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Mathematical equations, formulae and diagramsMathematical equations, formulae and diagrams Mathematics, often abbreviated to maths, is the study of numbers, shapes and patterns. It uses logic to understand the relationships between things, to solve problems and help make sense of the world. The subject has many branches, including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, probability and statistics. Pure maths deals with ideas while applied maths helps an understanding of science, engineering, technology, business or just everyday life.


Every branch of mathematics uses arithmetic. Our number system, called the decimal system, is based on ten, and uses 10 symbols called digits or numerals: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. One more than 9 is 10, a two-digit number. The first digit represents number of tens, the second digit single units. So 35 is three tens and five units.

A multiplication chartA multiplication chart
Arithmetic deals with counting and the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Addition is putting numbers together to make a bigger number, for example 5 + 3 = 8. Subtraction is taking one amount away from another, such as 8 – 3 = 5. Multiplication is repeated addition, so that instead of 5 + 5 + 5 = 15, 3 × 5 = 15 is written. Dividing is grouping or sharing; for example, 15 can be divided into five equal groups of three, written 15 ÷ 5 = 3.

Prime numbers

The word arithmetic is from the Greek word for number, arithmos.

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