You have all heard of the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid! We generally do an incredibly poor job of this when it comes to water system math. I’ve seen people with three-ring binders filled with notes, multiple math text books, books with hundreds of sample math problems — and they are still completely intimidated by the math problems on certification exams. I think they have violated the KISS principle.
So today, I unveil the only five formulas you really need to know. Just five? That can’t be right! The State’s formula sheet is filled with formulas — on both sides of the page! Yep, you heard me right: just five. Let’s keep it simple!
These five formulas will enable you to pass the math portion of your exam. You may encounter a couple of weird problems that don’t fit into these five — like a drawdown, a specific yield, a blending, or a milliamp conversion. But there will only be a couple such problems — and you don’t have to get every problem correct to pass the exam. In fact, if you can get 80 percent of the non-math problems correct, you will only need to get about half of the math problems correct in order to get your license! And our five formulas will enable you to get correct answers to well over half of the problems.
Remember also that each of our five formulas has a unique term that tells us when we need to use it: Height, Time, Velocity, Density, and new today, Pounds/Day of chemicals from the “Pounds Formula.” So not only are there only five formulas, but the problem will tell us very clearly which formula we need!
Some problems will require the use of two — or maybe even three — of the formulas. This is especially true when you get to the higher grades, where the math problems get a bit more complicated. For example, you may be asked to find the depth of water in a reservoir after a pumping operation. We would get the depth (or Height) from the Height = Volume / Area formula. But you may need to calculate the Volume of water entering the reservoir using the Time formula: Volume = Flow Rate x Time. So it may be a two-step process, but it’s still just these five formulas.
Have you ever had a math class that told you there were only five formulas that you really needed to use? No way! But it’s true. It really is much more simple than you have been led to believe.
Memorize these five formulas with their unique, key terms. Use these — and only these — to solve problems during your preparations this week for Saturday’s exam. Then when Saturday comes, you’ll be amazed at the power of the KISS principle!