Order of Operations

Additional Resources:

In this section, we finish up our review of whole numbers by discussing the order of operations. When we tackle a problem with multiple operations it can often cause confusion as to which operation is to be performed in which order. Let’s suppose we saw the following problem:
4 + 2 x 3
How would we know whether to add 4 and 2 or multiply 2 times 3 to get started? The order of operations solves this type of dilemma and enables all parties to get a consistent answer. We generally use the acronym PEMDAS to remember the order of operations.
  1. P: Stands for Parentheses - this is where we begin, work inside of any parentheses or grouping symbols
  2. E: Stands for Exponents - we next evaluate all exponent operations
  3. M, D: Stands for Multiply or Divide - working from left to right
  4. A, S: Stands for Addition or Subtraction - working from left to right
Example 1: 5 x 4 + 22
P: Look for parentheses or grouping symbols - none are present
E: Look for exponents, we see that we have 22 which evaluates to 4
5 x 4 + 4
M, D: Look for multiplication and/or division, we see that we have 5 x 4 which evaluates to 20
20 + 4
A, S: Look for addition and/or subtraction, we see that we have 20 + 4 which evaluates to 24, this is our answer
5 x 4 + 22 = 24
+ Show More +