By Mary Jane Sterling

Part of Algebra Workbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When creating simpler and more useful expressions, you want to be careful not to change the original value. By applying the order of operations, you maintain that value.

Apply the order of operations when no grouping symbols, such as parentheses, interrupt. When more of one level occurs in a problem, do them in order from left to right. When you perform operations on algebraic expressions and you have a choice between one or more operations to perform, use the following order:

  1. Powers and roots

  2. Multiplication and division

  3. Addition and subtraction

These rules are interrupted if the problem has grouping symbols. You first need to perform operations in grouping symbols, such as ( ), { }, [ ] , above and below fraction lines, and inside radicals.