# Understanding PEMDAS in Math: Is There an Exception?

• Petenerd
In summary, the conversation discusses a question on an assessment that asked for x+3/3 with x=3. The confusion arose when the answer key showed the answer to be 2 instead of 4, which follows PEMDAS. The conversation also touches upon the use of PEMDAS and the importance of clear and accurate question writing.

#### Petenerd

Division always happens before addition unless parentheses change the order. If they want addition first it should be written
(x+3)/3
or
$$\frac{x+3}{3}.$$

I'm not entirely sure I like the abbreviation PEMDAS, though. The order is
P
E
MD
AS
which could easily be forgotten in that form.

The funny thing is on the sample answer it doesn't follow PEMDAS. Do you think the other questions like that will follow PEMDAS? Because when I followed PEMDAS to do the problem, there wasn't a choice for my answer which was 4. :uhh:

Petenerd said:
Do you think the other questions like that will follow PEMDAS?

Yes. I think it's more likely that the question was changed but not the answer, then that someone used the wrong order of operations in setting up the question. (This actually happens more than you realize!)

I think I got the hang of this now!

Petenerd said:
On my assesment it had a question that said x+3/3
Just checking... that is exactly what the problem said, right? The expression was

$$x + 3 / 3$$

and it was not

$$(x + 3) / 3$$

and it was not

$$\frac{x+3}{3}$$

?

I think the question meant $$\frac{x+3}{3}$$, instead of $$x+\frac{3}{3}$$.

If the question meant this $$\frac{x+3}{3}$$, I would add first then divide?

Petenerd said:
If the question meant this $$\frac{x+3}{3}$$, I would add first then divide?

Yes.

i think that unless the assessment is to test PEMDAS (first time i heard of that actually), then giving something like x+3/3 is just lazy. however, if i was given that, i would have assumed it meant (x+3)/3. no reason why someone would actually put 3/3 in an equation unless the intention was to trick.

Thanks for the help! :)