The method of **rounding to a significant figure** is often used as it can be applied to any kind of number, regardless of how big or small it is. When a newspaper reports a lottery winner has won £3 million, this has been rounded to one significant figure. It rounds to the most important figure in the number.

To round to a significant figure:

- look at the first non-zero digit if rounding to one significant figure
- look at the digit after the first non-zero digit if rounding to two significant figures
- draw a vertical line after the place value digit that is required
- look at the next digit
- if it's
**5 or more**, increase the previous digit by one - if it's
**4 or less**, keep the previous digit the same - fill any spaces to the
**right**of the line with zeros, stopping at the decimal point if there is one

**Round 53,879 to 1 significant figure, then 2 significant figures.**

- 5|
**3**879 to 1 significant figure is 50,000 - 53|
**8**79 to 2 significant figures is 54,000

Notice that the number of significant figures in the question is the maximum number of non-zero digits in your answer.

**Round 0.005089 to 1 significant figure, then 2 significant figures.**

- 0.005|
**0**89 to 1 significant figure is 0.005 - 0.0050|
**8**9 to 2 significant figures is 0.0051

- Question
What is 98,347 rounded to 1 significant figure, then 2 significant figures?

- 9|
**8**347 to 1 significant figure is 100,000 - 98|
**3**47 to 2 significant figures is 98,000

- 9|

- Question
What is 3.5175 rounded to 1 significant figure, then 2 significant figures?

- 3|
**.5**175 to 1 significant figure is 4 - 3.5|
**1**75 to 2 significant figures is 3.5

- 3|