Ratio proportion and rates of change

Time intervals: converting units of time

Time intervals: converting units of time

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Time intervals: converting units of time

​​​​In a nutshell

Just like with converting between units of mass, length and volume, units of time often need to be converted between; especially when working with time intervals.

Converting time units

The following conversion diagram can be used to convert between units of time. It's important that you learn these off by heart!

Maths; Ratio proportion and rates of change; KS4 Year 10; Time intervals: converting units of time
  • ​​​msms​ - milliseconds
  • ss​ - seconds 
  • minmin - minutes
  • hh​ - hours
  • days

Example 1

How many minutes are there in 3636 hours?​

Work out the conversion factor.

60 minutes=1 hour60 \text{ minutes} = 1 \text{ hour}

The conversion factor is 6060.

To go from hours to minutes, multiply.

36×60=216036\times60=\underline{2160} minutes

Converting time units in steps

Sometimes a conversion requires more than one step.

Example 2

How many seconds are there in 6 days?

First convert six days into hours.

6×24=1446\times24=144 hours

Then convert into minutes.

144×60=8640144\times60=8640 minutes

Then finally convert into seconds.

8640×60=5184008640 \times60=\underline{518400} seconds​

Conversions involving decimals

When decimals are involved in time conversions, care must be taken. When working with two time units, always make sure to separate the integers (whole numbers) and the decimals, converting the decimals into the smaller unit.



Divide by the conversion factor to get a decimal.


Multiply the whole number by the conversion factor and take this away from the original time.


Use what's left as the smaller units and write the answer using both units.

Example 3

What is 728728 hours in days and hours?

Divide by the conversion factor: 2424.


Multiply the whole number (thirty) by the conversion factor and take away from 728728.


Write the answer using what's left as the smaller units.

30\underline{30} days and 8\underline8 hours

Reading timetables

Conversion of time units are often used when answering questions about timetables. Timetables are written in chronological order, meaning as you read across, the times increase.

Example 4

The timetable is part of a bus timetable showing departures from three different stops.

Stop 1





Stop 2





Stop 3





How long is there between the first and last bus from any stop? Give your answer in minutes.

First notice that at each stop, the bus comes equally as often. Therefore, only one row needs to be focused on - let's use 'Stop 1'.

Read along from 'Stop 1' to the first and last column to identify the first and last bus times.

First: 15:2115:21​​

Last: 16:5716:57​​

Work out the difference between the two times in steps.

15:2116:21=115:21 \rightarrow 16:21=1 hour

16:2116:57=3616:21 \rightarrow 16:57 = 36  minutes

Write the answer in full. 

11​ hour 3636​ minutes

Convert into minutes.

11 hour =60= 60 minutes

11 hour 3636 minutes =60+36=96= 60 +36 = \underline{96} minutes


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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I convert between time intervals?

How do I convert time units involving decimals?


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