What are Significant Figures and How Students can calculate them easily?

In today’s modern world, accuracy is important when defining mathematical operations or reporting chemistry equations.

However, going deep into mathematical operations to get the exact value or defining an atom’s precise volume can be impossible without any proper knowledge for students.

Although the laboratory equipment and available machines are designed to do the tough work, they are limited to an extent where they can only determine a certain amount of data.     

For example:

A weighing scale can only define the mass of an object until a certain decimal place,

Similarly, machines can only calculate a certain value of digits, up to an extent precisely.

These accurately calculated results are called significant digits or also known as significant figures.

Students who are still unfamiliar with Significant figures can read this article or work with experts from SoFlo Tutors to learn more about how hard AP calculus is; this article is based on an overview of significant figures and how students can calculate them in their routine calculating operations?

What are Significant Figures?

The number of digits in a figure helps indicate the accuracy of measurement instead of its magnitude.    

Significant figures or digits help peoples to know how accurate a number is calculated.

It would be unfair if a number can be expressed beyond the figure, which is being calculated.

Thus, for showing accurate results, there’s a need to include more digits.

For example:

  • A précised value 

To calculate the gas cylinder’s mass, a student uses a machine and finds out the result as 12.5 kg. 

Using significant figure formula

But, in calculating the exact gas cylinder mass, the student must use a significant figures converter as it will help him get the accurate volume, like 12.502690.         

In the second part, you can see, the volume of the cylinder is beyond 12.5.

This tells us that the student was compromising the gas cylinder volume’s integrity by just defining it as 12.5kg.

Whereas in reality, the mass of the gas cylinder is beyond 12.5kg, 

Hence, Significant figures help in expressing the exact précised value of any particular thing. 

How to recognize the number of significant figures?

To recognize the numbers of significant figures, a student will have to follow the basic rules, and these are listed below:

  • All non-zero digits are significant
  • Any zeros between significant digits are also significant
  • Trailing zeros to the right of a decimal point are significant.

How to recognize digits that are not significant?

First of all, zero is the only digit that is not significant; they are just the place holders like in this example.


How many significant digits are in 00.6064?


Step 1- Follow the rule, Start counting for significant digits on the first non-zero digit (6).

Step 2- Stop counting where you see significant digits are ending like in this case, the last digit is (4). 

So, in this figure 00.6064 

00 is insignificant and 6 to 4 is the significant digit.

This means there are 4 significant digits in this figure.

What is the scientific notation form of a significant figure?

When calculating manually, the student should know that the scientific notation form is 

(a x 10b)

In this “a’ and ‘b” are the integers representing values from 1- 10 only.

For example:

 If a figure is 0.47009

So the scientific notation of this figure will be 4.701 x 104 

And the significant digits are (4, 7, 0, 0, 9) 

How to Round significant digits?

Students should keep it very simple when rounding numbers to a significant digit, and replace the other numbers with insignificant zeroes.

A major reason to round a number to a particular number of significant digits is that in a calculation, some values vary from others as they have fewer significant digits than other values. 

Hence, the calculation’s answer is only accurate to the number of significant digits of the value with the least amount.

For example:

If you are looking to round a figure of 52477.34 to 2 significant digits.

The answer will be 52000.

How to add or subtract with significant figures?

Students looking to add or subtract significant figures should remember that the result should have the same decimal places as the number with the least number of decimal places.

For example:

X = 462.243+ 0.17 than find X?

The answer will be 

X = 462.60

How to multiply and divide with significant figures?

Students looking to multiply or divide with numbers should keep in mind that the result should have the same number of significant digits as the numbers with the least number of decimal places. 

For example:

X = 35 x 56.3 than find X?

The answer will be  

X = 1970

What about the exact numbers?

Well, the exact number has an infinite number of significant digits.

Hence, they are expressed as exact numbers like how many meters are there in a kilometer, how many letters are there in alphabets?

These things have exact numbers like in kilometers there are 1000 meters, and there are 26 letters in alphabets.

All of these concepts are described to make you understand the basic workflow and how to calculate significant figures manually.

Now the thing is as in the current digital era almost everything is becoming digitalized, similarly calculating significant figures has also become easy for the students through digital tools.

How to calculate the significant figures instantly?

Usually, people used to figure out significant figures manually through following above mentioned basic rules, but nowadays there is an alternate option, and what is to be that?

Any guesses?


The answer is, Online Sig figs calculator, it’s one of the best choices available in the digital world.

Students can easily use significant figures converter to resolve different complex equations instantly. 

One great example is given below:     

Let’s assume you have to figure out = 0.600361 so, let’s put this value into the calculator’s user interface.

It also gives you an optional choice to round the figure as per your choice.

Now if you are looking for significant figures, it shows.

However, this is not limited to give you significant numbers. Besides, it also expresses the other crucial elements like 

Hence, anyone can use this Sig figs calculator for getting instant and accurate results efficiently without hassling around with manual formula and rules. 

Using this calculator, students can save their precious time and focus on other academic activities; the only thing you need is online access to this significant figure’s converter.  


Looking at the nature of the significant figures shows us that it’s a vital parameter, one should follow to get accurate and more précised answers while measuring any quantity. 

Whether in chemistry labs or a mathematical assignment, students can use online calculators to enhance their overall productivity and get instant solutions to their significant figure’s calculations.

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