Multiplying fractions is considerably easier than adding or subtracting fractions. When you add or subtract fractions you have to first find a common denominator and then convert the fractions so that they have that common denominator. When you multiply fractions, you can just go ahead and multiply the numerators (the top number of a fraction) and the denominators (the bottom number of a fraction). It’s true that it’s advisable to simplify the fractions before you multiply them but multiplying fractions is straightforward.
Because the multiplication of fractions is simple, test questions are likely to introduce a little bit of complexity by throwing in mixed numbers and improper fractions. Here are some key definitions:-
Multiplying Fractions in Four Simple Steps
However complicated you try to make it, any two fractions can be multiplied in four, simple steps. This video walks you through these four steps:-
The video uses the multiplication:-
Here are the four steps:-
Step 1:- If you have a mixed number convert it to an improper fraction.
3¾ is a mixed number. To convert to an improper fraction, multiply the whole number by the denominator (the bottom number) and add to the numerator (the top number) and this gives the new numerator. In this case the numerator becomes:
(3×4) + 3 = 15.
This revised numerator is then placed over the denominator to give us an improper fraction (a fraction where the top number is greater than the bottom number) to give us:
3¾ = 15/4
Step 2:- Simplify
The more you can simplify the easier it is to multiply the fractions. In this example we have:-
Step 3:- Simply Multiply The Fractions
We just have to multiply the numerators and denominators to give our initial answer:-
Step 4:- If you have an improper fraction convert it to a mixed number
Obviously the answer will not always be an improper fraction but if it is, you need to tidy it up by converting it to a mixed number. Some teachers and exam boards will award you fewer marks if you do not complete this final step:
Here are the four steps in summary:-