What Is the Order of Operations?
Let's say you're looking at a complex equation filled with a number of
Hi, I'm Jen D'Amore for About.com, and this video is all about the order of operations. The order of operations is a rule that lets you know what to do first, when solving mathematical equations.Let's say you're looking at a complex equation filled with multiplication, addition, subtraction, division, and a number of parentheses. The order of operations makes it clear what to do first. First rule: always complete the smaller equations that are inside parenthesis before moving outside of them. Think of it as always working from the inside out. That also means computing exponents and roots next. Obviously, if there is an integer with an exponent or root inside the parenthesis, it will need to be calculated in order to solve what is inside the parenthesis, so it would be done first. The next priority is multiplication and division, followed by addition and subtraction.Let's look at a few examples. If you're solving a problem that doesn't contain any brackets, like this one, be sure to remember to do any multiplication or division, before doing any addition or subtraction. Reversing the order will calculate an incorrect answer.For example:1+4x6 = 251+4x6 = 30In the first answer, 4 is multiplied 6 first, equaling 24. Then 1 is added resulting in 25.In the second answer, which is incorrect, 1 is added to 4, equaling 5. then 6 is multiplied by 5, resulting in the incorrect answer of 30. Luckily, as algebraic equations get more complicated, brackets are involved. So, whenever possible, use them. Thanks for watching. To learn more visit us on the web at About.com.