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> A quick question for those who took the October NCEES Stru I exam: any
> advice on whether an expensive HP or TI calculator is worth the
> I recently ordered the text/ref books previously recommended (THANKS!) but
> was wondering about the new calc's available. I heard that they (hp48gx or
> hp49g) were great if you were taking the civil; but, I don't personally
> anybody who has recently taken the stru exam. Any and all advise greatly
> appreciated for my journey into misery (and hopefully success) next April.
> :)
> -Donna

I just took the Structural I exam in Missouri, and I used an HP48GX that
I've had since college.  Personally, I think the 48 series are great.  I
have many little time-saving programs that I've written to do simple
functions (convert ft-in to ft, take averages, interpolate, etc.).  Also,
the ability to hold multiple numbers on the "stack" for later use is
extremely helpful.

The difference between the "G" and "S" is that the "G" is about twice as
fast and has more memory.

The difference between the "GX" and "G" is that the "GX" is expandable.  You
can buy cards to expand memory or cards pre-loaded with various programs.  I
have a GX, but I've never even considered buying a card for it.  I wish I'd
saved my money.

Problems with HP48's:
* Reverse data entry.  Instead of entering '2' '+' '4' '=' to get 6, you
'2' 'ENTER' '4' 'ENTER' '+'.  I believe this method is much faster and
useful, but it takes some time to get used to it.  If you're going to use
one on the test, buy it now and start using it daily.

* It's programmable, it has the ability to enter text, and it can
communicate with similar models via infrared.  Any or all of these three can
get it disqualified in some states.  Check with your state registration
board (the NCEES web site has contact information).

Jason W. Kilgore
Leigh & O'Kane, L.L.C.
(816) 444-3144