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For the math problem set shown below, I want to reduce the vertical space created each time I include a new text line with instructions. The red arrows in the screenshot below show the location of the vertical space I want to reduce to fit a few more problems on the page.

enter image description here

The text lines are created by this code:

\task![]\fullwidth{\textbf{Simplify.(Add exponents)}}

I don't know if the vertical spacing indicated by the red arrows is controlled by the command above or by something in the preamble.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

mwe:

\documentclass[12pt]{exam}
\printanswers
% un-comment to print solutions.
\renewcommand{\solutiontitle}{}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{cancel}
\usepackage{framed}
\usepackage{bm}
\usepackage{multicol}
\usepackage[nice]{nicefrac}
\usepackage{tasks}
\usepackage[a4paper,margin=0.5in,include head]{geometry}
\usepackage{xcolor}
\usepackage{soul}
\pagestyle{head}
\header{Algebra II: Unit 13 A\&B Fractional Exponents}
       {}
       {Due 05/02/23} 

\newcommand{\pagetop}{%
%\noindent 
\bigskip
  \vspace{0.5mm}
}
\newlength{\lwidth}% added <<<<<
\settowidth{\lwidth}{(99)\enspace} % added

\settasks{after-item-skip=1em,
    after-skip=2cm,
    label-width=\lwidth, % changed <<<<<<<<<
    item-indent=0pt,   % changed <<<<<<<<<<
    label-format = \bfseries, 
    %add \bf to make numbers bold <<<<<<<<<<
    label=(\arabic*), % 
    label-offset = -\lwidth,% added <<<<<
    item-format = \hspace{\lwidth},% added <<<<<
    column-sep=2em,    % changed <<<<<<<<<  
}

\begin{document}
%definition for bigskip = 1 line to replace all \bigskip
\def\bigskip{\vskip\bigskipamount}
\begin{tasks}
[style=enumerate](3)
\task![]\fullwidth{\textbf{Change to fractional exponents.}}
% Prob #1
\task 
$\sqrt[6]{a}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
\colorbox{yellow}{$a^{1/6}$}
\end{solutionorbox}
%\vspace{0.25cm}
%%%%
%Prob #2
\task 
$\sqrt[4]{5}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
\colorbox{yellow}{$5^{1/4}$}
\end{solutionorbox}
%\vspace{0.25cm}
%%%%
%Prob #3
\task 
$\sqrt[3]{x^2}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
\colorbox{yellow}{$x^{2/3}$}
\end{solutionorbox}
%\vspace{0.25cm}
%%%% Prob #9
\task![]\fullwidth{\textbf{Change to radicals.}}
\task 
$x^{3/10}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
\colorbox{yellow}{$\sqrt[10]{x^3}$}
\end{solutionorbox}
\vspace{0.25cm}
%%
%%%% Prob #10
\task
$w^{4/7}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
\colorbox{yellow}{$\sqrt[7]{x^4}$}
\end{solutionorbox}
\vspace{0.25cm}
%%
%%%% Prob #13
\task
$(ab)^{3/4}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
\colorbox{yellow}{$\sqrt[4]{a^3}\sqrt[4]{b^3}=\sqrt[4]{a^3b^3}$}
\end{solutionorbox}
\vspace{0.25cm}
%%
\task![]\fullwidth{\textbf{Simplify.(Add exponents)}}
%% Prob #17
\task
$x^{3/4}\bm{\cdot}x^{1/4}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
$x^{3/4+1/4}$
\bigskip
\colorbox{yellow}{$x^{4/4}=x$}
\end{solutionorbox}
%% Prob #18
\task
$a^{1/2}\bm{\cdot}a^{2/3}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
$x^{1/2+2/3}$
\bigskip
\colorbox{yellow}{$x^{3/6+4/6}=x^{7/6}$}
\end{solutionorbox}
%% Prob #19
\task
$b^{3/4}\bm{\cdot}b^{1/10}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
$b^{3/4+1/10}$
\bigskip
\colorbox{yellow}{$b^{15/20+2/20}=x^{17/20}$}
\end{solutionorbox}
%% Prob #20
\task
$5^{1/4}\bm{\cdot}5^{3/4}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
$5^{1/4+3/4}$
\bigskip
\colorbox{yellow}{$5^{4/4}=5$}
\end{solutionorbox}
%% Prob #21
\task
$8^{1/3}\bm{\cdot}8^{1/4}$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
$8^{1/3+1/4}$
\bigskip
\colorbox{yellow}{$8^{4/12+3/12}=x^{7/12}$}
\end{solutionorbox}
%% Prob #22
\task
$z^{3/4}\bm{\cdot}z^{1/2}\bm{\cdot}z$
\begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
$z^{3/4+1/2+1}$
\bigskip
\colorbox{yellow}{$z^{3/4+2/4+4/4}=x^{9/4}$}
\end{solutionorbox}
\task![]\fullwidth{\textbf{Simplify.(Subtract exponents)}}
\end{tasks}
\end{document}
1
  • Regarding the vertical space, you have the explicit \vspace{0.25cm} following many of the solutionorbox entries. Comment them out or get rid of them. If you want a bit more space after that's done, \smallskip might be appropriate. May 2, 2023 at 23:42

1 Answer 1

1

Instead of \task![]\fullwidth{\textbf{Change to radicals.}}

use \task![]\hspace{-\lwidth}\textbf{Change to radicals.}

a

\documentclass[12pt]{exam}
\printanswers
% un-comment to print solutions.
\renewcommand{\solutiontitle}{}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{cancel}
\usepackage{framed}
\usepackage{bm}
\usepackage{multicol}
\usepackage[nice]{nicefrac}
\usepackage{tasks}
\usepackage[a4paper,margin=0.5in,include head]{geometry}
\usepackage{xcolor}
\usepackage{soul}
\pagestyle{head}
\header{Algebra II: Unit 13 A\&B Fractional Exponents}
{}
{Due 05/02/23} 

\newcommand{\pagetop}{%
    %\noindent 
    \bigskip
    \vspace{0.5mm}
}
\newlength{\lwidth}% added <<<<<
\settowidth{\lwidth}{(99)\enspace} % added

\settasks{after-item-skip=1em,
    after-skip=2cm,
    label-width=\lwidth, % changed <<<<<<<<<
    item-indent=0pt,   % changed <<<<<<<<<<
    label-format = \bfseries, 
    %add \bf to make numbers bold <<<<<<<<<<
    label=(\arabic*), % 
    label-offset = -\lwidth,% added <<<<<
    item-format = \hspace{\lwidth},% added <<<<<
    column-sep=2em,    % changed <<<<<<<<<  
}

\begin{document}
    %definition for bigskip = 1 line to replace all \bigskip
    \def\bigskip{\vskip\bigskipamount}
    \begin{tasks}
        [style=enumerate](3)
        \task![]\hspace{-\lwidth}\textbf{Change to fractional exponents.} % changed <<<<<<<<<<<<<
        % Prob #1
        \task 
        $\sqrt[6]{a}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            \colorbox{yellow}{$a^{1/6}$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        %\vspace{0.25cm}
        %%%%
        %Prob #2
        \task 
        $\sqrt[4]{5}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            \colorbox{yellow}{$5^{1/4}$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        %\vspace{0.25cm}
        %%%%
        %Prob #3
        \task 
        $\sqrt[3]{x^2}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            \colorbox{yellow}{$x^{2/3}$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        %\vspace{0.25cm}
        %%%% Prob #9
        \task![]\hspace{-\lwidth}\textbf{Change to radicals.}% changed <<<<<<<<<<<<<
        \task 
        $x^{3/10}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            \colorbox{yellow}{$\sqrt[10]{x^3}$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        \vspace{0.25cm}
        %%
        %%%% Prob #10
        \task
        $w^{4/7}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            \colorbox{yellow}{$\sqrt[7]{x^4}$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        \vspace{0.25cm}
        %%
        %%%% Prob #13
        \task
        $(ab)^{3/4}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            \colorbox{yellow}{$\sqrt[4]{a^3}\sqrt[4]{b^3}=\sqrt[4]{a^3b^3}$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        \vspace{0.25cm}
        %%
        \task![]\hspace{-\lwidth}\textbf{Simplify.(Add exponents)}% changed <<<<<<<<<<<<<
        %% Prob #17
        \task
        $x^{3/4}\bm{\cdot}x^{1/4}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            $x^{3/4+1/4}$
            \bigskip
            \colorbox{yellow}{$x^{4/4}=x$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        %% Prob #18
        \task
        $a^{1/2}\bm{\cdot}a^{2/3}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            $x^{1/2+2/3}$
            \bigskip
            \colorbox{yellow}{$x^{3/6+4/6}=x^{7/6}$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        %% Prob #19
        \task
        $b^{3/4}\bm{\cdot}b^{1/10}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            $b^{3/4+1/10}$
            \bigskip
            \colorbox{yellow}{$b^{15/20+2/20}=x^{17/20}$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        %% Prob #20
        \task
        $5^{1/4}\bm{\cdot}5^{3/4}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            $5^{1/4+3/4}$
            \bigskip
            \colorbox{yellow}{$5^{4/4}=5$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        %% Prob #21
        \task
        $8^{1/3}\bm{\cdot}8^{1/4}$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            $8^{1/3+1/4}$
            \bigskip
            \colorbox{yellow}{$8^{4/12+3/12}=x^{7/12}$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        %% Prob #22
        \task
        $z^{3/4}\bm{\cdot}z^{1/2}\bm{\cdot}z$
        \begin{solutionorbox}[5cm]
            $z^{3/4+1/2+1}$
            \bigskip
            \colorbox{yellow}{$z^{3/4+2/4+4/4}=x^{9/4}$}
        \end{solutionorbox}
        \task![]\hspace{-\lwidth}\textbf{Simplify.(Subtract exponents)}% changed <<<<<<<<<<<<<
    \end{tasks}
\end{document}

Another option is to redefine the command \fullwidth

(add before \begin{document})

\makeatletter
\renewcommand{\fullwidth}[1]{%
    \vbox{%     
        \leftskip=-\lwidth \rightskip=0pt
        \advance\linewidth\@totalleftmargin%
        \@totalleftmargin=0pt%
        #1}%
    \nobreak
}
\makeatother
3
  • Wow! 2 solutions! For future reference, I created 2 versions of this project -- one for each approach you suggest. I can't thank you enough! For the purposes of these 3 column worksheets, is one solution preferred over the other? Also, (a bit off topic) but can you offer any suggestions for improving the readability of the exponents which involve the adding/subtracting of 2 fractional exponents? My students can get a wee bit confused when there's so much going within the exponent. May 2, 2023 at 21:46
  • Thanks to you, I finally understand the power of redefining the command \fullwidth -- only need to enter 1x ,thereby obviating the need to edit the code every time there's a new instance of \task![ ]\fullwidth. Much more efficient! May 2, 2023 at 22:04
  • 1
    @Siuslaw Math I can barely see the exponents myself.! I suggest (1) add \Large after \begin{document} to increase the font size, and (2) use two columns \begin{tasks}[style=enumerate](2), and (3) change \settowidth{... to \settowidth{\lwidth}{(99)\quad} to add some space after the task number. May 4, 2023 at 19:31

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