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TSI Pre-Assessment Activity

Math Review

Exponents and Scientific Notation

Section 1: Basic Rules of Exponents


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Exponents are used to show repeated multiplication. For example, 43 means 4 · 4 · 4 = 64.

In this section, we will review basic rules of exponents.

Product Rule of Exponents     aman = am + n

When multiplying exponential expressions that have the same base, add the exponents.


Multiply: 4x3 · −6x2


Multiply coefficients: 4 · −6 = −24

Use the product rule to multiply variables : x3 · x2 = x3 + 2 = x5

4x3 · −6x2 = −24x5

Quotient Rule of Exponents     a^m/a^n=a^(m-n)

When dividing exponential expressions that have the same base, subtract the exponents.


Simplify: 8x^6/(2x^3)



Divide coefficients: 8 ÷ 2 = 4

Use the quotient rule to divide variables : x^6/x^3 = x^(6-3) = x^3


Power Rule of Exponents     (am)n = amn

When raising an exponential expression to a new power, multiply the exponents.


Simplify: (7a4b6)2


Each factor within the parentheses should be raised to the 2nd power:

(7a4b6)2 = 72(a4)2(b6)2

Simplify using the Power Rule of Exponents :

(7a4b6)2 = 72(a4)2(b6)2 = 49a8b12

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