Whether you use BOMDAS or BODMAS the answer is the same

Order of Operations

Apparently there is some discussion on the internet today as to the correct answer to this problem;  8 ÷ 2(2+2) = ?.

It is reported that “Even mathematics experts are wading in – why? Because people are coming out with two different answers: 1 and 16.”

Well, if your accountant or other mathematical expert is telling you the coorrect answer is 1, it may be time to review whether they are up to the job or not.

There is no conflict in using either BOMDAS or BODMAS as a mnemonic to help remember in which order to carry out the mathematical operations.

BODMAS stands for: Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction. It gives the order of priority in which to carry out operations. Anthing in brackets is done first. Next in priority is exponents (powers or indices are other names to signify the order of the number), followed by multiplication or division which have equal priority which in turn are followed by addition or subtraction which equally share the lowest priority.

The problem is not with the mnemonics but with some “experts” lack of  understanding of how to use them.  When operators of equal priority are encountered work from left to right across the equation.

Left to right across the equation to be solved is not necessarily the same as left to right across the way the mnemonic happens to be written. BOMDAS is the same as BODMAS. Or PEDMAS is the same as PEMDAS.

8 ÷ 2(2+2) =  8 ÷ 2 x (2+2) 

Brackets first:   8 ÷ 2 x 4

Division and multiplication have equal priority so work left to right on the equation:  in this case division comes first.   4 x 4 =16.


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