When you have a math problem that involves more than one operation—for example, addition and subtraction, or subtraction and multiplication—which do you do first?  Example: 6 – 3 x 2 = ?

• Do you do the subtraction first (6 – 3 = 3) and then the multiplication (3 x 2 = 6)?
• Or do you start with the multiplication (3 x 2 = 6) and then subtract (6 – 6 = 0)?

### PEMDAS

In cases like these, we follow the order of operations. The order in which operations should be done is abbreviated as PEMDAS:

1. Parentheses
2. Exponents
3. Multiplication and Division (from left to right)
4. Addition and Subtraction (from left to right)

(One way to memorize this is to think of the phrase Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.)

• In the above example, we’re dealing with multiplication and subtraction. Multiplication comes a step before Subtraction, so first we multiply 3 x 2, and then subtract the sum from 6, leaving 0.

NOTE: An exponent refers to the number of times a number is multiplied by itself. For example, 2 to the 3rd (written like this: 23) means:  2 x 2 x 2 = 8.  23 is not the same as 2 x 3 = 6.  Remember that a number raised to the power of 1 is itself.