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Converting metric units

Converting metric units

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Explainer Video

Tutor: Labib


Converting metric units

​​In a nutshell

The metric system involves a set of measurements based on metres, litres and grams. For each measurement there are subcategories which you need to be able to convert between. 

The metric measures

Metric measurements are used to describe lengths, volumes and mass. Below is a table of the units used: 




Millimetre (mm), centimetre (cm), metre (m), kilometre (km)


Millilitre (ml), litre (l)


Gram (g), kilogram (kg)

Note: The units in brackets are the shorthand format of each measurement. 

Conversion rates

For metric units there are some conversion rates you will have to know. 

1km=1000m1km = 1000m​​

1m=100cm1m = 100cm

1cm=10mm1cm = 10mm​​​

1l=1000ml1 l = 1000ml​​

1kg=1000g1kg = 1000g

Converting between metric units

You can convert between metric measurements by multiplying and dividing by 1010 , 100100 and 10001000

Example 1

Derek has 1500ml1500ml of juice. How much is this in litres​? 

There are 10001000 millilitres in 11 litre.

1000ml=1l1000ml = 1l​ 

Divide by 10001000 to convert millilitres​ to litres.

1500ml÷1000=1.5l1500 ml \div 1000 = 1.5 l

Therefore, Derek has 1.5 litres\underline{1.5 \ litres} of juice.

Note: The conversion is the same for grams to kilograms​.  

Example 2

Convert 20cm20cm to metres and millimetres​. 

There are 1010 millimetres in 11 centimetre.

10mm=1cm10mm = 1cm​​

Multiply by 1010​ to convert centimetres to millimetres.​

20cm×10=200mm20cm \times 10 = 200mm​​

There are 100100  centimetres in 11 metre.

100cm=1m100cm = 1m​​

Divide by 100100 to convert centimetres to metres.

20cm÷100=0.2m20cm \div 100 = \underline{0.2m}​​

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the metric measurements for length?

How do you convert millilitres to litres?

What is the metric system?


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