What is BODMAS?
BODMAS (or sometimes BIDMAS) is a simple acronym that helps you remember the order in which to solve calculations. Sometimes calculations can get a little more complicated than 2+2! For example, what would you do if you were given a calculation like 3 x (4 x 5²) ÷ 6 + 7 – 8 =? The meaning of BODMAS is important to make sure you get answers to questions like these right; without BODMAS explained to you properly, it’s likely you’ll get more questions wrong on complicated maths worksheets! But what does BODMAS stand for?
BODMAS Meaning
So what is BODMAS? - Don’t Panic! BODMAS is here to help. BODMAS stands for:
Brackets | Orders or
Indices |
Division | Multiplication | Addition | Subtraction |
Calculations inside brackets always come first | This means any indices, powers or roots go next | Multiply or divide before you add or subtract. If there is division and multiplication, complete from left to right. | Finally, complete any addition and subtraction from left to right. |
If you don’t get the BODMAS order correct, you’ll probably end up with a completely different answer, so make sure you get remembering!
All you needed? Let's practice with some BODMAS questions!
BODMAS Explained
Maths teacher, Alison explains:
BODMAS/BIDMAS is important to remember; if the order is wrong, your answer will be too! Below, we have some examples of BODMAS questions to help you test your understanding of the theory! Don’t worry if you don’t get it straight away - BODMAS sums are hard!
So, let's calculate the BODMAS exercise above:
3 x (4 x 5²) ÷ 6 + 7 – 8 = ?
Steps:
1.
() Brackets
Complete the calculation inside the brackets first.
4 x 5² = Work out 5 squared first (Orders)
5² = 25
So 4 x 25 = 100
Our calculation now becomes 3 x 100 ÷ 6 + 7 – 8 = ?
2.
÷× Division and Multiplication
In this calculation, we have both division and multiplication.
Follow the calculation left to right
3 x 100 = 300
300 ÷ 6 = 50
Our calculation now becomes 50 + 7 – 8 = ?
3.
+- Addition and Subtraction
In this calculation, we have both addition and subtraction.
Follow the calculation left to right
50 + 7 = 57
57 – 8 = 49
Answer: 49!
3 x (4 x 5²) ÷ 6 + 7 – 8 = 49
Easy Ways to Remember BODMAS/BIDMAS
Brackets first then Orders (or sometimes Indices).
Division and/or Multiplication left to right followed by Addition and/or Subtraction left to right.
BODMAS Botch-ups
The BODMAS rule in maths isn’t always easy to understand - here are a few examples of BODMAS and easy mistakes many students make. Can you spot their errors and fix them? Answers at the bottom of the page
Question 1 | 4 + 3 x 2
= 7 x 2 = 14 |
Question 2 | 12 – 4 ÷ 2
= 8 ÷ 2 = 4 |
Question 3 | 5²– 6
= 10 – 6 = 4 |
Question 4 | 25 – 6 x 2
6 x 2 = 12 12 – 25 = -13 = -13 |
BODMAS Worksheets and Practice
It’s always good to practice your new skills!
Year 6:
Using BIDMAS – Order of operations in calculations
Year 7:
Using the order of operations in calculations - Worksheet 1
Using brackets on a calculator
Year 8:
Using brackets in different places for different answers
Using brackets on the calculator to work out combined operations
Multiplying out brackets and simplifying
Year 9:
Multiplying out brackets and simplifying
Multiplying out two brackets and simplifying
Using brackets on a calculator
Answers to BODMAS Botch ups
Question 1 | 4 + 3 x 2
= 3 x 2 + 4 = 10 |
The student forgot to multiply first then add, instead they added first then multiplied. These are some great BIDMAS examples where things can go wrong. | |
Question 2 | 12 – 4 ÷ 2
= 4 ÷ 2 = 2 = 12 – 2 = 10 |
The student forgot to divide first then subtract, instead they subtracted first then divided. The best way to understand order of operations is to complete BIDMAS questions until you can remember it by heart. | |
Question 3 | 5² – 6
= 25 – 6 = 19 |
By not following the BIDMAS rule, the student doubled the 5 rather than multiplying it by itself. | |
Question 4 | 25 – 6 x 2
6 x 2 = 12 12 – 25 = -13 = -13 |
The student mixed up the subtraction. It should have been 25 – 12 not 12 – 25! |