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SCARED of the math on the Work Keys entrance test!!


Hi everyone, I have been a "lurker" in this forum for months, and finally decided to post. I have wanted to be a nurse ever since I can remember. My great aunt was an RN, and my aunt is a Nurse Practioner. Unfortunately, I did not follow my dream and I am now 38 and I want to be an LPN (for starters). You see, my entire life I have been plagued with low self esteem and mild depression. That meant for me that whenever I would express my dream to become a nurse, I would be slapped down by everyone around me and told "I could not do that." My low self esteem and depression made it impossible to speak up for myself and go for it. I was told I had to go to traditional college and get a liberals arts degree, so I did -- I got a useless degree in American Studies from, admittedly, an Ivy League school; graduated Phi Beta Kappa so I know I am not stupid. After finding the degree meant nothing and I could not get a job that I enjoyed, I again expressed my dream to be a nurse to those around me. Again, people started listing reasons why I could not do that, and I let myself be crushed. I then went on to get another useless degree -- a Master of Library and Information Science degree, again from one of the top schools. A series of unsatisifying jobs followed. Again, I feel I was really destined to be a nurse and I have finally have told those around me to shut up, I am going to be a nurse. My "depression" turned out to be a deviated septum/chronic sinusutis problem (taken care of by sinus surgery), coupled with a vitamin D/calcium defiency diagnosed by my doctor (very interesting, I think. Too bad the issue was treated as "depression" when it was not). The low self esteem is still around but I am working on it. My real fear stems from the fact that I am not good at math -- I never learned algebra or geometry because I went to high school in Appalachia, and the classes were lacking and could not provide the extra help I needed. My math teacher used to shame me in class and told me I was stupid. I suspect I actually have dyscalculia. I have to take a test called a Level 5 Work Key to get into LPN school -- even though I have a Master's in Library Science. I am scared to death of this test -- how hard is the math? What if I fail and let my 3-year-old daughter down? I have a horrid job right now in sales (pays better than libraries) and they are getting ready to downsize everyone. That's why I chose LPN rather than BSN -- I need to do something right now that will be quick, as my daughter needs my financial support. Please tell me about the math, and does anyone think I am too old to follow my dream? Thank you.

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I would take a math course at a community college; they have plenty of them in the continuing education department. I am also afraid of math, and was successful in that path. In most cases, algebra (if not geometry) will be in most entrance exams for nursing programs. I still fear math, but did what I had to do. Also, the nursing math is really not bad. There are plenty of books on medical dosages that you can order used from Amazon.com to practice. In fact, I would probably purchase a used GED book and practice the math there.

Also, there were plenty of students above 40 in my LPN class who were successful and many have gone on to become RNs afterwards. You are not too old to chase your dreams.

Thanks, Pagandeva 2000! That's a good idea to get a used GED book; also a good idea to check out a continuing education class. I have to take Wrkkeys in the next month or so, so I am going to hop onto Amazon and look for a math book right now. Then, maybe what I will do is look into a class (that's if I get in) so that I can be prepared. That's great to know that you conquered your math fear too. Good for you!! This is encouraging.

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I would not say that I totally conquered my math fear, but I worked with it at the time. Now, I prepare for it better (since at this point, I just have to take a pharm test which used pharm math). Actually, I do plan to sit for an entire semester of the sort of math you are discussing, like to audit the class, just for me. If I could ever find time. In any event, do this, get your feet wet. I did become an LPN regardless of my math phobia.

how funny, I just took WorkKey's on Monday. It is required to graduate from my LPN program. It was super, super, super easy. The kinds of questions were like "x cost this, y costs this. what is the sales tax?" There were a few fraction problems, but mostly your basic addition/multip/division. There wasn't any algebra or even anything like algebra on it.

I'm a super math phobe, and really struggled with algebra in college so I was really stressed about LPN/RN math, and it has been a total breeze. I got a 97% in pham. (the unit where we had dosage calc) and I tested out of the RN dosage calc because I graduate in June from LPN and I'll be joining a local RN program halfway through. I honestly can't believe how stressful I made it out to be, and then the reality was a piece of cake.

I would suggest reviewing your basic math skills if needed, but other than that don't sweat it.

Music in My Heart

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 11 years experience.

Try not to psych yourself out.

The math required for nursing is rudimentary. Unless you really do have a learning disability in math then there's no reason that you shouldn't be able to get what you need in pretty short order.

And here's some good news: I'm sure that your BA & MA required a lot of writing and you'll find that writing comprises a substantial portion of the nursing-school work.

diane227, LPN, RN

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg. Has 32 years experience.

You have to know at least basic algebra. I don't know if they let you use a calculator or not, but you have to be able to make some basic manual calculations. It is easier now because pharmacy does most of the calculations for you but you still need to be able to double check orders and what pharmacy sends you. Mistakes can be made.

Work keys gives you a calculator and there is one in the corner of the screen as well.

I took the workkeys test to get a job as a tech, that is a position higher then cna. It said you had to get atleast a 3, I got a 5. Math isn't my favorite. I was happy for the 5 because I qualify for the position. I didn't study. I just showed up and took the test. There are no guarantees but I do qualify.


Specializes in trauma, ortho, burns, plastic surgery.

I will hep you with all my heart at math. PM me whatever you want to know! You will do it gurl!

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