Dear MockBankers

Data interpretation or DI, as is commonly referred to, is one of the most important topics of Quantitative Aptitude section of Banking/Competitive recruitment exams. Not only this topic has high weight age and correspondingly high marks, it is  notorious for taking a lot of time, leaving only a fraction of time for other questions in the section. In a way DI can make or break your final scores and sectional cutoffs and ultimately be the difference between a name in the selection list or in the registrations list for the next exam.

Data Interpretation is a calculation intensive portion of the quant section. It is comprised of a myriad of graphs, charts and tables and your task is to analyze the data and make meaningful conclusions.

Data Interpretation requires a lot of data to be solved in the least time possible, meaning you need to interpret a lot of data in the fastest way possible to come up with the right answer. The key to cracking DI is to identify those key pieces of data quickly that you will require to work on the questions asked.

Generally candidates have following thoughts about Data Interpretation:

• How to increase speed to solve the data interpretation questions faster?
• What are the shortcut tricks to solve data interpretation questions?
• How to solve data interpretation questions quickly and with correct answers?

With the help of our team of experts, we have compiled tips tricks and the best preparation strategy for DI to answer the above questions.

1. Improve your calculations

The first step to improve Data Interpretation skills is to improve your calculations. DI is one topic where you need both speed and accuracy to score well. Speed can and should be increased by practicing regularly. You can also try your hand at Vedic Mathematics. To further speed up calculations, try doing them in your mind instead of pen/pencil. It may take some time to get used to do calculations in mind, but slowly and gradually you will see a mark difference in your speed.

2. Approximation in Calculations

As we all know, a lot of calculation is involved DI questions in the form of averages, fractions, percentage, mean etc. Approximating helps a long way in ensuring you don’t get confused with so many numbers and end up doing silly mistakes. Here is an example

3692/234. The correct answer to this is 15.777777……8. If you are too good in division, you will notice that the answer will be  15.77777….8. So after one or two decimal places you will round it off and hence the answer becomes 15.7777 or 15.78 or 15.8. But suppose you aren’t that good with calculations, then you approximate.

• Step 1: In this example, the numerator which is 3692 can be treated as 3690 which is the nearest integer for easy calculation.
• Step 2: Denominator 234 can be treated as 235, again being the closest.

If you divide 3460 by 235, the answer is 15.70 which is nearly the same as the answer above.

3. Analyze the Data Carefully:

Some questions are framed in a way that have a look at the data and you will get the answer to the question. There is absolutely no typically long calculations involved. There can be a case when the amount of data may seem intimidating. Remember the rule, the more the data presented, the easier the questions that follow, so don’t lose heart if you see a table with 10 columns occupying one page.

4. Learn Not to Assume Anything: As humans we have an inherent habit of assuming a lot of things without going over the data or factual information. . You need to understand that if some data is missing, there can be a reason behind it. Do not waste time fretting about missing information and do your best in finding out the answer with the information give.

The most common example for this is the use of the value of a pie: There are places when it is written to use it as 22/7. On the other hand, it is given to be used as 3.14. Just stay focused and do not assume anything use and do what is asked of you.

5. Avoid Unnecessary Calculation: As seen in the tip above, there can be fractions with values going upto infinite decimal places, the key is to have a standard. Our recommendation would be solve everything to two decimal places and never go beyond that.

6. Do not Attempt DI questions in the last 10-15 mins: DI questions require time, eye for detail and quick calculation. Don’t keep the DI for the last because it is already difficult and keeping it for the last would add to the pressure.  As, mentioned above, once you interpret the wrong data, you end up having wrong answers for all the questions that follow.

7. Pay Close Attention to Units: This is applicable not only for all the DI questions that you attempt but this is also important while solving questions on quantitative aptitude also. Most of the time, the mistake that we end up is not taking care of the unit.

Example: If there is a question that where the distance, and time is given and you are asked to find the speed. Make sure that everything is in the proper format. If you are supposed to calculate the speed in km/hr, then make sure that the distance is given in kms or else convert it into kms. Similarly, make sure the time is in hours, if not then convert it into hours. The other way round is to get the speed in m/s and then convert it into km/hr. But again, you need to take care and pay close attention to the units.

8. Day-to-day preparation

For preparing for traditional DI, pick up any newspaper or business magazine. Some graphs are usually given and the data is captured in those graphs. So you should do some mental calculations based on that data. For example, while watching a cricket match, calculate the run rate before it is flashed. We go to a petrol station and hardly check the right amount supplied — calculate the prices and the quantity wherever you go. Such regular mental calculations would start building up the base and looking at different forms of graphs will build in understanding of the DI.

MockBankers this is it for tips on how to solve Data Interpretation questions, we will post DI questions for RBI Grade B and other banking/recruitment exams in upcoming days. If you have some DI questions which are troubling you, please write them in the comments section below and we will be glad to answer them for you.