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 4.1 Order of Operations 4.2 Numbers 4.3 Factors 4.4 Multiples 4.5 Fractions 4.6 Decimals

 4.7 Percents 4.8 Exponents 4.9 Roots and Radicals 4.10 Logarithms 4.11 Review Questions 4.12 Explanations
Exponents
An exponent defines the number of times a number is to be multiplied by itself. For example, in ab, where a is the base and b the exponent, a is multiplied by itself b times. In a numerical example, 25 = 2 2 2 2 2. An exponent can also be referred to as a power: a number with an exponent of 2 is raised to the second power. The following are other terms related to exponents with which you should be familiar:
• Base. The base refers to the 3 in 35. It is the number that is being multiplied by itself however many times specified by the exponent.
• Exponent. The exponent is the 5 in 35. It indicates the number of times the base is to be multiplied with itself.
• Square. Saying that a number is squared means that the number has been raised to the second power, i.e., that it has an exponent of 2. In the expression 62, 6 has been squared.
• Cube. Saying that a number is cubed means that it has been raised to the third power, i.e., that it has an exponent of 3. In the expression 43, 4 has been cubed.
Common Powers
It may be worthwhile to memorize a few common powers before taking the Math IIC, in order to save the time you’d take to calculate them during the test. Here is a list of squares from 1 through 10.
Memorizing the first few cubes might also be helpful:
The first few powers of 2 are also useful to know for many applications:
Adding and Subtracting Numbers with Exponents
In order to add or subtract numbers with exponents, you must first find the value of each power, then add the two numbers. For example, to add 33 + 42, you must expand the exponents to get (3 3 3) + (4 4), and then, 27 + 16 = 43.
However, algebraic expressions that have the same bases and exponents, such as 3x4 and 5x4, can be added and subtracted. For example, 3x4 + 5x4 = 8x4.
Multiplying and Dividing Numbers with Exponents
To multiply exponential numbers raised to the same exponent, raise their product to that exponent:
To divide exponential numbers raised to the same exponent, raise their quotient to that exponent:
To multiply exponential numbers or tems that have the same base, add the exponents together:
To divide two same-base exponential numbers or terms, just subtract the exponents:
If you need to multiply or divide two exponential numbers that don’t have the same base or exponent, you’ll just have to do your work the old-fashioned way: multiply the exponential numbers out, and multiply or divide them accordingly.
Raising an Exponent to an Exponent
Occasionally you might encounter a power raised to another power, as in (32)4 and (x4)3. In such cases, multiply the exponents:
Exponents and Fractions
To raise a fraction to an exponent, raise both the numerator and the denominator to that exponent:
Exponents and Negative Numbers
As we said in the negative numbers section, when you multiply a negative number by a negative number, you get a positive number, and when you multiply a negative number by a positive number, you get a negative number. These rules affect how negative numbers function in reference to exponents.
• When you raise a negative number to an even number exponent, you get a positive number. For example, (–2)4 = 16. To see why this is so, let’s break down the example. (–2)4 means –2 –2 –2 –2. When you multiply the first two –2s together, you get 4 because you are multiplying two negative numbers. Then, when you multiply the 4 by the next –2, you get –8, since you are multiplying a positive number by a negative number. Finally, you multiply the –8 by the last –2 and get 16, since you’re once again multiplying two negative numbers.
• When you raise a negative number to an odd power, you get a negative number. To see why, refer to the example above and stop the process at –8, which equals (–2)3.
These rules can help a great deal as you go about eliminating answer choices and checking potential correct answers. For example, if you have a negative number raised to an odd power and you get a positive answer, you know your answer is wrong. Likewise, on that same question, you could eliminate any answer choices that are positive.
Special Exponents
There are a few special properties of certain exponents that you also should know.
Zero
Any base raised to the power of zero is equal to 1. If you see any exponent of the form x0, you should know that its value is 1. Note, however, that 00 is undefined.
One
Any base raised to the power of one is equal to itself. For example, 21 = 2, (–67)1 = –67, and x1 = x. This can be helpful when you’re attempting an operation on exponential terms with the same base. For example:
Fractional Exponents
Exponents can be fractions, too. When a number or term is raised to a fractional power, it is called taking the root of that number or term. This expression can be converted into a more convenient form:
For example, 213 ⁄ 5 is equal to the fifth root of 2 to the thirteenth power:
The symbol is also known as the radical, and anything under the radical (in this case 213) is called the radicand. For a more familiar example, look at 91⁄2, which is the same as :
Negative Exponents
Seeing a negative number as a power may be a little strange the first time around. But the principle at work is simple. Any number or term raised to a negative power is equal to the reciprocal of that base raised to the opposite power. For example:
Or a slightly more complicated example:
You’ve got the four rules of special exponents. Here are some examples to firm up your knowledge:
 Jump to a New ChapterIntroduction to the SAT IIContent and Format of the SAT II Math IICStrategies for SAT II Math IICMath IIC FundamentalsAlgebraPlane GeometrySolid GeometryCoordinate GeometryTrigonometryFunctionsStatisticsMiscellaneous MathPractice Tests Are Your Best Friends
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