What Is the Order of Operations for Evaluating Expressions?


Quick Answer

The order of operations for evaluating expressions is most often cited as "PEMDAS" (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction) or sometimes "GEMDAS." These acronyms are used as tools for remembering what operations to perform first to properly solve an equation.

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Full Answer

The difference between PEMDAS and GEMDAS is that the "G" stands for the more inclusive term "grouping symbols," as opposed to "P," which only stands for "parentheses." A bracket is an example of a grouping symbol. The phrase, "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" is often used to remember the order.

For example, for the problem 3^2 + 8 x 2 - 4, the order of operations is as follows: 9 + 8 x 2 - 4; 9 + 16 - 4; 25 - 4; and the answer is 21.

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