# Learn@UW/D2L - Rules for Entering and Evaluating Arithmetic Expressions

This document explains the rules for entering an arithmetic expression, and how the order of operations is carried out.

Arithmetic expressions, used in the formula box in arithmetic quiz questions, are entered in a manner similar to entering an expression in a computer program. They are evaluated using the standard rules of arithmetic expression evaluation used in most computer programming languages: that is, multiplications (*) and divisions (/) are carried out before additions (+) and subtractions (-) unless parentheses are used to specify the order of operations.

For example, 3.9+6*7 calculates as 3.9+(6*7) = 45.9 and not as (3.9+6)*7 = 69.3 .

Note also the * is needed for multiplication: e.g., 2(69-32.7) is invalid; 2*(69-32.7) is correct.

Arithmetic functions can also contain the character ^ for raising to a power, references to built-in functions, and variables. For further information, see the document Learn@UW - Quizzing: Arithmetic Question Type.