Solving Graphics Interpretation Questions in GMAT Integrated Reasoning
Each Graphics Interpretation question on the GMAT will include some text that contains two blanks. These blanks can be filled in by choosing options from a drop-down menu that make the text as accurate as possible.
Graphics Interpretation sample question
The graph shows revenues for public elementary and secondary schools by revenue source for the school years from 2001-02 to 2009-10.
From each drop-down menu, select the option that creates the most accurate statement based on the information provided.
Revenue from the state government was highest during the year.
During the 2001-02 school year, revenue from the federal government accounted for about % of total revenue.
The three options for the first drop-down menu are 2007-08, 2008-09, and 2009-10.
For the second drop-down menu, the options are 9, 43, and 48.
How to solve this Graphics Interpretation question
You can see easily from the graph that the highest revenue from state government came during the 2007-08 school year. Thus, you would choose this option from the drop-down menu.
In 2001-02 the federal government contributed about 50 million, and the state and local governments contributed around 510 million together. Thus, the total revenue was around 560 million. 50/560 —> 5/56 —> ~1/11 —> a little less than 10%. You would then click the drop-down menu and find 9 as the answer.
Note that this question involved a line graph. Some questions in the graphics interpretation section of integrated reasoning on the GMAT involve bar graphs, and some questions involve both line and bar graphs. There shouldn’t be any particular difficulties in interpreting bar graphs—the same principles that you use for line graphs apply.
Questions in Graphics Interpretation often ask you to calculate percentage change, so keep the following in mind:
Review of calculating percentage change
The formula for calculating percentage change is difference / original x 100.
For example, if the value of sales (in dollars) increases from 40m to 50m, by what percentage has sales increased?
Percentage change = Difference / original x 100 =
So, sales increased by .
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