A Familiar Calculator
Find a calculator you are comfortable with and use that for your exam.
Don't bring a calculator you haven't used before, or a fancy one that you don't know how to use.
What functions should your calculator have?
Apart from standard addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, your calculator should have the following functions:
A Memory Example
- Memory Function
- Inverse Function
- Other Functions
Let's take a look at an example to see why this is important. Suppose the question asks
What is the value of (x + 0.33) - (y + 0.58) if x = 0.5 and y = 0.9?
The fast way to do this problem is to first plug in the value of y in the second quantity, and put it in memory. So, take .9 plus 0.58, which equals 1.48. Then put 1.48 in memory.
Using Memory Function
Now work the first set: x plus 0.33 is 0.5 plus 0.33, which equals 0.83.
Next, hit the minus sign and the memory release key (which is usually marked MR), hit equals . . . and there it is, negative 0.65.
Another Memory Example
What is the value of (x - 5) - 2(y - 3) if x = .9 and y = .8?
The fast way to do this is to take the value of y, 0.8 and subtract 3, to get negative 2.2, multiply it by 2, to get negative 4.4 and store this number in memory.
Now, x - 5 is 0.9 minus 5, which is negative 4.1. Subtract from it the memory amount, and the answer is 0.3.
Using Inverse Functions
Your calculator should also have an inverse function. This is usually shown as a x-1 key. This function is useful when you want to add fractions. Suppose you wanted to add 1/5, 1/7, and 1/9. The fast way to do this is to use the inverse key.
Simply hit 5 and then inverse, plus, 7-inverse, plus, 9-inverse, and you get the answer!
Other useful functions that you might want include percentage, exponents, and square root.
The important thing is that you learn how to use these features before you enter the exam room. These features can also be used to check your work.
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