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Multiple Choice & Numeric Entry Question Formats in the GRE

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  • 0:01 GRE Question Formats
  • 0:33 Multiple Choice, Two Ways
  • 2:45 Numeric Entry
  • 4:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

Watch this lesson to learn about multiple choice and numeric entry questions on the Quantitative Reasoning measure of the GRE. Tips for managing all the different question types are also discussed.

GRE Question Formats

On the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE, you'll see four question types. In this lesson, you'll learn about the three that might already be familiar to you:

  • Multiple-choice with one answer
  • Multiple-choice with more than one answer
  • Numeric entry

Three flavors all in one package; it's like a really stressful, high-stakes version of Neapolitan ice cream! In this lesson, you'll learn about those three different types of questions on the GRE and how to approach them strategically.

Multiple Choice, Two Ways

The GRE has two types of multiple choice questions:

  • One correct answer. You'll get five choices and you'll have to pick one of them.
  • One or more correct answers. In these questions, you'll get a variable number of choices, and you'll have to pick one or more of them.

The single-answer multiple-choice questions are pretty basic; you've been answering these questions for years. But, the multiple-answer questions are a little bit more complicated. These questions sometimes tell you how many answers to pick, and sometimes leave that up to you.

You only get credit for multiple-answer questions if you choose all of the correct answers and none of the incorrect answers. Your answer has to be exactly right to get any credit. For example, if the correct answer is A, C, and F, you can only get points for picking exactly those three. You don't get partial credit for picking A and C, or A, C, and D. It has to be A, C, and F.

Here are some strategies for the multiple-choice questions:

  • Use elimination. If you're struggling on a question, write down all the answer choices on your scrap paper and cross off the ones you know are wrong.
  • Guess even if you don't know. There's no guessing penalty on the GRE, so you can only help yourself by guessing.
  • Pay attention to what type of question you're answering. But if you get a 'one or more' correct answer question without a number of answers specified, don't freak out if you pick just one. 'One or more' means it's possible that only one of the answers is correct!
  • Don't be afraid to save hard questions for later. You can mark questions for review and come back to them at the end.
  • Look for patterns. Seeing patterns in your work or in the answer choices can help you skip long and complicated calculations.
  • Use the answer choices to help you. For example, sometimes it's simpler to plug each answer choice into an equation, instead of solving the equation to find every possible answer. Also, sometimes the answer choices are obviously estimations. If that's the case, you can sometimes use estimated numbers in your calculations and save yourself a bunch of fiddly arithmetic.

Numeric Entry

The next question type is numeric entry. On numeric entry questions, you'll have to generate your own answer and enter it in a box. If the correct answer is a fraction, you'll get two boxes, one for the numerator and one for the denominator. The test is computerized, so there's no worrying about handwriting, but here's the fine print you need to know to make sure you get credit for your work on these questions:

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