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Leap Year

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Last updated date: 24th Jul 2024
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What is a Leap Year?

It takes approximately 365.25 days for our planet Earth to orbit the Sun — that is a solar year. We usually round the days in a calendar year to 365, that is 365 days in a year. To make up for the missing partial day, we add one day to our calendar approximately every four years and that is known as a leap year.

In an ordinary year, if you were to count all the days in a calendar from January to December, you’d count it as 365 days. But approximately every four years,  the month of February has 29 days instead of 28. So, there are 366 days in the year. This is called a leap year.


Why Do We Have Leap Years?

A year can be defined as the amount of time it takes any planet to orbit its star one time. A day can be defined as the amount of time it takes a planet to finish one rotation on its axis.

It takes our planet Earth approximately 365 days and 6 hours to orbit the Sun, that is, it takes Earth approximately 24 hours — 1 day — to rotate on its axis. So, our one year is not an exact number of days.

Because of that, we round the days in a year down to 365 for most years. However, that one day doesn’t disappear. To make sure that we count that extra part of a day, we add one day to the calendar every four years. Here’s a table that shows how it works:



Days in Year

Leap Year














Because we’ve subtracted approximately six hours — or we can say that ¼ of a day — from 2017, 2018, and the year 2019, we have to make up that time in 2020 and that’s why we have a leap day!


Evaluation of Leap Year

The leap year occurs every 4 years, but there are scenarios where the gap between two leap years was 8 years instead of the regular 4 years.

Example: The year 1896 is a leap year. The next leap year comes in 1904 (The year 1900 is not a leap year).

In order to make the investigation easier, any year which is divisible by the number 4 completely (that is the remainder becomes zero) is considered as a leap year.

Example: 1888, 2012, 2016 are known to be leap years as it’s completely divisible by 4. Years like 2009, 2019, etc. are not divisible by 4 completely, therefore, they are normal years.


An Exception to Note:

A year 700 is completely divisible by 4, but this year is not considered as a leap year. For a century, the logic follows that any year should always be divisible by 400 not by 4. Even though the year 700 is divisible by 4 but not by the number 400. Hence, we cannot consider the year 700 as a leap year.

Example: 400, 800, 1200, etc. are leap years as they are divisible by 400, and years 300, 700, 100, etc are not leap years as these years are not divisible by 400.



We have discussed above, we know that because the Earth rotates about 365.242375 times a year but a normal year is 365 days, something has to be done to "catch up" the extra 0.242375 days a year. 

  • So every fourth year we add an extra day (the 29th of February), which makes 365.25 days a year. This is fairly close but is wrong by about 1 day every 100 years.

  • So every 100 years we don't have a leap year, and that gets us 365.24 days per year (1 day less in 100 years = -0.01 days per year). Closer, but still not accurate enough!

  • So another rule says that every 400 years is a leap year again, this gets us 365.2425 days per year (that is 1 day regained every 400 years equals 0.0025 days per year), which is close to 365.242375 not to matter much.

How to Determine Whether Any Year is a Leap Year?

To determine whether any given year is a leap year, follow these steps:

  1. If the year is evenly divisible by four, then go to step 2. Otherwise, go to step 5.

  2. If the year is evenly divisible by a hundred, then go to step 3. Otherwise, go to step 4.

  3. If the year is evenly divisible by four hundred, then go to step 4. Otherwise, you can go to step 5.

  4. The year is a leap year (if it has 366 days).

  5. The year is not a leap year (if it has 365 days).

FAQs on Leap Year

1. Which are Leap Years?

The complete list of leap years in the first half of the 21st century is therefore 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032, 2036, 2040, 2044, and 2048.


Students should have a good calculation for leap year as it is an important topic which is asked in most of the competitive examinations. Leap year is actually a calendar year that has one additional day. The month of February of the leap year has 29 days instead of 28 days. therefore there are 366 days in total in a leap year.


Students can get a good understanding of the topics of leap year by connecting with the best online learning portal Vedantu, where the expert team of teachers has prepared the study material to guide students and help them to get a better understanding of the topics to get good marks in the examination.


At the time of examination when the preparation Time is less then you can study with the well-organized revision notes by Vedantu that covers all the important points about Leap year and you don't need to go through your book again.

2.  Why is 2020 Not a Leap Year?

This year, 2020, is known to be a leap year, and what that means is that we get an extra day this particular year. We get this extra day because we count time, in part, by the time it takes planet Earth to go around the sun.

So yes, 2020 is a leap year. Also, students should know the concept of skipped leap year.

Under the concept of skipped leap year, it is seen that if the year is divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400, then the leap year is skipped. Like if we see the example of 2000 it was a leap year but the years like 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not the leap years they were skipped, similarly now the year 2100 will be a skipped leap year.

To gain more knowledge you can read the complete notes of the chapter on the Vedantu's site and get a complete understanding of the topics. You can also download the free important questions of this topic so that you can get an idea of how the questions are framed from the topics leap year.

3. What Happens if you’re Born on February 29th?

Those born on that day don't always get to celebrate their actual birthday — since that date occurs only every four years. Someone born on Leap Day typically celebrates birthdays in February. If you were born on Leap Day in the year 1920, you would be 100 years old, or 25 in Leap Day years. The year must be evenly divisible by 4.

The people born on 29th Feb actually get to celebrate their birthday once in every four years. The day added every four years is Monday which is the extra day. It helps to cover the time taken by earth to circle the sun that is 365.24219days. So when there is a day added to every fourth year then this problem is solved.

Students should get a complete understanding of the leap year, questions based on this chapter are frequently asked in examinations. Tricky questions are framed to confuse the candidate and test their skills.

4. What type of questions are asked from the Leap year chapter?

Leap year is an important chapter out of which tricky questions are framed. Calculation of leap years is very important in order to know which year is a leap year and which is not a leap year.

Students should get a complete knowledge of what types of questions can be asked in the examination out of this chapter, it can be multiple choice questions, very short answer questions, short answer questions, or long answer questions that need working. So students should prepare for everything. You can prepare from the Vedantu’s study material where you will get a complete idea of the type of questions asked in examinations. Also candidates can go through the solutions to know the pattern in which the correct answer should be written.

Leap year is an interesting chapter that provides students with a lot of good imagination and interesting calculations, so by studying this topic you can score well and also you will be able to know which year will be a leap year in the future.

5. How to prepare for the Math chapter Leap year?

Practice is the key to success in Math when it comes to chapter Leap year students should get a good understanding of the subject and they should practice more and more to get perfection in solving the questions based on the leap year. 

Candidates who want to score full marks in Math should always practice the important question and the sample papers that are prepared to give advanced knowledge to students about various types of questions that are asked in the examination. Also, students should know the best reliable source to provide accurate study material so that they should get a complete understanding of the concepts.

 Vedantu is the best online learning portal that provides you with the most reliable study material and helps you to get prepared for your exams. Students can easily download the free PDF for Leap year revision notes and important questions which are prepared by the expert team of Vedantu. The team of Vedantu has specialized teachers and they have years of experience in guiding students to excel in their exams by providing solutions to all their problems.