21 Apr What is BIDMAS?
BIDMAS, or more correctly BI[DM][AS], stands for Brackets, Indices, [Division, Multiplication], [Addition, and Subtraction. It is a crucial mathematical concept that governs the order of opérations in arithmetic expressions. It is also sometimes referred to as PEMDAS, which stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction. Both acronyms refer to the same fundamental idea: that there is a specific order in which mathematical operations should be performed. In this article, we will explore the concept of BIDMAS in detail, discussing its importance, how it works, and common errors that students make when using it.
At its core, BIDMAS is simply a set of rules that dictate how to perform mathematical operations when they are presented in a specific order. The acronym is intended to help students remember the order in which the operations should be performed, which is why it is often taught in schools as part of basic math education. By following the BIDMAS order of operations, students can avoid making errors when evaluating arithmetic expressions that contain multiple operations.
The order of operations
Brackets and Indices
The first operation that should be performed in any arithmetic expression is the evaluation of any expressions contained within brackets. This is because brackets are used to group terms that need to be evaluated together, and so they should be evaluated before any other operations are performed. Once any expressions within parentheses have been evaluated, the next step is to evaluate any indices. Which are used to represent repeated multiplication or the root of a number.
Division, multiplication, addition, and subtraction
After evaluating any expressions within brackets and indices, the next step is to perform any multiplication or division operations that are present in the expression. It is important to note that multiplication and division have equal priority and should be performed from left to right, in the order in which they appear in the expression. Once all multiplication and division operations have been completed, the next step is to perform any addition or subtraction operations that are present in the expression, again working from left to right.
While the concept of BIDMAS may seem straightforward, there are a number of common errors that students make when using it. One of the most common errors is failing to properly evaluate expressions within brackets. For example, students may forget to evaluate those expressions before attempting to perform multiplication or division operations. Another common error is failing to recognize that multiplication and division have equal priority and should be performed from left to right.
Let’s see how to apply BI[DM][AS] to a longer operation.
To avoid the mentioned common errors, it is important for students to practice using the BIDMAS order of operations on a regular basis. They should also be encouraged to use parentheses whenever possible, as this can help to clarify the order in which operations should be performed.
BIDMAS is a fundamental concept in mathematics that governs the order of operations in arithmetic expressions. By following the correct order of operations, students can avoid making common errors and ensure that they arrive at the correct answer when evaluating expressions that contain multiple operations. The best way to not make errors is to practice consistently!
Let’s finish with the following challenge!