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Foreign Currency and Exchange Rates (F)

If you want to travel abroad, you will have to use a foreign currency. This means you should know how to convert money from one currency to another, using exchange rates. In this GCSE maths quiz you will be asked to change between pounds, euros, dollars (US and Canadian) and Swiss francs.

Converting between two different currencies is really just a special case of solving ratio problems using the Unitary method, as the exchange rate is given in terms of what 1 unit of currency equals. The calculation will either be to multiply or divide – get it wrong, and you could get fleeced! If you’re not sure, change the problem to much easier numbers, and work out what the correct operation is.

When we are preparing to go abroad, we want to know how much foreign currency we can get for £1.

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But when we return, we need the exchange rate to work the other way – how many pounds can I get for 1 unit of foreign currency? One way to work this out is to use the reciprocal exchange rate – divide it into 1.

Currencies round the world use various symbols – you will probably recognise £, €, $ - can you list any more? As lots of countries share the same symbol, it could be easy to get mixed up and use the wrong currency! So, each unique currency has a 3-letter code. This identifies the currency type, and the country (or zone) it is used in. GBP, USD and EUR may be obvious, but can you work out what AED, ZAR, and BRL stand for?

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Author: Sally Thompson

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