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.
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
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.
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. Spizma, if you're going to spend the money on a nice calculator, you might as well get the nicest one that you can afford and that suits your needs, regardless of whether you can use it at the SAT. You can pick up a $10 jalopy of a calculator to get you through that. I like the HP-48GX myself.
The TI-83/84(+)'s are good and can be used on the SAT. If you're thinking about taking AP exams in math or physics you might want to think about the TI-89, it's more expensive but it has a CAS and can be used on the SAT, but you really don't need a calculator for the SAT at all, in fact they sort of slow you down...
For school I use the Ti-89 when I was in calc 1-3 it came in handy for checking hw problems but I wasn't allowed any calculator in any of my math classes and physic exams so it wasn't a big deal what one you had.
the TI-83 is still standard I think, however more and more people have the 89. the 89 is nice as it can do symbolic integration and summation things of that nature, but its not a necessity. It would help you in college a lot, simply being able to check your integrals in calc 2, 3, and DE is a plus even though you do have to show some work on your paper.
Not to steal the thread but, I have wondered: do most college courses allow you to use calculators, mr_coffee said that he couldn't on exams, is that pretty standard?
Depends on the school, the professor, and the test. In general, your basic scientific calculator is all you need to get through most classes. I find it humorous that everyone had $150 state-of-the-art graphing calculators in pre-calculus class in high school, yet everyone has $10 basic scientific calculators in second year graduate engineering classes at Stanford. - Warren
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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) A, Buy viagra