Standard Form

  • From: Vicki Hopgood
  • Date: 16 Feb 1999
  • Subject: Standard Form and Powers

I recently had a question that read:

Express 703 in standard form

Is this a trick question? The number is already in standard form, isn't it?

Maths Help suggests:

This is not a trick question! The number 703 is not in standard form.

703 is read "Seventy to the power three". It means

70 × 70 × 70

which is equal to 343 000

A number in standard form looks like this:

A × 10n
Where A is a number between 1 and 10,
and n is a positive or negative whole number

So the number 343 000 in standard form is

3.43 × 105

Your calculator may show this as 3.4303 but this is just calculator shorthand. You should not copy this down.

Instead, you should write the standard form number as 3.43 × 103 to be correct.

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