Excess and Shortage

Let’s Identify and Solve Word Problems that Involve the Excess and Shortage Concept

By Aishah Binte Abdulah (Albel)
Lead Educational Therapist

To read this article in full click here


Two ‘IF’ situation conditions are present in the word problem.

There are 3 types of Excess and Shortage Scenarios

  • Excess – shortage scenario
  • Shortage – shortage scenario
  • Excess – excess scenario

Draw comparison line diagrams to depict the situations.


Baker Peh wanted to reward his workers with some buns. If he gave each worker 5 buns, he would have 3 buns left. However, if he gave 7 buns to each worker, he would be short of 25 buns.

  1. How many workers did Baker Peh have?
  2. How many buns did Baker Peh want to give his workers?


Identity the 2 situations happening in the Word Problem

Situation 1:    If each worker is given 5 buns, Baker Peh would have 3 buns left

Situation 2:   If each worker is given 7 buns, Baker Peh would need another 25 buns

Action Plan for Solving:

Draw a comparison line diagram to depict the mathematical description of the situations

Step 1   Start Situation 1 in the middle of the page with 5 buns.

Step 2   Draw a line to the right of 5 to indicate the excess 3 buns.

Step 3   Write 7 below the start point 5 for Situation 2.

Step 4   Draw a line to the left of  7  to indicate 25 buns short

Step 5   Add the difference  3 + 25 = 28.   28 buns need to be distributed equally.

Step 6   Find the difference in the number of buns each worker would receive in the two situations   7 – 5 = 2

Step 7   Find the number of workers   28 ÷ 2 = 14   Baker Peh had 14 workers  

Step 8   Find the number of buns Baker Peh wanted to give to his workers

            Situation 1:    (5 x 14) + 3 = 73

            Situation 2:    (7 x 14) – 25 = 73

            Baker Peh wanted to give his workers 73 buns.

Check:  The answer in Situation 1 must be the same as the answer in situation 2.

To find out the answers to these problems download the full article here

Interested in the DAS Maths Programme?  Click here

The DAS Maths programme is offered by the Specialised Educational Services Division of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. An intervention programme designed for students with dyslexia and other specific learning differences. The DAS Maths Programme is NOT funded by MOE