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Subtracting Exponents


When dividing numbers in exponent notation with the same base, we subtract the exponents.


Text Box: a5 ÷ a2 =                =                 = a3

This is the second law of exponents:

Text Box: am  ÷  an =


Simplify the following expressions, giving your answers in exponent form

Text Box: a)	43 ÷ 42  b)	y8 ÷ y6  c)	   d)	p5 ÷ p3 ÷ p


Text Box: a) 43 ÷ 42 = 43–2   = 41   = 4    b) y8 ÷ y6 =  y8–6   = y2    c)      d)

Common Error : The second law of exponent does NOT apply to subtraction of numbers in exponent notation.

Text Box: am – an

The following video shows more examples of subtraction of exponents:


Rotate to landscape screen format on a mobile phone or small tablet to use the Mathway widget, a free math problem solver that answers your questions with step-by-step explanations.

You can use the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice Algebra or other math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem and check your answer with the step-by-step explanations.

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