Unit 18 Section 3 : Problems with mixed units

Often we see a mixture of units in questions about distance, speed and time. This section looks at how to deal with this situation, including how to write times in different ways.

Writing times in different ways
The time 3.5 hours can also be written as 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Being able to convert between these two forms can be useful when answering questions.

To convert from "decimal hours" to "hours and minutes", first separate the whole number; this is the number of hours.
Next, multiply the decimal part by 60 to find the number of minutes.

Convert 12.4 hours to hours and minutes.
The whole number is 12, so the answer will include 12 hours.
The decimal part is 0.4, and we multiply this by 60 to get 24. This is the number of minutes.

12.4 hours can also be written as 12 hours and 24 minutes.

To convert from "hours and minutes" to "decimal hours", first separate the number of hours; this is the whole number.
Next, divide the number of minutes by 60 to find the decimal part.

Convert 3 hours 21 minutes to decimal hours.
There are 3 hours, so the whole number part of the answer will be 3.
We divide 21 by 60 to get the decimal part to the answer: 0.35

3 hours 21 minutes can also be written as 3.35 hours.

Example Question
James travels for 4 hours and 39 minutes at 25.6 km/h.

How far has he travelled, to the nearest kilometre?
To find distance, we need to multiply speed by time, so we need to convert the time to a decimal format.
4 hours and 39 minutes gives 4 as the whole number part and 0.65 as the decimal part (becuase 39 ÷ 60 = 0.65).
Distance = speed × time = 25.6 km/h × 4.65 hours = 119.04 km

James has travelled 119 km.

Practice Questions

Work out the answer to each of these questions then click on the button marked Click on this button below to see the correct answer to see whether you are correct.

What is 3.4 hours in hours and minutes?

What is 2 hours and 57 minutes in decimal hours?

Jonah cycles for 5.06 km at 4.4 km/h. How long does it take in hours and minutes?



Work out the answers to the questions below and fill in the boxes. Click on the Click this button to see if you are correct button to find out whether you have answered correctly. If you are right then will appear and you should move on to the next question. If appears then your answer is wrong. Click on to clear your original answer and have another go. If you can't work out the right answer then click on Click on this button to see the correct answer to see the answer.

Question 1
Convert the following times from hours and minutes to decimal hours, rounding to 2 decimal places where necessary:
(a) 1 hour 40 minutes hours
(b) 3 hours 10 minutes hours
(c) 1 hour 6 minutes hours
(d) 2 hours 18 minutes hours
(e) 3 hours 5 minutes hours
(f) 6 hours 2 minutes hours
(g) 1 hour 7 minutes hours
(h) 2 hours 23 minutes     hours
Question 2
Change the following times to hours and minutes:
(a) 1.25 hours 1 hr mins
(b) 1.2 hours 1 hr mins
(c) 3.7 hours 3 hrs mins
(d) 4.4 hours 4 hrs mins
(e) 1.45 hours     1 hr mins
(f) 3.65 hours 3 hrs mins
Question 3
A car travels 60 miles in 50 minutes.

Calculate the average speed of the car in mph.

Question 4
Jane drives 80 miles in 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Calculate her average speed.

Question 5
A train travels at 40 m/s.

Rounding the answer to 2 decimal places where necessary, calculate the time it takes to travel:
(a) 30000m     12 minutes seconds
(b) 50km 20 minutes seconds
(c) 1km minutes

You have now completed Unit 18 Section 3
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Produced by A.J. Reynolds August 2008