## How To Do Percentages

November 1, 2010 § 2 Comments

Percentages are another tricky subject that often confuses children at school! Just like fractions, there is so much to learn about working with percentages: finding the percentage of a quantity, changing decimals and fractions into percentages and vice versa, not to mention finding one quantity as a percentage of another! Percentages, though, are a vital tool for later life. Many of us use percentages in our day-to-day life without even thinking about it, simply by working out VAT!

So, what is a percentage? *A percentage is a way of expressing a number as a portion of 100.*

How do we use percentages? *We say that 100 is the whole of something and the percentage is the amount of it we are using. (*For example, we say that a whole cake is 100%. If I eat half of that cake, we are left with 50%.)

Very often, it is much easier to use fractions, but when it comes to really complicated fractions, it is sometimes just easier to say 79% instead of 79 hundredths! Again, percentages is one of those topics that a child can often fall behind in because they have not understood a certain part of it. That’s why it’s always best to start at the beginning if your child is ever going to be confident about using percentages in the 11+ exams or at any stage in their school life. Don’t forget that percentages will take up a few questions in GCSE mathematics!

*Do I know what a percentage is?*

*Can I change a fraction into a percentage?*

*Can I change a decimal into a percentage?*

*Can I find the percentage of a quantity?*

*Do I know the simpler methods for using percentages like 25% and 50%?*

If your child can answer “yes” to all those questions, they are a percentages maths star! If there are a few “no”s, try Maths Star’s 11+ Percentages page.

I think some adults could also do with brushing up on their maths skills – especially percentages!

Yes, unfortunately it can be a big problem for parents to understand their children’s homework problems . . particularly when schools are teaching new methods!