How Percentage is different from Percentile?

In your academic journey, you often come across the terms “percentage” and “percentile.” While they might sound similar, they have different meanings and uses. You should know the difference between them so that you won’t be confused in future.

How Percentage is different from Percentile?

What is a Percentage?

A percentage is a way to express a number as a fraction of 100. It shows how much you have scored out of the total marks.

For example, if you score 80 out of 100 in a test, your percentage is 80%. You calculate it by dividing the obtained marks by the total marks and then multiplying by 100.

Percentages give a clear picture of your performance in a subject or exam. For instance, if you score 90%, it means you did very well. If you score 50%, it means there is room for improvement.

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Formula to Calculate Percentage

To calculate the percentage, you can use the following formula:

Formula to Calculate Percentage

Here’s how you can use this formula:

  1. Identify the Obtained Marks: This is the score you have achieved.
  2. Identify the Total Marks: This is the maximum possible score.
  3. Apply the Formula: Divide the obtained marks by the total marks, then multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage.

Example: If you scored 45 out of 50 in an exam, the percentage is calculated as:

If you scored 45 out of 50 in an exam, the percentage is calculated as:

What is a Percentile?

A percentile, on the other hand, shows how you performed compared to others. It indicates the percentage of students who scored less than you.

For example, if you are in the 90th percentile, it means you scored better than 90% of the students. Percentiles are used to compare your performance with your peers. They give you an idea of where you stand in a larger group.

This is particularly useful in competitive exams where your relative performance matters.

How to Calculate Percentile

The percentile is a measure used in statistics indicating the value below which a given percentage of observations in a group fall. It is commonly used to compare scores across different datasets. Here is the formula to calculate the percentile:

How to Calculate Percentile

Steps to Calculate Percentile:

  1. Arrange the data set in ascending order.
  2. Count the number of values below the score of interest (x).
  3. Add 0.5 to the count of values below the score (the rank).
  4. Divide the rank by the total number of values.
  5. Multiply the result by 100 to get the percentile rank.
How to Calculate Percentile with example

Usage in Academics

Percentages are commonly used in schools and colleges to evaluate your performance in exams and assignments. They are very simple and easy to understand. You can quickly see how well you did in a subject.

Percentiles, however, are more commonly used in competitive exams. They help in understanding your performance relative to others. This is useful in exams like JEE, NEET, or CAT where your rank matters more than your raw score.

Many universities and employers also use percentiles to shortlist candidates. A high percentile indicates that you performed better than most of your competitors.

Importance in Career

Both percentage and percentile are important in your career.

A good percentage reflects your consistent performance and understanding of subjects. It can help you get into good colleges and secure scholarships.

A high percentile, on the other hand, shows your ability to perform well under competition. It can make you stand out in competitive exams and job placements.

Examiners, college admissions, and employers generally look at your percentile in aptitude tests to test your potential. That’s why it is important to aim for both a high percentage and a high percentile. They complement each other and together, they add good impressions to your academic and professional profile.

Real-life Examples

Let’s say you scored 85% in your board exams.

This shows that you have a good grasp of your subjects. Now, in a competitive exam like JEE, you might be in the 95th percentile.

This means you have scored better than 95% of students who appeared in the exam. Both these scores are important, but they tell different stories.

Your board exam percentage reflects your consistent performance, while your JEE percentile reflects your ability to excel in a competitive environment. Together, they give a complete picture of your academic strengths.


Till now you might have understood the true meaning of Percentile and Percentage. While both percentage and percentile are important, they serve different purposes. However, you should focus on both to secure your base for your career. This balanced approach will help you succeed in both academic and professional arenas.

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