GRE Data Analysis

GRE Data Analysis

The GRE Data Analysis topic, which is also known as Data Interpretation, constitutes 15% of the entire math section. You are certain to see at least 6 data analysis questions out of the total 40 questions. A major advantage of the GRE data analysis questions is that you don’t require any knowledge about it beforehand. All you have to do is extract data from the given visual and then apply the same to the questions which follow.

The data analysis questions may be given to you in many formats. Some of them are — charts, tables, graphs, or extrapolating information from a reading passage. It is important for you to understand all the ways to interpret and analyse the data so that you score well in this section of the exam. Some important tips and strategies for solving questions in this section are given below.

GRE Data Analysis Tips and Strategies
  • Spend time to examine the graph, bar, chart or table. 
  • Read the passage with extra care before you proceed to look at the questions.
  • You will have to be on the lookout for identical patterns or figures.
  • Ensure that you take notes and do the math clearly.
  • Most of the graphical representations such as the line graphs, bar graphs will be displayed with scale information. You must read, estimate and compare quantities according to the corresponding scales.
  • You are expected to answer the questions only on the basis of the data which you have been provided. You must not make any assumptions with the knowledge that you have, etc.
  • Learn the art of approximation and be careful when handling percentages with data interpretation questions.
GRE Data Analysis – Types of Questions

The different types of GRE data interpretation questions are discussed in-depth below :

  • Column/Bar Charts – These are one of the most important graphs among the data interpretation questions. Also referred to as Bar charts, these have an illustration with rectangular bars with lengths corresponding to the values they represent. It can be plotted vertically or horizontally. The bar charts can be segmented further into categories on each bar or on equal height columns where each segment could represent a percent.  Below is an example of a column chart:

The above column chart shows the number of episodes that were produced for each season of the popular American TV show ‘Entourage’.

  • Line Charts – The line charts are usually used to depict the progress between two quantities.  For example the population rate between two countries, the inflation rate in the last 2 quarters, etc. Below is an example of a line chart:

The above line chart shows how alike the curves are for the increase in the number of air travel passengers predicted until the year 2015, and the actual increase in the number of air travel passengers.

  • Pie Charts – These remain the most popular type of data interpretation questions in the GRE exam. The pie graph is also termed as a circle graph due to its shape and is divided into sectors. Each of these sectors denote measures of a quantity, which would be defined in the question itself. The key factor of the pie chart is that you would understand the data or information given in it very easily since it is straightforward. Below is an example of a pie chart:

The above pie chart shows how much certain web browsers are used as compared to others. As you can see, Internet Explorer seems to be the most popular one according to this chart.

  • Box and Scatter Plots – These types of graphs are not often seen in the GRE exam. They are also a bit more difficult to comprehend when compared to the other types of graphs.  They are useful to display bivariate data (measures of two different variables measured on the same set of individuals). For example: income and expenditure of individuals or height and weight of several persons on the same graph.

The above scatter plot shows the difference between the number of passengers that chose Airbus as compared to the number of passengers that chose Boeing.

Finally, it is always easier to interpret data that is presented in a graph format than in long textual paragraphs. They assist you to learn the data in a short time period. This is what the GRE data analysis questions are aimed at evaluating in the exam. For your preparation, you can download some GRE data analysis practice questions online or from the ETS site. 

We trust that this article has given you a brief overview of the various data analysis topics.

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GRE Data Analysis: Practice Quiz

Here is a quick GRE practice quiz for you to attempt!

1 / 3

S is a set of seven consecutive integers.

Quantity AQuantity B
Standard deviation of Set “S2


2 / 3

Ratio of Boys to Girls in a certain class of 85 students is 8:9 

Quantity AQuantity B
Number of Boys in the classNumber of Girls in the class 


3 / 3

Quantity AQuantity B
Number of positive even factors of 350Number of positive odd factors of 350


Your score is

The average score is 54%



1.In which section does GRE Data Interpretation come?

GRE Data Interpretation or Data Analysis is a question type under the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section.

2.How should I prepare for the Data Interpretation question type?

First, you must work on familiarising yourself with the various types of graphs and charts. It is important to be aware of how to read all the types of charts, as that is where most of the data will be given. Make sure you practice questions related to this topic, and read all the details and information given correctly and carefully. You should also practice how to interpret a graph quickly so as not to waste time during the exam.

3.How many data analysis questions will be asked on the GRE?

Each Quant subsection will have 3 data analysis questions, which makes it a total of 6 questions in total.

Prepare well! Good Luck!

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