The elders of the ACT weren’t born yesterday, which is how they got to be elders! Even though you may get lucky, your best bet is to bring a battery-powered calculator (along with a fresh set of batteries). Depending on the model, a scientific calculator usually includes exponents, square roots, logarithms, trig functions, a reciprocal function, and lots of other stuff that may come in handy on the ACT. Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator. If your calculator makes noise and disturbs people, the monitors may separate you from it for the duration of the test. Your safest choices include basic, scientific, and graphing calculators; conversely, you need to avoid laptops or PDAs that happen to have a calculator, calculators that make too much noise, and those that need an electrical plug-in to work. Hewlett-Packard Calculators That Are Not Allowed on the ACT. There is no guarantee that your testing site will have a place to plug in a calculator that requires power. Examinees are responsible for: HP Prime, HP 48GII, All model numbers that begin with HP 40G, HP 49G, or HP 50G. Anything NOT on this list is considered an ACT-approved calculator by default: You are NOT allowed to bring any kind of laptop, phone, tablet, or PDA to use as a calculator. Banned Hewlett-Packard Models: HP Prime, HP 48GII, and all models that begin with 40G, 49G, and … Your safest choices include basic, scientific, and graphing calculators; conversely, you need to avoid laptops or PDAs that happen to have a calculator, calculators that make too much noise, and those that need an electrical plug-in to work. You CANNOT have anything with a paper tape readout. So if you stray much beyond the old-fashioned scientific and graphing calculators, you may run into problems. When choosing a calculator for the ACT, remember that while some are allowed others are not. So plan to spend at least four or five hours practicing with your new toy, creating input-output tables for functions, graphing lines and parabolas, and exploring other related visual options. Sharing calculators during the test is not permitted. Talking or other weird noises. Mark Zegarelli is the author of Basic Math & Pre-Algebra For Dummies, SAT Math For Dummies (both from Wiley), and five other books on basic math, calculus, and logic. When choosing a calculator for the ACT, remember that while some are allowed others are not. If you’re currently using this kind of a calculator, you should definitely consider upgrading to a scientific or graphing calculator. Students should bring what they are most comfortable using. Stick with a scientific calculator, which should serve you well enough. What Kinds of Calculators Are Allowed and Prohibited on the ACT. What Kinds of Calculators Are Allowed and Prohibited on the…, ACT Strategy for Multiplying a Horizontal Matrix by a Vertical…, Using Charts and Pictures to Answer ACT Math Questions. Even though you’re allowed to use a calculator on the test, you may not use a calculator that includes any of the following features: Texting and Internet access. Calculators with built-in or downloaded computer algebra system (CAS) functionality are not allowed, including: All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92 TI-Nspire™ CX CAS graphing calculator fx-CP400 (ClassPad 400), ClassPad 300 or ClassPad 330, Algebra fx 2.0, and all model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G. If you’re thinking of upgrading to a graphing calculator from either of the other two types, consider this: The main advantage you gain is directly related to your proficiency with these visual elements. Obviously the elders don’t want you texting your genius Uncle Roy at MIT or looking up answers in Wikipedia if you get stuck on a question. Accessible calculators (such as audio/“talking” or Braille) are allowed if authorized in advance of testing by ACT for the ACT and by the test coordinator for all other products. So don’t try to pull a fast one on them. Last weekend my students took the SAT with whatever calculators they regularly use for school. Basic calculator: You can buy this type of calculator for less than $10 in almost any store that sells stationery. Casio Calculators that Are Not Allowed on the ACT. Electrical access. For the SAT, I don’t sweat the calculator issue. Basic calculators are perfect for balancing your checkbook or keeping a tally of your groceries, but they’re simply not adequate for the ACT. Next on our list of the best SAT calculators is … Not the case on the ACT. ACT is NOT like the SAT. Prohibited Calculators on the ACT: fx-CP400 (ClassPad 400) Casio Algebra fx 2.0 Casio ClassPad 300 Casio Classpad 330 Casio CFX-9970G It also has lots of other fancy capabilities that aren’t allowed on the ACT. Many have graphing calculators; the TI-89 and TI-Nspire CAS are the most common. Graphing calculator: A graphing calculator has all the bells and whistles of a scientific calculator, plus a larger screen for visual display of graphs and tables. He holds degrees in both English and math from Rutgers University and is a math tutor and teacher. Of course, that separation wouldn’t be good for your test score. Sure, your iPhone (or iPad or laptop) may have a calculator function, but this function doesn’t make it a calculator. If you’re not convinced you’re really going to practice, you may as well save your money. The point here is that the ACT elders are traditionalists. 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