So what is the point of using math exponents?
The primary reason for using exponents is because exponents are shorthand notations which allow us to deal with extremely large and extremely small numbers more easily than using the standard form of a number. In addition, fractional exponents simplify calculations involving radicals.
Exponents make the following common applications possible:
Why use exponents? Exponents make many calculations fast and easy. But again, you can use the standard form of a number if you wish - and forget all about exponents.
Multiply the following two numbers together:
Finding the result without using exponents is time consuming and tedious:
510 = 5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5
56 = 5*5*5*5*5*5
9,765,625*15,625 = 152,587,890,625 (final answer)
Note: if you have tried to multiply the two numbers shown above, you know that most calculators are not accurate when computing numbers beyond 8 or 10 digits (the numbers are automatically rounded by the calculator). However, you can download an excellent precision calculator which can handle thousands of digits for free at
Finding the result using exponents is fast and easy:
510 * 56 = 510+6
= 516 (final answer)
Math Exponents: impact your day-to-day finances
Although most people may not stop to think about it, exponents impact most routine financial transactions, either directly or indirectly. Banks, credit unions, the government, car dealerships, and other businesses use exponents to calculate interest and penalties.
When you deposit money in a bank, the bank will use exponents to calculate how much interest you account has earned. If the bank will pay you compound monthly interest on your deposit, the formula used is:
Total $ in Your Account = (Original Deposit)(1+r)(m)
r = monthly interest rate entered as a decimal (eg - 1% interest per month would be entered as 0.01); the exponent, m = number of months money is left in the account
If you deposit $100 in an account which pays 1% compounded interest per month, and leave your money in the account for 14 months, your balance can be calculated as:
Total $ in Your Account = ($100 Deposit)(1+0.01)(14)