The Math Forum

Ask Dr. Math - Questions and Answers from our Archives
Associated Topics || Dr. Math Home || Search Dr. Math

Common PEMDAS Errors

Date: 12/28/2001 at 12:05:31
From: Unknown
Subject: PEMDAS

What does PEMDAS mean?

Date: 12/28/2001 at 13:56:43
From: Doctor Tim
Subject: Re: PEMDAS

It's a way of remembering the order of operations:


Many of us are wary of such memory devices, however. I have seen many 
students get it wrong while reciting "PEMDAS" to themselves, for 
example, by failing to recognize implied multiplication, or, when they 
do algebra, assuming that if there is a variable, it means they "can't 
do it" so they move on. For example:

3 + 4x

The student said, "I don't know x, so I can't do the multiplication. 
So I go on to addition, and that's 3 + 4, so I get 7x."

- Doctor Tim, The Math Forum   
Associated Topics:
Elementary Multiplication
Middle School Algebra

Search the Dr. Math Library:

Find items containing (put spaces between keywords):
Click only once for faster results:

[ Choose "whole words" when searching for a word like age.]

all keywords, in any order at least one, that exact phrase
parts of words whole words

Submit your own question to Dr. Math

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

Math Forum Home || Math Library || Quick Reference || Math Forum Search

Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.