Pie Charts

Data Interpretation or DI is one of the dominating sections in any MBA entrance exam. This section tests a candidate’s ability to analyze and interpret the given data and answer questions. A typical form of presenting data in this section is through Pie Charts. The data presented in the form of slices of a pie and illustrates proportionate value. A few examples can be – Market share of multiple companies in the same industry, proportion of ingredients used in a dessert, sales of a company in different years  etc.

Exams which use contain this topic:

CAT – Even though CAT has significantly reduced the number of caselets based on the pie chart, it has often asked such type of questions  previously. Therefore, it is not an option to take this topic lightly as each set carries 4 questions.

YearNo of QuestionsGood attemptLevel of Difficulty




Slot 100
Slot 200




Slot 144Easy
Slot 200

NMAT – The pie chart questions in NMAT are usually very easy and are a must attempt. Losing out on easy question can cost you a lot.

YearNo of QuestionsGood attemptLevel of Difficulty

XAT – Pie chart questions in XAT are not data set based but are individual and may range from 1-2 questions with easy to moderate level of difficulty

YearNo of QuestionsGood attemptLevel of Difficulty


List of concepts

A Proper understanding of concepts of pie chart questions can sail you through all the MBA entrance exams. They are easy to score and less time consuming than other Data Interpretation questions. 

Listed below are a few concepts that may help you gain insight on the type of questions asked:

Calculating absolute value from degree or percentage – Application of percentage-based questions which are quite simple to calculate. It could be possible that absolute value is given, and students have to calculate the degree or percentage.

Calculating degree from given percentage- Again a simple concept of converting 100% to 360 degrees.

Percentage increase or decrease – Data will be given for 2 different time period and the candidate needs to calculate the percentage change.

Questions with multiple pie charts- Candidates will have to analyse data given in multiple pie charts and try to relate the data.

Questions with pie chart and other graphs – CAT, XAT, SNAP, tend to present data with a pie chart and some other bar graph, line graph, table etc.

Multi-layered Pie chart – The level of difficulty with this concept may be high as the data is complicated and detailed.


Details on This Page

Previous Year Pie Chart Questions for CAT and XAT

CAT 2018: The multi-layered pie-chart below shows the sales of LED television sets for a big retail electronics outlet during 2016 and 2017. The outer layer shows the monthly sales during this period, with each label showing the month followed by sales figure of that month. For some months, the sales figures are not given in the chart. The middle-layer shows quarter-wise aggregate sales figures (in some cases, aggregate quarter-wise sales numbers are not given next to the quarter). The innermost layer shows annual sales. It is known that the sales figures during the three months of the second quarter (April, May, June) of 2016 form an arithmetic progression, as do the three-monthly sales figures in the fourth quarter (October, November, December) of that year.

1. What is the percentage increase in sales in December 2017 as compared to the sales in December 2016?

a.) 38.46

b.) 22.22

c.) 50.00

d.) 28.57

2. In which quarter of 2017 was the percentage increase in sales from the same quarter of 2016 the highest?

a.) Q4

b.) Q1

c.) Q2

d.) Q3

3. During which quarter was the percentage decrease in sales from the previous quarter’s sales the highest?

a.) Q2 of 2016

b.) Q2 of 2017

c.) Q4 of 2017

d.) Q1 of 2017

4. During which month was the percentage increase in sales from the previous month’s sales the highest?

a.) October of 2017

b.) October of 2016

c.) March of 2016

d.) March of 2017


The information given in pie –chart can be represented in table form as following :

  Month/sales figure in 2016 2017
January 80 120
February 60 100
March 100 160
April 40 60
May   75
June   65
July 75 60
August 120  
September 55 70
October 100 150
November   170
Now as given Sales figure in 2017 Q4 = 500
So sales figure in December 2017 = 500 – 150 – 170 = 180
Total sales in 2017 Q3 = 220
So sales in August 2017 = 220 – 60 – 70 = 90
Similarly sales in missing month of 2016 can be obtained as sales in the three months of 2016 Q4 & Q2 are in Arithmetic Progression. Thus following table can be obtained –
  Month/year 2016 2017
January 80   240 120   380
February 60 100
March 100 160
  April 40   150 60   200
Q2 May 50 75
June 60 65
July 75   250 60   220
August 120 90
September 55 70
October 100   300 150   500
November 120 170
December 140 180
Question 1) required percentage increase = (180 – 140)/140×100 =40/140×100=28.57%
Correct option d) 28.57 %
Question 2) it can be seen that the required percentage increase in sales is highest for Q4 and this is = ((500-300))/300×100=66.66%
Correct option a) Q4
Question 3) From the table obtained , we can see there is decrease only in Q2 of both year
Decrease in Q2- 2016 = (240-150)/240×100=37.5%
Decrease in Q2- 2017 = (380-200)/380×100=47.37%
Correct option b) Q2 of 2017
Question 4) As given options are only for may and October and we can see that sales in October 2017 is more than double ( from 70 in November to 150 in October ) so it is highest than other given month .
Correct option a) October 2017

XAT 2019: The break-up of the students in a university by subject major is given in the polar pie-chart. The bar chart shows the number of students who major in physics by geographic location.

1. How many students major in chemistry? 

A 200 

B 175 

C 170

D 190 


How to Prepare

Preparing any topic from the scratch requires patience, hard work, and above all commitment. To prepare for Pie charts, here are some Level-wise preparatory guidelines to follow:

Level – 1

  • Learn Speed calculation: For an effective and quick calculation, be thorough with tables till 20, memorize squares till 30, and cubes till 15.
  • Fraction – Percentage relation: For quick percentage calculation, memorize the fraction-percentage table. For example, 1/2 is 50%, 1/3 is 33.33%, and so on. It will help analyse percentage change, absolute value calculation etc.
  • Learn percentage change formula.
  • Practice beginner level questions with only one pie chart and no other graphs.

Level – 2

  • Move on to more complex problems, attempt beginner and intermediate level mock on concepts of Pie charts.
  • Solve previous year CAT questions on Pie chart and time yourself. Do not get stuck on one question and try to solve easy questions first.
  • Keep attempting mocks to check your performance.
  • Topic-wise mocks, provided by MBAP, can be utilized to enhance your performance.

Level – 3

  • For advanced level preparation, start practising questions from Arun Sharma.
  • Questions in Arun Sharma are categorized into Level of Difficulty (LOD), based upon your preparation level, start attempting 3 or 4 questions daily.


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