What is standard form and significant figures?
In Prelim Standard Math, we use standard form and significant figures to represent our answers across a range of topics. Standard form or also known as scientific notation, is used to write very large or very small numbers more conveniently. It consists of a number between 1 and 10 being multiplied by a power of 10. An example of this is 4 100 000 is expressed as 4.1 x 10 ^6 in scientific notation.
Steps to writing numbers in scientific notation:
- Find the first two non-zero digits
- Place the decimal point between those two digits
- Count the digits between the new decimal point, this is the power of 10
- Power of 10 is positive for large numbers and negative for small numbers
Significant figures are used to specify the accuracy of a number, often used to round a number. For example, the number 51 340 has five significant figures (5,1,3,4,0) and 0.00871 has three significant figures (8,7,1).
Steps to writing numbers to significant figures:
- Write the number in standard form
- Count the digits in the number to determine its accuracy
- Round the number to the required number of significant figures
How to convert numbers into standard form
The video below explains how to convert numbers into standard form.
How to convert numbers using standard form and significant figures
The following video explains how to convert numbers involving standard form and significant figures.
How to express numbers in significant figures
The following video explains how to express numbers in significant figures and why it’s useful.