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How to work out percentages

Updated on April 1, 2011

Most math concepts can be simple if one understands what the question really is...

'Percent' is a two parts word and comes from the latin PER CENTUM translated it means 'Per one hundred' in actual facts the word really explains what it wants you to calculate...

A simple way of calculating Percentages is to use the 3 step method:

  1. determine what 100% of amount =
  2. 1% of amount = amount divided by 100
  3. ?%of amount = amount divided by 100 times ?% =

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Lets plug in some numbers into the formula. It's easier to comprehend when there are actual numbers in a formula...

What is 15% of 500?

1)100% of amount = 500

2)1% of amount = 500 divided by 100 or (500/100)

3)15% of amount = 500 divided by 100 times 15 =75 or (500/100X15=75)


So the answer to what is 15% of 500 = 75


Lets do it again. What is 30% of 600 ?

1)100% = 600
2)1% = 600 / 100
3)30% = 600 / 100 X 30 = 180

So the answer to what is 30% of 600 = 180

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If the question is reversed. How many percent is 75 of 500?

  1. 500 = 100%
  2. 1 = 100 / 500
  3. 75 = 100 / 500 x 75 = 15

answer 75 = 15 % of 500

Again How many percent is 180 of 600 ?

  1. 600 = 100%
  2. 1 = 100 / 600
  3. 180 = 100 / 600 x 180 = 30

answer 180 = 30 % of 600

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    • profile image

      joe 5 years ago

      hey i get % normaly i can do most in my head iv always found it easy but i have hit a problem..

      if im in the top 100 out of 50.000.000 yeh 50mill

      what % am i in ?

      i think its 0.00001 or 1100th of a %

      but have no real clue how to write it down lol help

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      immi36,

      yes, 'percent' calculations are always based on 100

      In your case 100% is 78, 1%of78 is 78/100 , therefor 5% of 78 would be 78/100x5 equals 3.9

      Remember that 100% really just means ALL of something...

      hope this helps

    • profile image

      immi36 5 years ago

      how would i work out the percentage of a number smaller than a 100 like 5% of 78? do i still divide by 100? because that would give a minus number

      PLEASE HELP!!!!!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      If if the hub was of help then it sure was worth writing it.

      Good luck with your studies immibro

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      immibro 5 years ago

      Amazing stuff, hate the way they teach me at school, this was very helpful

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
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      Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Heart throb, just follow the examples in the hub and you'll get it. It's straight forward.

      good luck

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Heart Throb 5 years ago

      I'm sorry but I really don't get it I'm horrible with learning I just never get what there trying to explain so is there a simpler way of learning percentages? Please and thank you :}

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Glad to be of help, Gail. Thanks for visiting. Good luck with your studies.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      gail 6 years ago

      I would just like to say thanks for the help with percentages. I was never really good at school. I now have to learn it as part of my job and this has helped.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      pakerg48@yahoo.com... How to find the answers is all explained in the hub for you.

      But for this one you really don't even need the above formula as this one you can figure out in your head

      In your head 33.3% of anything is a third...

      therefore 33.3% of $50,000.00 (50k) is $16,650.00

      OR again in your head

      Take 1% of 50,000.... to divide anything by a hundred you just drop of two zeros

      50,000 divided by a hundred is 500 times 33.3 = 16,650

      OR if do want to follow my formula from above

      100% = 50,000

      1% = 50,000/100

      33.3% = 50,000/100 x 33.3 = 16,650

    • profile image

      pakerg48@yahoo.com 6 years ago

      I am trying to make a math point with a co-worker. What is 33 1/3% of $50K? Can you send me the math?

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
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      Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Spirit Whisperer, thank you for taking a look and for commenting. You are so right about us closing off our minds... When I went back to College at age 32 for Mechanical Engineering I absolutely loved and conquered Calculus without any problems (we had a super teacher). However, no matter how hard I tried cursed Thermo-Dynamics got the better of me (our prof couldn't find his way out of a paper bag let alone explain the hows and whys of an equation of any sort). Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that me flunking Thermo was the profs fault, it was mine, because I put up a mental wall 50 feet high. Not passing Thermo had been stuck in my craw forever and a day and just to prove a point I took Thermo by correspondence in 2003 (17 years after college)and wasn't able to figure out why it had caused me so much trouble the first time around...

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      This is a very useful hub for anyone wanting to come to grips with percentages. The key word here is "wanting". Anyone who does not know how to do these calculations by the time they have left High School have already made the choice that they will never be able to and have no interest in doing so. The doors are and windows have been locked and there is nobody getting in. It is a choice and no matter how eloquently you describe how to do it they remain hidden behind the settee in the house of their mind. If you could write a hub to get these people to come out from behind their defences toward mathematics and make new choices then you would have more than a hub but a revolution! I love your treatment of percentages but then again I am a mathematician among my other labels.Voted up!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
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      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      surfingg, if the hub was of help then it sure was worth writing the hub.

      Good luck with your studies

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      surfingg 7 years ago

      OMG thank you so much! ive been in high school for 4 years so far, and this is the first time i've learnt how to do percentages without calculator, i should just count on the internet to learn hah!

      thank you again! :)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Omar, glad that this hub was helpful. Good luck with your studies.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      omar 7 years ago

      this was really helpful to me

      teacher is making us right to pages of how percents work

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Ravelle, if it was of help then it was worth writing the hub.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Ravelle 7 years ago

      thanks for this. been trying to figure out how to work percentages to show the working out, this was the best thing i found through google thanks again

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
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      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Lindsey, You need to know 47 % of 369

      You know that 100% = 369

      1% = 369 divided by 100

      47% = 369:100 X 47

      = 173.43

      Hope this helps...

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      lindsey 8 years ago

      how would you work out 47% of 369? like with the working out and that no calculators?

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks Double Down for coming by and having a look and for commenting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Double Down profile image

      Double Down 8 years ago

      This hub proved to be a nice brush-up for some long semi-lost skills. Thanks!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Math tutor, thanks for taking a look and for commenting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Maths tutor 8 years ago

      Good hub...will add this to my resources for my students.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      C.S. Thanks for checking out the hub. My nephew had some trouble with percents until I showed him this 'old fashioned' method. My Dad was a smart 'teacher' who would pound things into my head until they stuck.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

      Wow Zsuzsy,

      This hub is great because so much of this we learned in school but fail to remember when we do not put it to use on a regular basis. I know that percentages is one thing I had to relearn when I landscaped all the time, and ratios. Great job here!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Glad to be of help Junior. Thanks for visiting. Good luck with your studies.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Junior  9 years ago

      Hey just wana say thank you for the help Im training for the police college and this is what I suck at PERCENTAGES thanks again well gotta get back to learning them!!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks for taking a look and the comment SweetiePie.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      This is a very helpful article for anyone who is still in school or even studying for a teaching exam because believe it or not some people forget percentages. Thanks for the informative hub.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      The samples show you how...just check it out.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      x nvn cfbhn 9 years ago

      how do you work out 15%

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Glad to be of help Veronica. Thanks for visiting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Veronica profile image

      Veronica 9 years ago from NY

      I printed this out and hung it on the fridge. Very easy guide! Thanks!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks for checking out the hub Gadzooks. I found over time every one has a different way of grasping math. So even if I was able to help only one person or kid it was well worth the short time it took to write the hub.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Gadzooks profile image

      Gadzooks 9 years ago from United Kingdom

      That's a useful little hub, sure a lot of people will find that helpful!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Hassam! Thanks for your comment. regards Zsuzsy

    • hassam profile image

      hassam 9 years ago from Pakistan

      wonderful stuff there

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      tjmum! I had a Dad who was beside me pounding most of it into my head from times tables to everything else (Boy I used to hate that) but it paid of in the end. I loved trig and geometry, hated algebra but smoked through College calculus with top marks. The funny thing is that the stuff Dad showed me is all still there...go figure. Thanks for coming by

      regards Zsuzsy

    • tjmum profile image

      tjmum 9 years ago from Isle of Wight

      Argh! I still can't get my head around percentage. Yet I could cope with algebra. I hope my boys pick up math better than I did. They couldn't be much worse!

    • profile image

      sss 9 years ago

      or . &quot;No&quot; need for that comment. Guess he is not the only one with grammar problems.

    • profile image

      sss 9 years ago

      Someone. There was need for that comment. You are on this site too ;)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks for taking a look

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Someone 9 years ago

      The guy at the top. It was &quot;painfull&quot; doing math I see. Apparently it was also PAINFUL with grammar.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
      Author

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Statistics...I remember those...median etc...

      thanks for taking a look

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      Looks good. I've always been decent at math... It's statistics that's kicking my butt..

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image
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      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      barryrutherford!

      A million years ago my Dad told me &quot;DON'T LET THE NUMBERS INTIMIDATE YOU&quot;. They are only squiggles... He is also who showed me the 3 step way. Once I grasped the concept it stuck, it is still the way I figure out percentages...One of my daughters was struggling with it too...She had to picture everything in a pie solution. It works for her, she hasn't had a problem with it since... i.e. 1/2 pie is 50% 1/4 pie 25% etc. (as far as I'm concerned I always felt sorry for the poor guy who only got 1% of that pie [not worth you're while is it] or can you imagine having to cut the pie into a hundred)

      Good Luck with your calculations

      regards Zsuzsy

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 10 years ago from Queensland Australia

      You make it look simple and it is but my brain still hesitates on maths something that goes back to my childhood when failure at maths was painfull.