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do parentheses matter in exponents for a solution?

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2 Answers

yes, karen, they matter.  the order of operations is defined by the parentheses.  In this case:
you would cube -5 and then raise that value to the 4th power.  
To me, this is an acceptable answer.  However, your teacher might want you to simplify this to -512


-512 ≠  (-5)12
You evaluate the exponent first in -512 and get a negative number, since it's (-1)(512)
I'm sure it was just a typo.