Everyday maths 2
Everyday maths 2

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

7 Ratio

As you can see from Figure 9, ratio is an important part of everyday life.

Described image
Figure 9 Day-to-day ratio

Ratio questions can be asked in different ways. There are three main ways of asking a ratio question. Take a look at an example of each below and see if you can identify the differences.

Type 1

A recipe for bread says that flour and water must be used in the ratio 5:3. If you wish to make 500 g of bread, how much flour should you use?

Type 2

You are growing tomatoes. The instructions on the tomato feed say ‘Use 1 part feed to 4 parts water’. If you use 600 ml of water, how much tomato feed should you use?

Type 3

Ishmal and Ailia have shared some money in the ratio 3:7. Ailia receives £20 more than Ishmal. How much does Ishmal receive?

Before discussing the differences in the types of question, it is important to understand how to tell which part of the ratio is which. If, for example, you have a group of men and women in the ratio of 5:4 – as the men were mentioned first, they are the first part of the ratio. This is the case in all ratio questions. The order that the items are written in the question directly relates to the order of the given ratio.

In questions of type 1, you are given the total amount that both ingredients must add to, in this example, 500 g. In questions of type 2 however, you are not given the total amount but instead are given the amount of one part of the ratio. In this case you know that the 4 parts of water total 600 ml.

The final type of ratio question does not give us either the total amount or the amount of one part of the ratio. Instead, it gives us just the difference between the first and second part of the ratio. Whilst neither type of ratio question is more complicated than the others, it is useful to know which type you are dealing with as the approach for solving each type of problem is slightly different.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371