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Purplemath Forums 
Simplifying
Expressions with Exponents:
Before I can cancel anything off, I need to simplify that top parentheses, because it has a negative exponent on it. I can't cancel off, say, the a's, because that a^{4} isn't really on top. I can either move the whole parentheses down, square, and then simplify, or I can take the negativesquare through first. I'll show both ways:
There are other ways to go about simplifying the above. As long as each step is correct and you get the right answer, your method will be right. Copyright © Elizabeth Stapel 20042011 All Rights Reserved
This is a special case. The negative exponent says that whatever is on top should go underneath, and whatever is underneath should go on top. So I'll just flip the fraction (remembering to change the power from a negative to a positive), and simplify from there: Warning: This only works if the negative exponent is on the whole fraction.
There are so many ways I can do this. I'll show four:
You should expect to see at least one exercise on your test that is as complicated as this last example. Just take your time, work slowly and carefully, and don't try to do too much at once. If you work bit by bit, you should be able reliably to get the right answer. << Previous Top  1  2  3  Return to Index



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