Data interpretation —  a type of question included in the GMAT exam —  measures your ability to interpret data presented in multiple formats (tables, graphs etc). Besides, GMAT Data interpretation can be tricky sometimes, considering the amount of data it includes in the questions. You have to use your reasoning and analytical skills to interpret the data and be able to process the provided information and solve questions. As most of the problems from this topic are followed by multiple questions, you need to solve them quickly without wasting a lot of time on one question. Hence, before the exam, you should take a lot of mock tests and practice these questions consistently, in turn working on your reasoning and time-management skills. 

Here is a GMAT data interpretation question with its solution that will give you an overview of what you can expect on the actual test.

Data Interpretation: Sample Question

Question:

12th Grade Students at Portland High School

  Girls Boys
Enrolled in Biology 20 23
Not  enrolled in Biology 26 30

1. Approximately what is the percentage of the 12th grade girls at Portland High School who are enrolled in Biology?

  1. 43%
  2. 43.47%
  3. 42%
  4. 48%
  5. 62%

2. What is the fraction of the boys in the 12th grade at Portland High School who are enrolled in Biology?

  1. 20/23
  2. 20/99
  3. 26/99
  4. 23/99
  5. 30/99

3. What is the ratio of the 12th grade girls who are not enrolled in Biology compared to all the 12th grade students at Portland High School?

  1. 20:23
  2. 20:99
  3. 23:99
  4. 30:99
  5. 16:99

4. If x percent more 12th grade students at Portland High School are not enrolled in Biology than are enrolled in Biology, find the value of x?

  1. 30.23%
  2. 30%
  3. 23%
  4. 20%
  5. 26%

5. If 2 boys who are not enrolled in Biology, from the 12th grade of Portland High school decide to take up Biology, and then 8 new girls and 7 new boys enrolled in the 12th grade at Portland High School as well as in Biology, what percentage of 12th grade students at Portland would then be taking Biology?

  1. 49%
  2. 47%
  3. 52.63%
  4. 52%
  5. 50%

Solution: Let us first understand the table: Since this table is only for the 12th grader, you don’t need to worry when the questions asks about 12th grade students, as everyone in the chart is a 12th grader.

Let’s first create another table in which we can calculate the total of all columns and rows for further reference.

  Girls Boys Total
Enrolled in Biology 20 23 43
Not enrolled in Biology 26 30 56
Total 46 53 99

1. There are 46 girls out of which 20 are enrolled in Biology

So, fraction of girls enrolled in Biology = 20/46

So, the percentage of girls in Biology = (20/46) * 100 = 43.47%

Answer B.

2. There are 99 students in total, out of which 23 boys are enrolled in Biology. So the fraction will be 23/99.

Answer D.

3. There are 26 girls not enrolled for Biology and the total number of students is 99.

So, the ratio = 16:99.

Answer E.

4. 56 students are not enrolled for Biology, whereas, 43 students are. This question can also be rephrased as, 56 is what percentage greater than 43? By using the percentage formula:

Percentage = (difference/original)*100= (13/43) * 100 = 30.23 %

Thus, x is 30.23

5. Let us draw a new chart that can reflect the changes. Switch 2 boys to enroll in Biology from not enrolled in Biology.

  Girls Boys Total
Enrolled in Biology 20 + 8 = 28 23 + 2 +7 = 32 60
Not enrolled in Biology 26 30 – 2 = 28 54
Total 54 60 114

Since, 60 students out of 114 are enrolled in Biology.

So, percentage = (60/114) * 100=52.63%

Now that you have an idea of what data interpretation is, start solving the questions with regards to the topic. Remember, the data interpretation questions can be time consuming. However, you can ace this section if you familiarise yourselves with the types of questions asked and solve the GMAT sample papers

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