Here at Dictionary.com … we’re no math experts, words are our game. But, with some help from our friends at Study.com and their super-easy-to-understand math courses, we learned some new ways to understand math jargon. Yup, the dictionary needs help learning mathematical terms too.

As you probably know the terms

*average*

,

*mean*

,

*median*

, and

*mode*

are commonly confused with one another because they all describe ways to talk about sets of numbers. To look at how each term works, let’s say that nine students took a quiz, and the scores were 91, 84, 56, 90, 70, 65, 90, 92, and 30.

## What is the mean?

When someone asks for the *average *of a group of numbers, they’re most likely asking for the

*arithmetic mean (*a synonymous term, thank you Thesaurus.com). An arithmetic mean is calculated by adding several quantities together and dividing the sum by the number of quantities. For our example, we need to add the nine quiz scores together and then divide the sum by nine. So, the rounded average, or

**mean,**score is 74. (91 + 84 + 56 + 90 + 70 + 65 + 90 + 92 + 30 = 668. 668 divided by 9 = 74. Voila.)

## What is the median?

The* median* is another form of an average. It usually represents the middle number in a given sequence of numbers when it’s ordered by rank. When the quiz scores are listed from lowest to highest: 30, 56, 65, 70, 84, 90, 90, 91, 92, or highest to lowest: 92, 91, 90, 90, 84, 70, 65, 56, 30, we can see that the** median**, or middle, score is 84.

## What is the mode?

The *mode* is the most frequent value in a set of data. For our test takers, the **mode**, or most common, score is 90.