topic badge

Use a calculator for scientific notation


We've already looked at using standard form to write really big and really small numbers. You'll notice that sometimes your calculator also gives answers in standard form. 

So it's really important that you understand how to read and write numbers in standard form on a calculator.


For example, the calculator screen to the left is displaying the number $8.98\times10^{-1}$8.98×101 (to $3$3 d.p.). The red circle is highlighting the standard form. This number is $0.898$0.898 when written as a regular decimal, without standard form. 

The blue circle has highlighted the EXP or "exponential" button. This is a shortcut button that you can use to write numbers in standard form on your calculator. 

For example, to write $1.5\times10^9$1.5×109 on the calculator, you would press, 

Let's look at some examples that you can try on your calculator!

(We just couldn't get a picture of every calculator that all the schools use so it's likely that you might use a slightly different one to the one pictured. Fortunately a lot of them use similar buttons but they might be different places.  Consult your manual, your teacher or google to find the exact buttons you might need. )



Question 1

What is the output on your calculator when you enter $2.7\times10^7$2.7×107?


Question 2

If your calculator displays an answer of $0.973$0.973, what is this answer in standard form?

Question 3

Use your calculator to find the value of


Give your answer in standard form, correct to five significant figures.

What is Mathspace

About Mathspace