# Calculators Best Calculator

1. Jan 31, 2008

### spizma

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. Jan 31, 2008

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
3. Jan 31, 2008

### 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. Jan 31, 2008

### Tom Mattson

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.

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. 5. Jan 31, 2008 ### Feldoh 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... 6. Jan 31, 2008 ### uman The absolute best calculator is the TI-89 titanium. 7. Jan 31, 2008 ### mr_coffee 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. 8. Jan 31, 2008 ### mgiddy911 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. 9. Jan 31, 2008 ### nicksauce It's all about the Sharp EL-510 10. Jan 31, 2008 ### Helical 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? 11. Jan 31, 2008 ### chroot Staff Emeritus 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

12. Jan 31, 2008

### 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. Jan 31, 2008

### qualgorithm

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. Jan 31, 2008

### spizma

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. Jan 31, 2008

### Greg Bernhardt

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

16. Jan 31, 2008

### Manchot

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. Jan 31, 2008

### chroot

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

- Warren

18. Jan 31, 2008

### mr_coffee

lol++;

19. Feb 1, 2008

### mgb_phys

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. Feb 1, 2008

### mgb_phys

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)