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Exponents, or powers, are an important part of math as they are necessary

to indicate that a number is multiplied by itself for a given number of times.

This section will help you understand the notation used to indicate powers,
or exponents.

 Exponents are a "short cut" method of showing a number is


multiplied by itself.
 Exponents can be shown to different ways. Example:

x2 or x^2
 Know the difference between -x^y and (-x)^y. Example:
 -34 = -(3)(3)(3)(3) = -81
 (-3)4 = (-3)(-3)(-3)(-3) = 81

When dealing with exponents, remember that exponents are a "short cut"
to show that a number is to be multiplied by itself a given number of times.
For example, x2 is the same as x * x. The number or symbol (variable) that
is to be multiplied by itself is called the base (in the example given above,
the base is x), and the number or symbol showing how many times it is to
be multiplied by itself is called the exponent or power (in the example
above, the power is 2).

1. Simplify: (-5)^3
Take note of the parentheses.
Solution: Realize that the problem is (-5) cubed.
(-5)(-5)(-5) The power (3) shows that the base (-5)

-125 needs to multiplied by itself 3 times.


2. Simplify: -33 - (-3)2 + (-2)2
Watch out for the first term,
Solution: which does not have parentheses
-(3)(3)(3) - (-3)(-3) + (-2) around it.
(-2) Simplify each expression and then add
-27 - 9 + 4 the
-32 terms for the final answer.

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The evaluation of expressions containing exponents is very
straightforward. It is the same as the evaluation of any other expression.
The only thing to look out for is a negative number.

This section will help you understand how to evaluate expressions with
exponents.

 Be sure to note parentheses when dealing with exponents. Always


evaluate anything inside parentheses first. Example:
 -34 = -(3)(3)(3)(3) = -81
 (-3)4 = (-3)(-3)(-3)(-3) = 81

Evaluating expressions is something very common in algebra and is useful


later on when you have to check solutions of equations. Evaluating
expressions with exponents is just as easy. Just be sure to notice negative
numbers and negative signs when dealing with exponents because they can
make a big difference.

1. Evaluate: yx2z3
y = 3, x = 4, z = 2

Plug the numbers into the expression.


Solution:
(3)(4)2(2)3 Simplify.
(3)(16)(8)
384

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There are three different theorems that deal with exponents.

This section will help you better understand these theorems.


 x0 = 1 when x does not equal 0. x can be anything (except zero),
including numbers, variables, or an equation.

 x1 = x
 x-n = 1/xn when x does not equal 0. Example:

x-2 = 1 / x2
 Answers are considered simplified when exponents are positive
unless otherwise noted.

There are three theorems that are special to exponents. They are outlined
below.

Product Theorem for Exponents


If m and n are real numbers and x does not equal 0, xm * xn = xm+n

Quotient Theorem for Exponents


If m and n are real numbers and x does not equal 0, xm/xn = xm-n = 1/xn-m

Power Theorem for Exponents


If m and n are real numbers and x does not equal 0, (xm)n = xmn

1. Simplify: x2y2x5y3
Rearrange the factors so
Solution: they are easier to deal with.
x2x5y2y3 Use the Product Theorem to
simplify the expression.
x7y5
2. Simplify: x4
--
x6

Solution: Use the Quotient Theorem to


1 combine the numerator and denominator
----
x6-4 into one term in the denominator.
1
---
x^2
3. Simplify: (x-4)-2
Use the Power Theorem to
multiply the two exponents into one.
Solution:
x8

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Exponents add a new aspect to the operation of combining like terms, and
thus make it slightly more complicated.

This section will help you understand how to combine like terms when they
include exponents.

 Rearranging the order of factors does not change their value.


Example:

x2yz5 = z5x2y
 Power Theorem for Exponents, which states (xm)n = xmn.

When you come across an expression with many terms, it is easier to deal
with that expression when it has been simplified by adding like terms.
When doing this with an expression that contains exponents, the variables
and their exponents have to be the same.

1. Simplify: x2yz5 + 2xy2z5 +


3z5x2y - 7y2xz5
Rearrange the factors so
they are more easily identifiable as
Solution: like terms.
x2yz5 + 3x2yz5 + 2xy2z5 - 7xy2z5 Combine like terms and get this
answer.
4x2yz5 - 5xy2z5