Finding the Mode
(KS2, Year 5)

The Lesson

We can find the mode of a set of numbers. Imagine a teacher wanted to find the class's average test score in mathematics.

How to Find the Mode

The mode is found by counting how often each number appears in a set and selecting the one that appears most often.

Question

What is the mode of the test scores below?

Step-by-Step:

1

List the numbers in numerical order (going from the smallest to the largest number).
6 7 7 9 10

2

Count how often each number appears.
  • 6 appears 1 time.
  • 7 appears 2 times.
  • 9 appears 1 time.
  • 10 appears 1 time.

3

Find the number that appears most often.

Answer:

The mode of the test scores is 7.

How Find the Mode When There Is More Than One

Sometimes there is more than one mode in a set of numbers.

Question

What is the mode of the test scores below?

Step-by-Step:

1

List the numbers in numerical order (going from the smallest to the largest number).
6 7 7 9 10 10

2

Count how often each number appears.
  • 6 appears 1 time.
  • 7 appears 2 times.
  • 9 appears 1 time.
  • 10 appears 2 times.

3

Find the number that appears most often.

Answer:

The modes of the test scores are 7 and 10.

Interactive Widget

Use this interactive widget to see the mean, median, and mode averages of your data set.


Lesson Slides

The slider below gives another example of finding the mode. Open the slider in a new tab

Top Tip

The Mode Is The Most

Remember, the mode is the number that appears most!

Beware

There Isn't Always a Mode

Unlike the mean and median, there isn't always a mode.

If all numbers appear equally as often, there is no mode.

Note

Unimodal, Bimodal, Multimodal

  • A set of data with one mode is unimodal:

    In the set above, 1 occurs most often, more than any other number. There is only one mode.
  • A set of data with two modes is bimodal:

    In the set above, 1 and 2 both occur the same number of times, which is more than any other number. There are two modes.
  • A set of data with more than one modes is multimodal:

    In the set above, 1, 2 and 3 all occur the same number of times, which is more than any other number.

How to Find the Mode from a Frequency Table

Sometimes data is presented in frequency tables. A frequency table representing the test scores is shown below:

It is possible to find that the mode of the test scores is 7.

Read more about finding the mode from a frequency table
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See Also

What is a frequency table? Finding the mode from a frequency table