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Math and Arithmetic

Estimate the quotient?

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January 09, 2013 4:00AM

A common way is to round the divisor and the dividend to make them easy-to-work-with numbers. The quotient will be an estimate when you do this. Some people try to find the exact answer and then round it, but that defeats the purpose.

Example: 6,473 divided by 84. I would say the first number is close to 6,400 (not really rounding, but making it easy) and round the second number to 80. Now it's easy to do in your head. The estimated answer is 80. If I rounded the first number to 6,500, it wouldn't have been as easy to do, but it would be a little closer to my exact answer. I would say that's about 81 and not worry about anything after the decimal.

The lower the place value you round to, the closer your estimate will be to the exact answer. You should round to whatever place makes it easy to do the problem and still gets you as close as you want to be to the exact answer.