Answer calcPad Questions

WebAssign® calcPad questions are displayed with a rectangular answer box similar to answer boxes used for other question types, but when you click a calcPad-enabled answer box, the calcPad palette opens, allowing you to answer the question with a correctly formatted mathematical expression.

  • Adobe® Flash® Player, version 10 or later is required. See Required Browser Plug-Ins.
  • Do not use function notation — for example, f(x) — when answering questions. WebAssign cannot grade answers that use function notation.
  • Flash is not required.
  • The location and appearance of the tools palette is different on iPad.
calcPad question with palette displayed. Shows a placeholder box for the numerator of a fraction, as well as labeled buttons on the palette that can be clicked to display buttons for specific types of notation.
tool palette
When you click the answer box, a tool palette is displayed beside the question. You can click buttons in the palette to insert notation in your answer.
placeholder boxes
Some buttons insert placeholder boxes to show you where you can type numbers, variables, or expressions. For example, if you insert a fraction, placeholder boxes are displayed for both the numerator and denominator.
button groups
Many buttons are grouped together in expandable button groups. For example, the Trig button group includes buttons for trigonometric functions like sine and cosine.

To answer a calcPad question:

  1. Click the answer box to open the tool palette.

    You cannot use the keyboard to move the insertion point to the answer box. You must use the mouse. The tool palette stays open while you are working on the question.

  2. Click the buttons or type to answer the question.

    The expression is displayed in the answer box as you enter it. If necessary, the answer box becomes larger to fit your answer.

    To do thisDo this

    Enter math notation.

    Click tool palette buttons and type.

    Display or hide additional buttons.

    Click a button group, for example, Functions.

    Enter variables.

    Type the variable name using the case and spelling specified in the question. Variables are automatically italicized.

    Move the insertion point in the answer box.

    Press the HOME, END, and arrow keys.

    Move the insertion point to a placeholder box.

    Press the arrow keys or use the mouse.

    Note: Usually the insertion point is automatically moved to a placeholder box when it is created.

    Move the insertion point out of a placeholder box.

    Press the arrow keys or use the mouse.

    Delete the character to the left of the insertion point, the selected expression, or notation such as fractions.


    Delete the character to the right of the insertion point, the selected expression, or notation such as fractions.

    Press DELETE

  • Answers are case-sensitive; x and X are not the same.
  • Do not type commas in numbers; 5,280 is not correct.
  • In a comma-delimited list that includes fractions, put the commas between fractions and not in the numerator or denominator.
  • Do not enter mixed numbers, for example, 2½. Instead, use decimals or improper fractions.
  • When entering scientific notation, always use a lowercase e, for example, 1.23e-5.
  • Express angles for trigonometric functions in radians.
  • Keyboard characters that are not mathematically useful — for example, &, , @, and foreign language characters — are intentionally not displayed when typed. To enter Greek characters, use the buttons or keyboard shortcuts for the tool.
  • Use parentheses to specify the arguments of functions explicitly, for example, sin(3x).
    Note: If you omit parentheses, spaces are used to determine the argument of the function and your answer might not be graded as you expect. For example:
    • sin3x is graded as sin(3) × x
    • sin 3x is graded as sin(3x)