Using an index or power

Here is a number written in index form:

Example of how to write numbers in index form. Base number shown as 2 and the power or index number shown as 4.

2 is the base number and 4 is the index or power.

\(2^4\) is a short way of writing \(2 \times 2 \times 2 \times 2\).

The power or index shows how many times a number has been multiplied by itself.

Using algebra

Example of how to write letters in algebraic form. Base letter shown as A and the power or index number shown as 3.

\(a^3\) (read as ‘\(a\) cubed’) is a short way of writing \(a \times a \times a\).

\(a\) has been multiplied by itself three times.

Similarly, \(a^2\) (read as '\(a\) squared’) is a short way of writing \(a \times a \).

\(a\) has been multiplied by itself.

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\(a^1\) (read as '\(a\) to the power of 1') is written as simply \(a\).