What is BODMAS
BODMAS crop up throughout primary school maths so here we cover what BODMAS mean, and provide you with some BODMAS questions and exercises you can use to help your child practise accurately carrying out BODMAS calculations.
What is BODMAS?
BODMAS is a simple acronym that helps you remember the order in which to solve calculations. The BODMAS rule is an acronym to help children remember the order of mathematical operations – the correct order in which to solve maths problems.
Bodmas stands for Brackets, Orders, Division/Multiplication, Addition/Subtraction.
What is BIDMAS?
The BIDMAS rule is an alternative acronym for BODMAS to help remember the order of operations. The only difference is that there’s an I instead of O. The meaning is the same. Bidmas is the term more commonly used in primary schools today.
Bidmas stands for Brackets, Indices, Division/Multiplication, Addition/Subtraction.
“Mathematical operations” are what you do to the numbers given. The four main operations are:
- addition (+);
- subtraction (-);
- multiplication (x);
- and division (÷).
When presented with a number sentence containing more than one operation (such as 3 + 4 x 2) the operations cannot be completed from left to right, but instead in their order of “importance”, which is what BODMAS stands for.
BODMAS is an acronym to help children to remember the order of operations in calculations. It stands for, ‘Brackets, Order, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.’ Orders” means square roots and indices (which you may know as square numbers, powers or exponents).
B – O/I – DM – AS- Brackets and orders/indices are the most important for solving first and second, then if division and multiplication appear in the same sum, solve it dependant on how the sum is presented. Addition subtraction follows the same merit. You work from left to right if they both appear.
What does the order of operations mean?
This is the order in which certain operations must be completed, from brackets first to addition and subtraction last.
It is important that division and multiplication are represented alongside each other as they are of equal importance (so must be completed from left to right, whichever appears first) – this is the same for addition and subtraction.
Below are some examples of BODMAS questions and answers children might see in schools. We’ve given you the right answer and at least one different answer to show you where children might go wrong.
BODMAS (BIDMAS) Questions and Answers
Question 1: 12 x (5 + 3)
Step 1: Following the BODMAS rule we should remove the round brackets first by doing the operation inside the bracket. 12 x 8
Step 2: All it’s left to do is the multiplication operation and we get our answer. 12 x 8 = 96
Question 2: 60 ÷ 2(10 + 5)
Step 1: Remove the round brackets first by doing the operation inside it. 60 ÷ 2(10 + 5) = 60 ÷ 2 x 15
Step 2: Do multiplication and division operation from left to right. 60 ÷ 2 x 15 = 30 x 15 = 450
Question 3: 5 – 2 + 6 ÷ 3
Step 1: The division must be completed first (6 ÷ 3 = 2) which then leaves addition and subtraction; as both are of the same importance, we can then work from left to right. 5 – 2 + 2 (the answer to 6 ÷ 3) = 5.
Don’t misunderstand with the fact we should do the round brackets first because we have no operation inside the round brackets that need to be done. We just have to follow the division and multiplication operation from left to right side. This may be commonly miscalculated as either 3 by working from left to right, or as 1 by wrongly assuming that addition should be completed before subtraction.
When will my child learn about BODMAS in primary school?
BODMAS is taught in upper KS2 and often primary school children won’t come across the order of operations until Year 6. The national curriculum states that Year 6 pupils should be taught to use their knowledge of the order of operations to carry out calculations involving the four operations.
The non-statutory guidance advises that pupils explore the order of operations using brackets; for example, 2 + 1 x 3 = 5 and (2 + 1) x 3 = 9.
As a parent trying to support your child with an order of operations questions you’ll find that most calculators and computers nowadays are sophisticated enough to complete calculations according to BODMAS. However, it’s worth testing any calculator out just to be sure. There are also plenty of BODMAS calculators available online.
Other tricky primary maths curriculum topics you may need help on
If you feel your child needs some extra support to understand BODMAS, the order of operations, or the other trickier aspects of the primary maths curriculum, Educational App Store math lesson plans within the App Library provide 1-to-1 support that’s personalised to children’s needs.