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How to Use Exponential Notation

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  • 0:03 Math Shortcuts
  • 0:36 What Is Exponential Notation?
  • 1:15 Exponential Notation Examples
  • 2:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Beddoe
Exponential notation is a mathematical method for writing longer multiplication problems in a simplified manner. This lesson will define how to work with exponential notation and give some examples of how it is used.

Math Shortcuts

People are always looking for the easy way… the shortcut. Folks are always wanting something to make their jobs easier. Some people even want their relaxation to be as easy as possible. For example, the TV remote. It's way too difficult to get up and change the channel - we have to be able to do that from a prone position on the couch.

Mathematicians are no different. Any way they can find to write things more simply, to save time and space (and ink in the math books, to be honest), they will do it.

What Is Exponential Notation?

Exponential notation is a mathematical shortcut. It is a method for writing an equation that shows a certain term multiplied to itself many times.

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The exponent is written as a superscript number after the base number. The exponent tells how many times the base is to be multiplied to itself. In this picture, the base number is the 2 and the exponent is the three. The notation means that 2 is to be multiplied to itself 3 times.

2 x 2 x 2

Exponential notation can also be written with a carat (^), like this:

2^3

Exponential Notation Examples

Let's try an example of simplifying a multiplication problem with exponential notation.

Say we had this mathematical expression

4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4

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