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» » Introduction to Exponents

Understanding Exponents

As we begin our study of monomials, you will need to learn and understand the use of exponents. So, let's begin by defining the term exponent.

An exponent is a number (small and raised) that represents the "shortcut method" to showing how many times a number is multiplied by itself.

That sounds complicated, so let's look at a few examples:

Example 1

study of exponents

Example 2

Example of exponents

Your base can even be a negative number! Take a look!

Example 3

Exponent with negative base

Example 4

exponents example


Whenever you have a negative base and the exponent is even, your answer will always be positive!

Whenever you have a negative base and the exponent is odd, your answer will always be negative!

Now is the tricky problem! What happens when you have a negative base, but it's not in parenthesis?

Example 5

Exponents with a negative base

Now, I have just one more tip for you when working with exponents!

Another Tip!

When you have a 0 as an exponent, your answer will always be 1. The only exception is 00 is undefined.


40 = 1 or 80 = 1

exponents practice problems

Practice Problems

1.    72 =

2.    (-8)2 =

3.    (-9)3 =

4.    (-3)4 =

5.    -24 =

6.    -43 =

Answer Key

Exponents example

This was just a quick review of the meaning of exponents before we get into the laws of exponents and monomials! I hope this gives you better foundation for beginning this unit! Good luck!

Coming up next, the laws of exponents!

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