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GRE Quant Strategy: Selecting Nice Numbers
Posted on: 31 May 2019  |   Category: GRE ,

GRE Quant Strategy: Selecting Nice Numbers | Teach5 The GRE computer-based test measures the aptitude of candidates for many graduate programs, and management programs, that include the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, as well as Engineering and Mathematics), in the USA  and also in other universities of the world. GRE tests the quantitative, verbal, and also the writing skills, with the objective of assessing logical and analytical capabilities. This is a basic requirement in all Masters as well as Doctoral programs. It challenges the skills. There are tasks on analytical writing and the quantitative, verbal, and unscored sections. The test format is sectionally adaptive, meaning that the scoring of the first section (quantitative) determines the question level in the following section. In each section, there are questions that remain non-adaptive, where the candidates can scroll backward and forward. The first section assesses mathematical aptitude and the second quantitative section determines Quantitative aptitude on the scale between 130 and 170. Its verbal section measures the ability for reading as well as understanding written passages in English, evaluating reasoning arguments, analyzing relationships of words /concepts, as well as a relationship amongst component parts of these sentences. When there are algebraic questions having a complex equation with variables, the best thing to do is to pick Nice Numbers.

Strategy Details

Numbers easy to replace variables in the algebra questions are called nice numbers. Their choice is based on the type of question and information.

When to use it?

Arithmetic operations like addition, multiplication, division, and subtraction, on real numbers, are easy than solving related to variables with the use of an equation.

Apply this technique:

  • In case the question is regarding a number but supplies a variable, in an algebra questions
  • For questions related to ratio or proportion or in percentage,
  • In case the question is hard for understanding, then use it.


If m machines fill oil, at the rate of 3 liters for a machine in an hour how much oil can be filled in 5 hours? 1. A) 5m              B) 7m              C) 15m                        D) 30m Even for the candidates good in algebra, it is easy to work using real numbers: The First step is Identifying the question: When it relates to a number and gives a variable for it, then select a Nice Number for replacing the variable. 2 or 3 is a superior choice for replacing the variable in questions related to algebra. Finding the target after solving the question by using a nice number is good. Also, solve the question in an arithmetic manner and go for the target answer. Also, match with the Target: Put the Nice Number among the option choices and observe which option is matching with the target.

Let’s apply the technique to the previous question:

Totally in one hour, 6 liters of oil is filled by the two machines. So, in 5 hours total of 30 liters of oil is filled. Target answer is 30.

Match the Target:

  1.  A) 6 X 2 = 12                Incorrect
  2. B) 8 X 2 = 16                Incorrect
  3. C) 6 X 5 = 30 this matches target!
  4. D) 30 X 2 = 60           Incorrect
Hence (C) is correct. The algebraic method appears easy but candidates can commit mistakes by using the method. When the question is easy the equations help in solving it and it is better to solve the question using the algebra approach. In case it is difficult, pick nice numbers and solve it. Some facts to remember:
  • Choose the number that is easy to work depending on the question.
  • Never choose 0 /1 because of their individual characteristics.
  • Do not choose numbers that already appear in the question statement.
  • Remember the constraints of the question. When the condition mentions x>2, then choose x=3. 2 and 3 are a good option for choosing nice numbers for algebra questions and it is 100 for all questions related to percentage.
  • When you choose multiple numbers, then choose the numbers that have different characteristics like co-primes, even numbers, and odd numbers.


Feel confident regarding this technique by practicing constantly. Also, during a practice session solve the questions using the two methods, firstly the algebra approach, and then by choosing Nice Numbers. Teach5 works on the philosophy of bringing guidance and tips to solve IELTS, PTE, GRE, TOEFL. The aim is to help our patrons in a big way and boost their confidence by conducting classes, online and offline to answer it well. Please contact us for further details.

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