Graphical Analysis Word Problem

Hey everyone! Today we’re going to take on a graphical analysis problem. Analyzing a graph is a key skill that employers and graduate schools will expect you to have. This problem tests your competency and familiarity with graphs.

Approximately what was the median sale price of an existing home in 1975?

A. $15,000

B. $35,000

C. $36,000

D. $38,000

E. $40,000

The first step in any graphical analysis question is to carefully review the graph which you are being asked to analyze; take some time to thoroughly review the information you are being presented with. First, look at the different lines and data points.

Now reread the question. What exactly is it asking for?

It is asking for the point on the “existing home” line when the year is 1975. For the purposes of this specific question, you can disregard the other two lines.

TIP:  Many GRE graphical analysis charts are designed to overwhelm you with information; this overabundance of information is an attempt to disorient you, essentially making it more difficult to find the information you need to answer a question correctly, or more importantly quickly. The most important thing you can do to efficiently solve these question types is identify exactly what you are being asked and what information you need to answer whatever you are being asked.

First, look on the x-axis for the year 1975. Then, follow the 1975 grid line upwards until you hit a data point. The first (or bottom) data point on this line is Family Income, which is not what we are looking for, so we continue upwards. The second data point is on the Existing Homes line, which is what we are looking for.

Keeping our finger on the point, we now look at the y-axis to see what it is. The y-axis says “Thousands of Dollars,” so we’ll remember to multiply by 1,000 later on. We need to make sure that the price given is the median price. We see on the bottom a little star with a note by it saying “*median sale price and median family income,” so we just need to find the y-value.

However, the point is between the $35,000 and $40,000 marks. Therefore, the answer will be either (C) or (D). It seems to be exactly in the middle, which assigns it a value of $37,500. Since the question asks for “approximately,” round up to $38,000. The correct answer is (D).

As graphical analysis questions go, this is a fairly straightforward one, which will become increasingly clear as we review more questions (be sure to check back in the coming weeks as more and more example problems and question types become available). In the meantime, we hope you found today’s lesson helpful and encouraging; keep working hard and we’ll see you soon!

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