Order of Operations

There is a mnemonic associated with the first letter of every step that may help you to memorize the steps:  (P) Please, (E) Excuse, (M) My, (D) Dear, (A) Aunt, (S) Sally.  The first step (P) stands for parenthesis … meaning that you are to evaluate all grouping symbols first, including braces, brackets, parenthesis, and absolute value.  The second step (E) stands for exponents (see below) … meaning that you are to evaluate all exponential expressions next.  The third step is a combination of (M) and (D) … multiplication and division are evaluated in order from left to right.  This means that if division comes first, then divide first and multiply last.  The fourth step is a combination of (A) and (S) … addition and subtraction are evaluated in order from left to right.  Again this means that if subtraction comes first, then subtract first and add last.

General Algebra Tips

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This page was edited on 19-Sep-2007