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How do you calculate the median of a set of numbers?

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Quick Answer

Calculate the median of a set by putting the numbers in order from least to greatest and finding the middle number, when there is an odd number of values in the set. When there is an even number of values, find the median by averaging the two middle values.

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How do you calculate the median of a set of numbers?
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Full Answer

  1. Put the set in order from least to greatest

    Order the values in the set from least to greatest by putting the smallest value first and arranging the values so that each following value is greater than the previous one. For example, if your set consists of the scores on a particular test with the values of 100, 95, 90, 92, 81, 84, 74, 33, 45, 50, 67, and 79, then set them in order from least to greatest: 33, 45, 50, 67, 74, 79, 81, 84, 90, 92, 95, 100.

  2. Find the middle number

    If there is an odd number of values, locate the middle number. This is the median. In the example from Step 1, there is an even number of values so there is no middle number.

  3. Divide to find the average of the two middle numbers

    If there is an even number of values, find the average of the two middle numbers. In the example from Step 1, there is an even number of values. The two middle numbers are 79 and 81. Find the average of 79 and 81 by adding them together and dividing by 2. Therefore, 79 + 81 = 160. 160 / 2 = 80, so the median of the set is 80.

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