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Chris Lele

The Four Rules of Exponents on the SAT

You can almost bet there will be an exponent problem on the SAT. In fact, you can bank on there being several. Here is what you got to know:


#1: The base (it’s the big number)

An exponent all alone would be nothing more than a tiny speck floating in space. Every exponent needs a base:

[pmath]3^2 [/pmath]: base 3

[pmath]2^5[/pmath] : base 2

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#2: Don’t add the bases

[pmath]3^2 + 2^2 [/pmath]does NOT equal [pmath]5^2[/pmath]

[pmath]3^2 + 3^2[/pmath] does NOT equal [pmath]6^2[/pmath]


#3: When multiplying similar bases add the exponents

[pmath]3^2 x 3^5 = 3^7[/pmath]

[pmath]2^4 x 2^4 = 2^8[/pmath]


#4: When taking an exponent to an exponent multiply the exponents

[pmath](4^2)^3[/pmath] does NOT equal [pmath]4^8[/pmath]

[pmath](4^2)^3 = 4^6[/pmath]

Practice using these rules on questions in the College Board book and you should be ready for all the easy and medium level problems on the SAT.


About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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