BODMAS explains the “Order of Operations” in maths and BIDMAS AND PEMDAS do exactly the
same thing but using slightly different words.

**What is an Acronym?**

An acronym is a word made up of the initial letters of words in a phrase. Acronyms can be
pronounced as separate words.

Think of NASA and FAQ. They both are pronounced as if they were a word in their own right.
However, **NASA** stands for **N**ational **A**eronautics and **S**pace **A**dministration and **FAQ** stands for
**F**requently **A**sked **Q**uestions.

In a similar way, the letters in BODMAS, BIDMAS and PEMDAS all stand for words. BODMAS, BIDMAS and PEMDAS are acronyms for remembering the order of operations in
mathematics.

**What do the letters in BODMAS, BIDMAS and, PEMDAS stand for? **

In the case of the mathematical acronyms BODMAS, BIDMAS and PEMDAS, they all mean
exactly the same thing, and they all serve exactly the same purpose. Here’s what the letters stand
for:

• Brackets
• Orders
• Division
• Multiplication
• Addition
• Subtraction

• Brackets
• Indices
• Division
• Multiplication
• Addition
• Subtraction

• Parenthesis
• Exponents
• Multiplication
• Division
• Addition
• Subtraction
**What are Orders, Indices and Exponents?**

Orders, Indices and Exponents are the little superscript numbers that represent powers in maths. Brackets, Division, Multiplication, Addition and Subtraction are all words with which we are familiar
but what of the second element of the acronyms – Orders, Indices or Exponents? These are the
“half size numbers” that often occur in mathematical expressions. In the following example the 2 is
an index (singular of the plural indices): 32 = 3 x 3
What are Mathematical Operations?
A mathematical operation can be thought of as one of the symbols that make something happen in
maths. A multiplication sign (x) means that two numbers need multiplying together whilst an
addition sign (+) means that two numbers need adding together. These are operations.
What is the Correct Order of Operations in Maths?
The correct order of operations in maths is Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition and
Subtraction. If you are using BIDMAS then replace Orders with Indices. The whole point of BIDMAS and BODMAS is to help you remember which operations to do in
which order. Unfortunately, mathematics dictate that this is not the order from left to right as you
might expect: Let’s look at a typical example and see if you get the correct answer: 2 + 3 x 4 Did you conclude that the answer is 20? If so, then you did the calculation from left to right and
said that 2 plus 3 equals 5 and that is then multiplied by 4 to give 20. Unfortunately, in
mathematical terms it is wrong! If you look at the rules of BIDMAS/BODMAS you will see that multiplication comes before addition
(the two operations we are dealing with) and therefore you should have dealt with the
Multiplication BEFORE you dealt with the Addition. Therefore, the correct logic is 3 multiplied by 4
equals 12 and that is then added to the 2 to give 14. 14 is the correct answer. I have lost count of the number of times that I have had a parent on the phone who has said, “You
have just got to be wrong. Look, I have done it on my calculator and tapped in 2 + 3 x 4 and it
always, but always, gives me the answer of 20”. Throughout the many thousands of questions on the Education Quizzes site, this issue of the
Order of Operations is the one that most often generates a query to our teachers - and when
parents seem to have calculators on their side there is little wonder why!
Orders, Indices and Exponents are the little superscript numbers that represent powers in
maths.

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