Order of Operations
When a problem has more than one step, you must do the steps in the correct order. This is called the order of operations, and failure to follow it will produce the wrong answer.
The order of operations is as follows:
- Groupings (like parentheses and brackets)
- Multiplication (and division, the inverse of multiplication)
- Addition (and subtraction, the inverse of addition)
In other words, you should do everything inside parentheses first, then resolve any exponents, then multiply, etc. Of course, if the problem doesn't include one of these steps, just skip to the next one.
An easy way to remember the order of operations is with the phrase, "Get Educated: Move Ahead," in which the first letter of each word is the same as the first letter in the four steps of the order of operations.
The best way to learn the order of operations, however, is to practice. Here are some questions to get you started. Good luck!