You will need to learn the exponent rules in preparation for the SAT. Alexis Avila Founder of Prepped & Polished, LLC in South Natick, Massachusetts, teaches you the exponent rules and shows you the four common mistakes many people make with exponent rules.

Test Preparation

Get our SAT E-Book, FREE!

Transcript (PDF)

Full Word-for-Word Transcription

Hey, everyone. Alexis Avila; Prepped & Polished, LLC, South Natick,
Massachusetts. A lot of students over the years, they keep making the same
exponent mistakes. I’m going to go through some of the exponent rules so
you don’t make the same mistakes I see kids make over and over again. Let’s
get these rules straight once and for all. Let’s go to the board.One of the exponent rules students confuse is if you have X2 xX3; you have
the same coefficient here and you’re just multiplying. X2 x X3, students
will multiply the exponents. They’ll say X2 x X3 = X6. That’s wrong. You
don’t do that. Let’s get this straight once and for all. It’s X2 x X3, you
add the exponents when you’re multiplying two of the same coefficient. X2 x
X3 = X2+3; X5. You add the exponents when you multiply exponents with the
same bases.Another exponent rule students confuse is if you take X3 and you raise X3
to the 4th power. What they often do wrong is they will add these
exponents; they’ll just say that’s X7. That’s wrong. Let’s get this
straight once and for all. If you have an exponent and you’re raising it to
another exponent . . . if you have X3 all raised to the 4th, that’s when
you multiply the exponents. It’s the same as X3x4, or X12, final answer.

Sometimes, students make this mistake: If you have division with exponents.
If you have the same base for a numerator and denominator, but it’s X6 /
X3. Sometimes, students will say, “I’m just going to divide those
exponents.” What they say wrong is they’ll say it’s X6/3. X6/3 = X2. That
is completely wrong, do not do that. What you want to do when you divide
exponents, you subtract the exponents from one another. X6 / X3 is the same
thing as X6-3; X3, final answer.

One last error I want to show you, that students often make, is if you have
(2X)3. What students often do wrong is they will only apply the exponent to
the X. They’ll say “That is 2X3, final answer.” That is completely false.
Do not do that. What you’re going to do is apply the exponent to each
entity in the parentheses. The answer to (2X)3 is the same thing is 23 x X3
= 8X3, final answer.

Just go over those 4 rules I taught you, and you shouldn’t make any
careless mistakes when you see an exponent problem on the SAT. Good luck on
your test. I’ll talk to you soon.

Do the exponent rules confuse you? Which of the exponent rules trips you up the most?

Post your tips/comments below.

Subscribe to our Blog Feed

Become a Fan on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter