Med math test at start of nursing school?

  1. The nursing school I am (hopefully) starting in the Fall has a dosage math test in the first few weeks that you have to pass. From what I've read all schools seem to do this so I was hoping that you guys could give me more of an idea on what to expect.

    I have started working through a dosage calculations book using dimensional analysis and I'm feeling pretty confident. The book is now starting into IV meds which is getting a little tricker. For your first math test do they test you on medication dosage questions or will they also look at IV's and drop factor questions too?

    Also, do most places let you use a calculator for your first math test or should I start brushing up on my long division?

    Last edit by Britmum on Jun 2, '12 : Reason: Spelling mistake
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    About Britmum

    Joined: Dec '08; Posts: 97; Likes: 9


  3. by   Cali_Nurse_209
    That's a good question and I'm wondering the same thing!! Lol I took a med math class as a pre req for the lvn program and was not allowed to use a calculator. But now I'm starting the BSN this fall and have no idea if a calculator can be used. But I'm still refreshing up on my long division, it can't hurt but it sure would be a whole lot nicer to use a calculator.
  4. by   SunshineDaisy
    At our school we have math tests every semester. 1st semester is dosage calculations, second is dosage and IV calculations, 3rd is dosage/IV calculations and peds, then 4th, I'm not sure...We are allowed to use a simple calculator, like to $1 ones from WalMart!
  5. by   grownuprosie
    I would not spend a second worrying about this right now. Your instructor will tell you exactly what they expect. If you can understand the concept of dimensional analysis, which it sounds like you do, don't worry about it. This is such a small part of your education. There are other, more important things to be focusing on before school starts. Like earning money and nursing fundamentals.
  6. by   Mrs.Priss
    We have to take this test too! We get two chances to pass. I had a 100 average in my math for meds class so I'm not too worried! I'm just looking over my book and old notes and refreshing over summer. After orientation I will know better exactly what to
    Look over... Good luck!
  7. by   Esme12
    This website provides a dosage calculations tutorial, complete with explanations and examples, to help nursing students prepare for a medication exam. - Helping Nursing Students Learn Dosage Calculations
  8. by   Britmum
    Thanks guys :-). I know I shouldn't worry too much about it right now but honestly math is not my strong subject and I would so much rather spend 20 minutes on it here and there over the summer than end up stressing out about it once school starts :-)
  9. by   KB1975
    I have to take a math test on June 25 before I can start my clinical in the fall. They have stated we can use a simple calculator and need to score at least a 90%. I am using the book Calculate with Confidence. Good luck.
  10. by   anonymousstudent
    Quote from Britmum
    Thanks guys :-). I know I shouldn't worry too much about it right now but honestly math is not my strong subject and I would so much rather spend 20 minutes on it here and there over the summer than end up stressing out about it once school starts :-)
    The kind of math you need for nursing is super super basic. Just make sure your answer makes sense, and that your conversions are correct. Know how to go from grams to mg, etc. And know that the DOSE is the amount of medication (mg) NOT the volume (mL).
  11. by   Twinmom06
    regular calculator, no cell phones - some of my classmates have some really high end calculators they've borrowed off of their kids LOL...
  12. by   brillohead
    My school has started providing basic calculators, you can't use your own (you could store info in the memory, etc., if you brought your own).

    Your initial math test won't have IV drip rates on it, in all likelihood. It's going to be basic stuff like, "The order is for 550mg of <drug> administered PO and it is available in 100mg per tablet. How many tablets need to be given?" or "The order is for 500mcg of <drug> administered IVP and you have a vial of 1mg in 5mL. How much needs to be drawn up into the syringe?"

    You need to be aware of things like converting mcg/mg and realizing that 1mg in 5mL is actually 200mcg/mL.

    As you progress further in the program, you'll be given things like the patient's weight in lbs and a dosage per kg of body weight, so you'll need to convert pounds to kg, then compute the ordered dose times kg to determine the total dose ordered, then compute how much drug to be administered based on what is available. A lot of my fellow students get flustered by these multi-step problems, but if you look at it as three separate, simple problems instead, it's not as intimidating. Converting lbs to kg is no big deal. Multiplying ordered dose per kg by # of kg is no big deal. Computing amount to administer based on a known dose and a known medication strength is no big deal.

    Don't let it intimidate you -- it is all basic math that any fifth-grade student can do -- it's just multiplication and division with fancy-sounding names tossed in to try to throw you off. Just be aware that the longer you go in the program, the more unnecessary crap they'll throw in to try to confuse you. If the order is for 500mg of <drug> and you have 200mg/tablet and they are giving you information about the patient's age and weight and how long they've been in the hospital and other stuff, the fact of the matter is that you're only being asked to answer "2.5 tablets" -- how much the patient weighs wasn't part of the dosage calculation in this instance.

    Take a deep breath. Figure out what they're asking for. Then find the info you need in order to calculate the answer. Ignore the other crap.
  13. by   gokce78
    We have math test at the beginning of each semester. You have to get 90 in your sophmore and junior year, and 100 in your senior year. It is very basic math, so no need to worry. Just pay attention to the units they give and they ask, also rounding the numbers ( always round the IV pump to the nearest whole number ). Believe me, when you're dealing with classes like patho or pharm, you won't even care to study for the math test. Good luck!!!
  14. by   SonOfStBenedict
    same way here we have a dosage cal test every semester, however in my program we have med modules to do which is very tedious and lengthy but it helps tons for the test, we have an iv module that's due when we get back in the fall. i could scan the last few pages from my fundamentals mod and email it to a few of you of that helps but there are practice problem on the internet. you basically solve the problems by implementing conversions which could include gr(grains), mg, ml, units or mcg(micrograms), using methods of dimensional analysis, formula method or ratio-proportion in which 3 sessions per method were offered in the weeks before the test. we had to attend 2 tutoring sessions didn't matter which method, you could even go to the same one twice, i personally went to formula and dimensional analysis. i hate ratios so i knew that wasn't going to even be an option, i found the formula method to be confusing even though you would think just putting values in formulas would be simple it came off as complex and needed too many steps for my liking. now da i love and find it to be the most simple way of doing dosage problems but we all have our different learning styles and you will just have to find the one that is right for you! we had to make a 90 to pass, i made a 100, you only have 2 chances and if you don't make it the 2nd time you are asked to leave the program. at the time of our exam we still have about 45 students and i think 5 or 6 failed the first go-round and they all passed the second test. be careful to double check your work and no trailing zeros [one of my classmates had to take it again solely for this!] i know yall are anxious but this is really the time to relax because the fall is going to be like something you've never experienced before.