Virtual Help icon Virtual Help

  • Chat with library staff now
  • Contact your library
Skip to Main Content

Fractions: sub-module 1 of 4 of math tutorials

Fractions are numbers that are not whole; they represent parts of a whole number. You have likely encountered several examples of fractions in your day-to-day life. For example, a recipe may require 3 quarters of a cup of flour. If a pizza is divided into eight equal slices, this is a fraction: each slice is one-eighth of the whole pizza. This module will help you understand fractions and review key concepts so that you will feel comfortable working with fractions.


Top Tips

  • Don’t be afraid to work with fractions! You are going to encounter fractions in math and in everyday life, so get comfortable working with them.
  • To add and subtract fractions, you need a common denominator first. Once you have that, you can add or subtract the numerators and place them over the common denominator.
  • To multiply fractions, multiply the numerators and denominators individually. Multiply the numerators of the fractions together and then multiply the denominators together to get the result.
  • To divide fractions, multiply the first fraction by the reciprocal of the second fraction. To get the reciprocal, flip the second fraction so that the numerator becomes the denominator and vice versa. Multiply that by the first fraction.
  • Always convert mixed numbers to improper fractions before multiplying or dividing fractions. Instead of a whole number with a fraction (e.g. 5 ⅔), you want a fraction where the numerator is bigger than the denominator (e.g. 17/3). You can also do this for addition and subtraction if you prefer this method.
  • Always remember to simplify your fractions to the lowest terms in your final answer. If the numerator and the denominator have a common factor other than 1 (i.e. they can be divided by the same number), simplify them.
  • Any whole number can be written as a fraction by placing it over 1. If you have a whole number and a fraction to work with, this will allow you to work with two fractions instead.