Finding a Missing Number in a Sequence

How to find a missing number in a sequence

  • Determine if the order of numbers is ascending (getting larger in value) or descending (becoming smaller in value).
  • Find the difference between numbers that are next to each other.
  • Use the difference between numbers to find the missing number.

Example: Find the missing number: 21, 17, ?, 9

  • The order of numbers is going down or descending.
  • The difference between numbers is 21 - 17 = 4
  • Since the order is descending subtract 4 from 17. The missing number may be 13.
  • The missing number is 13 since it is 4 more than the last number 9.

Find the Missing Number

Note: The number order may go either up or down!