calcPad Answers That Cannot Be Understood

If your answer contains one or more syntax errors that prevent WebAssign from being able to grade it, WebAssign displays the message Your answer cannot be understood or graded. Depending on your instructor, answers with syntax errors might be counted as incorrect submissions.

Often, the problem is a simple typographical error that is easy to spot and correct. After correcting the error, submit your answer again.

  • If your answer is not counted as a submission, it is also not stored by WebAssign. This means that after certain actions, like closing and reopening the assignment or submitting an answer for a different question, your answers with syntax errors are no longer displayed in the assignment.
  • Copying text from anywhere and pasting it in an answer box will result in an error. You must type your response using the keyboard or the tools provided.

Errors Specific to calcPad® Questions

The following errors are common in mathPad, calcPad, or physPad questions, as well as older symbolic questions that require calculator notation.

Problem Incorrect Correct
Comma in number. 5,000 5000
Do not use ** to specify exponents. 2**3 23


Note In mathPad, calcPad, or physPad, typing 2^3 displays 23.
Incorrect variables. Variable names are case-sensitive (x is not the same as X).

If the question specifies Greek letters or symbols such as ℓ, do not substitute English letters.







Do not use uppercase E in scientific notation. 1.2E15 1.2e15

Common Errors

Some of the most common errors are listed here.

Problem Incorrect Correct
Unrecognized symbol. $4.00




Brackets or braces instead of parentheses. 4*{x+3} 4*(x+3)
Unpaired parentheses. (1+2)+3) ((1+2)+3)
Missing part of the expression. 50* 50*3
Too many consecutive operators. x++++2 x+2