Dividing fractions is a mathematical function that comes up in numerical reasoning assessments and maths skills tests.

Fractions can be confusing, but with the right preparation you will have a method to use and can feel confident facing any fraction-related questions in your pre-employment test.

There are a few things to remember when it comes to working with fractions:

  • A fraction usually describes a number between 0 and 1
  • The top number in a fraction is the numerator
  • The bottom number in a fraction is the denominator
  • The line between is a division symbol
  • It is easier to deal with fractions when they have been simplified

How to divide fractions

Here’s an example:

⅜ divided by 2/4

The first fraction should be left as it is.

To solve this problem, we need to change the divide operator to multiplication, and flip the second fraction.

That then makes the problem look like this:

⅜ x 4/2

Then you should multiply the fraction as you usually would.

You can either simplify before you multiply, or at the end, to find out the solution.

3 x 4 = 12

8 x 2 = 16

This gives us the answer 12/16 or ¾.

Example questions

Question one

What is 6/8 divided by 4/12?

Answer:

Leave the first fraction, change the operator, flip the second.

6/8 x 12/4

6 x 12 = 72

8 x 4 = 32

Simplified: 9/4 or 2¼

Question two

Divide 6/7 by ⅔

Answer:

This is a little bit complicated, as the presentation of the problem is the ‘wrong way round’. If you were writing the equation, you would note it as:

⅔ / 6/7

Leave the first fraction, change the operator, flip the second fraction.

⅔ x 7/3

2 x 7 = 14

3 x 3 = 9

This gives the answer of 14/9, which can be simplified to 1 5/9.

Question three

What is 2 ¾ divided by 1 ⅔?

Answer:

To start with, we need to get the mixed numbers into improper fractions.

11/4 / 5/3

Leave the first fraction, change the operator, flip the second fraction.

11/4 x ⅗

11 x 3 = 33

4 x 5 = 20

33/20 or 1 13/20

Tips for dividing fractions

1.Think logically

Not all questions are written in a way that is simple to negotiate. Word problems especially can be difficult to understand, so be logical in your approach to make sure that you are using the right calculations.

2. Remember the game plan

This method of dividing fractions can work on both simple and more complicated types of fraction division, so practice it to make sure you know what you need to do.

3. Create improper fractions if necessary

You will not want to have any whole numbers involved in your calculations, so if you do need to complete a sum that involves them, make an improper fraction instead. This is a top-heavy fraction.

Remember to ‘undo’ the improper fraction at the end and write the answer in the same way the question was posed.

4. Revise other fraction usage

Fractions can be complicated, so you might want to look at other techniques for working with them to build your confidence.

Numerical reasoning assessments tend not to be too difficult in terms of content for those who have a normal school education, but when faced with exam conditions and strict time limits, having recently revised methodology fresh in your mind will make you feel more confident.

5. Don’t panic

It is understandably nerve-wracking when you face pre-employment assessments, and having the opportunity to practice will make you feel more confident and less prone to nerves.