# Why Getting The Correct Math Answer Is Not Always Important: Show Your Work!

Article Summary: When it comes to showing work it is critical to show the work in a complete and clear fashion. That is, it can not just be understood by you but it must be understood by anyone else who reads it - particularly the person grading your test.

"But I got the answer right."

"But I got the answer right."

"What's the big deal?"

"Ok. The answer you wrote is 14x. Can you prove that you did not guess it?"

No response. Now do you know why it is important to show your work?

The concept of showing your work when you deduce the answer of a math problem shows all the steps that were required to arrive at the correct answer. For example, the answer to the following problem (4 + 2) x 3 is 18. How is this answered arrived at? We can see how it is arrived at by actually showing the work:

1.) (4 + 2) x 3

2.) 6 x 3

Of course, this simple math problem is very easy to answer incorrectly because many people violate the PEMDAS principle. (PEMDAS stands for the order then you need to follow when solving a problem: parentheses, exponent, multiply, divide, add, then subtract. Then, this order is followed step by step to arrive at the correct answer.

Primarily, the main person you do a favor for when you show your work is yourself. That is, showing your work greatly allows for a reduction in the potential errors that you may make. After all, if you have all the steps written out in front of you then the chances for an errant omission of a major part of the problem solving process is reduced. Sure, accidents happen and people make mistakes, but you want to reduce the potential for making mistakes.

Let's go back to the example of (4 + 2) x 3. If you were to tell someone to answer that in his or her heard they may come up with the answer of ten. But, look at the steps they followed:

1.) (4 + 2) x 3

2.) 4 + 6