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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:


You can use the Mathway widget below to practice Algebra or other math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem. Then click "Answer" to check your answer.

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