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Decimals Review for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Study Guide

By Learning Express Editors
LearningExpress, LLC
Updated on Jun 23, 2011

A decimal is a special kind of fraction. You use decimals every day when you deal with money—\$10.35 is a decimal that represents 10 dollars and 35 cents. The decimal point separates the dollars from the cents. Because there are 100 cents in one dollar, 1¢ is of a dollar, or \$.01.

Each decimal digit to the right of the decimal point has a name:

Example:

.1 = 1 tenth =
.02 = 2 hundredths =
.003 = 3 thousandths =
.0004 = 4 ten-thousandths =

When you add zeros after the rightmost decimal place, you don't change the value of the decimal. For example, 6.17 is the same as all of these:

6.170
6.1700
6.17000000000000000

If there are digits on both sides of the decimal point (like 10.35), the number is called a mixed decimal. If there are digits only to the right of the decimal point (like .53), the number is called a decimal. A whole number (like 15) is understood to have a decimal point at its right (15.). Thus, 15 is the same as 15.0, 15.00, 15.000, and so on.

Changing Fractions to Decimals

To change a fraction to a decimal, divide the bottom number into the top number after you put a decimal point and a few zeros on the right of the top number. When you divide, bring the decimal point up into your answer.

Example: Change to a decimal.
 1. Add a decimal point and 2 zeros to the top number (3): 3.00 2. Divide the bottom number (4) into 3.00: Bring the decimal point up into the answer: 3. The quotient (result of the division) is the answer: .75

Some fractions may require you to add many decimal zeros for the division to come out evenly. In fact, when you convert a fraction like to a decimal, you can keep adding decimal zeros to the top number forever because the division will never come out evenly. As you divide 3 into 2, you will keep getting 6's:

2 ÷ 3 = .6666666666 etc.

This is called a repeating decimal and it can be written as You can approximate it as .67, .667, .6667, and so on.

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