Explaining the Order of Operations

Essay by CreditcardJunior High, 7th gradeA, March 2005

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Order of operations is the order in which to evaluate different operations.

The order of operations is critical to solving different algebraic problems. Without it people will get different answers when there is no right one because there is no correct order to interpret an expression.

In order of operations you evaluate from left to right

in the following order

You may remember this as "Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally"



Multiplication & Division

Addition & Subtraction

Remember with parentheses you solve the innermost first when there is a parentheses within one and within another or whatever, after that you can then simplify the second innermost grouping symbol.

Using parentheses you can change the order when you want something different.

Multiplication does not always come before division and addition does not always come before subtraction.

For example if you have a expression like 8 ¸ 4 x 7 - 5 + 3

Since multiplication & division comes first you solve 8 ¸ 4 x 7

Which we end up with 2 x 7.

If you had done multiplication first you would have ended up with 8 ¸ 28 which is wrong!