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Significant figures with calculations

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How do you find correct significant figures when performing calculations?

(note: the explanation will assume you know what significant figures are and can find how many significant figs are in each number)

Perform these calculations, using correct sig figs


3.708 + 3.2


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Solution Preview

How do you find correct significant figures when adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing?

There are two major processes we need to consider, addition/subtraction and multiplication/division. These may seem like 4 separate processes, but for the sake of this article, they are really only two because they are so similar!

In order to find the correct place to round to in addition/subtraction, you must determine which of the two numbers is least "accurate." This means that you compare the two numbers and see where the last significant figure lies. You round to the least accurate spot. This is most easily conveyed with an example

10.07 + 9.3 Notice how the 9.3 has its last significant ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses how to find correct significant figures with addition and multiplication/division.