Algebra Explained

What is the order of operations when you simplify an algebraic equation?

There is a certain order to working out an algebraic equation. The following lists the operations in their correct order:

  • First: do what is inside the parentheses
  • Second: do the exponents
  • Third: do all the multiplications and divisions from left to right
  • Finally: do all the additions and subtractions from left to right

There are also rules when it comes to grouping in algebraic equations—especially when working with parentheses. When an expression has parentheses within parentheses, work from the inside out, removing the innermost parentheses first. And remember—if there is a positive sign in front of the parentheses, it does not change any sign inside the parentheses; if there is a negative sign in front of the parentheses, it will change all the signs within the parentheses.


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