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Test Prep – Ditch the Calculator

The most popular calculators in use with students are the TI-83/84. These devices are quite amazing and can be used all the way up through Calculus 2 in terms of their built in functions. Some are even surprised to learn of their capabilities in other classes such as Finance, Probability, & Statistics. While it may seem like a surprise to us nowadays, these minicomputers have more processing power than the computers in the first spaceship that went to the moon. It is often a wonder why they are allowed on standardized tests.

One of the common misconception’s students have about standardized tests is that the calculator can be used to answer every question. Standardized tests are divided among calculator and non-calculator sections implying that they are necessary for the ladder. This also poses a potential problem for students who are comforted at having this piece of technology available at their disposal and suddenly told that they cannot use this device for the former.

You may be surprised to learn that the calculator can actually slow down the speed at which a student moves through the exam. After reviewing over 1000 standardized test questions, I concluded that even those questions on the calculator section for the most part do not even require a calculator. In fact, many can be solved using estimation. This is especially true for problems involving percentages or multiple choice answers with sufficient space between the answers themselves. In summary, save time by ditching the calculator.

Sign up for one of my SAT/ACT Prep Packages and learn helpful strategies. Just click on the Student Resources tab and select College Prep – SAT/ACT and choose the package that works best for you.

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