How to find the mean median mode and range of a set of numbers

Written by tina molly lang
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If you are working with a set of numbers, you may need to find their mean, median, mode or range. Such problems tend to appear on the SAT, as well as other standardised tests. They also tend to show up in everyday math problems. Finding the mean, median, mode or range is relatively easy. You just have to remember which is which.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Pick a set of numbers. Let’s use 89, 87, 57, 94 and 73.

  2. 2

    Find the mean of your group of numbers. To do this, simply find the average (the sum of the terms divided by the number of terms). So 89 + 87 + 57 + 94 + 73 = 400. And 400 ÷ 5 = 80. The mean is 80.

  3. 3

    Find the median of your set of numbers. Simply rearrange the numbers in numerical order and take the middle number. In numerical order, you have 57, 73, 87, 89 and 94. The median (or middle term) is 87. If a set has an even number of terms, find the median by taking the average (mean) of the two middle terms. Suppose it had been 57, 73, 87 and 89. You would find the median by taking the average of 73 and 87. 73 + 87 = 160. 160 ÷ 2 = 80. The median in this particular group is 80.

  4. 4

    Find the mode of a set of numbers. The mode is the term that appears most often. Let’s use another example. Try 57, 73, 87, 73 and 89. You’ll see that the term 73 appears twice, while the other numbers only appear once. Therefore, the mode in this set is 73. If there is a tie for numbers appearing most often in a set, then there is more than one mode. For example, if the set had been 57, 57, 73, 87, 73 and 89, you would see that both 57 and 73 appear twice. This set has two modes: 57 and 73.

  5. 5

    Find the range of a set of numbers. Take the positive difference between the highest and lowest values. For example, say you have a set containing 89, 87, 57, 94 and 73. Find the range by finding the difference between 94 and 57. 94 – 57 = 37. The range of this set is 37. What if the set contains both negative and positive numbers? Let’s use 89, 87, -57, 94, and 72. Find the difference between 94 and -57: 94 – (-57) = 151. Here the range is 151.

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