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8 Tips to score better in GRE DI!
April 24 2024

In the previous article, we talked about different data interpretation question types in the GRE. You can expect at least one set of DI questions in each of your GRE quantitative reasoning sections. And hence, it is necessary to have an overview of the types of questions. However, once you are done with it, it is equally important to figure out how to prepare for the GRE in this section. In this article, we will provide you with tips and strategies for your GRE DI preparation. Make sure to follow them and make changes wherever necessary and prepare for the GRE and ace this section.

 8 Tips to score better in GRE DI!

1. Do not Read the Questions First

In many of the question formats, it is encouraged to read the questions first, before looking at the main information. Especially while solving the RC passages in GRE Verbal Reasoning, this practice is encouraged. However, this habit won't help you here. GRE DI involves a lot of visual information which can sometimes be confusing or misleading if not read properly.  This requires you to refer to the main set of information multiple times while solving a question. Besides, many of the questions in DI is interrelated. So, the answer to your second question will depend on the first answer. There is no point in trying to make sense of the questions in those cases.  


2. Do not miss the bigger picture

This is related to the first tip. When we focus on the questions first, rather than the information in the main block, our viewpoints get narrowed. So we try to search for information as per the question rather than the other way round. That way, if any question is a little tricky, we miss the extra hint in the information. It may seem a lot of time is being spent on understanding the information only. Don't worry about that. Once you understand that, the questions become easy.

3. Notice the axes of the charts

Often the graphs/charts given seem very easy. However, we get anchored to the main information and do not notice the x and y-axis of the graphs. It is a very common mistake that most aspirants do. The axes represent the unit and quantities that the information in the graph is based upon. And hence, they can change your calculations in a very significant manner.  Keep in mind that while the questions in the GRE are rudimentary, it is notorious for tricks and traps. So carefully check the axes. Also, check the unit of the figures in axes. It often happens that while the information block units are in Meters, you might be asked to answer Kilometers!

4. Use the scratch paper

One common trait among aspirants who score very high in the GRE is the habit of taking notes while giving the paper. This habit is especially handy when it comes to the GRE DI questions. Like we mentioned previously, GRE DI is calculation-intensive. Thus there will be long numbers, multiple steps after which you get the result.  If you go wrong in one step, your whole solution will go awry. And if it is an interconnected question, the problems are more. So, do note down the figures and calculation steps in the scratch paper. Do not try to do it all mentally.  It might take you a little more time, but the benefits are higher!

5. Finding the correct pattern

This strategy is helpful especially when you get a mixed plot DI question in the GRE paper. When there is a lot of information, numbers, and multiple graphs to compare, check for correlation between the data given in different graphs. Try to find a pattern.  If there is a connection, see if that is a direct correlation or an indirect one. Check if any of your answers are dependent on the correlation between these data sets. This technique can be applied to other question formats too. However, it can't be done the first time in the exam hall. It's an acquired practice. So start solving and preparation for the GRE DI questions and while doing so, actively look for any hidden pattern.


6. Approximation

GRE puts up a lot of traps on your way to getting a perfect score. One such method is to give uncommon numbers both in the questions and as options. You will see a lot of odd, prime numbers as your answers. 37%, 29.29, 16.66%, etc are common occurrences in the GRE. One way to deal with such numbers is an approximation. So, if the questions say 29% of 98000 students have written a test, then you can simply rewrite it as 30% of 100,000 students, which is 30,000 students. This technique saves you a lot of time. And you have very minimal chances of going wrong in this because the GRE does not give close options. Or at least, it does that in very few questions.  Most aspirants when they see uncommon numbers like this, try to use the calculator and find the exact value. That approach never works, especially in a speed test like the GRE.  The on-screen calculator is either way cumbersome.  So approximate the values and then tally with the given options. From this, select the best choice.

7. Don't mix percentages with the whole numbers

This is a very common mistake and is not limited to the GRE DI but the whole of the Quantitative Reasoning section.  Do not derive conclusions from the percentages before computing the actual values. For example, if there is some information given that a certain company's profit declined by 30% and another company's profit declined by 60%, it is very easy to assume that the first company is doing better by 2times than the second company. But what if the initial profit amount of the second company was much higher than the first company? Calculate the total values first and then make a judgment.

8. Learning Shortcuts

The GRE is a speed test and hence it will give you no time for thinking long formulas. The GRE DI includes a lot of other topics like percentage, ratio, fractions. Remembering short formulae will also help in answering these questions. However, all these tips will come to use only if you practice enough number of GRE DI questions.

To practice, you may download the GREKing Free Ebooks where you will get topics like- GREKing 50 Must Solve Data Analysis Questions. Prepare for the GRE with GREKing.  

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