Why no calculator on the Nursing School Entrance Exam?

  1. Hi Everyone,
    I'm horrible at math. I am actually taking some remedial Algebra classes to catch up. I don't have to take these because I have already had college level Algebra from my previous Bachelor of Arts degree. One of the reasons I pursued Journalism was so I could get out of taking math classes.

    I graduated with my first degree in 1986. So re-learning math has been difficult. I tried taking remedial Beginning Algebra last semester. I had to drop it because Chemistry consumed my whole life.

    I have BIO 110 this semester, along with Sociology. I'd like to take the CNA class, but I cannot afford to get another B. (I got a B in Chemistry.)

    The thing that I just do not understand is why we cannot use a very basic calculator for the Nursing School Entrance Exam. I could understand if you weren't allowed to use a scientific calculator.

    I was wondering if this was the case with everyone. Do any of you know if you can use a basic calculator. You only get a minute and a half to answer the math problems. I feel, especially on the word problems, if you are smart enough to set them up, a calculator would just be a quicker way to get the final answer. If you could not set up the problem right, then a calculator wouldn't do you much good.

    I'm sorry about ranting about this. It is just I don't see the point in banning basic calculators. I also wanted to know if any of you can use a calculator.


    Thanks,
    Tammy
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from want2scuba
    Hi Everyone,
    I'm horrible at math. I am actually taking some remedial Algebra classes to catch up. I don't have to take these because I have already had college level Algebra from my previous Bachelor of Arts degree. One of the reasons I pursued Journalism was so I could get out of taking math classes.

    I graduated with my first degree in 1986. So re-learning math has been difficult. I tried taking remedial Beginning Algebra last semester. I had to drop it because Chemistry consumed my whole life.

    I have BIO 110 this semester, along with Sociology. I'd like to take the CNA class, but I cannot afford to get another B. (I got a B in Chemistry.)

    The thing that I just do not understand is why we cannot use a very basic calculator for the Nursing School Entrance Exam. I could understand if you weren't allowed to use a scientific calculator.

    I was wondering if this was the case with everyone. Do any of you know if you can use a basic calculator. You only get a minute and a half to answer the math problems. I feel, especially on the word problems, if you are smart enough to set them up, a calculator would just be a quicker way to get the final answer. If you could not set up the problem right, then a calculator wouldn't do you much good.

    I'm sorry about ranting about this. It is just I don't see the point in banning basic calculators. I also wanted to know if any of you can use a calculator.


    Thanks,
    Tammy
    I suspect it is because you are expected to do basic math w/o the use of a calculator. Believe it or not you won't always have a calculator in hand or nearby. Also, there has been emergency situations where it just wasn't practically to go find a calculator before giving a med.
  4. by   Sheri257
    I always thought it was stupid also but ...

    Might as well get used to it. They never let us use calculators throughout our nursing program. You had to do all math by hand every semester.

    We had a math test every semester and we had math problems on not all but most of the tests ... even the finals. It's just a fact of life in nursing school.

    But I wouldn't panic over it. People who thought they were really bad at math did fine ... they just practiced it until they got it. Be sure to practice long division if you're rusty on that. And know your conversions.

    The biggest mistakes people made, actually, was not practicing/studying beforehand. And ... not reading the question carefully before they did the calculations, not so much with the math itself.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 25, '06
  5. by   Jules A
    At first I also found it irritating because of extra time but you would be surprised by the number of people that can't do simple math so I figure thats probably what they are trying to find out. Its true that calculators aren't always handy and while it takes longer you get used to it.
  6. by   want2scuba
    Quote from lizz
    I always thought it was stupid also but ...

    Might as well get used to it. They never let us use calculators throughout our nursing program. You had to do all math by hand every semester.

    We had a math test every semester and we had math problems on not all but most of the tests ... even the finals. It's just a fact of life in nursing school.

    But I wouldn't panic over it. People who thought they were really bad at math did fine ... they just practiced it until they got it. Be sure to practice long division if you're rusty on that. And know your conversions.

    The biggest mistakes people made, actually, was not practicing/studying beforehand. And ... not reading the question carefully before they did the calculations, not so much with the math itself.

    :typing
    Wow, now you've freaked me out completely. I just thought it was the pre-admission's exam that you could not use a calculator on. That is really surprising since now they even have these electronic things to verify pt's weight and dosage.

    It is not the long divisions that I worried about. That's not to say a tiny mistake could not mess up an entire problems. I'm pretty confident on the English to metric conversions, and metric to metric conversions. If it is a really long problem, like in chemistry math, I hated the dimensional analysis. I ended up needing a tutor on that. In the end, dimensional analysis ended up being my friend.

    I'm also not fast at math. I am going to have to practice. I also hate word problems like, "Two trains leaves the station at 1pm. One train is going x miles per hour; the other train leaves another station at the same time going x miles per hour. What time will the two trains meet?" I hate that crap.

    I ended up with a very high B in Chemistry. It was the math that killed me. I do not want to take college Algebra over because I got an A in it during my first Bachelor of Arts degree. I don't want to risk bringing that down.

    It also bothers me that I could set up the problem correctly, and hastily make a small math error, and get the answer wrong. That is so maddening. Because the exam is scan-tron, I assume, there would be no possibility for partial credit.

    I guess I'll just have to take as many remedial classes as I can before taking the NLN. I hate those classes because they meet every single day but one. The one day they don't meet is never on a Friday. They also don't show up on your transcript. They are just pass/fail. It's like you never even took them. You pay for them though.

    Thanks,:smackingf
    Tammy
  7. by   Sheri257
    Quote from want2scuba
    I also hate word problems like, "Two trains leaves the station at 1pm. One train is going x miles per hour; the other train leaves another station at the same time going x miles per hour. What time will the two trains meet?" I hate that crap.
    I wouldn't take extra math courses or practice math that I didn't need. Problems like the one mentioned above aren't going to help you with nursing math. Just focus on what you need to learn for nursing.

    See if you can find out what kind of books or computer programs they're using at your nursing school. At my schoool, they used the ProCalc math program extensively so ... that's what I practiced on.

    Quote from want2scuba
    It also bothers me that I could set up the problem correctly, and hastily make a small math error, and get the answer wrong. That is so maddening. Because the exam is scan-tron, I assume, there would be no possibility for partial credit.
    Yeah ... that's just the way it is. It is maddening but, the reason they're so tough on it, I think, is if you get the math wrong then ... you make a med error. Obviously, they don't want you making med errors.

    I actually caught a couple of MD med errors in the hospital, mostly because of the math tests I took in school. There is a method to the madness, if that's any consolation.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 26, '06
  8. by   want2scuba
    Quote from lizz
    I wouldn't take extra math courses or practice math that I didn't need. Problems like the one mentioned above aren't going to help you with nursing math. Just focus on what you need to learn for nursing.

    See if you can find out what kind of books or computer programs they're using at your nursing school. At my schoool, they used the ProCalc math program extensively so ... that's what I practiced on.



    Yeah ... that's just the way it is. It is maddening but, the reason they're so tough on it, I think, is if you get the math wrong then ... you make a med error. Obviously, they don't want you making med errors.

    I actually caught a couple of MD med errors in the hospital, mostly because of the math tests I took in school. There is a method to the madness, if that's any consolation.

    :typing
    Thanks, I'll check into ProCalc math program. The thing is that in the NLN practice book there are all kinds of word problems that I mentioned above (like the train thing). I'm just going to have to buckle down and study both.

    Is that Procalc math program expensive? Where did you get it?

    Thanks,
    Tammy
  9. by   Sheri257
    Quote from want2scuba
    Thanks, I'll check into ProCalc math program. The thing is that in the NLN practice book there are all kinds of word problems that I mentioned above (like the train thing). I'm just going to have to buckle down and study both.

    Is that Procalc math program expensive? Where did you get it?

    Thanks,
    Tammy
    Oh ok ... sorry, didn't know that. The ProCalc program cost $50 and it was in the school bookstore but, you may be able to get it online also. It is kind of expensive but I did use it throughout nursing school.

    :typing
  10. by   Jules A
    When we got to our dosage exams they were only either 10 or 20 questions and I would do each problem twice. That helped me catch any sloppy math errors that might be there and also made me feel confident when I was finished that my work was accurate. You might find it hard to believe but there were quite a few people that were having trouble with the long division which then of course screws up any chance at getting the correct answer. And of course at my school nothing ever came out even, urggh! It sounds like you will be just fine.

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