Basic Math & Pre-Algebra For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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Exponents, radicals, and absolute value are mathematical operations that go beyond addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They are useful in more advanced math, such as algebra, but they also have real-world applications, especially in geometry and measurement.

Exponents (powers) are repeated multiplication: When you raise a number to the power of an exponent, you multiply that number by itself the number of times indicated by the exponent. For example:

72 = 7 × 7 = 49
25 = 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 = 32

Square roots (radicals) are the inverse of exponent 2 — that is, the number that, when multiplied by itself, gives you the indicated value.

Absolute value is the positive value of a number — that is, the value of a negative number when you drop the minus sign. For example:

Absolute value is used to describe numbers that are always positive, such as the distance between two points or the area inside a polygon.

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Mark Zegarelli is a math and test prep tutor and instructor. He is the author of Basic Math & Pre-Algebra For Dummies, SAT Math For Dummies, ACT Math For Dummies, Logic For Dummies, and Calculus II For Dummies.

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