Distance Rate Time Formula Memorization Shortcut

When working on Distance-Rate-Time questions, you will inevitably use one of the following three formulas.

1. Distance = (Rate)(Time)

2. Rate = Distance/Time

3. Time = Distance/Rate

Did you know that there’s a quick and easy shortcut for recalling all three formulas?

The shortcut is similar to some of the shortcuts you learned in highschool science. It looks like this:  D/RT (aka, the “DiRT” shortcut).  As you may have guessed, D = distance, R = rate, and T = time.

Can you see all three formulas hiding in the simple fraction D/RT?

Here’s how it works. Let’s say, you need to recall the formula for finding the time it takes to complete a certain trip. Simply take the fraction D/RT and remove the T (for time). This leaves you with D/R. In other words, Time = Distance/Rate.

Similarly, if you need to recall the formula for finding the rate (speed), simply take the fraction D/RT and remove the R (for rate). This leaves you with D/T. In other words, Rate = Distance/Time.

Finally, if you need to recall the formula for finding the distance, take the fraction D/RT and remove the D (for distance). This leaves you with RT. In other words, Distance = (Rate)(Time).

So, instead of memorizing 3 formulas, just remember DiRT, which stands for D/RT.

 

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  • Chris Lele

    Chris Lele is the Principal Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh. Chris graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and has 20 years of experience in the test prep industry. He's been quoted as a subject expert in many publications, including US News, GMAC, and Business Because. In his time at Magoosh, Chris has taught countless students how to tackle the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, MCAT (CARS), and LSAT exams with confidence. Some of his students have even gone on to get near-perfect scores. You can find Chris on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!