How does PEMDAS work? Learning an important algebra skill

Using the order of operations (PEMDAS) is a very important skill for any math student starting in pre-algebra. What is PEMDAS and how does PEMDAS work? Let’s take the time to learn this skill well since you’ll be using it in nearly every math problem you do!

In the video I explain how the order of operations works, why we use it, and go over four helpful examples. Take a look for yourself, or share it with a classmate who could benefit.

How does PEMDAS work?

PEMDAS tells us the order in which to simplify an expression. There are four steps.

1. Parentheses — this includes all grouping symbols such as brackets and absolute value.
2. Exponents
3. Multiplication andÂ Division — do these from left to right.
4. Addition andÂ Subtraction — also do these from left to right.

Learn with examples

The best way to learn PEMDAS is to see it in action with some example problems. Don’t just watch though, make sure to follow along! Get out your pen and paper (or maybe an online whiteboard and tablet), and try these problems with me. There are four problems total, and I bet by the end you’ll be guessing the steps before me.

For extra learning, you can pause the video and guess the next step yourself. When you do this, you’ll be creating extra strong neural connections. In other words, you’re really priming your brain to learn and retain this knowledge!

How did you do?

So, did you try it out? How does PEMDAS work? If not, look above and actually watch the video and try the problems!

Above all, if you are wanting some extra support with PEMDAS or any other math topic, consider reaching out to an online tutor. I have some excellent tutors listed here who will help you understand how PEMDAS works.

Finally, keep trying and remember to never give up. You’ve got this!

-Katie, the online math tutor

1 Comment

Oscar · November 25, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Thanks for reminding us the operation.

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