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It looks like a headache, but in fact, as long as you know how to do it and practice a little, fractions problems will become really easy. Fractional math won’t be a problem once you get the hang of them. Let’s start with step 1, from basic addition and subtraction and then move on to more complex operations.
Steps
Multiply two fractions
- For example, to multiply 1/2 by 3/4, we take 1 times 3 and 2 times 4. The result is 3/8.
Divide two fractions
- For example, 8/15 3/4 will be converted to 8/15 x 4/3
- 8 x 4 equals 32 and 15 x 3 equals 45, so the final answer is 32/45.
Convert mixed numbers to real fractions
- For example, the mixed number 3 2/5 (three and two fifths).
- Here, we’ll take 3 x 5, and get 15.
- Here, we add 15 + 2 and get 17.
- In this example, we get 17/5.
Add and subtract fractions
- For example, for 1/4 and 1/6, the least common denominator is 12 (4×3=12, 6×2=12)
- Calculate how many times the current sample must be multiplied to equal the least common denominator. With 1/4, 4 times 3 equals 12. With 1/6, 6 times 2 equals 12.
- Multiply both the numerator and denominator of the given fraction by the number above. With 1/4, you would multiply 3 by both 1 and 4 and get 3/12. The remaining 1/6 is multiplied by 2 and becomes 2/12. At this point, the problem becomes 3/12 + 2/12 or 3/12 – 2/12.
- With 3/12 + 2/12, the final answer will be 5/12. In the case of 3/12 – 2/12, that’s 1/12.
Advice
- Basic skills in the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) make calculations faster and easier.
- To find the inverse of an integer, you simply put 1 as the numerator and convert that number to the denominator. For example, the inverse of 5 is 1/5.
- You can multiply and divide mixed numbers without having to convert them to real fractions. But doing so requires the use of distributive computations in a complex and stressful way. Therefore, you’d better switch to non-real fractions for calculations.
- “Invert fraction” is also “find the inverse “. You still just swap the places of the numerator and denominator. For example 2/4 will become 4/2.
- Fractions never have a denominator of zero. The denominator of zero doesn’t make sense because dividing by zero is mathematically illegal.
Warning
- Convert mixed numbers to real fractions before starting.
- Check with your teacher to see if you are required to convert your answers to mixed numbers. Some teachers prefer answers expressed in mixed numbers, others prefer to use fractions that aren’t real.
- For example, 3 1/4 instead of 13/4.
- Check with your teacher if you need to reduce your answer to the simplest fraction.
- For example, 2/5 is a simple fraction and 16/40 is not. 16/40 can be reduced to 2/5 by 16 divided by 8 equals 2 and 40 divided by 8 gives 5.8. 8 is the greatest common divisor of 16 and 40.
wikiHow is a “wiki” site, which means that many of the articles here are written by multiple authors. To create this article, 74 people, some of whom are anonymous, have edited and improved the article over time.
This article has been viewed 18,435 times.
It looks like a headache, but in fact, as long as you know how to do it and practice a little, fractions problems will become really easy. Fractional math won’t be a problem once you get the hang of them. Let’s start with step 1, from basic addition and subtraction and then move on to more complex operations.
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