Chapter 4

Following Orders: Order of Operations

The order of operations (also called the order of precedence) provides a clear way to evaluate complex expressions so you always get the right answer. The mnemonic PEMDAS helps you to remember to evaluate parentheses first; then move on to exponents; then multiplication and division; and finally addition and subtraction.

The Problems You’ll Work On

This chapter includes these types of problems:

Evaluating expressions that contain the Big Four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division)

Evaluating expressions that include exponents

Evaluating expressions that include parentheses, including nested parentheses

Evaluating expressions that include parenthetical expressions, such as square roots and absolute value

Evaluating expressions that include fractions with expressions in the numerator and/or denominator

What to Watch Out For

Keep the following tips in mind as you work with the problems in this chapter:

When an ...