Master Your Calculator
Calculators are mathematical wonders. They save us the trouble of having to go through stress to get equations and problems solved, and they’re the dream of every math-inclined person. Advanced machines like graphing calculators even provide clarity with Cartesian mathematical problems, so you can understand why these tools are in high demand.
However, while we all know how to work things like the calculator watch and other nifty features, there are some hidden parts of a calculator that might be difficult to understand.
If you have purchased one of these babies and you want to get the hang of it, here are some simple tips.
1. Look For The Important Functions
When you’re working with calculators, keep in mind that there are some functions which are more useful than others. Some of these functions are suited for tasks like calculus and trigonometry.
2. Understand The Secondary Features As Well
While a lot of the most common functions come with their own keys, there are some (such as the inverse functions), and even other less common functions (for instance, the square root function) that will just be listed above other keys.
To get those, keep in mind that some calculators come with the “Shift” key, as opposed to a “2ND” key. Also, some unique calculators will make it easy for you to get the secondary functions by making these “Shift” of “2ND” keys similar in color to the functions which they represent.
3. Make Sure Your Parentheses Are Never Left Open
Whenever you make use of parentheses on the left, use the same function to close it to the right. In the same manner, if you have a total of five left parentheses, there should be five corresponding tight ones to close them.
This step is essential for those who make large calculations at a time. When you leave a parenthesis open, you run the risk of getting a different answer on an equation than the one you would have wanted, or a completely wrong one.
4. Switch Between Radians And Degrees
With a calculator, you can make changes between displaying values in terms of radians (decimals that have their basis as pi) or degrees (fractions of 360, just like the circle). This can be done with the use of the MODE key. The arrow keys will select degrees and radians; then you can press the ENTER button to display your result.
This switch is important if you are performing calculations with trigonometry. If you see that your equations are returning degrees as opposed to the decimal values that you like (or vice versa), then you will most likely need to change the setting.
5. Save And Restore Will Be Helpful As Well
If you have a complex problem that requires a series of computations to get solved, you can take a huge chunk of the stress off your shoulders by just saving your results and pulling them back when you need them.
To do this, you can try a series of solves:
- Use the “Answer” function to recall the answer that was last displayed on the calculator. For instance, if you just computed 5*5 and it has displayed your answer, you can add a -10 and punch in ENTER to subtract 10 from the result of that multiplication.
- You can also press STO when you get your preferred answer, then press ALPHA, choose a letter, and punch in ENTER. You can now use that letter in lieu of the answer.
6. Get The Screen Cleared
If you will like to take off several lines of equations or exit a menu completely, a quick fix is to press the CLEAR button close to the keypad. However, keep in mind that sometimes, you might need to press the key twice to get the operation to work.
Some calculators have the AC button instead, and you can use that to wipe the screen entirely. In some cases, you will also be able to press the “Shift” of “2ND” key, then press any button that has the word QUIT listed over it (in most cases, you will find that this is the MODE key).
7. Working Out The Square Root
This function is quite popular, and you could try it out first. To test it, try getting the square root of 9. You know what the answer is, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. Try the following steps:
- Find the symbol of the square root (√) on the calculator
- If it has its key, press it. If it doesn’t, look for the key it is written over and engage it by pressing “Shift” of “2ND” before the key
- Press 9
- Press ENTER
8. Take A Number’s Power
Most of the time, you will be able to do this by entering the number, pressing the carrot (^) button, and entering the number to which you want the first one to be raised.
- So, if you want to calculate 74, type 2^2 in the calculator and press ENTER
- So, if you want to ensure that the order isn’t wrong, you can always try a simple example like 22. If you get 4, you’re on the right track.
9. Practice Longer Equations
When you start entering longer equations, things can get a tad tricky. You will need to consider the order and how to use the () keys.
TO help with this, keep in mind how many parentheses you are using to keep the formula sensible. With proper parentheses, your equation will be kept in order.
10. Get Other Complex Equations
While you can get things like square root and SIN in secondary text keys, you can check out the MATH section for more advanced equations and functions. To use this menu, do the following:
- Press the MATH button
- Scroll with the arrows to view equations. Up and down arrows for categories of equations, left and right to go through the equations themselves
- Select an equation with ENTER, then compute the formula you want the equation to be applied to
- Press ENTER to perform the calculation.