Table Analysis questions present you a table similar to a spreadsheet. It can be sorted on any of its columns by selecting the column’s title from a drop-down menu. There may be a brief text explaining the table or providing additional information.
The question, then, presents three phrases, statements, numerical values, or algebraic expressions, and you must indicate for each one whether or not it meets a certain condition.
For example, you may be asked whether
- Each statement is true (yes or no), according to the information in the table
- Each statement or numerical value is consistent or inconsistent with the information in the table
- Each statement or numerical value can or cannot be determined on the basis of the information in the table
In analyzing the table, you may need to, for example,
- Determine statistics such as mean, median, mode, or range
- Determine ratios, proportions, or probabilities
- Identify correlations between two sets of data
- Compare an entry’s rank in two or more of the table’s categories
The Sort By feature at the top of the table allows you to organize the information by column heading, an element that comes in handy when you analyze the three statements that follow the table. When you click on Sort By, a drop-down menu of all column headings appears. Clicking on the column heading in the menu causes the table to rearrange its data by that category.
Tips for Table Analysis Questions
These questions require you to manipulate data and make observations and calculations. Some of the most common calculations are statistical ones, such as percentages, averages, medians, and ratios, so table-analysis questions can be some of the easiest questions to answer in the IR section.
1. Jump to the question immediately: Most of the information you need appears in the table, so you rarely need to read the introductory paragraph that comes before the table. Glance at the column headings to get an idea of the type of information the table provides, and then move promptly to the question.
2. Read the question carefully: You’re most likely to get tripped up on these questions simply because you haven’t read them carefully enough to figure out exactly what data they ask you to evaluate.
3. Isolate the relevant column heading: Often, the key to answering a table-analysis question is ordering the data properly. Quickly figure out which column provides you with the best way to arrange the data and sort by that column.
4. Make accurate computations: Determine exactly what calculations the question requires and perform them accurately, either in your head or on the calculator.
5. Make use of your noteboard: Keep track of more complex calculations on your noteboard.