The Easiest and Best Way to Calculate Percentage Error & its Uses


There are different mathematical operations that are very useful in everyday life. These operations, if learned properly, can help you immediately when needed but we hardly use the long methods when we have to calculate them instantly. There are various ways in which one can make calculations. It varies from person to person. There are multiple shortcuts to remembering these operations as they are highly important.
Let’s learn about calculating percentage error

What is the percentage error?

Percentage error is the difference between the exact value and the measured value in percentage form. Or simply we can say, percentage error is the calculation of aberration that takes place on any standard value out of 100. It is mainly used in statistics, mathematics, science, and other subjects which have measurements in it. Everyone makes errors in life and similarly while measuring something a person or an instrument can make errors! This error usually happens due to the problem in the equipment, or its adjustment. So, there is nothing wrong about it. But we should always try to make things proper and when such errors appear, we should calculate the percentage error precisely.

For example, you are given to calculate the weight of wheat. You go and measure it on a beam balance and find that it weighs 1kg. After going a little further you enter another shop and weigh the same wheat which now measures 1.1 kg. So now you get to calculate the deviation of the weight. There is an error in the beam balance and so it gives an error in measurement. Now, you need to find out the percent error or the percent deviation.

The formula stands like this

Percent error = ǀ experimental value – theoretical value ǀ/ ǀ theoretical value ǀ x 100%

This is the percent error calculation formula which one should apply while calculating the error percent. It is very simple and easy for anyone to understand.
So, if we put the values in the formula we get
Percent error = ǀ experimental value – theoretical value ǀ/ ǀ theoretical value ǀ * 100%
                      = ǀ1.1-1ǀ/ǀ1ǀ * 100%
                  = 10% error
For science and Mathematics, it is important to note whether error is positive or negative in nature. This reading is important as it gives clues whether a particular reaction is possible or not. If a positive value comes, then there is a problem with the procedure of the reactions or calculation.

Percent Error Calculation Steps

As many students face challenges in understanding the exact procedure of calculating percent error, we here mentioned the procedure of calculation here. Please have a look!

  • Subtract the experimental value from the theoretical value. The sign can be negative or positive. This value is your “error”.
  • Divide the “error” by the original or theoretical value. This will yield a fraction.
  • Convert it into a percentage by multiplying it by 100.
  • Add a “%” symbol at the end to get your percent error value.

The sign in the percent error is not considered in most applications except chemistry and some other sciences. There are other types of error calculations like relative error and absolute error.

The uses of calculating percent error

Percent error is important to calculate as one can understand how accurate the measurements are. One can find out how close he is to the exact value in an experiment or quantity. This method is important as one can understand whether the experiment is progressing in the proper direction or not and it can be continued or aborted accordingly. Percent error calculation has its use in a number of subjects like statistics, economics, etc.

Relation of percent error to absolute and relative error

Percent error is related to absolute error and relative error. The difference between an experimental and known value is the absolute error. When you divide that number by the known value you get a relative error. Percent error is relative error multiplied by 100%.
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