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# Interpreting Graphs

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It's important to learn about interpreting graphs so that we can understand graphing which is a fundamental part of Algebra and later math courses. Interpreting graphs involves understanding what the shape of a curve represents in real life situations. We should also understand what slope means and how to interpret what a high or low slope value represents. An understanding of plotting points is also important.

When you're asked to look at graphs and interpret what they mean, it's important that you keep a few key points in mind.

The first thing you want to be sure you look at is how the axis are labeled in terms of words. Like, for example, a lot of times you see graphs where the horizontal axis is time and the vertical axis is something like distance. Those are really common math problems. But be careful you look to see if the time is in minutes or hours and look at the vertical axis and see if the distance is in like feet or miles or yards or whatever.

Along those same lines, be really careful that you look at how it's scaled. Like sometimes the hours would be marked like 1, 2, 3, 4 hours. Sometimes it might be like 10, 20, 30, 40 hours or sometimes it's something like skipping by 5s, 5, 10, 15, 20 hours. That's something else to keep in mind.

Lastly, you want to make sure when you're looking at these kinds of graphs I don't just guess and move on quickly. A lot of times students, when they see a graph that's already drawn for them, they don't take the time to look and interpret and think about the graph. They tend to think, oh, no writing needed, I can just look at the graph and guess and move on. Really spend some time to think about it, because these tend to be easier types of problems and you want to make sure you get them correct.

The last thing I want to tell you guys is that if you are in a state where you have like a high school exit exam something or a qualifying exam you have to pass to move on to the next course, this type of interpreting graph problems is really, really common. So make sure you put your best foot forward.

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