Order of Operations

There might be some questions on the GED math test that require you to do multiple operations during a single step of the problem. In order to arrive at the correct answer you need to perform the operations in a certain order. The mnemonic device PEMDAS or “please excuse my dear Aunt Sally” is often used for this. Here’s what the initials stand for:

P: do parentheses first

E: do exponents second

M: do multiplication third

D: do division fourth

A: do addition fifth

S: do subtraction sixth

Here is an example:

PEMDAS. P, do whatever is in parentheses first, which is 9 + 7.

PEMDAS. E, do whatever exponents there are. We have 16² = 256

PEMDAS. M, is there any multiplication? Yes, 18 times 8 = 144.

PEMDAS. D, do any division. 256 over 78 is a division problem. 256 divided by 8 is 32.

PEMDAS. A, do addition. 32 + 36 = 68

PEMDAS. S, finally do the subtraction.

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  • Lakeshia

    Great Example!

    • Ziyi


      Hope it helps.

      Good luck!

      • t

        it will lol

    • t

      this is great

  • jones

    Thanks you make it sooooooooo much more simple.

  • pedro

    wow thanks never knew how to do these until now less then five minutes and i feel like i mastered it!

  • Brittani

    These are awesome and all of this is helping out soo much! I appreciate the effort you have put into this website! 🙂

  • Tara

    Thank you so much! You are going to be a great math teacher in the future!

  • lynn

    I am so thankful for this. I just stumbled acrossed it looking for something to help with math. I felt like the big GED book does not simplify enough. It confuses me even more. Thx!

  • chris

    Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally is a great way to remember the order.

    • donitra

      Yes thas how I was taught too! Very easy to remember

  • mike mccrihan

    So is the answer neg 17 or just 17, excuse my ignorance

  • mike mccrohan

    neg 76

  • Daniel Klase

    PEMDAS — your explanation is incorrect. You do either Mult or Div first depending which comes first LEFT to RIGHT. You do not always do multiplication first. Just as you do not always do addition first.

  • Catresha

    Needed this! :0)

  • Catresha

    #The Full Breakdown 🙂

  • Thomas

    Hey, your explanation of PEMDAS is a little wrong, it goes P E MD AS. meaning MD and AS or Multiplication and Division are equal. For example, if you have
    4 / 8 x 6, the answer wouldn’t be 12 as your theory would assume. you do MD from left to right, 4 / 8 x 6 equals 3. just don’t want anybody to miss a question on their GED because of this

  • sedrika

    Going Step By Step Helped Me Understand It More , Thank YOU !!!

  • Amber

    how I remember is please excuse my dear aunt sally.PEMDAS

  • James B

    Going back to college after 30 years. awesome website and easy to navigate. Thanks

  • Auston Cron

    Unfortunately, there is an error at the beginning of the lesson. PEMDAS means Parenthesis, exponents, multiplication and division from left to right, and then addition and subtraction from left to right. See Thomas above. I’ve 45 years teaching secondary. By your description:

    7 + 6 / 3 * 8 – 8 = 7 + 6 / 24 – 8 = 3/4

    really, it is 7 + 2 * 8 – 8 = 15

    The left to right for multiplication & divison and addition & subtraction are critical!

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