The base is the larger number that comes first. This is the number that you'll multiply by itself several times.
The exponent is the smaller number in the top right hand corner. The exponent tells you how many times you'll multiply the base by itself.
The combination of an exponent and a base is called a power.
If the exponent is positive, you can follow these steps to simplify exponents:
In elementary school, you learned that multiplication makes repeated addition easier.
Repeated addition created multiplication.
And repeated multiplication created exponents.
This relationship between addition, multiplication, and exponents is part of the structure that created the order of operations.
It's important to remember that an exponent means repeated multiplication, NOT regular multiplication.
A lot people make this common mistake when they first start learning about exponents...
This mistake is very similar to another common mistake people make when they first learn multiplication...
If you've made a mistake while simplifying exponents, don't worry :)
As you practice, it will become easier and easier and you'll soon be simplifying exponents as smoothly as you do multiplication now.