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# Best Calculator

1. ### spizma

34
I just started taking pre-calculus the other week, and I've now realized how useful a graphing calculator is for that class. What graphing calculators are the best? I'm looking for ones that are allowed on the SAT's and ACT's.

2. ### chroot

10,427
Staff Emeritus
Virtually everything made by TI, Casio, and HP that do not have QWERTY keyboards are allowed on the SATs. Here are the College Board's requirements:

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/testday/calc.html

In truth, you don't need a very capable calculator for pre-cal.

- Warren

3. ### Greg Bernhardt

When I was in high school the TI-83 was the standard. Now I hear the standard is the TI-83Plus or TI-84 Plus. Either will be just fine. Not much difference.

Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
4. ### Tom Mattson

5,539
Staff Emeritus
And you need an even less capable one for the SAT. The SAT only tests arithmetic (includes basic combinatorics), algebra, and geometry. You might get a question about standard deviation. But there are no trigonometric, exponential, or logarithmic functions on the SAT, nor is there any graphing.

- Warren

12. ### mr_coffee

I found it very nice not using the calculator. So many people depend on calculators and totally forget everything and are helpless without one.

I did Diff Eq, Calc 1-3,Linear Algebra, Physics Mechanics, E&M, and quantum all without calculators and I did well in all the courses.

Physics was more rough without the calculators because everything was symbolic on the exams and the homeworks did allow calculators but the exams were totally different.

Some of my friends from highschool took AP calc and when they got to college calc they were screwed because in AP calc they were taught to use the calculator on the exams so they really got lazy.

13. ### qualgorithm

32
In my experience, it has not been okay to use advanced features of graphing calculators on college tests. When you're doing your homework any tools are okay (though you're generally still expected to show work) but I've found computer programs like Mathematica to be far more capable and useful for graphing or symbolic manipulation. About the only feature that I've really appreciated with the TI-89 is that it has pretty good handling of units and automatic conversion... I haven't found software that works as well for that (though I haven't looked very hard).

14. ### spizma

34
Thanks guys for giving me some names to look at, and reminding me that I really don't need a super duper calculator that can do everything and then some yet, if ever.

15. ### Greg Bernhardt

btw, don't get anything new, there are lots of good used calc deals on ebay

16. ### Manchot

728
No software required. Google Calculator can easily convert units and has the physical constants all built in. For example, if you wanted the energy of a 400 nm photon, you can just type h*c/(400 nm) into Google, and it'll spit out the result in SI units. If, however, you wanted this in eV, you can type h*c/(400 nm) in eV. It has a ton of constants built in to it as well.

17. ### chroot

10,427
Staff Emeritus
It's kinda hard to use Google on an SAT. They frown on such things.

- Warren

lol++;

19. ### mgb_phys

8,952
Dems' fighting words....

Though to be fair a top end Ti or HP will do more than you will ever need, which you prefer is a bit of a religous thing. There was a previous thread about the differences.
There are also PC emulators for both.

20. ### mgb_phys

8,952
The way things are going in schools it will be allowed soon.
Then the keyword spammers will start and you will get answer like
Q1, What is the integral of sin(x)