You will already be familiar with the notation for squares and cubes:

a^{2} **=** a x a and a^{3} **=** a x a x a

and this is generalised by defining:

**a**^{n} = a x a x...x a (n times a)

That is, **powers** are used to describe the result of repeatedly multiplying a number by itself.

The number that is successively multiplied by itself is called the **base**. A small raised number called an **exponent** follows the base and indicates the number of times the base is to be multiplied.

**Any number (except 0) raised to the zero power is equal to 1.**