How can I read a progress chart

Read diagrams correctly

Charts and diagrams - pure torment?

Some twitch as nervously as if they had just seen a disgusting spider, others suspiciously scan everything for faux pas and nasty traps: Evaluating graphs can be pretty tricky. But it doesn't have to - because with these explanations and tips you can easily reach your goal step by step!

What are charts for - and where are the stumbling blocks?

Basically: Pie charts, line charts and Co. are well suited to graphically prepare demanding content and make it easy (more) to understand. Instead of drowning you in long, complex texts, they graphically represent important factual information in a small space, show connections and / or developments and convey difficult facts in a clear and understandable manner. Whenever more complicated relationships and / or larger amounts of data are involved, diagrams are definitely useful.

Why many still find it difficult with the infographics is due to a simple fact: There is no uniform reading direction or reading order. In contrast to texts, where you know that you have to read from left to right, you will find various different elements that you have to organize, weight and relate to each other yourself. But don't panic: You can do that just fine, too.

Read the diagrams correctly - Step 1: Make a general classification.1

First read the Task exactly through: should you do a general evaluation or just focus on a specific area? Stick to what is asked of you and base your evaluation on it.

You work in a similar way to a discussion or an interpretation from general to specific. Instead of running straight away, you warm up first: you look at them first external characteristics and arrange the diagram.

Which one theme does the graph deal with? Record and state both the main topic and possible sub-headings in your own words. ("The diagram shows ...", "The diagram shows ..." etc.)

On which source is the graph based? Arrange them as precisely as possible. When is it from? Who is the editor? Who was interviewed, if any? ("The data come from ...; they are from the year ...", "The basis was a representative survey among ... that was carried out in the years ... to ..." or similar .)

Then you look at them formal characteristics of the diagram.

  • What a Kind of diagram is it?

There are pie charts (also known as pie charts), horizontal bar charts that are often used for ranking purposes, vertical column charts that are well suited for quantities, numbers and performance values, or line charts or curve charts that mainly show upward and downward movements, progressions and developments demonstrate.

  • Which units are used? Do you see absolute numbers, relative numbers (percentages) or both? What is the PopulationWhich "whole" do the numbers refer to?
  • What different elements can be seen? How is the graphic or how are the individual partial graphics structured?
  • What does which color stand for, what information does the legend provide?

("The information is given in percentages / absolute numbers / percentages and absolute numbers." "The values ​​are given in ..." "The X-axis / right axis shows ..., the Y-axis / vertical axis shows .. . ")

Step 2: Work out the specific information.2

Now you've warmed up and get down to business: You evaluate, describe and analyze what you see. Important: Concentrate on the facts - you save reviews, opinions or criticism for the final part. The following questions will help you analyze the diagram and extract the important information:

  • Which Conditions are shown, which values ​​are in comparison?
  • Where is there Similarities, Where opposites?
  • Which changes resp. developments can be seen?
  • Which Connections or do you see interactions?
  • What do you notice in particular?
  • Which ask arise?
  • Are there any inconsistencies or Contradictions?
  • Which impressions/ Assumptions arise?
  • Which information absence to you?

Step 3: come to an informed conclusion.

After you have classified, analyzed and examined the diagram, it is time for your conclusion. You can ask yourself the following questions, for example:

  • What was for you surprised?
  • What was especially interesting or noticeable?
  • Which Explanations is there possibly?
  • Which one Conclusion you draw?
  • What has absentwhat is to complete?
  • How is your final rating?

Practice makes perfect - and it's worth it!

You see: If you work on a diagram systematically and with a cool head, you can easily "conquer" it. That helps you Incidentally, not only in school, but also in everyday life and later in professional life. You come across charts everywhere - in magazines or newspapers, in the news or later at work; from survey results to sales trends. Practice makes perfect - so always use bar charts, line diagrams and the like. Now you know how to do it!

1 Closely based on: "Forum Wirtschaftsdeutsch: Speeches for describing graphs, diagrams and statistics" by Udo Tellmann,

2 Closely based on: "This is how you decode graphs", GRIPS via Bayerischer Rundfunk,