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Front-End Estimation in Math: Definition & Examples

Instructor: David Karsner
Could you use a rounding technique to make your calculations easier and quicker? Front-end estimation will allow you to find answers to mathematical operations that are approximations to the exact answer.

What is Front End Estimation?

Front End Estimationis a rounding technique used to get an approximate answer to a mathematical operation. It is the process of replacing the numbers in mathematical problems with numbers that are approximate (close to) to the original numbers. This makes the problem simpler and very often you will not need a calculator or pen and paper. It works well for any of the basic mathematical operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

How to Use Front End Estimation

As the name suggest, you will need to make an estimation of each number based on the front end or the first digit of the number. Numbers with a lot of zeros as digits are easier to calculate. In front end estimation we are going to replace the original number with a number that is close by but only has one non zero digit. Examples: {20, 300, -50, 1,000, 80,000}. For example take the number 32, the choices to replace it with are 30 or 40 (they both have only one non-zero digit). 30 would be a better choice since 32 is closer to 30 than to 40. 30 is an easier number than 32 to perform most mathematical calculations. Another example, take the number 7823. The choices to replace it are 7000 or 8000. This time the better choice is 8000. (7823 is closer to 8000 than it is to 7000).

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