Long Division Help: Help with Math Homework and Assignments

Even if you've mastered 1-digit division, long division can be challenging at first because there are so many numbers and calculations involved. Read on for a step-by-step long division guide!

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Help With Long Division

If you're stuck on a long division homework assignment, you might just need a refresher on the long division process. However, you may also be struggling due to lack of organization or minor math errors.

How to Do Long Division

Long division of whole numbers follows a specific pattern. Before you get started, you'll need to identify the dividend (the number being divided) and the divisor (the number you're dividing by). The dividend goes inside the long division sign, and the divisor goes on the outside (to the left). Here are the steps:

1. Starting on the side of the dividend with the highest place value (the left) move to the right until you have a number that's larger than the dividend. You should stop at the first digit that makes the number big enough. For instance, for 245 ÷ 6, the number would be 24. If you're dividing 1,000 by 500, it would be 1,000. We'll call this 'Number A.'
2. Figure out how many times the divisor goes into Number A. Then, write the result on top of the long division sign above Number A's ones place. For example, six goes into 24 four times, so you would write a four above the four in 24. We'll call this 'Number B.'
3. Multiply Number B by the divisor, and write the answer underneath Number A with the ones places aligned.
4. Subtract this number from Number A, and write the answer below the problem, just as you would in a standard subtraction problem.
5. Go back to Number A and identify the next digit to its right. For instance, we said earlier that for the problem 245 ÷ 6, Number A is 24, so five would be the next digit to its right. Bring this number down next to the result of the subtraction you performed in step four. This will create 'Number C.'
6. Divide Number C by the divisor, and write the result to the right of Number B. If this number is smaller than the divisor, write zero.
7. Now, you'll repeat the whole process over again. Multiply the number you've written next to Number B by the divisor, and record the result below Number C. Subtract again, and (if there is one) bring the next digit in the dividend down beside the answer. Divide this newly created number by the divisor and write the result over the division bar.
8. You're finished once you've brought down every digit from the dividend and completed the process described above.

Long Division Tips

If you understand the long division process, but you still wind up getting wrong answers, there are a few tricks that may help. One is checking your answers using the rule of inverses: if a ÷ b = c, then b x c = a. For instance, 204 ÷ 12 = 17 and 17 x 12 = 204.

Another trick you can use is to keep your answers organized with graph paper. If you don't have graph paper, you can also draw lines using a ruler or the edge of a piece of paper. This will ensure that you bring down the numbers in the right order.

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