How To Use The Order of Operations (PEMDAS): Here’s how!

How To Use The Order of Operations
How To Use The Order of Operations

As a middle or high student, you must have encountered mathematical expressions that involved multiple operations. And as confusing as they may seem, there is a specific order in which these operations are performed to ensure that the result is accurate. This order is known as PEMDAS, and knowing how to use it can save you from costly mistakes.

PEMDAS helps in solving mathematical problems step-by-step, such as counting the change we receive from a store or calculating the amount of time it takes to complete a task.

Keep reading to explore what PEMDAS is and how to use it to solve math problems with ease. Check out this article to learn more about another important method called the FOIL Method: definition and examples.

What is PEMDAS?

PEMDAS is an acronym that stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction, which is a standard method used to solve mathematical expressions that involve multiple operations.

Using PEMDAS ensures that you perform your calculations correctly in a specific sequence. It is important to note that any expression that doesn’t follow this order may lead to different answers; that is why understanding PEMDAS is crucial, particularly when doing algebra.

If you want to learn more about PEMDAS, I encourage you to check out this helpful article from Khan Academy.

How to Use PEMDAS

To use PEMDAS, always start by solving any operations that fall within parentheses or brackets, followed by exponents, then multiplication and division, and finally addition and subtraction (working from left to right).

Here is how to use PEMDAS:

  • The first step to using the order of operations is to simplify everything inside the parentheses.
  • Afterward, you apply any exponents, like square or cube roots.
  • Multiplication and Division come after that.
  • If there are two or more operations of the same level, perform them in the order they appear.

Here is an example using PEMDAS formula: 2 + 3(4 + 5) – 6

  • Begin by multiplying what is inside the parentheses: 2+3(9)-6
  • Work your way from left to right, doing each multiplication or division. 2+27-6
  • Add and subtract, again moving from left to right: 23.

It’s important to note that if there are no parentheses or exponents in an equation, you follow the arithmetic acronym phrase, ‘Please excuse my dear aunt Sally,’ which stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction, to memorize the order of calculations.

Example Using PEMDAS

Question : Find (4 + 3) x 5 – 2/2

  • Start with the parentheses: 4 + 3 = 7,
  • Then multiply: 7 x 5 = 35
  • Division: 2/2 = 1
  • And finally, subtract: 35 – 1 = 34

Tips for Using PEMDAS

While applying the PEMDAS order of operations, here are some tips that can help you to avoid making mistakes:

  • Be sure to account for all parentheses or brackets and solve them first.
  • Always follow the order of operations as written, starting from left to right.
  • When solving challenging expressions, break them down into smaller segments and perform the operations one at a time.
  • Always double-check your work to avoid errors.

Watch this video or the video below to learn more about how to apply PEMDAS.

Examples of PEMDAS in Real-Life Situations

PEMDAS is not just applicable in academic calculations but in everyday situations that involve multiple tasks or tasks with consecutive steps.

For instance, imagine you want to prepare a meal recipe that requires several steps. You could represent each step as an operation and apply PEMDAS to ensure you follow each step in perfect sequence, just like you would while performing mathematical calculations.

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Wrapping Up

PEMDAS is a method mostly used in the United States by students to avoid making costly mistakes while solving math problems or carrying out multiple-step tasks.

By using PEMDAS, young students will easily make sense of complex math expressions, ensuring they get the right result every time.

Always remember to follow the sequence of Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction (PEMDAS) every time you are solving mathematical expressions.


I am Altiné. I am the guy behind When I am not teaching math, you can find me reading, running, biking, or doing anything that allows me to enjoy nature's beauty. I hope you find what you are looking for while visiting

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