5 Hardest GRE Math Questions (2022 Examples & Solutions) (2023)

5 Hardest GRE Math Questions (2022 Examples & Solutions) (1)

Published by William Cohen

Last Updated On: May 29, 2022

GRE prep is never easy, but math prep can be especially difficult. Most students don't know what problems to focus on and end up wasting time on the wrong things.

Start with the hard GRE questions. Solve them, and you'll have no trouble on the actual exam. Here are five practice questions to start with.

Table of Contents

What’s the Benefit of Solving Hard Questions?5 Types of GRE Math Questions

1. Quant Questions2. Multiple-Choice3. Multiple-Answer4. Data Interpretation5. Numeric Entry

Additional Resources to Use During Test PrepFAQsThe Takeaway - Most Difficult GRE Math Questions

What’s the Benefit of Solving Hard Questions?

5 Hardest GRE Math Questions (2022 Examples & Solutions) (2)

GRE questions always have a similar structure so, after you go through them two or three times, you’ll learn how to solve them in the fastest way possible.

Many test-takers skip solving difficult math questions during their GRE prep. They think it's a waste of time, or they don't feel like rising to the challenge.

But it would help if you didn't stray away from difficulty. If you solve the most difficult questions now, not one question could surprise you on the test.

You’ll get familiar with the questions during your prep, so you'll be able to make better choices on the actual GRE. Start your practice with these five examples that appeared on the previous official tests.

(Video) GRE Math Hard Practice Questions FREE 2022 | Arithmetic | Fractions

5 Types of GRE Math Questions

The GRE quant section contains five types of questions:

  • Quantitative comparison
  • Multiple-choice
  • Multiple-answer
  • Data interpretation
  • Numeric entry

We’ll give you one example per each. Try to solve them correctly, then check your answers.

1. Quant Questions

The GRE quantitative section often contains some of the most challenging questions.

To solve them, you should compare two quantities—Quantity A and Quantity B, and choose the correct solution. You'll always get the same four options:

  • The A Quantity is greater.
  • The B Quantity is greater.
  • Quantities A and B are equal.
  • The relationship between the two quantities cannot be determined from the information given.

The ETS gives one example of a GRE quant question: [1]

5 Hardest GRE Math Questions (2022 Examples & Solutions) (3)

“Many Quantitative Comparison [tasks] involve algebraic expressions. When this is the case, simplify where possible by factoring and/or canceling out terms that appear in both Quantity A and Quantity B. Simplification often either makes the answer obvious or makes it easier to plug in numbers to get a better idea of the answer.”

- Ellen McCammon, an education expert

2. Multiple-Choice

Multiple-choice questions will offer you five options to choose from. Only one is correct.

Here’s an example question:

(Video) GRE Math Hard Practice Question 2022 (170 Level) | Arithmetic | Integers

5 Hardest GRE Math Questions (2022 Examples & Solutions) (4)

Before you start solving the task, keep in mind that only 11% of test-takers answered this question correctly. Don’t be frustrated if you encounter some difficulty.

3. Multiple-Answer

The ETS considers multiple-answer a subtype of multiple-choice questions, but there’s a big difference between the two.

In both cases, you’ll have four or more options.

However, multiple-choice questions have only one correct answer, while multiple-answer questions can have more. Thus, the main difference comes down to the number of possible correct answers.

The question might or might not specify how many answers are correct.

Here’s an example of a multiple-answer question:

5 Hardest GRE Math Questions (2022 Examples & Solutions) (5)

During the real test, read the instructions carefully. That way, you’ll know if you’re solving a multiple-choice or a multiple-answer task and how many answers you need to check.

4. Data Interpretation

The name says it all: to solve data interpretation problems, you’ll have to analyze and interpret data.

Your task may contain exact numbers or a visual representation of data, such as pies, charts, graphs, or tables.

Take a look at the example:

5 Hardest GRE Math Questions (2022 Examples & Solutions) (6)

Even if the question isn't incredibly long, it might contain too much information that you can't process properly just by reading.

The above question is an excellent example of this. Notice how many pieces of data this question includes:

(Video) GRE Math Hard Practice Questions 2022 | Arithmetic | Integers

  1. First quarter last year
  2. Second quarter
  3. First quarter/bakery sales 6% of total profit
  4. Second quarter/bakery sales x3

To ensure you get a good score, read the question several times and extract important numbers.

Creating your own visual representation of the data might be useful, as well. You’ll be able to find the right answer without any difficulty or second thoughts.

5. Numeric Entry

Numeric entry problems account for about 10% of the GRE quantitative reasoning section. In general, numeric entries have a somewhat lower level of difficulty compared to other questions.

Your task here is to solve a given problem and type in your answer in the blank space:

5 Hardest GRE Math Questions (2022 Examples & Solutions) (7)

Additional Resources to Use During Test Prep

You need to use three main types of resources:

  • Free practice tests. Before we get to the main—paid—resources, let’s not forget first that you can find many free resources online. Make sure you take at least one practice test before your test day.
  • Official exam guidelines. The ETS also gives an overview of what to expect on the test, from content to structure.
  • Get a test prep book. Good books will contain a high number of harder questions and problems that appeared on the previous GRE exams. We like these three:
  • The Official Guide to the GRE® General Test. This book comes straight from the ETS. When you buy it, you also get four "real" practice tests. There's no better way to dig up the most difficult GRE questions than purchasing a book created by the official test-makers themselves.
  • Barron’s GRE prep book. This guide may make your math “problem” go away and also help you understand the entire exam to score better. Click on the following link to check out our full review.
  • Manhattan Prep GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides. When I stumbled upon this set, I immediately got excited. It covers everything you need to know about the GRE, from verbal issues to mathematic ones. Even if math was your weak spot throughout high school, this set would help you get a solid score on the GRE.
  • A sheet of the most important GRE math formulas.

Related Articles:

  • The GRE Math Study Guide: Everything You Need to Know
  • How Long Does It Take to Study for the GRE
  • What’s the Best Way to Prepare for the GRE? 7 Essential Things You Need
  • Is the GRE Hard?


5 Hardest GRE Math Questions (2022 Examples & Solutions) (8)

Is GRE math difficult?

Yes. While the GRE tests a lower level of math than SAT or ACT, it has trickier wording. Complicated instructions often confuse students and cause a low score, so test-takers usually say that the GRE math questions are more challenging than those on the SAT or ACT.

On the other hand, GRE math is easier than GMAT math, mostly because GMAT contains harder tasks and doesn’t allow using a calculator.

Is GRE Quant getting harder?

Probably not. For now, there’s no official statement from the ETS supporting this thesis, though some test-takers claim that the number of “hard” questions did increase when comparing the 2020 GRE to the previous exams.

(Video) GRE Quantitative Comparison Hard Questions (170 Level)

What does the GRE math test?

The GRE tests the so-called Big Four, i.e. the big four areas of your high school math: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and Data Analysis. Note that not all four are tested equally.

The Takeaway - Most Difficult GRE Math Questions

By now, you know that you should take math seriously. Many past students got low scores because the instructions are deliberately complicated. To ensure the questions don’t confuse you, prepare in advance. Focus on the Big Four subjects during your prep and solve the above problems.

Please feel free to share the solutions you got. You may also tell us how your prep went—this will motivate other students to solve difficult questions during their prep.


  1. https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/quantitative_reasoning/comparison/sample_questions

About the author

5 Hardest GRE Math Questions (2022 Examples & Solutions) (9)

William Cohen



Certifications: American University of Beirut

Education: American University of Beirut

Lives in: San Diego, California

(Video) Solving 'advanced' GRE quant problems (they're not as hard as they look) - Part 4

William is an electrical engineer whose great passion is helping promising students achieve their goals and dreams. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with aspiring learners from all over the world.


Is GRE Math getting tougher? ›

YES. It is much more difficult than ETS or any other mock tests. I used to get 160+ in Quants and 150+ verbal in every mock test.

How many questions can I miss on the GRE to get a 160? ›

To get such a score on the verbal section you can get 13-15 questions wrong in total but no more than 7-8 wrong in the first section. So if you get 13/20 on the first section and 12/20 on the second section you will get a 160 on the verbal section.

How many questions should be correct in GRE to get a 150? ›

Its given in the ETS home website that each correct question counts for 1 point increment. So if you answer minimum 20 out of 40 correctly you will be definitely scoring at least 150. If you answer more correctly you will get more.

Is GRE Quant getting harder? ›

After reading the posts here and talking to a couple of friends who attempted GRE in the last 2-3 weeks, it seems like the level of quant section has increased quite a bit. Most of them who did really well in their ETS mock tests (168-170 range) and expected similar scores are disappointed.


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