Solving Data Interpretation problems is a relatively more time consuming yet a highly scoring part of Quantitative Ability section. In the exam, you can expect at least 2 full fledged sets having 4-5 questions each. In the Quant section, if you solve these 2 blocks correctly you can easily clear the sectional cut-off.


Below are some of the tricks to solve DI Questions:

Though there is no shortcut to solve Data Interpretation questions quickly but there are some things that you can avoid doing and some ways to save time while solving these questions.


1. Visual Approximation for elimination:

You can rely on visual approximation when bar graphs and line charts are in question. For this, before you start calculating, you must try and eliminate a few options based on visual clues. Some options provided in the question can be easily ruled out by just looking at the pie chart or line graph.

Usually you are left with just close options out of which one will be the solution. So just do detailed calculation for these 2 options to save time.

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2. Get acquainted with all the types of DI Questions:

Familiarize yourself with all types of DI Questions. While practicing you will realize that there are different types/formats of DI Questions. For example pie charts, line graphs, bar charts, tables and so on. If you get familiar with all types of DI questions you will gain the confidence to solve all the types of questions in SBI and IBPS PO and Clerk exam.

Questions can at times have two types of graphs in a single block. Such questions are more expected in IBPS-PO and Clerk Mains.


3. Interpret the data before you begin with calculations:

You should first read and interpret the data and do not blindly start solving. Don’t miss out on any statement given in the question. Remember that banks want to hire aspirants who are adept and comfortable in handling numbers.


4. Tips to reduce calculation time

In DI most of the questions are usually based on percentage increase and decrease, ratios and averages. A simple trick for solving data interpretation problems quickly is:

  • learn tables till 20.
  • learn fractions till 1/20 to improve your speed
  • Waste little time in finding averages:

Here if you have to find averages for sales in branches B1 to B6 for the year 2014, use this shortcut:

What you usually do: [80+75+95+85+75+70]/6

Instead: 70 + [10+5+25+15+5]/6=70+ [60/6]= 80

With this technique, you will reduce calculation time and are also bound to make less mistakes.

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5. Solve questions in the order in which they appear:

It is usually seen that the answer to the first question is useful in solving the next question. So it is advisable that you solve the questions in the order in which they appear.

Also if you make mistakes while calculating the first question, you will most probably make mistakes in the subsequent questions. So be double sure of your answers.


6. Donot use calculators while Practice

You are not allowed to take the help of a calculator in the examination. So while calculating percentage increase and decrease, you should get into the habit of calculating mentally in your daily practice. Instead of finding exact values, try approximation to get to the closest answer. This will increase your speed gradually till you take the exam.

Do not use approximation too frequently in a single question if the options are too close.


7. Catch hold of the right data

You have to be careful to read data from the right spot.While gathering data from a  chart,table or graph its quite easy to mistakenly copy numbers from the wrong graph, bar or line. To avoid silly mistakes while copying numbers, especially when the exam is online, point your finger to the data you want, place your finger directly opposite the question and hold it there until you are sure you are looking at the right part of the right graph. It is better to read two times and calculate one single time.

Most of the time mistakes are made in using the wrong data and not in calculations. Also keep a note of the units in the graph, question and answer. Sometimes different units are used just to confuse you. So, don’t copy hurriedly.

Also read: Preparation strategy of Quantiatative Aptitude by expert: Mr. Deepak Dureja


PrepLadder experts would always advice you to practice as much as possible; as it is the only trick to solving data interpretation problems quickly. Start with this FREE SBI-PO Mock test to get acquainted with the exam pattern and discover your strengths and weaknesses.

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