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Order of operations are the rules whereas calculating a problem is first expressed. The point is to do everything inside of the (parentheses). One of the most common ways to remember the order of operations is to memorize the abbreviation “PEMDAS.” This stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication And Division. This will help you remember what is considered the “ranks” of each operation.

Parentheses will outrank exponents. Exponents are a little number that is written to the right above a base number. This would tell you that you need to use that base number in that power like 8 to the 2nd power, or in other words, use that 8 twice. These out rank multiplication and division and those two out rank addition and subtraction.

## Examples

To avoid the confusion – The operations are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and exponentiation.

As an example if an instructor asks you to simplify something like 4 + 2 x 3 you may wonder how to do it because there are two ways to accomplish this.

4 + 2 x 3 = 4 + (2 x 3) = 4 + 6 = 10
or
4 + 2 x 3 = (4 + 2) x 3 = 6 x 3 = 18

Unfortunately math is not flexible. It will not work if the same problem can provide 2 or more answers. You would think that the problem above would just depend on how you look at the issue at hand. In the example above, the first calculation was correct because you must use the higher ranks first.

There are many examples of the order of operations that will be addressed from K-college. Like anything else, you begin with the least difficult and move ahead little by little. There will be plenty of explanations along the way. The worksheets in the links above will assist you in your growth and understanding of the order of operations. You will find that using the worksheets will offer you plenty of practice and opportunity for improvement as you continue to progress.