3 tips to ace Data Interpretation

3 tips to ace Data Interpretation

Data Interpretation could prove to be one of the easiest sections in the MBA entrance examinations such as CAT, XAT, NMAT, IIFT, IBSAT etc., as compared to other sections like Quant and VARC. This is because all the material you need for interpretation and arriving at the right answer is given and you just have to apply your mind and do the calculations. But it can also prove to be tricky because of the calculations involved and the possibility of not interpreting the data accurately. Here are some tricks to ace Data Interpretation.

1. Familiarity with the form

The Data Interpretation section is a mix of Mathematics, logical reasoning and analysis. You won’t get direct Mathematical sums but data in different forms. To score in DI, you have to become familiar in the skill of decoding these forms. The various forms that can appear in the exam include Pie Charts, Bar Graphs, Tables, Line Graphs, Scatter plots, Multiple data sources and so on. Questions, in the form of MCQs, shall be based on any of these pictorial representations of data, and would require you to use Mathematical calculations to derive the answer. Therefore, it becomes incumbent on the candidates to familiarise themselves with these forms and understand how to interpret data. For instance, the following type of question can appear in the exam,


1. If the number of English speakers in India in 2000-2005 stood at 25,50,600, what is the total population of India?

a. 5668000

b. 5000000

c. 6050626

d. 5525660

Familiarity with such questions will make your task easier in the exam. To attempt this question, you should know your basic arithmetic concepts like Percentages, Averages, Ratio and Proportion and so on. Since the figures involved are quite large, you need to be thorough with your calculations to not waste time.

2. Time management and Preparation

The biggest challenge while doing this section is time management. As the figures are complex and involve long calculations, the candidate, who is not good with numbers ends up burning a lot of his time on this questions. As the questions appear simple on the surface and scoring, there is this tendency to crack all these questions. This is where you lose time. In the exam, it is advisable to not spend more than 2 minutes per question. So, you will be able to complete these questions only if you have practiced enough, are good with numbers and are working smartly.

3. Engross yourself completely

On the surface, DI looks easy as you only have to basic arithmetic and read the data correctly. But, these questions demand complete concentration from your side. You cannot afford to be casual about these questions, as one error in calculations or interpretation of the data can make the entire question wrong, besides consuming your time. Therefore, you need to be engrossed in doing these questions and not think of anything else.

Data Interpretation can prove to be simple for those who have practiced all types of questions and who are quick with calculations. There is no shortcut to doing these questions. Do these questions calmly with patience and rest assured, you will score well in this section.

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