GMAT Math – Problem Solving Syllabus

We have already discussed earlier about the “Must Have” books and how to get started with the preparation. We also gave you the GMAT Strategy Guide which gives a rough idea about the exam, its scoring pattern and what to expect in the test.

I am assuming we all know that the GMAT consists of three sections – Analytical, Verbal and Quantitative. Today, we’ll take up the Quantitative section or simply called Math. I’ll give you a small overview of what to expect in the Math section. We’ll have a look at the syllabus in brief so that it can give you a clearer picture as to what you will be seeing in the test.

We can broadly categorize the Math section into the following three areas:

1. Arithmetic

2. Algebra

3. Geometry

The following topics are covered under the above broad areas:

1. Number properties

This includes – basic arithmetic like positive and negative numbers, adding and subtracting, properties of even and odd numbers, prime numbers, etc.

2. Multiples and factors

This includes – multiples, rules about divisibility, factors, prime factorization, etc.

4. Fractions

This includes topics likes – reducing fractions, comparing fractions, converting fractions, proportions, operating with fractions.

5. Decimals

This includes – conversion from decimal to fraction and vice-versa, comparing decimals, etc.

6. Percents

This includes – word problems, converting decimals or fractions to percents and vice-versa, multi-step percent problems, compound interest, etc.

7. Averages

This includes – finding the average of a group of numbers, using the average to find the sum, using the average to find the missing numbers, combining averages, median, mode, range and standart deviation.

8. Ratios and rates
This includes – what are ratios, part and whole ratios, rates, average rate.

9. Powers and radicals
This includes – multiplying powers, dividing powers, raising a power to a power, negative numbers and powers, fractional powers, negative powers, radicals, simplifying radicals, rules of operations with radicals, multiplying and dividing radicals.

10. Algebra

This is a vast section and includes – monomials, adding and substracting monomials, adding and substracting polynomials, simplifying polynomials, multiplying algebraic expressions, the FOIL method, solving equations, solving for x, algebraic inequalities, solving ‘in terms of’, isolate the variable , factoring algebraic expressions, factoring the difference of squares,  factoring the square of a binomial, simplifying algebraic fractions, simultaneous equations: substitution, simultaneous equations: combining the equations, quadratic equations, time and distance problems, work problems, probability problems, permutations and combinations.

11. Lines and angles

This include – supplementary angles, right angles, complementary angles, adjacent angles, vertical angles, parallel lines and transversals.

12. Triangles

This includes – sides and angles of a triangle, perimeter of a triangle, area of a triangle, isosceles triangle, equilateral triangles, right triangles, pythagorean theorem, pythagorean triplets, special right triangles, isosceles right triangles, etc.

13. Quadrilaterals

This includes – parallelograms, rectangles, squares and other four-sided objects, perimeter, perimeter of a square, area of a rectangle, area of a square, area of a parallelogram, rectangular solids – volume and surface area, cubes.

14. Circles

This includes – components of a circle, circumference, circumference example, arc length,  area of a circle, area of a sector, cylinders.

15. Coordinate geometry

This includes – the coordinate plane, plotting points, quadrants, distance between points, distance formula, slope, equation of lines.


The above list presents the most basic structure of topics from which you can expect math questions when you write the GMAT. We have tried to make it as comprehensive as possible. Please note that this is not an official syllabus and questions may not be restricted to these topics only. But, none the less, covering the above mentioned topics well, will surely put you in a position where you can deal with other questions easily too. Best wishes for your math preparations. We’ll come up with more tips and tricks soon.

About Prateek Panda

Prateek is an entrepreneur with a passion for business and business studies. He loves reading, photography, music and is a technology journalist too. He runs a tech news and startup review site, You can know more about him at About.Me/PrateekPanda

Subscribe to B-School Blog

Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

, ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply