Bar charts (also sometimes called bar graphs) have a variety of uses. They are especially good for comparing data and approximating values. As the name suggests, they use rectangular bars to represent different categories of data (either horizontally or vertically). The height or length of each bar indicates the corresponding quantity for that category of data.

Simple bar graphs present the relationship between two variables. More complex bar graphs show additional data by displaying additional bars or by segmenting each individual bar.

1. Simple Bar and Column Charts

One way in which data will be displayed on GMAT integrated reasoning question type is bar chart. To be specific, a graph with horizontal bars is called bar chart and a graph with vertical bars is called a column chart.

However, we will use the term bar charts only whatever be the orientation of bars. When the bars are horizontal, each bar represents a category where order is not important. When the chart has a particular order (like days or months), vertical bars are used.

Example: Ice-Cream sales of different flavors on a particular day (say Monday). The order of flavors is not important here.


Example: Total Ice-Cream sales on different days.


2. Clustered Column Chart

This type of chart is used to compare values across categories when the order of categories is not important. For example, suppose there are two divisions of ice-cream shop and sales comparison is required. It doesn't matter whether we place division 1 before division 2 or after.


3. Stacked Column Chart

This type of chart is used to compare the contribution of each value to the total across categories. To calculate individual contribution, subtract the lower value from the upper value of that category.