Data Interpretation is the calculation intensive portion of the quant section of mostly every competitive exam. The key to crack this area is to quickly identify the key pieces of data that you will require to work on the questions asked.
Data interpretation is the most scoring but time consuming section in competitive examinations. But If you understand carefully, Data Interpretation problems can be solved with little ease with some easy tricks. Here are some important techniques to make Data Interpretation calculations fast.
  • The presentation of data is classified into various categories viz. Bar Graphs, Line Graphs, Pie Charts, Data Tables, Mixed Graphs, etc.
  • Nearly all DI questions are founded upon these three chapters of Mathematics viz. Percentages, Averages and Ratios.

Bar Graphs

In this article, we are discussing the Bar Graphs in a manner which is comparatively lucid. Don’t worry, the rest of the types we will cover in the upcoming articles. If you want to fully understand the techniques, you will have to pay attention to each and everything that’s been taught here.

Reading Bar Graphs

A bar graph looks like the following:

Along the X-axis (horizontal axis) we have some numbers. Along the Y-axis (vertical axis) we have some other numbers. And in between the area, we have some Bars. Try to understand the data that’s been presented here.
Finding it a bit difficult? Of course it’s difficult because you don’t know what these bars represents.
Now, try to understand the same bar chart, but with the headings.
Number of players participating in three different games from six different countries:

This won’t be difficult. From the above bar graph we conclude that:
  • Three different bars represent three different games: Football, Cricket, and Badminton.
  • On the X-axis, we have a number of countries from 1 to 6.
  • On the Y-axis we have the number of players.
  • The length of the Bars denotes the number of players.
CONCEPT 1: Before you solve any of the questions, first you have to understand what the Bar Graph is trying to say. Make a habit of scanning the headings first. You have to understand what’s on the X-axis, what’s on the Y-axis, what’s the relation between these two in terms of the length of Bars.There will be five questions based on one Bar Graph and that means you can get five full marks if and only if you understand the format of data that’s presented in the question. That’s what Data Interpretation actually means!!
Let’s proceed to solving five questions based upon this Bar Graph.

Sample Questions
Question 1: The number of players participating in Cricket from country–4 is what percentage of the number of players participating in Badminton from country–1?
  1. 177.77%
  2. 176.78%
  3. 178.87%
  4. 180.82%

CONCEPT 2: From this question we conclude that: data in Bar Graph tell us so many things. But it’s pointless to waste time interpreting all the data. It’s not necessary to know how many Football players or Badminton players are from Country-4 or from Country-6. Interpret what’s necessary!

Just point out Cricket players from Country-4 = 80 players. Number of Badminton players from Country-1 = 45 players. The rest is just the application of percentage formula.

Percentage = 80/45 * 100 = 177.77%

Question 2: What is the total number of players participating in Cricket from country 4, 5 and 6 and the number of players participating in Football from country 1, 2 and 3?
  1. 335
  2. 635
  3. 435
  4. 535
Applying Lesson number two, Number of Cricket players from Country 4, 5 and 6 = [80 + 70 + 60] = 210.
Number of Football players from Country 1, 2 and 3 = [65 + 70 + 90] = 225.
And 210 + 225 = 435

Question 3: The number of players participating in Badminton from all the country is what percentage of the total number of players participating in all the games from country–3?
  1. 134%
  2. 164%
  3. 126%
  4. 157%
Badminton players from all countries = [45+40+95+85+95+65] = 425. Total players from all games from Country-3 = [90+85+95] = 270. Required Percentage = [425/270]*100 ≈ 157%

Question 4: In which country is the number of players participating in Football is the highest and the number of players participating in Badminton is the lowest?
  1. Country 3 & 2
  2. Country 4 & 6
  3. Country 3 & 4
  4. Country 5 & 1

CONCEPT 3: These sort of questions are pretty easy to solve. Just interpret the data in your mind. Check the length of the Bars. The answer will surely come.
Football highest = 90 = Country-3 and Badminton lowest = 40 = Country-2

Question 5: 60% of players participating in all game from country-5 are male and 30% players participating in all game from country-3 are female. What will be their ratio?
  1. 127:170
  2. 13:7
  3. 49:27
  4. 87:55
Number of players from all games of Country-5 = [80+70+95] = 245. 60% of 245 = 147
Number of players from all games of Country-3 = [90+85+95] = 270. 30% of 270 = 81
Number of players from all games of Country-3: we already have calculated this number before in Question 3.

CONCEPT 4: Sometimes the calculation of one questions helps in the calculation of some other question.
In this question, the ratio is = 147:81 = 49:27

Try to Practice all calculations mentally as far as possible, without taking pen or paper.

1. Use Approximation in Calculations-

As we all know, In Data Interpretation a lot of calculation is involved in the form of averages, fractions, percentage, ratio etc. Approximating helps end up doing silly mistakes and get an approx answer of the question in less time.In this section you also understand the effective use of Percentage to Fraction Conversion It helps us calculating faster in Exam.

2. Effective Analysis of given Data-

Some questions are framed in a way that one look at the data and you will get the answer to the question. There are no typically long calculations involved.  It is the first and most important way to solving these problems, you need to first analyze the data through visual estimation and try to understand the problem.

3. Catch the right Data-

In Data Interpretation, you have to be careful to read data from the right spot. While collecting data from a Bar, chart, table or graph its quite easy to mistakenly copy numbers from the wrong graph, bar or line. To avoid these silly mistakes while copying numbers, especially in the online exam, the first step is to understand the nature of given data and pay close attention to the units. (Units are in meters, Kg, seconds, Km/hr, percentage, parts per million, per thousand, ratios, etc).

4. Become familiar with all types of Data-

While solving Data Interpretation questions, you’ll notice that there are different types of questions in this section. Try to be familiar with all the types and format of Data Interpretation questions. It will add to your confidence and help you while you solving the actual DI questions.

5. Skip Unnecessary Calculations-

In Data Interpretation the best approach to utilize your time in a smarter way is skipping the question, normally there is 4-5 questions in a set, out of these questions one question set is very calculative and time-consuming so you need to identify such questions and skip these to save your valuable time.

6. Accuracy is the key factor-

It is the essential tool for clearing any Bank exam. Always try to attempt those questions in which you are 100% sure of your answers. Try to prevent any negative marking. Most of the Candidates believe that Speed is the key factor, but in reality, it is not. There are multiple factors that play important roles in SBI PO exam. Candidates, with average speed, have managed to perform wisely and have produced good marks by perfecting their Accuracy.

7. Don’t use calculators while Practice-

In SBI PO exam a candidate is not allowed to carry a calculator device. So while calculating percentage increase and decrease, average and ratio you should get into the habit of calculating mentally in your daily practice.

8. The key to success is Practice-

“Before anything else, practice is the key to success”. You should practice as much as you can. The only key to success is to solve the question in given time and earlier than the others. This will help you solve tough questions with determination. Firstly, you build your basics concepts and the practice will give you the edge and enable you to just scan the data and give the answer. You need to practice quality questions matching the difficulty level of the exam. 

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