How to Do Powers in Math

Powers can be understood as multipliers of a number.
••• Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Solving powers requires an understanding of multiplication rules. A power, or exponent, is a shortcut to indicate a number should be multiplied by itself. The number being multiplied is referred to as the "base." The exponent is located to the right of the base in superscript or with the ^ symbol appearing before it.

    Determine if the base is negative or positive.

    Check for parenthesis placement, especially when working with a negative base. Keep in mind (-3)^4 is different from -3^4.

    For a positive base, multiply the number as indicated by the exponent. For 5^3, multiple 5_5_5 to arrive at your answer of 125.

    For a base whose negative sign is contained in the parenthesis, keep the negative symbol in front of each act of multiplication. For example, (-3)^4 would be multiplied as (-3)(-3)(-3)*(-3), to arrive at your answer of 81.

    For exponents whose negative sign is without parenthesis, save the negative symbol until after you have finished multiplying the base. For example, -3^4 would be multiplied as -(3)(3)(3)(3), to arrive at your answer of -81.

    If you have an equation consisting of two exponents with the same base, you can add the exponents together for simplification. For example, 2^3_2_4 can be converted to 2^7. Then, you can solve the equation as usual.

    Tips

    • Remember that, as with all algebraic functions, anything inside parenthesis must be dealt with first.

Related Articles

How to Evaluate Logarithms With Square Root Bases
How to Enter a Subscript on the TI-83
How to Cancel a Natural Log
Steps in Learning How to Do Long Division With Bases...
Laws of Exponents: Powers & Products
How to Calculate Kb From Ka
Negative Exponents: Rules for Multiplying & Dividing
Quotient Rule for Exponents
How to Do Exponents on the TI-30XIIS
Negative & Positive Number Rules
How to Put Base Log on Graphing Calculator
How to Get Rid of Logarithms
How to Calculate a Natural Logarithm
What Are Powers of Ten?
How to Simplify Exponents
Math Rules for Addition
How to Do Algebra on a Ti-30Xa
What Does YX Mean on a Calculator?
How to Use Exponents on a Scientific Calculator
How to Get Rid of Cubed Power