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Select an Appropriate Chart

In this worksheet, students will decide which graph to use for a given situation.

'Select an Appropriate Chart' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Year:  GCSE

GCSE Subjects:   Maths

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Eduqas, Pearson Edexcel, OCR,

Curriculum topic:   Statistics

Curriculum subtopic:   Statistics Interpreting and Representing Data

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

There are a number of different types of graph that you can use in statistics. The question you will sometimes need to answer is: 

Which one should I use?


There are a number of situations where you will be told exactly which graph to use - for example, if it is a histogram, scatter graph, or cumulative frequency diagram.


However, we have to be able to decide between the four other types - bar charts, pie charts, pictograms and vertical bar charts.


The advantages and disadvantages of each type

Each of the different types of graph have certain advantages and disadvantages, let's look at them:


  Advantage Disadvantage
Bar chart

Clear and easy to read

Good if you have two sets of data (dual)

Does not show proportions
Pie chart Great for comparing proportions

We don't know the exact values of each piece unless we are told it

Shouldn't be used for grouped data

Pictogram Good visual impact for simple data Can be difficult to read accurately due to not being able to split pictures up
Vertical bar chart

Clear and easy to read

Good if you have two sets of data

Quick to draw

Does not show proportions


Types of data

There are two types of data: discrete and continuous data.


Discrete data is things that can't be split up into smaller units (eg. colour, shoe size, rooms in a house).

Continuous data is things that can be measured on a scale (eg. height, weight).


Continuous data should be displayed using a bar chart or vertical bar chart.

Discrete data can be displayed on any of the graphs.


Let's have a go at some questions now.

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