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Since your calculator is one of the most important things to bring to test day, It’s important to know the rules of SAT calculator usage.
These are just a few of the important questions surrounding SAT calculator rules.
The main SAT calculator rules to be aware of:
- Calculators are only allowed on the SAT math sections
- Calculator programs ARE allowed on the SAT; you can program and store whatever information you like into your calculator’s memory
- You CAN bring more than one calculator to the SAT (as a backup, for example), but you can only have ONE calculator out on your desk at a time
- You can’t share calculators with other students on the SAT, to prevent passing information back and forth
- You can’t bring calculators with wireless communication to the SAT, for the same reason as above
- No calculators with a “QWERTY” keyboard – I’m not sure why this is
- No tablets, and no cell phones, are allowed on the SAT – even if you’re just using them for their calculator function
- No calculators that make sounds are allowed in the SAT testing room – these are distracting to other students
- No calculators that print results out on paper, for the same reason as above
- No calculators that must be plugged in to an outlet (what is this, the 1950s? Do these calculators even exist anymore?)
My favorite calculators for the SAT:
Most of my favorite authorized SAT calculators are from Texas Instruments. The following calculators fit the current SAT calculator rules:
These two TI calculators are NOT allowed:
Due to the fact that they have QWERTY keypads, you cannot use either of these two calculators on the SAT:
Other SAT calculator options:
Casio and HP also make a variety of calculators that are appropriate for the SAT, but I’d just stick with the TI-84+, personally.
TI calculators are essentially the standard for high school, college, and professional work, and there is one for any level of math or science.
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Important tips about using calculators for SAT math sections:
In my personal and professional experience, calculators often hurt more than they help students on the SAT.
It’s just so easy to make careless mistakes or to become overdependent on your calculator when doing the math by hand will produce much better results.
Always remember that your calculator, however powerful its processor may be, is just a dumb chunk of plastic and circuits – it doesn’t know how to do ANYTHING on its own.
Successful SAT calculator usage depends on YOU and your knowledge of how to solve a variety of math problems.
As for myself – I probably use a calculator on less than 10% of the math problems, and when I use it, it’s only to multiply large numbers or to find square roots of tricky numbers.
I also only use my calculator for one step at a time, but many students run in to trouble when they try to take three or four steps in one giant computation, which often results in heartbreaking careless errors.
That said, don’t be afraid of your calculator on the SAT! Learn how it works, what it can and can’t do, and practice using it in timed sections from the Official SAT Study Guide. A calculator makes a great friend on the SAT – you just have to understand its limitations!
Now order your own TI-84+ Graphing Calculator for SAT test time!
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