Succeed with maths – Part 2

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# 1 Averages

If somebody makes the same trip frequently, the length of that trip may be similar each time but there would be exceptions to this if there were delays along the way. So what then would be the typical time for the journey? Should you pick the time that occurs most often, or the time that is somewhere in the middle?

A value that is typical of the values in a set of data is known as an average, and just as with our example, there are different ways of calculating this: the mean, the median and the mode. In the next sections you will look at how each represents the typical value of a set of data.

Knowing a typical value, and also how the data is spread out around this typical value, is important in all sorts of situations. A clothes manufacturer, for example, would use this to decide the size of clothes to make, as well as how many of each size.

The first average to consider is the mean.