Students General Students
Published Feb 17, 2014
On our first dimensional analysis exam coming up, our instructor says we won't be allowed to use our own personal calculators because we could "store the conversions in it"?!
Here's the problem with that: cheap, ****** calculators (which i'm sure is what will be used) have a difficult time with registering keys 100% of the time.
My TI-30X IIS has never had such a problem.
There's a reset button on the calculator. If I demonstrate that I've reset the calculator before taking the test, is it fair for her to prohibit me from using it?
I don't have a problem with using a basic calculator, but the sensitivity problem is actually a real issue. If I knew the calcs we're given were quality ones that have near perfect key registration (as my TI does), I wouldn't be worried. Of course, there's no way for me to ensure this.
What do you guys think?
RusticSandy
19 Posts
I honestly don't think it's really a big deal. My school also provides calculators for our math tests and they are really cheap ones - I have never had a problem with it registering what I'm typing. I always just look at the screen to make sure the number is what I meant to type. Just double check yourself and take a few deep breaths. There are bigger issues to get worked up about. Also, the school can and will do whatever it wants as far as rules and what you're allowed to use. Fair or not, they could have made you take the test without a calculator, so a crappy one is better than none. The calculator I use actually slows me down a little because I'm not used to using it. I think this ultimately helps me because I'm more likely to double check I'm doing things right.
Axmann, RN, BSN, NREMT-B
86 Posts
I honestly don't think it's really a big deal. My school also provides calculators for our math tests and they are really cheap ones - I have never had a problem with it registering what I'm typing. I always just look at the screen to make sure the number is what I meant to type. Just double check yourself and take a few deep breaths. There are bigger issues to get worked up about. Also, the school can and will do whatever it wants as far as rules and what you're allowed to use. Fair or not, they could make you take the test without a calculator.
I suppose you're right... Thanks.
A&Ox6, MSN, RN
1 Article; 572 Posts
Just for your information, we were not allowed calculators at all for dosage calculation. We were expected to become proficient enough to do it on our own. I personally feel that a calculator would've slowed me down because it's harder to see your mistakes.
Also, remember that most of this is fifth grade level math. You didn't use a calculator back then either. Try to see them as word problems as opposed to dosage calculation. Also, if you took chemistry, you should know the rate proportion and dimensional analysis cold. (Factor label method)
akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P
3,496 Posts
My advice is this: follow their rules. While you may be able to bring up the issue to them, I doubt that you'll be very successful in persuading them that you can only utilize one particular and specific calculator because of what I suspect is a key-press issue. Most likely the only way you'd be able to get around that particular problem/issue is if you had a valid accommodation for a disability. I would further expect that you won't be able to get such an accommodation because pressing keys is pressing keys and you'll just have to get used to using simple calculators anyway.
Med math isn't normally so hard and difficult that you couldn't find a way to easily get by with a simple calculator. You certainly won't be allowed to bring your own calculator into the NCLEX exam anyway... for the same reason.
My entire class has used the cheap and simple no-memory calculators for each and every med math exam we've ever taken. Nobody has had an issue with them whatsoever.
The other issue with using your own calculator is that yours likely has a memory and by you entering the formulas, you essentially could exit the exam area with exact questions and answers to each exam they give. That wrecks exam integrity. That's another reason why you wouldn't be allowed to have your own calculator with you during those exams.
sjalv
897 Posts
Sounds like a petty complaint. We used real cheap handheld calculators for our dosage calculation tests and no one had any complaints.
ruralnurse84
173 Posts
I bought the cheapest calculator I could find and have absolutely no issues with it. We are allowed to use our own calculators but I don't think many of my classmates have the fancy ones from previous math classes. Honestly I can do most of the math without a calculator because it is fairly simple. The only calculation that would need a calculator is the BSA. Try and do some practice problems without a calculator before doing the test.
morte, LPN, LVN
7,015 Posts
Oy! what is a "calculator" ? lololol
CT Pixie, BSN, RN
3,723 Posts
I wish we were given the opportunity to use one...even the most basic of ones. Alas, we were expected to be able to figure out the basic math (and it is basic..multiply, divide, add, subtract) on paper, long hand. As well, we had to 'show' our work. For me that was a problem because I tend to do a lot of math in my head and I'm not really sure 'how' I do it to 'show' it.
Is it fair? I think so. When you take your NCLEX you won't be able to use your own personal one. You use the one attached to the program, basic type..nothing fancy.
applesxoranges, BSN, RN
2,242 Posts
We had to use the computer calculator for our tests. Sad thing is that you can switch to a mode where you can actually convert information. I didn't use it to cheat but they apparently never looked at the calculator closely when Windows 7 came out.
HappyWife77, BSN, RN
739 Posts
Use your head instead of a calculator. You will thank her later!
You can do it!
CountryMomma, ASN, RN
589 Posts
We use cheap dollar store calculators for our exams, and I haven't ever had a problem with unregistered key presses. We aren't allowed our own, and I am okay with that. I don't want someone else cheating in my class by storing answers, coming in or out of the test.
If you are that worried about the key presses, slow down and check your calculations as you go. You should be going slow and double checking anyways.
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