Remote testing and Calculator use

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by KM4GNZ, Jun 25, 2020.

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  1. KM4GNZ

    KM4GNZ Ham Member QRZ Page


    I recently upgraded to General using remote testing. The exam had easy calculations and the on-screen calculator worked well. Now I'm studying for the Extra exam and using a Texas Inst. calculator. It has all the necessary function (arctan, etc). Does any of the VE teams allows the use of a calculator during a remote exam? Can someone recommend a GUI calculator for Linix?

  2. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I believe you can bring a calculator but the proctors will clear the memory
  3. KM4GNZ

    KM4GNZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Update. Just took my remote test through W5YI-VEC. Online calculator is encouraged but regular calculators are allowed. I used my old TI-36X Pro.
  4. K3UJ

    K3UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    N0TZU likes this.
  5. KU4X

    KU4X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For future inquiries of the same nature:

    Check with the VE team that will be administering the test you plan to attend prior to the test session. They will provide you all the info you need with regard to their test session rules, to include calculator use. Responses here could very well be incorrect.

    "An ounce of prior planning prevents a pound of embarrassment."

    Good luck to all future exam takers!

    N0TZU likes this.
  6. K4AGO

    K4AGO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    "Linix" huh? Are you referring to Linux?

    NO FCC HAM RADIO EXAM allows the use of a programmable calculator. All you need is a four-function calculator and the KNOWLEDGE to make the calculations. There also is no need for a scientific calculator. In all honesty, all you need is a pencil and some scrap paper.

    I am an ARRL VE and I can say, after having seen more than a few candidates cheat on in-person exams that remote testing is a bad idea. NO, I am not accusing you of cheating. I don't know you and I didn't proctor either of your exams am just making the statement that remote testing is a very bad idea.
    ND6M likes this.
  7. K4AGO

    K4AGO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Statistically, a candidate will only have three math questions. All he needs is a four-function calculator. Honestly, he only needs a pencil and piece of paper that is provided (and collected at the end of his exam) by the VE team. That and the knowledge to do the calculations.

    As an ARRL VE, I can assure you that we do not clear calculators. We disallow any calculator that would need to be cleared of programming.
  8. KM4GNZ

    KM4GNZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Respectfully, I must disagree. One can surely memorize answers to the math questions. However, resonant frequency questions require square root. Phase angle questions need arctan. Power factor uses cos function.

    Distance learning and remote testing is here to stay. Students of all levels (grammar school through college) rely on it. Ground school testing for pilots is administered remotely. Remote testing prompted me to study for more advanced licence. And crooks with always try to cheat.

    Thank you for correcting my spelling.
  9. KF5LJW

    KF5LJW Ham Member QRZ Page

    The questions are so easy requires no calculator. Three of the four answers are so far off, a protein calculator gets you close enough. Voltage = 10 volts, Amps = 10.

    Power =
    a. 1 Watt
    b 1000 watts
    c .1 watt
    d. 100 watts

    As for the rest of the questions is simple with remote testing. Just print out the test pool questions and look up the answers. Does not matter if you fail all the calculations part of the test when all the rest are correct giving anyone a passing score. Even if you guessed and threw darts at math questions, you get at east 20% correct and with all the answers in front of you makes it it really easy for anyone to pass any of the exams.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
    ND6M likes this.
  10. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    But he's going for his Extra. Questions go beyond Ohm's law or power definition. A typical math problem from the Extra question pool is:

    What is the phase angle between the voltage across and the current through a series RLC circuit if XC is 500 ohms, R is 1 kilohm, and XL is 250 ohms?
    A. 68.2 degrees with the voltage leading the current
    B. 14.0 degrees with the voltage leading the current
    C. 14.0 degrees with the voltage lagging the current
    D. 68.2 degrees with the voltage lagging the current

    If it weren't multiple choice, you'd need trig functions to calculate a precise answer. However, with the multiple choice answers already provided, you can draw a crude sketch, perhaps even mentally, and figure out which answer is closest. So you might not need a calculator at all. Either way, a four-function calculator is basically useless for this type of question.
    ND6M likes this.

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