mctm logo Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Aunt Sally

Please Ask My Dear Aunt Sally

Dear Aunt Sally,

My teacher just keeps repeating PEMDAS. Is it true that I need to excuse someone every time I do computation problems?

Dee Student

Dear Dee Student,

Your teacher is right (as always).

It is important that you pay more attention to the groups than you do the individual parts so we do groups first. We also must pay homage to higher powers so we do exponents before lowly +-*/ (please excuse my language). But, make sure that you multiply and divide, in order, left to right. And lastly, we add and subtract, in order, left to right.

I think I know your mom (Bee) and if I recall she always PEMDAS on her computation problems.

Your Dear Aunt Sally

Go Back