The order of operation is a rule that clarifies in which order operations of a mathematical expression should be performed. For example, if the expression is 1 + 2 × 3, the result will be different depending on if you add or multiply first. This is the reason why we have a general rule which determines the order in which we perform different operations in a problem. A common acronym which helps to remember this rule is BIDMAS. The order of operation is as follows:1.B - Brackets2.I - Indices3.D - Division4.M - Multiplication5.A - Addition6.S - SubtractionBracketsalways have priority. If you have a mathematical expression with one or more brackets, make sureto perform the operation(s) inside the bracket(s) first.Example:Ignoring the brackets, the answers would be 19 (wrong) as we would have to multiply first and then add. However, since there is a bracket in the expression, this answer would be incorrect.Indiceshave to be solved right after brackets. This is because the power belongs to a certain number. If this number is modified before the index operation is performed, the result will be completely different.Example:If we would have added 3 to 2 before performing the index operation, the result would have been 25 (wrong).Division and multiplicationalways has priority over addition and subtraction. If you have a mathematical expression in which you have one or more operations from each of these two groups, you must always divide and multiply first.Example 1:If we would have ignored the order of operation in this example, the answer would have been 4 (wrong).Example 2:If we would have ignored the order of operation in this example, the answer would have been 5 (wrong).To sum up, when calculating both with numerical and algebraic expressions, you always have to remember to use the correct order of operation. It is always good write the order of operation on a piece of paper and put it next to you when solving mathematical problems. If you don’t like BIDMAS as an acronym, there are a couple of others that you could use. To make sure that you have understood this topic, test your knowledge using the quiz on the right.Explore More TopicsYou should now be familiar with the order of operation. Check out some other topics in our library. Please share this page if you like it or found it helpful!
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Chapter 8.0: Learning OutcomesStudents will know the order of operation!Students will be able to apply the order of operation to calculations!Students will know acronyms to help them remember the order of operation!