How Well Can You Read Graphs and Charts?

By: Kennita Leon
Image: Wiki Commons Various

About This Quiz

Data is all around us, and one of the number one jobs our brains have to do is help filter out the white noise to focus on what's really important. If you bombard someone with too much to take in, they don't speed up to keep up with you: generally speaking, they just shut down and stop listening altogether. It's all about choosing what to present, and how to present, to communicate your point.

That's where good visualization can come in. If you can translate an idea into an image -- a pie chart, a bar graph, a flow chart, even the slightly more challenging histogram -- you can immediately make sense of it and convey it to others. For those of us who are especially visual thinkers, this is way more fun than wading through a huge text when we could get the same amount of information simply by distilling it into a few colors. You could expend 500 words trying to explain concepts like fractions, divisions, percentages, and fairness, or you can just put a real pie in front of them and people will instinctively get what you mean. Similarly, you can depict things changing over time, like the stock market, opinion polls, or inflation; or make projections and visualizations about the weather, climate, traffic flow, or really anything at all. So let's see how good you are at getting the right info out of an infographic!

This specific type of bar graph uses vertical bars to display categories of data (separate or grouped) that has been counted.

Bar charts are a common type of graph used to indicate and compare the number and frequency of discrete sets of data.

Scatter plots are a type of graph used to find patterns and correlation between two or more variables for a set of data.

Line graphs are typically used to visualize time series data; i.e., how one or more variables compare over a continuous period of time.

A Venn diagram is used to identify the similarities and differences between a finite group of items.

Histograms are a type of bar/column graph which is used when the data represented is continuous rather than discrete.

In scatter plots, the information about each individual or object is represented by a single dot or point, plotted on a horizontal and vertical axis.

A candlestick chart is a type of financial chart which shows the high, low, opening and closing of security, derivative or currency.

Pie charts, also known as sector graphs, are used to illustrate the percentage or proportion of different categories.

Doughnut charts are a type of pie chart, which like the former, are created with the intention to display proportions.

A flowchart is a diagram which is used to outline certain aspects of a process, algorithm or workflow.

This type of graph combines the aesthetics of the bar graph and the line graph to represent basic climatic parameters.

Area charts, which are based on line graphs, are a type of graph used to depict how one or many quantities change over a period of time.

Column graphs are drawn with spaces to indicate that the information displayed is separate and unrelated.

A surface plot is a diagram which depicts three-dimensional data. The data is comprised of two independent variables and one dependent variable.

In addition to the standard vertical bar chart, there are several variations including grouped, horizontal and stacked bar charts.

A pedigree chart is a diagram used to show the presence and absence of a given phenotype in two or more generations of humans or animals.

A pedigree chart is a diagram used to show the presence and absence of a given phenotype in two or more generations of humans or animals.

An organizational chart is a diagram which is used to outline the internal structure of an organization.

This type of graph is also used to illustrate data which was measured over other continuous variables such as distance.

Candlesticks are used to represent the trading patterns for a short time period, with each candlestick showing the price movement for one day.

The steps in a flowchart are represented by various symbols which include a short description of each symbol.

Though the points in a scatter plot are not joined, they may be circled or shaded to show the relationship between several variables.

One of the main differences between histograms and column graphs are the lack of gaps between the columns.

Like line graphs, area charts are drawn with data points which are then connected to form a line.

Venn diagrams are made up of large circles which represents a group of items with similar characteristics.

This chart is comprised of a circle divided into two or more components, which is proportional to the quantities represented.

Surface plots comprise of three mandatory components; depth, which corresponds to the z-axis and position and value which forms the x- and y-axes respectively.

Bar charts are sometimes drawn with horizontal bars to accommodate categories with long titles, which would be difficult to fit below a vertical bar.

Climate graphs are used to show the average precipitation and temperature at a certain location throughout the year.

There are several ways in which pie charts can be presented. These include exploded pie charts, ring charts, 3D pie charts and doughnut charts.

The height of the rectangular bars is proportional to the values represented, which is displayed on the left side of the chart.

The different symbols in the flowchart are linked together by arrows which indicate the direction of the process.

In a Venn diagram, the circles are enclosed by a large box called the universal set. This represents all possible elements of any set to be considered.

Line graphs are typically created with data points which are then connected dot-by-dot to form a line.

In order to represent a large number of possible values in a continuous category, the data is divided into groups called classes or bins.

A pedigree chart uses squares and circles to represent males and females respectively, while a series of lines are used to represent the relationships in a pedigree.

Bar charts are also grouped to represent multiple sets of data. This is done by using different shadings or colors to distinguish each sub-group.

Doughnut charts are designed with a blank center which allows for more information about the data as a whole to be added.

The patterns of dots are analyzed to identify any systematic or causal relationship between the two variables.

Bubble charts are used instead of scatter charts, when the data has three categories that contain different values.

In a scatter plot, the relationships between the variables are recorded as positive, negative or neutral correlations.

Each slice or section is shaded differently, with a key placed at the side, indicating the meaning of each color.

In the climate graph, fluctuating temperatures are represented by the line graph while precipitation is indicated by the bar graph.

The chart depicts a clear visualization of the ranks and relationships of the workers within a given organization.

Doughnut charts are also designed to allow more than one category to be included in the chart. This is done by resizing the doughnut hole.

The circles in a Venn diagram may be separate or overlap each other partially or completely, which indicates the relationships between the sets.

There are three axes in a climate graph; the left y-axis represents the temperature, the right y-axis for rainfall and the x-axis for the months.

Stacked bar charts comprise of a single column shaded into two or more sections, which represent the different sub-categories.

The area beneath the lines is shaded in different colors or textures in order to emphasize the differences between the categories.

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