In its simplest form, a ratio is a way to compare amounts of something. You probably use ratio's everyday without even realising - when making squash, for example. A squash is one part juice and four parts water, so the ratio would be 4:1.
In total there are five parts (4 +1). This means that the squash is one fith juice, and four fifths water.
Ratio's are similar to fractions, in that they can both be simplified by finding common factors.
For example; in a company there are 15 female managers, compared to 50 male. What is the ratio of men to women in it's simplest form?
The ratio of men to women is 50:15. Both sides are divisible by 5.
Dividing by 5 gives us 10:3.
This means the simplest form of the ratio is 3:10. There are 3 women for every 10 men.
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