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Aug 11, 2015

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concept exponents

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concept exponents

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number of times.

Similarly, the process of exponent is doing multiplication a given

number of times.

2 x 5 = 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 10

25 = 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 32

----------------------5 times

as a (Base)Power

In general terms it is defined as m n, where m and n are any real

numbers. Real numbers include all the numbers we have studied so far

natural numbers, whole numbers, integers, fractional numbers,

decimals, rational numbers and irrational numbers. All these numbers

combined are called real numbers

A few examples of exponents are

26 = 64

33 = 27

52 = 25

122 = 144

(-1)5 = -1

(2.2)2 = 4.84

and so on.

The idea of exponents is used across mathematics in varied number of

ways from calculating areas and volumes, to finding out bank

interests, to even finding the coordinates of a spaceship.

The GMAT poses questions on exponents both directly and indirectly.

An exponent has 2 parts the Base and the Power. Well first study

how powers impact the exponent and then explore about the bases.

The Power:

This is the number written in small size over a given number or an

expression. For instance in (x + 5)2, the expression (x + 5) is raised to

the power of 2.

cube.

For any number raised to the power 0, the result is 1, i.e. n 0 =

1, where n is any real number.

So, 42 is called as square of 4 (or 4 squared), and 5 3 is called as the

cube of 5 (or 5 cubed).

If a number is the square of an integer, then it is called a perfect

square.

For eg: 81 is a perfect square (of 9), but 88 is not!

Similarly, if a number is the cube of an integer, then it is called a

perfect cube.

For eg: 125 is a perfect cube (of 5), but 111 is not!

The major perfect squares and perfect cubes are highlighted later in

the chapter.

n2 is always positive, regardless of the fact whether n is positive or

negative.

Because any number positive or negative multiplied by itself even

number of times is always positive, i.e.

Xn is always positive if n is an even number!

Take a few examples and check. If X is -121 and n is 4, the result will

be

-121 x -121 x -121 x -121

This will always be positive because the ve sign is being multiplied

even number of times, and we know that -ve x ve is +ve

In simpler words, EVEN powers EAT the sign!

There are some standard (perfect) squares and cubes that you should

be familiar with, ideally remember them.

02

12

22

32

=

=

=

=

0

1

4

9

42 = 16

52 = 25

62 = 36

72 = 49

82 = 64

92 = 81

102 = 100

112 = 121

122 = 144

132 = 169

152 = 225

202 = 400

252 = 625

502 = 2500

1002 = 10000

03 = 0

13 = 1

23 = 8

33 = 27

43 = 64

53 = 125

63 = 216

103 = 1000

20 = 1

21 = 2

22 = 4

23 = 8

24 = 16

25 = 32

26 = 64

27 = 128

28 = 256

29 = 512

210 = 1024

The Roots:

We have dealt with positive powers, with negative powers and even

with 0 as a power. Now, well deal with fractional, or even decimal,

powers.

X1/n or

Remember roots are the same as powers, but roots are fractional

powers with the numerator as 1.

When you are looking for the n th root of X, you are basically looking for

a number that when multiplied by itself n number of times will give

you X as a result

Remember, when finding powers you were looking for the opposite, i.e.

you were trying to find X

Eg: 22 = 4, but 41/2 = 2

So, if you multiply 2 with itself 2 times you get 4 as a result. Therefore,

2 is the 2nd roots of 4.

Like powers, in roots too there are special names given to the 2 nd and

the 3rd roots.

The 2nd root is called the Square Root, and the 3rd root is called the

Cube Root.

If no number is mentioned on the root symbol, like this by default it is a square root.

Some standard square and cube roots are:

2 1 = 1

2 4 = 2

2 9 = 3

2 16 = 4

2 25 = 5

2 36 = 6

2 49 = 7

2 64 = 8

2 81 = 9

2 100 = 100

3 1 = 1

3 8 = 2

3 27 = 3

3 64 = 4

3 125 = 5

Also, for approximate calculation purposes,

2 2 = 1.4

n , then

2 3 = 1.7

If you notice carefully, this is the exact opposite of the standard

squares and cubes that we wrote earlier.

To find root (remember by default it means the square root), you just

need to break the number down.

Think of the process of finding root as escaping from a prison. Numbers

are trapped under the prison of the root symbol

125 , 3 56

To escape from this root-like prison, the numbers must form pairs.. If

its a square root, the numbers need to form pairs of 2, if its a cube

root, the numbers need to form pairs of 3, and so on.

So lets try this 125

125 can be broken into its factors as 25 x 5 or 5 x 5 x 5

=

5 x 5 x 5

<---->

1 pair of two 5s formed

the prison, and we get

=5

Lets try, 3 56

56 can be factorized as 7 x 8 or 7 x 2 x 2 x 2

= 3 7 x 2 x 2 x 2

<-------->

1 pair of three 2s formed

= 2 3 7

Rationalization:

Roots can be applied to fractional numbers as well.

For eg:

3 =

them up to the numerator.

For eg:

1 - 3

---------1 + 3

Step 1: Multiply both num and den by a number with opposite sign as

the den

1 - 3

1 - 3

---------x

---------1 + 3

1 - 3

Step 2: Apply basic algebraic theorems* and simplify

(1 -

3 )2

---------(12 - 3

12 +

=

4 + 2 3

-------------2

3 )2 + 2x1x 3

---------------------------1 -3

2 ( 2 + 3

----------------- =

1 + 3 + 2

----------------------2

-2 -

-2

1) (a + b)2 = a2 + b2 + 2ab

2) (a b)2 = a2 + b2 2ab

3) (a2 b2) = (a-b) (a+b)

Lets try one more:

15

-------6 1

=

15

---------6 1

15 6

------------( 6 2 - 12

6 + 1

---------6 + 1

=

15 6

------------- =

61

exponent changes with negative powers. Lets take an example and

see what happens

2-3

---------

(2)

= 1/8

Lets try it with a different number.

10-4

1

1

------ =

------ = 0.0001

104

10000

Again a positive number is the result.

=

number the result will always be positive, i.e.

Pn = +ve number, where P is any positive number and n is any real

number.

Similarly,

1

------ = 112 = 121

11-2

The key point to remember here is that when you need to change the

sign of powers move them from denominator to numerator (or vice

versa)

Negative roots go pretty much the same way as negative powers do.

However, remember like we saw before that the roots can be

negative, but the base (the number inside the root prison) HAS to be

positive if its a square root or any other even power root.

Negative Roots

Negative roots are a bit different. While 8- = 1/ (8) = 1/

But there is one major exception for ve roots!

any negative number is NOT DEFINED.

or

1 , or square root of

For eg:

4 125 and

12

The reason is very simple. The square (or even power) of any number

can never be negative. Therefore, the square (or the even root) can

never be negative as well!

However, odd roots of negative numbers are defined.

For eg:

And

1 = - 1

128 = -2

3

7

Thats because when you multiply -1 three times you get -1, and if you

multiply -2 seven times you get -128.

The common reason to the above observations can be defined like this

(-1)n = +1, if n is even

(-1)n = -1, if n is odd

This simple looking observation is mighty powerful and GMAT Loves

it!

Q) If n is any integer, then which is bigger: (-1)6n + 1 or (-1)82n ?

Ans: The only thing that matters here is whether the power is an odd

number or an even number

The 2 possible cases here are:

Case 1: n 0

Then, 6n + 1 is an odd number for any n (try it!), i.e. (-1)6n + 1 = -1

And, 82n is an even number for any n, i.e. (-1)82n = +1

Case 2: n = 0

Then, 6n + 1 = 1 which is an odd number, i.e. (-1)6n + 1 = -1

And, 82n = 0 which is an even number, i.e. (-1)82n = +1

Either way, (-1)82n > (-1)6n + 1

A very important factor to consider when dealing with powers is to

notice the extent of powers.

For eg:

2 x 145 is different than (2 x 14)5

x3 + y3 is different than (x + y)3

(3/8)2 is way different than 3/82

A lot of candidates often get confused in this. The key to crack such

cases is to observe the brackets, see what all terms they contain and

whether the power is inside or outside the bracket.

So, 2 x 145 = 2 x 14 x 14 x 14 x 14 x 14

But, (2 x 14)5 = 285

Similarly, 3 / 8

Fractional Roots:

Fractional roots or even decimal roots are a combination of powers

and roots. The numerator tells the power and the denominator tells the

root.

So, 8 can be rewritten as (82)

3 8 x 8 = 3 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2

=2x2=4

<---------> <-------->

Lets try one more example with (144)

144 can be broken into its factors as -> 24 x 32

(144) = (24 x 32) = ( 24) x (32) = (2)4 x x 33/2 = (2)3 x

27

27 = 8

Base:

Now, lets try playing with the base of an exponent. Remember the

whole thing is (Base)power

A few standard base values first.

(0)n = 0, i.e. 0 to the power anything (except 1) is 0

00 = 1

Also, 1n = 1, i.e. 1 to the power anything (including 0) is 1

And, -1n = 1, if n is even

-1n = -1, if n is odd

Which means that,

(negative number)n = +ve , if n is even, and

(negative number)n = -ve , if n is odd

The GMAT LOVES to play with these 3 standard values and form

questions around them.

For eg: if x = x2, then x must be either 0 or 1

And, if x = xx, then x must be either -1 or 1

You can break down the base too.

For eg: 562 = (7 x 8)2 = 72 x 82 = 49 x 64 = 3136

The base can be fractional too. So you can have something like this

()2 = (42/52) = 16/25

Or the base can be decimal like this

(0.5)2 = 0.25, (0.15)3 = 0.003375 or (1.3)2 = 1.69

Roots also work with decimal bases like this

0.25 = 0.5

If you have trouble finding roots in decimals, you can convert the

decimal value into fractions and solve it then

0.0009 =

9

10000

= 3/100 = 0.03

as the power increases. Normally, that is not the case.

This happens because of the decimal value. Try

Q) Which is bigger:

(i) (0.2) or (0.2)3

(ii) 2 or 23

Q) Solve:

i) (625)4/7

ii) (-72)2/5

iii) (2.88)3/2

Operations on Exponents

Operations on Exponents can happen ONLY WHEN THE BASE IS

SAME!!!

When multiplied, Powers get Added!:

na x nb = n(a + b)

That makes sense because

23 x 22 = 8 x 4 = 32 = 25 = 2(3 + 2)

When divided, Powers get Subtracted!:

na nb = n(a - b)

That makes sense because

33 32 = 27 9 = 3 = 31 = 3(3 - 2)

Power inside a Power gets multiplied!:

(na)b = nab

That makes sense because

(52)3 = 253 = 25 x 25 x 25 = 15625 = 56 = 52x3

Make sure you dont confuse this with

Power on top of a power stays!:

ab

(n)

eg:

22

(2)

= 24 = 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16

Be careful

1) You remember that these operations can be applied ONLY when

the base is Same.

2) You understand and appreciate the difference between each of

the operations illustrated above.

In our experience, GMAT LOVES posing questions on this concept. A

question exploiting this concept and its tricky nature is very likely to

appear in the test.

roots are a bit tricky.

First thing ->

a b

a b

For eg:

72+24 72+ 24

7224 72 24

However, a b = a b , and

a b = a b

For eg: 125 5

125 5 = 5

= 625=25

5 x 5 = 5 x 5 = 25

125 5 = 25 = 5

125 5 = 5 5 5 = 5

Therefore, you can split up roots only in case of multiplication and

division and NOT in addition and subtraction. These techniques can be

used to solve roots that may otherwise seem difficult to solve at first.

For eg:

45 x 20 = 900 = 30

Solving Exponents:

A few handy techniques that would help you solve exponents

1) You can take out the common term, provided that the base is

same.

Eg: 174 +175 = 174 (1 + 17) = 18 x 174

2) Sometimes if the base is not same, you can make it same

132 + 262 = 132 + (13x2)2 = 132 + (132 x 22) = 132 (1 + 4) = 5 x

132

Or, 83 x 442 = (23)3 x (2 x 11)2 = 29 x 22 x 112 = 211 x 112

3) The square (or even power) Eats the sign!

And so they disguise the real number beneath them.

Eg: if x2 = 9

Then x can be either +3 or -3

However, if x3 = 27

Then x has to be +3

You can use this in an equation too, like this

x2 5 = 21

x2 = 26

x = + 26 or -

26

Make sure you always know that x2 gives 2 solutions and NOT 1

solution

This concept would DEFINITELY be tested in the GMAT

The only exception is x 2 = 0, this has only 1 solution which is x =

0

However, odd powers show the real sign of the base!

Q) Solve for x:

i) x4 = 82

ii) x3 = 120 112

Q) Solve: 237 x 325 42 - 466

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