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Writing: Interpreting Graphs and Data — Video lesson

David walks you through an Interpreting Graphs and Data question on the SAT Writing and Language test. Created by David Rheinstrom.

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Video transcript

- [Instructor] Which choice provides accurate and relevant information from the graph? So you're likely to see one to two of these on your exam. And the data in the graph might not always look the way it does in this particular video. You might see a bar graph. You might see a scatterplot, or some other type of infographic, maybe a table. So be advised. There are many different kinds of graph that you might be asked to look at, but you'll apply a similar strategy to all of them. So when the question asks you to interpret a graph, before you even look at the choices, look at the graph and determine what story the graph is trying to tell. So the title of the graph is "Employment Percent Change in Rural West 1970 to 2010". Let's look at the x-axis which is the percent employment change. Let's look at the y-axis which is percent of county land base federally protected. So, okay, looking at this very quickly, it seems like the more of the land in your county that is federally protected, the greater the employment percent change is in these years. So if the county has more than 30% protected, you have employment growth of 345%. If it's 0% protected, the growth still exists, but it's only 83%. So let's take a look at the question which is just going to ask us to interpret the graph and see which choice that fits into this paragraph matches the information from the graph. So let's take a look. "According to a report from Headwaters Economics, a research group that studies land management in the West, rural counties with more than 30% of their land under federal protection," and here's the underlined part, here's choice A. "Saw job growth of more than 300% from 1970 to 2010." I think that's exactly what we saw in the graph. Hold on real quick, 300%, 30% of their land, specifically more than 30% of the land. Yeah, and that's this first bar graph here. 345% is more than 300. This is the answer. Cool, great. Honestly, on test day, that's all I'd need. I feel confident about that, I'd move on. But for the purposes of this instructional video, let's just check them out and see. Rural counties with more than 30% of the land under federal protection saw. Choice B. Slightly less job growth than those with less than 10% of lands under federal protection. So that would be arguing that these two, the 108% growth and the 83% growth are greater job growth than the 30% right? That this 345 is actually smaller, less than 108 or 83. And that's not true. Choice C. Had rates of job growth that were considerably higher than those of rural counties in the Eastern United States. That's not what this graph is about. It's about the rural West. So we can't even evaluate that. Choice D. The counties with more than 30% of their land under federal protection saw job growth declined from nearly 350% to just under 300%. If you were not reading the graph closely, it would be possible to choose D as a mistake. But we're not looking at job growth decline. This is the amount of job growth that occurs in a bunch of different counties during a specific period. All of these employment percent changes are positive and referring to different counties. So this is not true. That's just comparing two different classes, that more than 20% and then more than 30%. So in questions like these, the graph will speak for itself. And this one, it happened to be even in the first bar of the bar graph, is that if it's more than, if the county land is more than 30% federally protected, then it has the largest job growth from 1970 to 2010. Which is in fact exact actually what was in the passage as choice A.