An exponent is a short-hand notation to represent repeated multiplication of a base by itself. A number to the power of an exponent means to multiply that number by itself as many times as the exponent. It is a "repeated multiplication". This expression can be read as "3 to the power of 5" or "3 to the fifth power".

\( \textcolor{blue}{3}^\textcolor{red}{5}= \) | \( \textcolor{blue}{3} \) | \( \cdot \) | \( \textcolor{blue}{3} \) | \( \cdot \) | \( \textcolor{blue}{3} \) | \( \cdot \) | \( \textcolor{blue}{3} \) | \( \cdot \) | \( \textcolor{blue}{3} \) |

\( \uparrow \) | \( \uparrow \) | \( \uparrow \) | \( \uparrow \) | \( \uparrow \) | |||||

\( \textcolor{red}{\scriptsize 1} \) | \( \textcolor{red}{\scriptsize 2} \) | \( \textcolor{red}{\scriptsize 3} \) | \( \textcolor{red}{\scriptsize 4} \) | \( \textcolor{red}{\scriptsize 5} \) |

Writing out an exponent is called expanded form. Condensing a long multiplication expression using exponents is called exponent form. Solving the expression is called standard form.

Exponent Form |
Expanded Form |
Standard Form |

\( \textcolor{blue}{15}^\textcolor{red}{4} \) | \( \textcolor{blue}{15} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{15} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{15} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{15} \) | \( 50625 \) |

A variable can also have an exponent.

\( \textcolor{blue}{a}^\textcolor{red}{4}= \textcolor{blue}{a} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{a} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{a} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{a} \)

\( \textcolor{blue}{b}^\textcolor{red}{2}= \textcolor{blue}{b} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{b} \)

Try changing the exponent and base:

A square number is the answer to an integer (not a fraction or decimal) with an exponent of 2. To square a number, simply multiply it by itself. A square number can be presented by a square, with equal length and width. For example, 9 is a square number, since you can draw out a square with 9 objects. You can express 9 as 3 with an exponent of 2.

\( \textcolor{blue}{3}^\textcolor{red}{2}= \textcolor{blue}{3} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{3} \)

This can be read as "3 to the power of 2", "3 to the second power", or "3 squared".

Examples of square numbers include: \( 25 \; (5^2), 81 \; (9^2), 100 \; (10^2) \) and \( 169 \; (13^2) \).

You can also square a negative number. Remember that multiplying two negative numbers together gives a

\( \textcolor{blue}{(-3)}^\textcolor{red}{2} = \textcolor{blue}{(-3)} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{(-3)} = 9 \)

Choose a number to square:

Remember order of operations! There is a difference between the two examples below:

\( \textcolor{blue}{(-7)}^\textcolor{red}{2} \) | \( \textcolor{blue}{-7}^\textcolor{red}{2} \) |

According to BEDMAS, the exponent on the \( 7 \) occurs before the negative is applied like so:

\( \textcolor{blue}{(-7)}^\textcolor{red}{2} = \textcolor{blue}{(-7)} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{(-7)} = 49 \)

\( \textcolor{blue}{-7}^\textcolor{red}{2} = -(\textcolor{blue}{(7)} \cdot \textcolor{blue}{(7)}) = -(49) = -49 \)