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GRE Data Interpretation Practice Questions: Pie Chart and Bar Chart

GRE Data Interpretation Practice Set

The following pie chart shows the breakdown of revenues for a particular grocery store over the first quarter of this year.  The bar chart shows the detail of breakdown for frozen foods.



1) What is the dollar amount of sales of canned goods in the first quarter of this year?

(A) $6,000

(B) $9,000

(C) $18,000

(D) $36,000

(E) $90,000


2) Frozen prepared meals constitute what percentage of the total sales for the first quarter this year?

(A) 2.4%

(B) 8.5%

(C) 20%

(D) 36%

(E) 54%


3) During the first quarter this year, this particular grocery store was finishing its construction of an expanded bakery facility, which, when opened at the beginning the second quarter, will offer dozens of new cakes and pies, a whole new line of pastries, and several flavors of gourmet coffee.  Assume that in the second quarter, the bakery sales triple, and all other sale stay the same.  Bakery would then account for what percentage of total sales in the second quarter?

(A) 8.7%

(B) 12%

(C) 16.1%

(D) 18%

(E) 25.3%




1) This is a straightforward read-data-off-the-chart question.  The pie chart tells us canned goods sales constitute 18% of $200,000.  Don’t go to the calculator for such a straightforward percent question!

0.018*200000 = {18/100}*200000 = 18*2000 = $36000

     Answer = D


2) From the bar chart, prepared meals account for about $17,000 in sales.  This $17,000 is what percent of $200,000?  Again, please don’t jump to the calculator for this.

percent = {part/whole} * 100% = {17000/200000} * 100% = {17/200} * 100% = 17/2 % = 8.5%

Answer = B


3) This is a tricky question, because there’s a tempting wrong answer.  The bakery accounts for 6% of the total sales in first quarter, so if you triple that, it’s 18%, right? Wrong!  The new amount would be 18% of the total sales in the first quarter, but we want to know what percent would it be of the total sales in the second quarter?  That’s a new total because, even though everything else stayed the same, bakery sales increased.

We don’t need to consider the actual numbers: we can just work with the percents.  Bakery sales triple from 6% to 18% — that’s the new “part.”  Since the bakery goes up 12% from 6% to 18%, and all other sales stay the same, the new total is 112% — that’s the new “whole.”

percent = {part/whole} * 100% = {18/112} * 100% = 16.0714%

     You can use the calculator if you like, although you could also approximate that the answer will not be 18% but rather something a little below 18%, because the “whole” has increased a bit.  Either way, the answer = C.


About the Author

Mike McGarry is a Content Developer for Magoosh with over 20 years of teaching experience and a BS in Physics and an MA in Religion, both from Harvard. He enjoys hitting foosballs into orbit, and despite having no obvious cranial deficiency, he insists on rooting for the NY Mets. Follow him on Google+!

9 Responses to GRE Data Interpretation Practice Questions: Pie Chart and Bar Chart

  1. sanjoy June 15, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    silly problem…….Q#2 during practicing bar graphs counted 17 (my eyes) but for ans options again counted 18 this time it matched…..why this so????missing any points????in my view the bar u drew slightly less than 18… this case what should be my first approach???double time calculation time consuming….

    • Mike
      Mike June 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

      Dear Sanjoy,
      Think about it: is the end of the bar closer to 15 or to 20? If the end of the bar is closer to 20, then the value has to be closer to 18 than to 17.
      Does this make sense?
      Mike :-)

      • Dan July 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

        The end of the bar is closer to 15 buddy.

  2. Shubham June 24, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    Hi Mike,

    Please write a few more DI sets to practice in this blog.

    • Mike
      Mike June 25, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      Shubham: There are more practice questions in the product. If you find these helpful, sign up for Magoosh:
      Mike :-)

  3. nani May 8, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    Hi Mike,

    I am very fine with the first 2 questions. But coming to 3rd question….will ETS put this kind level of questions? …but i am sorry i couldnt understand the 3rd explanation. please elaborate it.?

    • Mike
      Mike May 8, 2012 at 11:56 am #

      Dear Nani: Yes, ETS certainly can ask questions like this. Let’s say, for simplicity, the store makes $100 in sales in the first quarter. Of that, 6%, $6, comes from the bakery. We are told that in the second quarter, the bakery amount triples — to $18 — and the rest, the other $94, stays the same. Now the new total is 18 + 194 = $112. We want to know what percent is the bakery ($18) of this new total ($112). That’s the calculation above. Does this make sense?
      Mike :-)

      • shubham sharma May 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

        i want a simple graph data interpretation without question

        • Mike
          Mike May 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

          Dear Shubham Sharma: I must say, I’m not exactly sure what you want. Please clarify: exactly what would you like? We are happy to accommodate your request, but we need to understand more clearly. Thank you.
          Mike :)

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