The Dreaded Math Test!!!!

I'm sure we all have to take the dreaded dosage calculation test at the end of the semester. We have to make 90% on 2 tries or you're out of the program. We had our test Monday, and I missed only 1, so I passed. Unfortunately, only 10 out of 36 passed. This means they only have one more chance to make the grade. I understand the importance of being able to figure dosage calculations, but this seems so unfair when there are several students in my class who have A or almost A averages, yet may not make it because of the math. We had to do a silmilar test at the beginning of the year, but then we only had to make an 85%, and got 3 tries. I really think it should have been 90% then too. At least, a person would have got out in the beginning rather than wait until school is almost over. The second test for the dosage calculations is scheduled for May 6th, our last day of class is May 9th. Is this an NLN requirement to take this test at the very end of the semester? I'm interested in your opinions and comments.


Apr 28, '02i remember my instructor . when the results from our 1st math test were frowned upon. she sayed that all remaining regular tests will have a math componet yet the tests will still be 78 to 83 questions long.we learned it quick enough.

Apr 28, '02We have 8 math quizzes spread out over 2 semesters in my program(i'm a bridge student). We have to pass the math portion with 87%. We dont have a final math test.
I dont know about the math being a NLN requirement, but have been told that they do incorporate math into the NCLEX.
I have never been a math person, but it hasnt been that bad once you learn to weed out all the extra information they add in to some of the problems they give us. 
Apr 28, '02I'm not a student nurse anymore, but I saw "the dreaded math test" thread on the today's active list, and I had to pipe in!
We had a "killer" maths test  almost literally. It had been a clinicals day, our hospital was less than a mile from our school, across a picturesque little bridge, so we walked back to school to sit the maths test. There was a loud noise, like somebody grunting and sighing, and dropping his books.
Actually, it was one of "us," going into Vfib, a lethal arrythmia. What I'd thought had been his books hitting the floor had been HIM.
I think there were still 60 students in the class. The woman who was proctoring the test was our division director, an advance degree nurse who hasn't had any clinical experience in years and years.
She panicked! She yelled, "Find someone who is certified in CPR." Well, sheesh  there were 60 of us. Several of us were already LPN's, and we had him straightened out on the floor, assessed and rescue breathing started within seconds. One of us ran to the office (precellphone days, don't you know) and called 911.
The entrance to our school was difficult to find from the street, and then there were several different turnings on the campus where the ambulance could go wrong. So a couple of us (me and a couple of guys) ran to the various possible wrongturning places to direct the ambulance.
The guy at the entrance directed them into the campus, the other two guys and I made sure they headed for our building, and then I went trudging back to class. I didn't run back, and it was quite a walk, so it was several, several minutes.
When I got there, the EMT guys were still fooling around on their truck. I got really mad and told them that we were NOT dealing with a fainted coed but a full arrest and they'd been doing compressions since the 911 call had been made. They hurried up the steps then, that's for sure. They had to do several shocks, but they got him going again, and off to the hospital next door.
I'm sure you know that for every minute that a person is in arrest, having CPR performed, you lose 10% chance of actual recovery. But this young man had a team of students who were not about to let him go, and there were enough of them to spell each other as the person doing compressions got too tired to be effective, that his function was pretty much fully preserved.
He's a nurse today. He didn't graduate with our class, but with the class one year later.
And they did NOT excuse the rest of us from having to take that killer maths test!
Love
Dennie 
Apr 28, '02What was a nightmare for me in high school, was comparatively easier for some reason, 12 years later, when I returned to school to study Nursing. I have no idea why.
All those years thinking I was some sort of math illiterate... How uplifting for me when I found out I was wrong!!
Why the math... besides the obvious? I dunno. It seems to be a dichotomy, when we are so critically short Nurses, to eliminate such a large percentage of potential new Nurses because they can't "do the math." And while I can truly say I don't use the math quite as much as our studies seem to have warranted... I am always grateful I have this invaluable skill on those occasions when being able to calculate the correct answer has been imperative.
Seek out those who do fairly well, ask their secrets. Some of mine seem a bit obscure, but they do help me when I have need to use them.
Peace 
Apr 28, '02be happy with having to make a 90.... we have to make a 100!!! perfect, no errors... talk about stress heheh and if you don't make the 100 the first time, it is just like all of our other tests, you get one more chance.. and if you don't make the 100 then.. you are out!!!
i think it is a silly rule.. i understand needing to know how to do drug calculations, but having to make a 100 is a lil crazy... i think they are just evil (not really, just wanted to use the devil face)Last edit by nurs2b on Apr 28, '02 

Apr 28, '02I carry a calculator in my pocket and use the math that is on your test many times every day. Know your calculations and know them well because there will be even more to come if you enter a specialty field. Ninety percent is not too much to ask. In the real world it would mean that only 9 out of 10 are given the correct dosage and that is unacceptable. Also, as a side note, I am contract credentialed in eight hospitals.. each one gave me a grueling 12 hour medication/ math exam before I could work in their facility. How embarrassing it would have been to be offered a contract and then have it revoked because of a failure.
This is just preparation for the real world where you will be forced to calculate under stressful situations and where time is of the essence.
That said, I will tell you that I was a total idiot when it came to math. Because of fear, I avoided math and found it hard to concentrate when I was studying. When my nursing instructors would send students to the black board to show their calculations, I would break out into a cold sweat and try to become invisible. It never worked. My nursing instructors could smell my fear. I still have vivid memories of standing in front of the whole class redfaced and feeling like I was about to cry. I passed the math portion in school by the skin of my teeth.
It really wasn't until I had been a nurse for several years that I truly felt comfortable. Now when a physician is watching me calculate and hang a stat drip or IV push, I can do it with confidence (but I still have trouble remembering to breath) The moral of the story is...if I could master it, anyone can. You will do fine...just practise a lot. 
Apr 29, '02Ahh....yes....the math test. We have had like two so far outof three, I think there is. It is very stressful to do. I don't thing we've lost any because of failure in our tests, but I'm sure it's been close.
You do need to know these calculations very well though. Just think, what if you knew ALL the procedures to do for a patient, and you did them all well, but when it came time to give medication, you OD'd the pt, and they died. Now what good did your procedure training do? Nurse need to know the whole, all around scope of things, and unfortunately, some of it is hard.
But good luck to you, I'm sure you're going to do fine!
Julie

Apr 29, '02Ageless,
That is very interesting to hear. So many in our class think that we will NEVER use the math. It's good to know that we willl be using it. BTW, the 1 question I missed was because I expressed the flow rate in ml/hr instead of gtts/min, I would have been correct if I hadn't assumed there was a pump and used the drip rate for the tubing. Darn!