Numeracy skills

Basic Numeracy Skills Strategy

Part -2

How to apply math to work place problem

Numeracy is the ability to process and work with numbers quickly and accurately. Some examples of numeracy skills include adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and calculating percentages in your head. You can improve your numeracy skills by practicing math puzzles and brainteasers, taking online courses, and using apps and games that help you improve your math skills.

This will vary depending on the workplace problem that you are trying to solve. However, there are some general tips that can help you apply math to workplace problems:

  1. Break the problem down into smaller pieces. This will make it easier to identify the specific mathematical concepts that you need to solve the problem.
  2. Identify the specific mathematical concepts that you need to solve the problem. You may need to review basic concepts such as arithmetic or geometry. Once you have identified the specific concepts you need, you can begin solving the problem
  3. Work through the problem step-by-step. Carefully work through each step of the problem, using the mathematical concepts you have identified.
  4. Check your work. Once you have solved the problem, check your work to ensure that your answer is correct.

Workplace math- an example

If you are working in a office and need to make 10 copies of a document, you will need to use a photocopier. To make 10 copies, you will need to set the photocopier to make 10 copies.

Using PEMDAS to Evaluate Numerical Expressions

Using PEDMAS in complex calculations

PEMDAS stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division (left to right), and Addition and Subtraction (left to right).

This acronym is a helpful tool for remembering the order of operations, which is the order in which different operations in a mathematical equation are performed. When using PEMDAS in complex calculations, it is important to remember that the operations within parentheses must be completed first.

Then, the exponentiation operations must be completed. After that, the operations of multiplication and division must be completed from left to right. Finally, the operations of addition and subtraction must be completed from left

An example of this would be: 3 + 4 x 5 The way you would solve this is by using the parentheses first, so you would have 3 + (4 x 5) which would equal 23.

Steps to learn basic numeracy skills

PEMDAS stands for parentheses, exponents, multiplication and division (left to right), addition and subtraction (left to right).

  1. Parentheses first: (2 + 3) × 4 = 20
  2. Exponents next: 3^2 × 4 = 36
  3. Multiplication and division (left to right): 6 × 4 = 24
  4. Addition and subtraction (left to right): 10 + 24 = 34


A parenthesis is a type of bracket that is used to enclose a group of words or characters for a specific purpose. Parentheses are often used in mathematical equations to group numbers and operations together.

They can also be used in writing to set off non-essential information.

Consider this example-

PEDMAS Rule to solve the numerical equation
Mathematical skills

5 × (6-4)

Solve the bracket first

6-4= 2

Then, multiply your answer by the other number in the calculation,5

5 ×2=10

If you had performed the calculation simply by moving from left to right, resolving each operation in turn without the brackets, you would have done this:

5 × 6 −2

which simplifies to:

30 − 4 = 26

In this case, this is the wrong answer.


Exponents are a mathematical notation that indicates how many times a number is multiplied by itself. In other words, exponents tell you how many times to use a number in a multiplication equation.

For example, 22 are “five squared,” or two times two. (“Squares” often show up in calculations of area.) So: 22 is the same as 2 × 2, which equals to 4

Similarly, 23 is called “two cubed.” (“Cubes” often appear in calculations of volume.) So: 23 is the same as 2 × 2 × 2, which equals 8 PEMDAS tells you to work out exponents after you’ve completed any calculations in parentheses, but before other operations.

For example, in… 22 + 7 = ? …you start by working out 22. So: 2 2 is the same as 2 × 2, which equals to 4

Now that you’ve calculated the exponent, you have the information you need to complete the calculation: 4+ 7 =11


You may sometimes see negative exponents, such as 2-2. To calculate a negative exponent, carry out the calculation as you would if the exponent were positive, then make the result into a fraction with 1 on top. So: 2 -2 = 1 ⁄ (2 × 2) = ¼

Multiplication and division

To multiply two numbers, you simply take the number of times one number appears in the other. For example, 5 times 3 are 15 because there are three groups of five in 15.

To divide two numbers, you take the number of times one number can go into the other. For example, 15 divided by 3 is 5 because there are three groups of five in 15

For example,


 5 + 2 × 4 ÷ 2  = ?

Basic numeracy skills

…you start by calculating 8 × 6. Then, you do the division, using the result of the multiplication. So:

2× 4 =8

 8 ÷ 2 = 4

Only then do you move on to the addition: 5 + 4= 9.

Addition and subtraction

The final step in complex calculations is to calculate additions and subtractions. Again, you can do these in either order, so it’s easiest to move from left to right through the calculation.

For example,


 22 + 4 + 6 − 8 + 3 = ? …

you first deal with the exponent. 22, or2× 2, equals4,

so the sum becomes: 4+ 4 + 6− 8 + 3 = ?

Then, you start at the left and work your way across, working out the additions and subtractions in pairs: 4+ 4 = 8

8+ 6 = 14

14 − 8 = 6

6+ 3 = 9

PEMDAS: Bringing the Elements Together

We’ve looked at each part of PEMDAS in turn.

Now, let’s bring all of the elements together in this example:

43 − 5 × (10 − 6) ÷ 2 + (5 + 5)

Working out the sums in Parentheses (brackets) leads to:

4 3 − 5 × (4) ÷ 2 + (10)

Calculating the Exponent simplifies the sum to:

64 − 5 × 4 ÷ 2 + 10

Carrying out Multiplication and Division leads to:

64 − 20 ÷ 2 + 10

64 − 10 + 10

Ending with Addition and Subtraction produces the final sum:

 64− 10 + 10 = 64

Key Points

Some key points to remember when developing your workplace numeracy skills include:

– Being able to accurately read and interpret information in numerical form

– Understanding and using basic mathematical concepts and operations

– Being able to solve problems using numerical information

– Knowing how to use technology to support your numeracy skills

– Keeping up to date with developments in mathematical thinking and technology


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