Review: Cheat Sheet


Anyone who has studied maths will remember what it’s like trying to memorize formulas. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an app that can jog your memory for you? Well, that’s just what Cheat Sheet claims to do. Covering several areas of what should be advanced GCSE level maths, this app gives you an aide memoire. It lets you feed in numbers too, so that you can quickly crank out results. Will it get you through the exams, or does pen and paper still win out?

Author: DLSU

Version Reviewed: 1.00

Download / Information Link

Note that this application is not yet compatible with Nokia Belle.

Cheat Sheet looks the part as a classroom companion, thanks to its chalkboard-inspired design. Each of its sections are clearly set out, and divided into Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Basic Math – Ahem, it’s “maths” or arithmetic in this case!

Cheat Sheet Menus

The sections are further subdivided as follows; Algebra – Exponents, Radicals, and the Quadratic Formula; Geometry – Area, Perimeter, and Volume; Trigonometry – Degree to Radian conversion, Trigonometric Functions, and Pythagoras’ theorem; Basic Math – Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division.

I had to do a double-take at the last section – basic arithmetic. I cannot understand why anyone, young or old, would need a reminder of how to write an arithmetical expression of two numbers.  Like every other page, the arithmetical pages have input fields for you to enter numbers along with a solve button. E.g. 1+1=2, I didn’t need to be told that. More to the point though – why include something that is a basic function of a calculator?!

Was it necessary to include basic arithmetic?! (And not Algebra as stated in the screen shot!)

Other pages, such as the quadratic formula, make more sense, because performing such calculations with an ordinary calculator can be quite unwieldy. While testing the Quadratic solver I came across a serious limitation of the input system.  When you tap on an input field, a full screen keyboard is launched (not a split screen keyboard) which is permanently set to the numerical keyboard. It is thus impossible to enter minus signs or decimal points!

Furthermore, when entering numbers with which to solve a formula, you can only enter the inputs. I would have found this far more useful if I could have entered the result and have it reverse solve for an input. For example, the trigonometry section has a degrees to radians converter, but you can’t convert from radians to degrees. Again, you’re probably better off with a scientific calculator. Had I been the developer of this application, I’d have written a function for every rearrangement of every formula.

Left: results too long for the text boxes are clipped.
Right: Being unable to input minus numbers causes problems.

Also, the results that Cheat Sheet presents are quite fiddly to work with. Solutions are given in too many significant figures to fit in the text boxes, and they cannot be copied to the clipboard – all in all, not very helpful. Still though, being able to glance at the formulae could be enough to jog your memory. If you are seriously studying maths, you should be fluent in everything presented here before too long anyway.

Educational apps are generally overlooked by developers, and I was hopeful that this would be a great study aid and a flexible calculator. Unfortunately, it is neither – but fortunately is free, so you can try it for yourself.

David Gilson, 22nd February 2012.

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