How to Simplify Fractions

Don't Know How to Simplify Fractions? Fret Not, Help is Here!

The term 'fraction' means a part of the whole. This ScienceStruck article provides information on the basics, as well as the method of simplifying fractions.
ScienceStruck Staff
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
While math lovers would find the task of simplifying fractions to be a child's play, these can be extremely confusing for some. However, fractions are not as difficult as they seem to be. In order to learn the process of fraction simplification, you first need to comprehend the basics.
What are Fractions?
The word 'fraction' literally means a part. In Mathematics, a fraction means a part of a whole number. Fractions are composed of a numerator and a denominator. Let us take the example of a pizza shown below. If we cut it in to 8 equal pieces, and you take 3 pieces out of it, the portion of the pizza that you have is a fraction of pizza. Here is a pictorial representation of a fraction.
Fraction example
Simplifying Fractions
Let us take another example of an 8-piece pizza, of which you take 4 parts. So, from the above definition, you will say that you have 4/8 part of the pizza. It is also correct to say that you have half (1/2) of the pizza. That is the simplified form of the fraction 4/8. The image A shows 4 out of the eight parts that you have. Then, we divide both numerator and denominator by 2 each, so that we have the image B. Thereafter, we divide the numerator and denominator by 2 to get the simplified form of 4/8, which is 1/2.
Simplifying fraction
So, simplifying fractions simply means reducing the fraction to its simplest form.
Now, let's move on to improper fractions. In improper fractions, the numerator is greater than the denominator. However, that shouldn't make any difference. Here's the simple technique that one needs to apply while simplifying fractions.
  • Determine a common factor between the numerator and denominator. Now, a common factor is the number that can be used to divide both numbers to get two whole numbers. In the above example, 2 was the common factor of 4 and 8.
  • After this, divide the numerator and denominator by the common factor.
  • Just keep repeating this process until there exist no common factors between the numerator and denominator.
  • The fraction is simplified when no more common factors exist.
Simplifying Complex Fractions
Complex fractions do not have whole numbers as numerator or denominator. Here, the numerator and the denominator is another fraction (proper or improper). You just need to find a common factor and divide. But, first convert the complex fraction into a simple one, which may again be proper or improper. Thereafter, follow the steps discussed above. Here's an example again.
Simplyfying Complex Fraction
Simplifying Fractions With Variables
Fractions with variables are more difficult, when it comes to simplification. However, the method remains the same. You need to find a common factor. Here's an example of a fraction with variables.
Simplifying Fractions With Variables
Simplification of fractions, and various other concepts of Mathematics will no longer seem to be difficult, if you practice on a daily basis. So, the next time you need to simply a fraction, remember these four simple steps of simplification that have been provided in this write-up.