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Adding Indices

Related Topics:
More Lessons for Arithmetic
Math Worksheets

The following diagrams show the rules of indices or laws of indices. Scroll down the page for more examples and solutions on how to use the rules of indices.


When multiplying numbers in exponent notation with the same base, we can add the exponents.


a2 × a3 = (a × a) × (a × a × a)
= a2 + 3
= a5

This is the first law of exponents:
am × an = am + n


Simplify the following; give your answers in exponent form

a) 33 × 32
b) x5 × x3


a) 33 × 32 = 33 + 2
= 35
b) x5 × x3 = x5 + 3
= x8

Common Error : The first law of exponents does NOT apply to addition of numbers in exponent notation.

am + an ≠ am + n

Scroll down the page for more examples and solutions of the first law of exponents and also the other laws of exponents.

Index rules - add and subtract indices
Basic look at the first two index laws
Properties of Exponents
The Product Rule: am × an = am + n
The Quotient Rule: am ÷ an = am - n
The Power Rule: (am)n = amn
Example of adding exponents

Try the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice various 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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