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Maths Learning Service: Revision

Mathematics IA Mathematics IMA Intro. to Fin. Maths I

Index Laws

Index laws are the rules for simplifying expressions involving powers of the same base number.

am an = am+n (am )n = amn am = amn an 1 a m = m a a0 = 1 an =


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First Index Law Second Index Law Third Index Law

Examples: Simplify the following expressions, leaving only positive indices in the answer. (a) 36 24 34 36 = 4 24 3 = 32 24 (b) 3 3 = 33 1 33 1 = 27 =
2 5

9 (x 2 ) (c) 3xy 2 9 x6 1 = 2 3 x y 1 = 3 x5 2 y 5 3x = 2 y

(d)

a 1 a = a 1 a 2 = a 2 = 1 or a a
1 2 1 1

Notes: (1) More involved fractional powers can be dealt with by noting that a n = (a n )m by the Second Index Law. For example, 2 1 3 (27) 3 = (27 3 )2 = ( 27)2 = (3)2 = 9.
m 1

(2)

Watch out for powers of negative numbers. For example, (2)3 = 8 and (2)4 = 16, so (x)5 = x5 and (x)6 = x6 .

Index Laws (3)

2007 Maths IA, IMA & Intro. Fin. Maths I Revision/2 In general (ab)n = an bn . For example, (3x2 y )3 = 33 (x2 )3 y 3 = 27x6 y 3 .

Exercises 1. Simplify the following expressions, leaving only positive indices in the answer. (a) (d) (g) (j) (m) (p) (s) 42 43 (y 4 )6 x2 z 3 (xz 2 )2 (a 2 a)5 x 1 y 4 x 5 y 3 (a 32
3 5 1

(b) (e)

32 (22 ) 23 (3)3

(c) (f) (i) (l)


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x5 x8 (4ab2 c)3 3m 27m 9m (a4 b)3 (ab)5 a8 b8 x3x (3a)1 3a1 43


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(h) 2n (2n )3 22n (k) (n) (2ab)2 2b 10a3 b2 5a1 b2 2x 2 x x2 4 25


3 2 1

(o) (r) (u)

a)

(q) (t)

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Terms involving the symbol are known as a radicals or surds. Notes: (1) a + b = a + b . For example 144 + 25 = 169 = 13 but 144 + 25 = 12 + 5 = 17. (2) Similarly, a b = a b. (3) ab = a b . For example 4 9 = 36 = 6 and 4 9 = 2 3 = 6. 16 16 4 a a (4) = 4 = 2 and = = 2. = . For example 4 2 b 4 b These techniques can be used to simplify radicals. For example 9 2=3 2. 75 = 25 3 = 5 3 . 18 = 92= When asked to simplify radical expressions involving fractions, you are required to produce a single fraction (as in ordinary algebra) with no radicals in the denominator. For example

Index Laws

2007 Maths IA, IMA & Intro. Fin. Maths I Revision/3 3 3 3 2 2 + = + 2 6 3 2 6 3 2 = + 6 6 5 = 6 5 6 = 6 6 5 6 = 6

Exercises (continued) 2. Simplify the following expressions (a) 50 (b) 72 3 2 1 1 (e) + (d) 2 3 10 5

(c) (f)

27 2 3 1 15 3

12 +

Index Laws

2007 Maths IA, IMA & Intro. Fin. Maths I Revision/4

Answers to Exercises
1. (a) 1 4 (b) 9 9 = 7 2 127 (c) x13 (h) 1 (m) x4 y 7 (r) a2 (d) y 24 (i) 32m (n)
1 2

(e) 27 (j) a15/2 (o) x4/3 (t) 8 125

(f) 64a3 b6 c3 (k) 2a2 b (p) a5 (u) 2 2. (a) 5 2 5 6 (e) 6

(g) x4 z (l) a9 (q) 2x1/2

a 4 b 4

(s) 8

(b) 6 2 5 36 5 (f) 15

(c) 5 3

2 5 10 (d) 10