When you're offered a sum has two numbers and also one operator, calculating an answer seems directly forward (25 × 3 = 75). But, what wake up if someone throws in a couple more numbers and operators: (5 + 25 × 3 − 2 = .....)? Which part do you execute first? Thankfully, there is a set of simple rules for fixing mathematical sums. This is where BODMAS come in.

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What is BODMAS?

BODMAS is one acronym that represents the order of mathematics operations. When a sum includes multiple numbers and operations, you need to recognize which component to solve very first in order to fix it in the correct order. If friend don't, you'll gain an untrue answer.

BODMAS stands for

Brackets (any part contained in brackets come first) Order (operations containing powers or square roots) Division Multiplication Addition Subtraction

How famous is BODMAS?

In 2012, Dr Peter Price, co-founder the the class Professor website, posted a mathematical question on his facebook page. This is what he asked:

Can you answer this?

7 - 1 x 0 + 3 ÷ 3 = ?

The short article quickly spread around Facebook, with over 70,000 people seeing the post and also 6,000 human being leaving answers and also comments. ~ 2 weeks, Peter pulled together the results - outcomes that surprised him. Just 26% that respondents offered the correct answer (the exactly answer is 8).


When you consider that, psychologically, human being are mostly likely to comment on something public prefer this if they are relatively confident of their answer, for this reason as no to it seems to be ~ foolish, it shows up to speak a lot around mathematical understanding in the populace as a whole. Indeed, it appears to demonstrate that the big majority of world (probably much more than 74%) don't understand the ide of BODMAS and the order the operations.

Sequencing sums: BODMAS

How often have you checked out this kind of question doing the rounds on Facebook? The correct answer for this is 12.

In arithmetic, there are two species of components: the number themselves and also the operator (also referred to as operations) the tell you what to carry out with those numbers.

So, in the sum 7 x 3 + 5 there room three numbers; 7, 3 and also 5 and also two operators, a multiplication (x) and also an enhancement (+).

You can likewise see the this amount can produce two different answers depending on which stimulate you use the operators.

If you multiply 7 by 3 and add five, the answer is 26. Yet if friend multiply seven by the amount of three and also five (eight), the prize comes the end at 56.

So, just how do you know in what order to proceed? Trained mathematicians recognize that over there is a definite hierarchy of operations and also a default order because that performing an easy arithmetical operations: adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing).


The definitive order of operations is synthetic up in the acronym BODMAS, which means Brackets, Order, Divide, Multiply, Add, Subtract. It would be simpler if bodmas was recognised worldwide, yet unfortunately that isn't.

In the USA it's normally dubbed PEMDAS (Parenthesis, Exponent, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract) or PIDMAS (Parenthesis, Index, Divide, Multiply, Add, Subtract). Other locations in the people might use BIDMAS (Brackets, Index, Divide, Multiply, Add, Subtract), if Canadians sit in the middle with BEMDAS (Brackets, Exponent, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract).

Are BODMAS and also PEMDAS the same?

Yes. The acronym terminology may be different, but the sequence stays the same. BODMAS and also PEMDAS (and the other similar acronyms) stand for an order wherein multiplication and department are the same step (as with addition and subtraction).

Applying the order of operations

The succession of the stimulate of work (whether it it is in BODMAS, PEMDAS, PIDMAS, BIDMAS or BEMDAS) continues to be the same:

Step 1: Brackets

The highest level stimulate is identified by anything contained in brackets. These sums are constantly calculated first. But what if over there is more than one set of brackets? The dominance then is to begin at the innermost collection and job-related outwards. Performing each bracketed calculation have to leave you through a single number, allowing that set of brackets to be removed.

Step 2: order or Index

The state Order or Index every relate to operations containing powers or exponentiation such together squaring or square rooting. This calculations are all perform second.

Steps 3 and also 4: Divide and also Multiply

The third and 4th steps, division and multiplication, have equal weight and so type a third level order of operations the are lugged out in ~ the same time. Importantly, once two or an ext operations that the exact same order show up one-after-another, the operations need to be carried out from left come right.

So, if faced with a amount like:

18 ÷ 6 × 4 ÷ 8

you just work native left come right. Eighteen over six is three, times four is twelve, separated by eight is 1.5.

Steps 5 and also 6: include and Subtract

Again, these carry equal weight. Thus the enhancement and subtractions type the fourth and final level stimulate of work The 3rd and fourth steps, department and multiplication, have equal weight and so type a 3rd level bespeak of operations the are brought out at the very same time, again functioning from left come right.

In summary, when you have performed every the "B" and also "O/E/I" calculations, in the order, just work from left to ideal doing any type of "Ds" or "Ms" together you find them, climate go back to the beginning and also work native left to best on every the "A" or "S" sums.

Using bodmen - example

How does bodmen help? If we go back to our initial sum; 7 x 3 + 5; we have the right to see that there is currently only one answer. First perform 7 x 3 together a multiplication (21), followed by the enhancement of 5 to produce 26. If the intention had been the various other way, climate it would be crucial to insert brackets, thus: 7 x (3 + 5) so the the bracketed enhancement is performed an initial to create 7 x 8 = 56.

Let's shot a lot more complicated sum to view the entirety system in action. To make things easier to spot and differentiate, the department symbols are highlighted in blue and the enhancements in orange.

Here's a calculate mind-bender:

86 x (15 + 92) - (37 - 18) ÷ ((9 + 9.5) – 8)---------------------------------------27 + (15 x 3) x ((72 - 15) x 3.6)

Note that we have actually two dual bracketed calculations. Moreover, the totality sum is a fraction. Whereby you have double brackets, the within ones are resolved before the outer ones. In instances where you have an overall fraction type division, the sums room resolved above and below the line, solving the overall department at the end.

Now, through BODMAS, all this arithmetic becomes straightforward (if somewhat laborious).

Working indigenous the within outwards, we an initial resolve every those interior bracketed calculations, producing:

86 x (15 + 92) – (37 – 18) ÷ (18.5 – 8)---------------------------------------27 + (15 x 3) x (57 x 3.6)

Then, working left to right, both above and below the line, we solve all the staying bracketed calculations:

Next we calculate all the multiplications and also divisions above and below the heat from left to right. Keep in mind that the peak line has an ambiguity similar to the one we met in the beginning. Can it it is in 262144 x (107 – 19), i m sorry produces 23,068,672?

Using the BODMAS formula, however, the multiplications (262144 x 107 and also 45 x 205.2) plainly take precedence.

This gives:

Again, we room left through what would certainly be ambiguities without BODMAS. However, the rules say department takes priority. So we will method this as:

At last, we space left v an overall department that resolves into a last answer (rounded increase to three decimal places) of:


Special cases

There aren't really any type of exceptions to the BODMAS hierarchy however there room a pair of special cases involving order or exponents.

The first is whereby you gain an exponent within a bracketed component of the calculation, together as:

25 + (5 × 82 + 7)

Although base theoretically take it precedence over orders, within the bracketed part of the sum, the exponent takes priority over everything else so we deal with that first.

25 + (5 × 64 + 7)

Similarly, in ~ the brackets, the multiplication currently takes priority, so:

25 + (320 + 7)

Now the addition to let us dispense through the brackets:

25 + 327

Final answer: 352


There is one last one-of-a-kind case, including exponents of exponents.

Just sometimes you can come across a calculation containing something prefer this:


In various other words, seven elevated to the power of two cubed.

In this case only, we break the left come right dominion to job-related from right to left or indigenous the external inwards.

First, settle the cube that two, i beg your pardon is: 2 x 2 x 2 = 8

Now move left again, to occupational out seven to the strength of eight. We have to be careful here and also understand the 'exponent' means how plenty of times to usage the base number in multiplication by itself.

So in 7 to the strength eight (78) , 7 is the 'base' - the point being multiply - and eight is the exponent, how plenty of times it's used.

It's quite easy - and also I made exactly this wrong in a previous draft that this short article - come repeat the an easy operation 7x7 eight time to produce 40,353,607. WRONG!

What this overlooks is that the very first seven is not just the basic but likewise the very first exponent. 71 (seven come the strength of one) is... Seven.

Thus the an initial multiplication (7x7) is 72 or 7 squared. As such 78 deserve to be mapped as:

7 = 7 to the power of one7x7 = 49 (seven to strength of 2) 49 x 7 = 343 (seven to strength of 3) 343 x 7 = 2401 (seven to strength of 4)2401 x 7 = 16807 (seven to power of 5) 16807 x 7 = 117649 (seven to power of 6) 117649 x 7 = 823543 (seven to strength of 7) 823543 x 7 = 5764801 (seven to power of 8) So the final answer to that complex multiple operations PEDMAS sum is:


And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is exactly how we perform that.

Placing brackets

A couple of things have to be clear from all this. Firstly, you need brackets in complex calculations. The brackets are your navigational waypoints with the sum.

Secondly, obtain the placement of those base wrong and you will finish up with the not correct answer. Maths is an extremely unforgiving that way.

Therefore, and also finally, complicated sums need to be designed and mapped the end like complicated journeys. Before getting her trusty calculator out, friend will most likely need to lay out the entirety sum the end on paper, to make sure all your ducks (or brackets) room nicely inside wall up in a row before you begin the actual calculation.

A bodmen test

Have you to be concentrating? It's time to discover out, v a small question designed to check your knowledge of BODMAS and also the order of operations.

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Have a go at the concern below. There's no prize, various other than the bragging rights of being height of the course (you boffin!).