How to calculate percentile?

Whether you’re a student striving for better understanding, a professional seeking to assess performance, or simply someone fascinated by statistics, learning how to calculate percentiles is a skill that can unlock valuable insights. Percentiles provide a practical way to determine the position of a specific value within a dataset. Thereby allowing you to assess your relative position and make meaningful comparisons. In this article, has tried to explain the concepts of percentile with ease and understanding the calculation process in simple terms.


Percentiles divide a dataset into 100 equal parts, allowing us to express the position of a particular value within the data distribution. For example, the 75th percentile indicates that 75% of the data points are below the given value, and 25% are above it.

• Sort the Dataset:

Before calculating percentiles, it is crucial to sort the dataset in ascending order. This arrangement facilitates accurate percentile calculations.

• Determine the Total Number of Data Points:

Count the total number of data points in the dataset. This value is denoted as ‘n.’

• Identify the Percentile Position:

Decide on the desired percentile value, ranging from 0 to 100. Denote it as ‘p.’

• Calculate the Percentile Index:

To find the percentile index, use the formula: Percentile Index = (p / 100) * (n + 1)

• Determine the Lower and Upper Indices:

→The lower index is the integer part of the percentile index, and the upper index is the lower index plus one. Denote the lower index as ‘L’ and the upper index as ‘U.’

→For values where the lower and upper indices are the same (L = U), the percentile is the value at the Lth position in the sorted dataset. However, when L and U are different, use the following formula to calculate the percentile value (X): X = Value at L + (Percentile Index – L) * (Value at U – Value at L)

• The Result:

Once you have calculated the percentile, interpret it by considering the data distribution. For example, if a student scores in the 90th percentile on a standardized test, it means they performed better than 90% of the test-takers.

Example: Let’s consider a dataset of students’ test scores: 65, 72, 76, 80, 85, 88, 90, 92, 95, 98.

We want to find the 80th percentile, which represents the position below which 80% of the data lies.

• Sort the dataset in ascending order: 65, 72, 76, 80, 85, 88, 90, 92, 95, 98.

•Determine the total number of data points: n = 10.

• Identify the desired percentile: p = 80.

•Calculate the percentile index: Percentile Index = (80 / 100) * (10 + 1) = 8.8.

• Determine the lower and upper indices: Lower Index (L) = integer part of 8.8 = 8. Upper Index (U) = L + 1 = 8 + 1 = 9.

• Calculate the weighted average: X = Value at L + (Percentile Index – L) * (Value at U – Value at L) X = 90 + (8.8 – 8) * (92 – 90) = 90 + 0.8 * 2 = 91.6.

Therefore, the 80th percentile for the given dataset is approximately 91.6. This means that 80% of the students scored below 91.6 in the test.

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