Question #85a3f

1 Answer
Mar 31, 2017

Answer:

Do not round off to the correct number of significant figures until the final calculation.

Explanation:

If you round off after each step, you may get accumulated round-off error.

Always carry at least one extra digit (called a guard digit) to prevent round-off error.

Any intermediate answers that you must report for grading should be rounded off to the correct number of significant figures.

If you must use an intermediate answer in a later calculation, use its unrounded value (not the rounded value that you reported earlier).

Example

(a) Rounding off at each step

Calculate the value of #2.350(4.0+6.361)#.

#4.0 + 6.311 = 10.4# (3 significant figures)

#2.350 × 10.4 = 24.4# (3 significant figures)

(b) Carrying a guard digit

Calculate the value of #2.350(4.0+6.361)#.

#4.0 + 6.361 = 10.36# (1 decimal place + 1 guard digit)

#2.350 × 10.36 = 24.36# (3 significant figures + 1 guard digit)
#= 24.3# (3 significant figures)

If you retain all the digits in your calculator, the answer becomes #"24.348 35"# which, on rounding, becomes #24.3#.

Moral: Retain one guard digit and round off only at the end.