Your graphing calculators are powerful tools, but do you know how to use them effectively on the SAT and the ACT?
This summer, I participated in a teacher training with Texas Instruments on the use of the TI-Nspire on the ACT. Most of my fellow participants were classroom teachers. Many of these teachers said that they personally do not teach their students the full use of their calculators, because the teachers want their students to master the math on their own.
While this reasoning is understandable for classroom teachers, it can harm their students on the tests. Students need to know the most effective ways of using their calculator to get their best scores on the SAT Calculator Math and ACT Math sections. You can use these skills on the TI-Nspire to maximize your time.
Something as simple as getting an answer in the right form for the test can be helpful. If you add a decimal point to your fraction, your answer will be in the form of a decimal (2./4 = 0.5, instead of just 2/4 = 1/2).
Also, knowing the quadratic formula by heart is very handy, but can take precious time on the test. On the TI-Nspire you can use the Numerical Solve (nSolve) to find the roots. Press [MENU]→Algebra→nSolve. The syntax for the Numerical Solve command is nSolve(Equation, Var[=Guess], lowBound, upBound)
If you don’t specify the interval in which to look for a solution, TI-Nspire returns the value that’s closest to the origin.
nSolve(x2-3x+2,x) will give you just 1.
Using the Guess feature or specifying the interval helps you find the second solution of a quadratic equation.
nSolve(x2-3x+2,x=100)will give you the root closest to 100: 2.
Do you or your teen need more insights like these and other calculator skills for the TI-Nspire, TI-84, and TI-84 CE? Chariot Learning offers a quick but comprehensive Calculator Audit to ensure that students can harness their calculator’s functionality to make certain test questions easier. We will even teach you how to remove Press to Test Mode on Texas Instruments Graphing Calculators, so you can have full functionality on your tests. The last thing most students want is to be unable to use their state-of-the-art, technologically advanced calculators on test day!