A table is a set of data arranged in rows and columns and is one of the most common way of putting information across to people. A table consists of several boxes with information inside. The first row and the first column are generally used to denote the titles. While any type of data can be presented in table form, that too in a very accurate manner, interpreting the data in table form is more difficult and time consuming than the other modes, all of which are basically pictorial or graphical in presentation.
A: Read the data very carefully, as the smallest detail may change the meaning of the question completely. Similarly, the instructions have to be understood carefully to prevent wasting time in calculating data that is not required, and also to find out exactly what is the answer that is sought.
B: Try to understand the data provided carefully, before jumping to answer the questions. The questions are designed to be deceptive, and proper understanding of the requirements is a must. If the Data provided is of the combined variety or if there are more than one data table/charts/graphs, try to understand the relation between the given tables.
For Example, one table may talk about absolute sales figures, while the other table may talk of sales as a percentage of production. Hence, any question on excess production or Goods in stock, will require data from both tables.
C: Be very careful of the units used in the tables, and the units in which the answers (options) are provided. A mistake in the units may yield an entirely different answer. Also be careful of whether the answer is required in decimal or percentage. Such errors are common and easily avoidable.
Here is an example consisting tabular data:
Table below can be scrolled horizontally
Category of Assistance 
Average number receiving per month 
Total cost per help year 
Cost paid by Centre for the year 


1995 
1996 
1995 
1996 
1995 
1996 
A 
36097 
38263 
38.4 
34.8 
18.4 
17.4 
B 
6632 
5972 
5.0 
3.2 
2.6 
1.6 
C 
32545 
31804 
76.4 
59.4 
13.0 
10.0 
D 
13992 
11782 
26.4 
42.6 
6.6 
10.6 
E 
21275 
228795 
216.6 
242.8 
55.0 
62.6 
The category receiving the least percentage help from the centre (in the entire data) is:
(A) Category B in 1995 (B) Category C in 1996
(C) Category B in 1996 (D) Category D in 1995
In this type of question, it is better to examine the alternatives given rather than trying to find the least percentage from the table.
Let us now calculate the required percentage of the given alternatives:
(A) Category B in I995 $= \dfrac{2.6}{5.0} \times 100 = 52\%$ (Even without calculation, you can eliminate this choice.)
(B) Category C in 1996 was $=\dfrac{10.0}{59.4} \times 100 = 16.8\%$
(C) Category B in 1996 was $=\dfrac{1.6}{3.2} \times 100 = 50\%$ (Even without calculation, you can eliminate this choice.)
(D) Category D in 1995 $= \dfrac{55.0}{216.6} \times 100 = 25.4\%$
From this we arrive at the answer (B) since this is the least percentage.
The difference between the average costs paid by the Centre during 1995 and 1996 is
(A) Rs. 66 lakh (B) Rs. 13.2 crore
(C) Rs. 132 lalth (D) Rs. 13.2 lakh
Adding all the cost figures in the 1995 column, i.e.
$18.4 + 2.6 + 13.0 + 6.6 + 55.0$, you get 95.6.
The average in 1995:
$= 95.6 + \text{Number of categories} = 95.6 + 5$
$= \text{ Rs. }19.12$ Crore
Similarly, the average in 1996:
$= \dfrac{17.4 + 1.6 + 10.0 + 10.6 + 62.6}{ 5}$
$= \text{ Rs. } 20.44$ Crore
The difference $= \text{ Rs. } (20.44  19.12)$ Cr
$= \text{ Rs. } 1.32$ Cr
$= \text{ Rs. } 132 \text{ lakh}$
The correct answer is (C).
(Note how the answer needed conversion from crores to lakhs).
Monthly cost to the city receiving E category assistance in 1996 is most nearly:
(A) Rs. 1.8 crore less than that in 1995 (B) Rs. 2.1 crore more than that in 1995
(C) Rs. 2.1 cnore less than that in 1995 (D) Rs. 1.8 crore more than that in 1995
Here, straight calculation is only needed. We need to look at the total assistance figures.
In 1995: $\dfrac{216.6}{12} = 18.05$
In 1996: $\dfrac{242.8}{12} = 20.23$
Difference = 2.183 crore $\approx$ Rs. 2.1 crore
The correct answer is (B).
Assuming that 50% of the persons receiving category B help in 1995 were adults caring for minor children, but the city’s contribution towards maintaining these adults was 40% of the total contribution to B program in 1995, average amount paid by the city for each adult per year in 1995 is most nearly:
(A) Rs. 5900 (B) Rs. 6000
(C) Rs. 7500 (D) Rs. 3000.
50% of persons receiving B category help during 1995
$= 3316$
City's contribution to maintenance:
$= 5.0 \times 0.4$
= Rs. 2 crore
$= \dfrac{2,00,00,000}{3316}$
= Rs. 6031.36
= Rs. 6000 nearly
The correct choice is (B).
Monthly costs to the city of category D during 1995 and 1996 bear a ratio (most nearly)
(A) 2 : 3 (B) 5 : 3 (C) 3 : 2 (D) 3 : 5
Again, we can straightaway determine the answer through simple calculation.
Since a ratio is required to be calculated, we can avoid the division by 12.
Directly from the table we have, total assistance in 1995 and 1996 for Category D as 26.4 and 42.6.
Hence the ratio is $26.4 : 42.6 = 3 : 5$ nearly.