How do you solve a math problem using PEMDAS?


Quick Answer

When solving a math problem, the acronym PEMDAS is used to refer to the order of operations in a given problem. It stands for parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction. The solver must proceed in that specific order to get the correct result.

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Full Answer

At the beginning of a math problem, mathematicians must first look at it to determine which operations are present. If there is a parenthetical equation in the problem, solve the equation in the parentheses. Parenthetical equations often contain the other five operations. Within the parentheses, begin with exponents, and move to the right.

After all parenthetical equations are solved, the next step is to calculate any of the exponents. An exponent is the superscript number — the number in smaller font set to the right and above a normal number.

Next, move on to multiplication and division. Although multiplication comes first in the acronym, multiplication and division are on an equal level. When moving left to right through the equation, do whichever comes first. This means that if division comes before multiplication, the division should be calculated first and then the multiplication.

Finally, calculate the addition and subtraction of the problem. Like multiplication and division, addition and subtraction are on an equal level. Whichever comes first should be solved first. This should yield the answer to the problem.

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