The Quantitative Reasoning section is the second part of the ISEE, and the first of two math sections.
How is it different from Mathematics Achievement?
Aside from length and timing, this section is very similar to Mathematics Achievement, except that it includes Quantitative Comparison questions - more on those below. Additionally, where Mathematics Achievement involves a greater focus on calculations and knowledge of math terminology, Quantitative Reasoning questions are designed to be solved primarily through logic and reasoning (on top of a healthy knowledge of math concepts).
Piqosity’s math lessons are applicable to both sections; mastering them will ensure that you are well-prepared to tackle all of the math you will see on test day.
Because of the differences in the format for each section, however, it is important to practice questions from both sections on a regular basis.
Your Piqosity account includes access to curated lessons on every math topic that appears on the ISEE. Reviewing these lessons and topics, especially as you review your first practice test, will give you a better idea of:
As with all sections of the ISEE, your practice for the Quantitative Reasoning section should be frequent, thoughtful, and reflective:
First, we’ll walk through a systematic approach to the Quantitative Reasoning section’s Word Problems, which comprise approximately half of the section.
Here is a sample Word Problem from the creators of the ISEE:
Now, here is a systematic process you can follow as you tackle any Word Problem on the Quantitative Reasoning section of the ISEE:
This systematic approach to answering any World Problem on the Quantitative Reasoning section involves asking yourself three key questions, which we’ll break down further below.
This process should take you less than a minute, and substantially less time for questions you choose to guess on and skip. This is why practice is important: you must master not only the content being tested, but also your strategy and pacing.
Let’s break down the three key questions from the systematic process illustrated above in a little more detail:
Now, let’s break down the steps to follow when you decide to make an educated guess on a Quantitative Reasoning Word Problem:
Let’s break down what this systematic approach might look like when applied to the sample question cited earlier:
Because of their unique structure, the Quantitative Reasoning section’s Quantitative Comparison questions will require you to develop a somewhat different systematic approach from the one we’ve reviewed for Word Problems.
Understanding how Quantitative Comparisons are designed and having a specific plan of attack for them will allow you to maximize your accuracy and efficiency on the second half of the Quantitative Reasoning section on test day.
Here is a sample Quantitative Comparison from the creators of the ISEE:
At first glance, this problem might look a little unusual - where are the answer choices? For Quantitative Comparisons, the answer choices are always the same. Here they are, in the form of the reminder that the ISEE will provide on every page that contains Quantitative Comparisons:
In essence, your task is to compare the values in Columns A and B. If A is greater, you’ll pick A. If B is greater, you’ll pick B. If the two quantities are equal, you’ll pick C. And if the relationship between A and B cannot be determined, you’ll pick D (more on this below).
Here is our systematic approach for answering these questions:
Let’s see what this process looks like when applied to the sample question above. Remember: this process should take you less than a minute, and substantially less for questions you choose to guess on and skip. Again, you will need to practice your systematic approach regularly in order to implement it efficiently.
Note that, in this case, we were easily able to compare Columns A and B once we simplified them. This won’t always be the case, however. After our discussion of educated guesses, keep scrolling for an example of a problem where we need to follow some additional steps to compare Columns A and B.
What if Column A and Column B do not simplify into constants that can be easily compared? Take this Quantitative Comparison, for example:
In this case, we cannot do anything to simplify either column. Since there are no constants given – just variables – we will need to use our own numbers.
Solution to Practice Problem
This particular problem is relatively simple, but it illustrates an important point. You must consider how the relationship between the columns will change – or not change – depending on the values you input. Never assume the answer is D without testing some values!
Your knowledge of the math concepts involved in each question is very important here. If you know how negative numbers behave when raised to even and odd exponents, or if you can recognize right away that 0 and 1 will stay the same when squared or cubed, you can answer questions like this one rather quickly.
Key Takeaway - If the problem contains variables, input values to help you determine whether one of the columns is always greater, or if the two columns are always equal. If different values produce different results, choose D.
Preparing for the ISEE’s math sections is a cyclical process. It’s not enough to review every math topic once, take a practice test, and then call it a day. On the contrary, seeing your Quantitative Reasoning score improve will require you to continually revisit concepts as you work through practice material. After all, you’re highly unlikely to master a topic after practicing it just once, and the large number of topics that can appear on the ISEE means that you’ll need to review topics repeatedly as you get rusty on them over time.
In other words, your preparations should end up looking like this: