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1.

1 SIGNIFICANT FIGURES
MATHEMATICS FORM 4
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1.1a Concept of significant figures

Significant figures:
The relevant digit of an integer or decimal number rounded off to a value according to a particular
level of accuracy

Properties used as a guide to round off a number to the required number of significant figures

Properties Examples
1. All non-zero digits are significant
42 (2 significant figures)
62.29 (4 significant figures)
2. Zeros between non-zero digits are significant
2.08 (3 significant figures)
2006 (4 significant figures)
3. Zero following a non-zero digit in a whole
number may or may not be significant. It
depends on how the estimation is made
*All zeros after any non-zero digit in a whole
number are not significant unless stated
otherwise
20 (1 significant figures)
200 (1 significant figures)
2000 (2 significant figures)
2000 (3 significant figures)
4. For decimals less than 1, zeros preceding the
first non-zero are not significant
*All zeros before any non-zero digit in a
decimal point are not significant
0.8 (1 significant figures)
0.08060 (4 significant figures)
5. Zeros following a non-zero digit after the
decimal point are significant
*All zeros after any non-zeros digit in a
decimal are significant
3.60 (3 significant figures)
26.00 (4 significant figures)


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PRACTICE

1. State the number of significant figures in each of the following numbers:

(a) 6050 (d) 0.600078
(b) 7.100 (e) 30.09
(c) 0.0280 (f) 80 004

2. State the number of significant figures in each of the following numbers:

(a) 876 (d) 0.0802
(b) 294.02 (e) 2.020
(c) 8.0 (f) 600
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1.1b Round off a positive number to a given number of significant figures


















PRACTICE

1. Round off the following numbers to:
(i) Correct to 3 significant figures
(ii) Correct to 2 significant figures
(iii) Correct to 1 significant figures

(a) 38 106 (d) 45.465 (g) 0.09707 (j) 59.593
(b) 4398.7 (e) 80.043 (h) 0.0002938 (k) 598.3
(c) 1998 (f) 0.03562 (i) 0.9997 (l) 0.003498



Determine digit (x) to round off
Is it the number after x
greater or less than 5?
Add 1 to x
Is it extra digits after x
located before or after
decimal point?
Change the extra digits with zero
x does not change
Dropping the extra digits
NO
YES
AFTER
BEFORE
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2. Round off the following, correct to 3 significant figures.

(a) 6.229 (d) 8996 (g) 0.006497
(b) 99.45 (e) 0.8429 (h) 0.02096
(c) 709.3 (f) 0.06025

3. Round off each of the following numbers to the number of significant figures indicated in
brackets:

(a) 78 534 (1) (b) 0.604 (2)
(c) 4768 (2) (d) 0.003745 (3)

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MATHEMATICS FORM 4
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1.1c Operations involving a few numbers and significant figures

Find the value of each of the following, stating your answer correct to 2 significant figures.

(a) 7.5 + 0.48 0.04
(b) 0.06 x 0.1 + 35.6 50
(c) 6.84 30 + 3.75
(d) 5.28 7.5 x 0.04
(e) (724 + 25.1) 0.2
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(f) 1.24 0.4 + 0.8 x 4.2
(g) 0.06 x 0.4 + 0.084 0.2
(h) 19.2 4.2 0.5 + 9.1
(i) 0.21 + 4.1 x 5 6.5


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MATHEMATICS FORM 4
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Find the value of each of the following, stating your answer correct to 3 significant figures.

(a) 9.658 x 3.2 + 6.248
(b) 1.254 0.03 6.2549
(c) 85.2
2
x 0.0663 76.369
(d)
15.624
0.4

(e)
850
25 32


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MATHEMATICS FORM 4
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Find the value of each of the following and express each answer correct to the number of significant
figures indicated in the brackets

(a) 0.028 0.02 1.204 [3]
(b) 0.68 0.2 0.296 [3]
(c) 0.3 x 0.04 + 1.074 60 [2]
(d) 5.2 x 0.3 0.345 [3]
(e) 6.78 10 x 3.1 [3]
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(f) 0.3(4 0.38) [2]
(g) 1.38 + 8.13 0.3 [2]
(h) 58.72 24.13 x 2.2 [2]
(i) 0.6 x 0.8276 0.12 [1]
(j) 36.7 + 10.6 x 0.3 [2]


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1.1d Solve problems involving significant figures

1. The height of the Petronas Twin Towers is about 451.9 m and each has 88 storeys. What is the
average height of a storey? Give your answer, correct to 3 significant figures.
2. The width of a piece of land is 12.5 m and its length is twice its width. Calculate the area of the
land, correct to 2 significant figures.
3. Mary borrows RM63 000 from a bank with an interest rate of 6.25% per annum. Calculate the
interest she needs to pay after two years (simple interest). State your answer, correct to 3
significant figures.
4. The length of a piece of rectangular card is 15.7 cm. its width is 12.4 cm. calculate the area, in
cm
2
, of this card, correct to 3 significant figures.
5. The volume of a cylinder is 54.5 cm
3
. The radius of the base is 3 cm. calculate the height of the
cylinder, correct to 2 significant figures. (Take =
22
7
)
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MATHEMATICS FORM 4
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6. The length, breadth and height of a rectangle are 7.5 cm, 12.5 cm and 10.5 cm respectively.
Calculate the volume of rectangle, stating your answer correct to 4 significant figures.
7. A box contains 6 cans. Each can has a mass of 505 g. the box has a mass of 60 g. find the total
mass, in g, of 6 cans and the box, stating your answer correct to 2 significant figures.
8. The diameter of a sphere is 8.45 cm. calculate its volume, in cm
3
, correct to 2 significant figures.
[ Volume of sphere =
4
3
r
3
and use = 3.142 ]