Here is an example of calculating percents in word problems.

Example 1

Thirty students are awarded doctoral degrees at the graduate school, and this number comprises 40% of the total graduate student body. How many graduate students were enrolled?

First, circle what you must find in the problem— *how many graduate students.* Now, in order to plug into the percentage equation

try rephrasing the question into a simple sentence. For example, in this case,

30 is 40% of what total?

Notice that the 30 sits next to the word is; therefore, 30 is the “is” number. 40 is the percent. Notice that *what total* sits next to the word *of.* Therefore, plugging into the equation,

Cross multiplying,

Therefore, the total graduate enrollment was 75 students.