How to Learn the 24 Hour Clock

Written by chris miksen
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A 24-hour clock is also known as military time and astronomical time. Unlike standard time that runs on a 12-hour clock, a 24-hour clock does not divide the day into "a.m." and "p.m." With a 24-hour clock, there is no confusion about whether the time is a.m. or p.m., and it's a universal way to tell time. You may have difficulty at first learning the 24-hour clock, but after awhile it can become second nature.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Look at the numbers from 0000 to 1200. These numbers represent midnight (12 a.m.) to noon (12 p.m.). There is no real difference in these numbers and standard time numbers except an extra 0 at the beginning, and a lack of colon in the middle. For example, if it's 1:30 a.m., a 24-hour clock would read "0130."

  2. 2

    Examine the numbers 1300 to 2359. Those numbers represent 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Those numbers appear different than standard time numbers, because instead of resetting back to 1 p.m., the numbers just continue on from 12.

  3. 3

    Subtract 12 hours from times between 1300 and 2359 to find the time in standard time. For example, if the clock reads "1325," take 12 hours away to find the time: 1:25 p.m.

Tips and warnings

  • A good rule to avoid forgetting which numbers are a.m. and which numbers are p.m. is to remember that any number starting with a 0 is a.m.

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