**Frequency:**Probably the most common error

**Penalty on Exam:**Minor to severe (weighing more towards severe)

**Issue:**The order of operations, often incorrectly referred to as PEMDAS, is a roadmap to success in mathematics. Unfortunately, students often like to veer off the road and into the great wilderness called the forest of incorrectness. Always, always, always follow the order of operations.

**Examples:**

**Remedy:**Always follow the order of operations.

**Parentheses and grouping symbols:**Start from the innermost and simplify completely (using the rest of the order of operations). Then step outside to the next "layer" or grouping symbol. Remember, radicals, absolute values, function arguments, and essentially anything that you can think of as a container is a grouping symbol as well.**Exponents and "machines":**Once you are working within a grouping symbol, look for exponents, radicals, absolute values, or basically any "machine-like" structure that you can compute quickly other than multiplication, division, addition, or subtraction.**Multiplication/Division:**Once at this step, you read your expression from left-to-right, performing any multiplications and/or divisions as they come. Again, only from left-to-right!**Addition/Subtraction:**Just like the last step, read your expression from left-to-right and perform any additions and/or subtractions in the order they come.