine if you were to concentrate on learning only units digit patterns. Then after your learning, you practiced 20+ units digit patterns questions. After such dedicated learning and practice, you would be able to quickly answer any units digit patterns question that came your way.

This is just one example, but I think you get the point. Concentrating on one topic at a time allows you to master that topic.

Now, let’s discuss how topical learning can make you faster.

**A Benefit of Topical Learning: Recognition and Execution**

We’ve discussed topical learning as a fantastic method for mastering GRE quant. Additionally, topical learning results in greater speed when solving GRE quant questions.

The purpose of topical learning is to make you an expert in the topic you are learning. As an expert, you develop the ability to quickly recognize the concept being asked and execute a plan of attack to solve the problem.

For example, take Geometry. Imagine how quickly and accurately you could answer Geometry questions if you spent hours learning all the Geometry concepts and formulas, and then practiced 100+ Geometry questions. Then, whether you saw a question on inscribed shapes, right triangles, or circles, you’d be able to recognize the concept tested and execute a solution.

Want more tips? Read the full article here.

Jeffrey Miller is the head GRE instructor for Target Test Prep. Jeff has more than fourteen years of experience in the business of helping students with low GRE scores hurdle the seemingly impossible and achieve the scores they need to get into the top 20 business school programs in the world, including HBS, Stanford, Wharton, and Columbia. Jeff has cultivated many successful business school graduates through his GRE instruction, and will be a pivotal resource for many more to follow.

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