Charts and graphs interpretation?

New answer on Nov 30, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 29, 2020

Any advice/material to improve graph interpretation skill?

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 30, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


I struggled with the same thing when I was preparing for my McK test back in the day -it was so so full of those horrible graphs- ;)

I would strongly recomment you practice it with the Integrated Reasoning part of the GMAT exam.

There are free exams in the internet that you can use for practice (the one of LBS MBA page, Verits prep, as well as some free trials for courses such as the one of The Economist (

The (old) McKinsey PST, BCG Online Test, Bain SOVA test, etc. are all quite similar so leverage resources across all of them.

Hope it helps!



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replied on Oct 29, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Practice the GMAT integration reasoning section. Check out GMATClub for the latest and greatest resources.

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 29, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey, similar question has been answered in the forum before. Have a look at these:

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Rahul updated an answer on Oct 30, 2020
McK 2nd round cases

For charts and graphs interpretation it is extremely important for you to follow a structured approach on how you scan and analyze information. A quick two-step approach commonly used by consultants is:

1. Extract (What information can you find in the chart? What information can you use to solve your problem? Does the information help you solve your problem?)

2. Apply (What is the key message/s the chart is trying to tell you? Use this information to figure out your next steps!)

Make sure to practice a lot on different types of graphs (column, bar, pie, line, bubble, scatter plot, spider, waterfall, and many other types of charts). This will ensure that you understand the structure of all the different types of graphs out there and you will know how to approach it in a quick and structured manner. A very typical exercise in consulting interviews is: "Here is chart X, tell me what it says about the company/industry. You have 10 seconds." In order to be efficient at analyzing data in such a fast manner, you have to know where to look and what information you are looking for.

If you want to learn more about charts and graphs interpretation and most importantly practice on 100+ exercises feel free to check out

It is a 4-weeks course for aspiring management consultants that will give you access to management consulting best practices and methodologies, including graph and chart interpretation.


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Content Creator
replied on Oct 29, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Best Rote Practice

Rocket Blocks:

Best Practice Strategy

1) Read the Economist (especially the daily graph and Financial Time frequently

2) Ask case partners to focus particularly on your chart-reading skills (i.e. by providing you with cases with many charts) - Bain and Deloitte cases tend to be chart heavy

Graph Interpretation Tips

1) Read the title - and understand it

2) Read the legends - and understand them

3) Remind yourself of the objective / hypothesis in the case, to see where this might fit

4) Find the differences - where does the line graph plummet or spike? Which column is a lot smaller or bigger than the others? Where does change occur? The differences are what matter

5) Talk outloud while interpreting - first, it helps you think and process your thoughts, second, it lets the interviewer provide guidance and course correct if needed.

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Content Creator
replied on Nov 30, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies
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Clara gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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