##### Basic Math & Pre-Algebra For Dummies

Evaluate exponents from left to right before you begin evaluating Big Four operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing). The trick here is to turn the expression into a Big Four expression and then use the other basic order of operations rules.

## The Three Types of Big Four Expressions

Expression Example Rule
Contains only addition and subtraction 12 + 7 - 6 - 3 + 8 Evaluate left to right.
Contains only multiplication and division 18 ÷ 3 x 7 ÷ 14 Evaluate left to right.
Mixed-operator expression: contains a combination of addition/subtraction and multiplication/division 9 + 6 ÷ 3 1. Evaluate multiplication and division left to right.
2. Evaluate addition and subtraction left to right.

For example, suppose you want to evaluate the following:

3 + 5² - 6

First, evaluate the exponent:

3 + 25 - 6

At this point, the expression contains only addition and subtraction, so you can evaluate it from left to right in two steps:

= 28 - 6
= 22

So

3 + 5² - 6 = 22