Indices rules only apply when the base is the same for all terms. This is very important to remember.Below is the indices rules that you should familiar with. Notice that the a is constant within each rule.
First indices rule
In the multiplication rule we only need to add the powers.Since the base is the same in both terms the multiplication is just a continuation. To observe this expand the expression; The total number of as in the expansion is equal to the sum of powers in the question.
This proves that; an x am = an+mThe example below shows where this rule applies.
Example: Workout 25 x 26
25 × 26 = 25+6 = 211
ExplanationWe must use the indices multiplication rule, we simply just add the powers.
It’s is important to leave the answer in indices. 211 is much easier to remember than 2048.
Leaving the answer in indices form is particularly helpful when working with very large indices. 98 is much easier to remember than 43046721.We can expand the expression to see exactly what is going on.
25 = 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2
26 = 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2
We can continue to multiply the two products together.
25 × 26 = 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 = 211
25 × 26 = 211
Second indices rule
This rule of indices is known as the power of a power. A number with a power can be raised to a power eg; a5 to the power 2. This expression simply means; …we know that the first rule tells us that we should add the indices power together for multiplication; But note also that 5×2 is equal to 10. This suggests that if we have am raised to the power n we simply multiply the powers together to get the result amxn or simply amn, this is proof for the second rule. Below are some examples of how to use this rule.
Example: Work out (45)2:
Answer The power of two means that we want to have 45 multiplied by itself 2 times. In this case we simply just multiply the powers together.
This example proves the general rule of indices that (an)m = anm
The answer for the above question is actually a very large number of 1048576 so you can see why it is important that you leave your answers in indices form.
Third indices rule
This rule states that for the division of two powered numbers, the result is equal the base to the power of the difference between the two powers as shown in the following example.
Example: Work out 48 ÷ 42
Answer: Expand the expression first to observe what is going on. We can now use cancelling to simplify the expressions. There has been two cancellations which proves that we only need to find the difference between the two powers as shown below.Remember to leave your answers in indices, rather than the actual value. This is useful when carrying out much large/complex calculations.
Fourth Indices Rule
The fourth rule: a0 = 1
ProofWe know that 2/2 = 1 the same is true to any number divide by it self;
The general idea is that a/a = 1. If this is true then that must also mean that;
4/4 = 1, 7/7 = 1, 40/40 = 1
am/an = 1Notice here that we can use the indices rule of subtraction (third rule) which states that;
am ÷ an = am-nWe can replace m and n by the same number such that the number in the numerator is equal to the number in the denominator. To make sure that when we divide (equal numbers) we get 1. if we replace m and n with a single number;
(am)/(am)=a(m-m) = a(0) = 1 ≡ (am)/(am)
(an)/(an)=a(n-n) = a(0) = 1 ≡ (an)/(an)
Dividing a number by itself = 1We can use actual numbers;
(a1)/(a1)=a(1-1) = a(0) = 1 ≡ (a1)/(a1)
(a2)/(a2)=a(2-2) = a(0) = 1 ≡ (a2)/(a2)
(a20)/(a20)=a(20-20) = a(0) = 1 ≡ (a20)/(a20)
(a100)/(a100)=a(100-100) = a(0) = 1 ≡ (a100)/(a100)
Fifth Indices RuleThe following indices rule deal with negative and fractional powers.
The fifth rule: a-1 = 1/a and a-m = 1/am
Be careful here 2-4 is not the same as 24 and it should not be related in anyway.Look at the pattern below; By looking at the worked out indices above do you note a pattern? A negative power on any number creates a reciprocal of that number. You can learn more about reciprocals here. If you’re to work it out on your calculator you might get one of these variations; The general rule for negative powers is;
Example: Work out (2/3)-5;
Answer: We have to work out; The reciprocal of; That must mean that; Next we simply power the denominator and numerator separately as shown below;
Sixth Indices Rule
The indices rule shown above is known as a fractional indices rule. This is the simpler version but is not different from the one shown below. You must know that anything to the power 1 is itself. So the expression shown below must be true; The expression above implies that a½ is the √a. That proves the above rule that; It also proves that; …because… This forms the general indices rule for fractional powers;
Now we shall look at an expansion to this rule. The indices rule explained above is derived from the following rule in fact. We have not powered the final answer with 1 because x to the power of 1 is equal to x. This is just the harder fractional indices rule.
Example: Workout 272/3.You can see how this rule and the above are quite similar. We can split up any fractional power into a root followed by a power as shown below;
Answer: Here we could use the brackets rule by first breaking the power into parts. Thus we could write; Now we could use the rule for fractional powers.