Multiplying Variables with Exponents
You might need to be able to multiply variables with exponents on the GED math test. For example
n² x n³ = ?
You can’t just find what n² and n³ are and then multiply them, as you would with a number. This is because you don’t know what n is. The way you multiply variables with exponents is actually by adding up the exponents and keeping the variable the same.
Remember you can only multiply variables with exponents with the same variables with exponents. You cannot multiply, for example, n² with x³ since n and x are different exponents.
Distributing Products When Multiplying Paranthesis
There is a special process you need to go through when multiplying a term by an expression in parentheses. For example, how do you do this:
Of course when something is immediately next to something in parentheses that means multiplication, but which part of the expression in parentheses do you multiply it by since 5n+ 7 can’t be simplified further? The answer is both parts.
If there are three terms in the parentheses, you need to multiply whatever is outside by all three terms, and so on.
2n(3n² + 2n – 4)
Multiplying an Expression in Parentheses by an Expression in Parentheses
If you need to multiply two parentheses that both contain two terms you need to make sure you multiply each term in both parentheses with both terms in the other parentheses. For example:
(n + 2)(n – 5)
The order you multiply the terms in is often referred to as the FOIL method:
First two terms
Outside two terms
Inside two terms
Last two terms