Data interpretation normally consists of questions involving pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, radar graphs pr table with the required information for solving the questions. In a paragraph-type data interpretation question, a set of information is provided in paragraph form. It doesn’t consist of any charts or tables. You have to read the given information carefully and draw a suitable table/chart listing out all the given data to answer the questions.
How to solve caselets/paragraph data interpretation questions?
Undermentioned steps will help you all while solving questions of Caselet or paragraph-based Data Interpretation questions.
- Solving caselets involves a thorough understanding of the subject matter of the passage given. Read the paragraph with utmost care and analyze what the question demands. Basically, be clear on what is given and what is asked.
- Try to underline all the important points in a caselet while reading it. You can always use symbols in place of names of persons, places etc to make your work a lot easier. Focus only on useful data and don’t do unnecessary approximations just to simplify the task.
- With all the important information in your hand, try to represent the data in graphical or tabular form. Represent the data in a pie chart, bar graph, table etc depending upon the feasibility and the motive of the question.
- Read the figures closely. You can use options and approximations to avoid tedious and lengthy calculations. If the question asks for relative values, there is no need to find accurate values. Use approximation but never over-approximate.
Let us illustrate this with an example.
Question: Based on the following passage, answer the questions which are as follows -
A took voluntary retirement on February 1st, 2014 and received 10 lakhs as retirement benefits. As on that day he also had Rs 3 lakhs in the bank. Of the total amount he had, 60% was invested in the bank which gives an annual compounded interest of 15%, for three years. Of the remaining part, half was invested in shares, which appreciated by 15% in the first year, 6% in the second year and depreciated by 10% the next year. The remaining part was invested in real estate. The real estate values increased by 10% in the first year, reduced by 10% in the next year and remained steady in the third year.
1. What was the value (in rupees lakhs) of A’s investment on February 1st, 2015?
A) 21 lakhs
B) 14.82 lakhs
C) 15.36 lakhs
D) 15.97 lakhs
Total amount 1st February 2014 = 10 +3 = Rs 13 lakhs
For 1st year, the value in the bank will increase by 15%. So, the total value will be 1.15 times of previous value. Hence, value after 1 year in bank = 7.8*1.15 = 8.97
For the first year, share value increases by 15%. Hence, value after 1 year in shares = 2.6*1.5 = 2.99
Similarly, Value after 1 year in real estate = 2.6*1.1 = 2.86
Total value in 2015 = Rs 14.82 lakhs
2. What was the approximate value (kin rupees lakhs) of his investment on 1st February 2017?
A) 16.21 lakhs
B) 16.82 lakhs
C) 17.286 lakhs
D) 17.87 lakhs
Money in bank = 7.8*(1+0.5)3 = 7.8*1.52= 11.86 (use compound interest formula for three years)
For the first year, share value increases by 15%, for the second year it increases by 6% and for the third year it decreases by 10%. So, value of share at the end of three years is 2.6*1.1*1.06*0.9 = 2.852
Similarly, Value of real estate = 2.6*1.1*0.9 = 2.574
Total value = 17.286
3. In which year did the investment show the maximum increase?
D) Both (A) and (C)
Value of investment on 1st February 2014 = 13 lakhs
Value of investment on 1st February 2015 = 14.82 lakhs
Value of investment on 1st February 2016 = 16.063
Value of investment on 1st February 2017 = 17.286
It is clearly seen that the maximum %increase is in 2015.
Some points to remember
- Improve your calculation speed: Caselets being calculation intensive, you have to be good with your calculations. Learn speed math techniques and practice them regularly. The more you practice the faster you become in calculations. After a considerable amount of practice, you can do the calculations in your mind. This is going to save a lot of your precious time in exam conditions. To build an intuitive number sense.
- Be thorough with the arithmetic-related topics like percentages, interests, ratios, and proportions as caselets are often based on these types of concepts. Otherwise, you will face a lot of difficulties tackling these questions. Get the basics; understand the difference between growth and growth rate, average growth rate, cumulative average growth rate, market share by volume and market share revenue etc.
- Practice makes a man perfect. The more you practice these types of questions, the easier the questions will become. Practice questions will improve your speed and accuracy. While attempting these types of questions in the exam, always try to choose the questions which will give you the answer with lesser effort, or you will end up spending a significant amount of time on lengthy calculations.