How to Use Exponential Notation

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Scientific Notation: Definition and Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Math Shortcuts
  • 0:36 What Is Exponential Notation?
  • 1:15 Exponential Notation Examples
  • 2:22 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Beddoe

Jennifer has an MS in Chemistry and a BS in Biological Sciences.

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.


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:


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

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account