The REAL Order of Operations

When To Do What?

One of the confusing things for new students about math is that we DON'T necessarily work math problems from left to right. Instead, ANY TIME there is more than one operation in an expression, we follow the order of operations.

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There are 4 steps to the Order of Operations (Not Six!)

  1. Groupings (such as parenthesis, brackets, the insides of square roots, and the two natural groupings formed by the numerator and denominator of a fraction)

  2. Exponents (powers and their roots)

  3. Multiplication and its inverse, division

  4. Addition and its inverse, subtraction

Watch the Virtual GED Class video below for a complete explanation and tons of worked example problems.



This Quizlet set gives practice with straightforward two and three operations.

Printable worksheet featuring plenty of practice problems for the struggling student as well as color-coded worked solutions to help students identify the type of errors they are making.


A mix of straightforward and challenging expressions featuring whole numbers.

The GED loves slipping negatives into these types of problems. If you have experience performing computations with integers, this worksheet gives you a mix of order of operations with integers.


Challenging multi-step expressions with integers, absolute values, and cube roots. Do your work by hand, then check your answers with your calculator.

Challenge advanced students to prepare for college with this printable activity where they write their own expressions to simplify.


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Check your answers with GED Calc

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