PEMDAS—An Unforgettable Acronym | Student Life (2024)

by Paige Faber, ACDC Peer Advisor

Remember in seventh grade when you were discussing the order of operations in math class and the teacher told you the catchy acronym, “PEMDAS” (parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) to help you remember? Memorable acronyms aren’t the only way to memorize concepts. Here are a few ways to help you learn your coursework.

Make Flashcards or a Quizlet

Writing information down helps you to remember it, so make some flashcards! Flashcards are a simple and quick way to test your knowledge of a topic. The digital equivalent to flashcards would be Quizlet. Additionally, on Quizlet you are able to not only have flashcards, but also tests and memorization games. You can set up a Quizlet account at this website.

Make Acronyms or Phrases

If you are a person who is creative with their words, try making an acronym out of the first letters of your important concepts, like PEMDAS in math (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction). If an acronym doesn’t work for you, try making up a phrase, like the four P’s of Marketing (Product, Pricing, Placement, Promotion).

Put it to a Tune

Nothing gets engrained in people’s heads more than a catchy jingle or song. To help you memorize, put your study topic to the tune of your favorite song. Making a parody for the entire song might be too much for you to remember (unless you’re Miley Stewart in Hannah Montana), so try to just do the chorus of the song. This memorization tactic is convenient because it can be practiced from anywhere at anytime.

Create Motions

The kinesthetic learners in the world might memorize coursework better if they pair a piece of information with a physical motion. This tactic engages the mind and the body, which allows for two different ways to remember. Examples of motions might just be a simple hand gesture or an arm movement.

Having a partner or study group quiz you on your memorization along with these techniques can also help you to learn the material.

Questions? Contact us at 402.554.3672 or check out our website.

PEMDAS—An Unforgettable Acronym | Student Life (1)

PEMDAS—An Unforgettable Acronym | Student Life (2024)


What is the acronym for remembering PEMDAS? ›

A mnemonic device used in Math-U-See is “Parachute expert, my dear Aunt Sally” (or “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally,” as it often appears in other curricula). This is often referred to by the acronym PEMDAS.

What is the acronym for PEMDAS rule? ›

PEMDAS is an acronym for the words parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction. For any expression, all exponents should be simplified first, followed by multiplication and division from left to right and, finally, addition and subtraction from left to right.

What is the anagram of the PEMDAS? ›

The world may never know. In all seriousness, "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally," or PEMDAS, is just a mnemonic. It's a tool educators use to help us memorize information through a catchy rhyme, phrase or acronym. Now let's explore how to use this tool to solve equations.

How do you answer PEMDAS? ›

The order of operations can be remembered by the acronym PEMDAS, which stands for: parentheses, exponents, multiplication and division from left to right, and addition and subtraction from left to right. First, simplify what is in parentheses. Then, do any exponents. Next, multiply and divide from left to right.

How to remember PEMDAS funny? ›

  1. Order of Operations (P.E.M.D.A.S.) Fun Phrases by Mr. ...
  2. Purple Elephants Make Dirty Apple Sauce.
  3. Parents Empty Multiple Diapers At Six.
  4. People Eat Muffins Daily At Sea.
  5. Pumpkins Eat Many Delicious Alien Socks.
  6. Purple Elephant's Mold Died And Suffered.
  7. Pandas Eat Mini Doughnuts And Sandwiches.

What does the acronym PEMDAS stand for and how does it apply to Excel? ›

Excel follows general mathematical rules for calculations, which is Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division, and Addition and Subtraction, or the acronym PEMDAS (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally). Using parentheses allows you to change that calculation order.

Is PEMDAS or BODMAS correct? ›

whereas the full form of BODMAS is – Brackets Order Division Multiplication Addition and Subtraction. PEMDAS term is used mainly in the US but in India and the UK, we call it as BODMAS. But there is no difference between them.

What is the correct order of operations? ›

The order of operations are the rules that tell us the sequence in which we should solve an expression with multiple operations. The order is PEMDAS: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, and Division (from left to right), Addition and Subtraction (from left to right).

Why is PEMDAS correct? ›

This set of rules ensures that all math equations are solved in the same way. If equations are solved simply in the order they appear, you may end up with the wrong answer. Students are able to refer to the rules of PEMDAS to solve equations or evaluate expressions in a correct and consistent step by step process.

Is PEMDAS still used? ›

The current standard has not changed, and math classes and real-life situations still widely use and teach it. It is suggested to keep using PEMDAS as the order of operations in math because it has been used for a long time and is widely accepted.

Do you multiply or add first? ›

PEMDAS (“Parentheses, exponents, ...”) and BEDMAS are also used in the USA and Australia. Returning to the above example, the correct answer would be the first answer as it follows the rules of BODMAS: division can be done before multiplication and must be done before addition, and multiplication comes before addition.

What do you do with the number outside the parentheses? ›

A number or variable outside of parentheses and there is no operation symbol between them is multiplication. 2(x - 7) is an example of that.

What are examples of PEMDAS? ›

PEMDAS Examples with Answers
  • 9 + (12 + 1)2 Ans: 9 + (12 + 1)2 = 9 + (13)2 = 9 + 169 = 178.
  • 7 + [–5(–10 – 1)]3 Ans: 7 + [–5(–10 – 1)]3 = 7 + [–5(–11)]3 = 7 + [55]3+ = 7 + 166375 = 166382.
  • 12 / 6 × 3 / 2. Ans: 12 / 6 × 3 / 2 = 2 × 3 / 2 = 6 / 2 = 3.
  • 8 + (16 × 52 – 10) ...
  • 7 x 3 + 10 x (25 ÷ 5)

How do you explain PEMDAS to a child? ›

What is PEMDAS?
  1. PEMDAS is an acronym that stands for parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction.
  2. Mnemonics, like "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" and "Penguins Eat Maple Donuts After Sunset" are a great way of helping students memorize PEMDAS.


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