GCSE Maths Quiz

Writing Numbers including Standard Form (F)

Being able to read and write numbers means you have to have a good understanding of the place value chart. Writing a cheque still requires you to write the number out in words as well as in digits, to help avoid a careless mistake that could cost you. This GCSE Maths quiz will test how well you can recognise big numbers.

Because we usually see numbers written as digits, it takes a little extra brain power to write them down in words. In the past few years there have been some embarrassing mistakes by big companies, which have cost them thousands if not millions of pounds, all over a simple mistake in entering a number into a spreadsheet. Basic proof-checking by a colleague could easily have prevented these errors.

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Britain had a different system than America (and perhaps the rest of the world) to name very big numbers such as 1 billion. The old British system would require 1 million million to become 1 billion (i.e. 12 zeroes), but the more logical system now adopted by the world (or most of the world) is to use 1 thousand million for 1 billion (9 zeroes). Numbers are all getting very big by then, so a better way to write them is to use Scientific Notation.

When writing very large numbers, group them into threes, starting from the units digit. Using a comma to separate thousands is not agreed international practice, a space is recommended (this is because many other countries use a comma for their decimal). You will notice that we continue to use commas - this is for layout purposes only.

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Author: Sally Thompson

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