How to Champion the Data Interpretation Questions in GRE?


GRE test scores are useful for you to get into top schools abroad for master degree programs. The requirement of minimum GRE sectional scores differs according to the program and university a student is going for. All in all, to achieve a good overall score in the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), one needs to perform well in all the sections equally.

Preparing for GRE and facing difficulties with the Quant section? Data interpretation questions in GRE, commonly named as DI, can be a hard nut to crack if you are not well-prepared.

How to Champion the Data Interpretation Questions in GRE

Here, we will discuss the details of the data interpretation section in GRE and the tips to ace it.

What is data interpretation?

Data interpretation is one of the five types of questions that come under the GRE Quant section. This section requires a student to analyze and interpret data that is represented in a pictorial form and subsequently answer the questions based on them. This data can be shown in the form of a graph, a table, or a chart and are followed up either by numeric entry or multiple choice questions. While some of these questions are pretty straightforward, others can be a tad tricky.

Why are data interpretation questions important?

Data interpretation is a key part of the Quant section as it evaluates a different set of skills. It assesses a student’s ability to visualize, understand, and extrapolate data. This skill holds a grave importance in grad schools especially for the STEM courses. To score more than 160 in the Quant section, it is important to score well in the data interpretation section as it carries a weightage of 20% in the section overall.

Top mistakes to avoid

While attempting the data interpretation questions, there are some common mistakes done by the students. Though there are only 4 to 5 questions per section, acing them is important to achieve a high score. Some of the common mistakes you must avoid while attempting the data interpretation questions are:

  • Misinterpreting data due to the lack of patience
  • Not managing the time adequately
  • Not practicing enough
  • Overlooking the details in the figure

Various types of data interpretation questions

In the GRE exam, data interpretation questions come in different forms. Principally, there are 4 types of data interpretation questions that come in the Quant section:

  • Line graphs
  • Pie charts
  • Column charts
  • Box and scatter plots

Top tips to ace the data interpretation questions

Some of the top things to remember to do well in the data interpretation questions are:

i- Try to build a strong conceptual understanding

As the DI section isn’t a test of memory but rather a test of your extrapolating of ability, it is important for you to be well-prepared and crystal-clear in your notions regarding the topics such as:

  • Decimals
  • Fractions
  • Statistics
  • Percentage and Ratio
  • Probability

ii- Develop the knack of being approximately accurate

As the DI questions can sometimes take more time than the other questions in the Quant section, the art of being almost accurate can help you trim the time you spend on these questions. Unless the question involves multiple steps, round off your values and do the calculations. If the result is near to any of the options, choose it and move on! But don’t use this trick if the choices are too close to each other. Do not spend more than 15 to 30 seconds analyzing the graph and writing down key information. Keep in mind that you only have 2 minutes for every question.

iii- Utilize the keywords

Another top hack to ace the DI questions is to watch out for the keywords. Read the problem carefully and comprehend clearly what you are asked. GRE test makers love to present you with two correct answer choices but to two separate questions. If you haven’t read the question properly, you may end up choosing the wrong answer. Common keywords to look out for are the decimal points, units of measurement in the axes, and other such minute details.

iv- Practice as much as possible

Interpreting data is a skill that gets better with practice. Just like the other talents, you have to cultivate this skill by practicing different kinds of questions and charts. Practice questions where there is more than one form of chart and the question involves the correlation of data. It will help you understand the relationship between different types of data and the variables that link them.

To prepare for your GRE exam, it is always recommended to take the help of the GRE prep experts. GyanDhan offers one such GRE prep course that is taught by some of the top GRE experts in India. These reasonably-priced GRE courses vary according to different time frames to suit the need of every student.

So, if you are planning to give the GRE exam, you can take benefit from the GRE prep courses at GyanDhan and ensure excellent performance in your test!


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