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Learn the Difference between Exact and Inexact Division

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Division is an inverse operation to multiplication and it works to form groups or distribute them evenly. This post will show how to operate both exact and inexact division. 

When we are doing division, we can be given two situations: to form equal groups and be left with zero remainder (exact division), or to form groups with leftover elements (inexact division).

Let’s imagine that in a gym class, there are 24 students and the teacher has to decide which sport to play.exact and inexact division

The class could play…

        Soccer                                                Basketball                                           Tennis

with 11 players per team            with players per team                             in pairs of 2

inexact division

      Handball                                           Baseball                                     Volleyball

 with 7 players per team                 with 9 players per team             with 6 players per team

inexact division

So that no student is left without a team, the teacher must decide between playing tennis in pairs or volleyball. Those are the only two options that would form equal groups with no students left over.

They are EXACT divisions.

inexact division


While if the teacher decides to play football, basketball, volleyball or handball there would be children left out.

The examples with children left out are INEXACT divisions.  

inexact division


  • A divison is exact when the remainder is zero.  The dividend equals the divisor multiplied by the quotient.
  • A division is inexact when there is a leftover remainder. The dividend equals the divisor multiplied by the quotient plus the remainder.

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