When we want to figure out how much of something we have left there are a few ways to do it. Taking a wild guess is one way, but it’s not the most accurate method. Fractions are a better way, but sometimes that’s not much better than a guess. For a more accurate assessment, fractions are needed.

In math, percentages are always preferred. This is mostly because they can be converted into decimals and used in equations. To find the percentage of something, it’s important to have a measurement. For example, if there are ten cookies in a package, that’s a measurement. If someone were to eat five of those cookies, fifty percent would be gone. This percentage could then be converted into a decimal of .5 if someone wanted an accurate description of how many cookies were left.

Finding Percentages

Just like most things in math, finding a percentage takes a little work. When solving percentage word problems, it’s best to convert the statement into numbers. For example, the problem may ask to find sixteen percent of 1,400.

First, sixteen percent needs to be converted into decimal. This is done by moving the decimal point over two places, making %16 into .16 for this problem, to convert the decimal back it can be multiplied by one hundred. The two numbers will then be divided. The problem would look like this, (.10)(1,400) = 224. So, sixteen percent of 1,400 is 224. Pretty simple really.

Increase or Decrease Percentage

At some point, it may be necessary to find the difference between two numbers and identify the increase or decrease percentage. Just like identifying percentages, this is a simple process. If one week a business has 100 candy bars on hand and next week they have 25, the store owner might want to know what percentage of their stock was sold.

First, the two numbers will need to be compared. The two numbers will have a difference that needs to be found. 100 minus 25 leaves a difference of 75. The difference will then need to be divided by the original number, 75 / 100 = .75. Then the answer is multiplied by one hundred for an answer of %75. This means %75 of the store’s candy bar stock was sold.

Percentage by Ratio

There are times when someone will be given a ratio, such as 14 out of 50 and asked to find the percentage. This is done by dividing the numerator by the denominator, or 14 / 50. The answer of .28 can then be converted by multiplying by 100. So, with the ratio of 14 out of 50, 14 would be %28.

Simple Percentages

There are some percentages that are incredibly simple to find. A little logic goes a long way in math. For example, finding ten percent of something is done by dividing the number by ten. Finding five percent would mean dividing that number by two. Twenty-five percent is one-quarter, so dividing a number by four gives the answer.