How Do You Add Exponents?


Quick Answer

An exponent is a shorthand way of showing how many times to multiply a number by itself. The number 9 with a small raised 3 on its upper right, also commonly expressed as 9^3, represents the base of 9 to the 3rd power, for instance; the raised 3 is the exponent. Simplify multiplication of two exponents with the same base number using exponent addition.

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How Do You Add Exponents?
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Full Answer

  1. Recognize the common base number

    In some math expressions, the base numbers are given. In the formula 9^3 times 9^5, for instance, the base number is 9 in each case. In algebraic expressions, the formula might show x^3 times x^5.

  2. Add exponent numbers and combine the bases

    To multiply two like base numbers, add the exponents and merge them into one. In 9^3 times 9^5, adding the exponents 3 and 5 equals 8. Therefore, this two-part formula is simplified to 9^8.

  3. Solve the equation

    Use the simplified base number and exponent to solve the equation. If the objective was to solve for x when you multiply 9^3 times 9^5, 9^8 = x. Multiply 9 by itself, then multiply the result by 9 six more times, or use a scientific calculator and enter 9, the "x to the y power" key and 8.

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