Calculators play a major role in speeding up your calculations and getting an accurate answer to the problem. To ace the ACT, you need to have a calculator that suits your needs and follows the guidelines of the ACT. Using a calculator not permitted by the ACT will get you dismissed from the test, and you will receive no scores.
Isn’t that scary, after you have studied day and night for the test? Getting a proper calculator for the ACT is, therefore, very crucial. So don’t worry; we got you covered.
In the following article, I have mentioned all the required details a candidate must know about the ACT calculators, which are not permitted, and our top recommendations that are suitable for the students.
ACT Calculator Policy
The ACT has permitted calculators, including any 4-function, graphing, and scientific calculators, but are excluded from the banned calculator list.
The main aim of ACT is to minimize disturbances and prevent any candidate from taking undue advantage during the test. However, they also want to ensure that the students use the calculators they are familiar with and comfortable with.
You can use the calculator in all the sections of the ACT Math test, but it is not allowed in the other sections of the test. Therefore, you must carry your calculator to the examination center as the administration needs to provide one.
Most calculators are allowed by the ACT for the test. But the testing administration suggests that students avoid using calculators, including computer algebra systems (CAS).
The CAS calculators help the students to solve the problem algebraically, dismissing the intent of some questions. Similarly, calculators with built-in or downloadable CAS functionality are expected to be avoided.
Prohibited Calculators in ACT
The calculators prohibited in the ACT must be avoided to exempt oneself from creating issues during the examination or being suspended due to violating the rules.
- The texas instrument model numbers TI-89, TI-Nspire CAS, and TI-92 should be avoided.
- The calculator models from Hewlett-Packard prohibited are the HP 48GII, HP prime, and the series of HP 40G, and HP 50G, HP 49G.
- The models prohibited from the Casio line are fx-CP400, Algebra fx 2.0, ClassPad 300 of 330, and all the models from the series CFX-9970G.
- Handheld, tablet, or laptop computers are also prohibited.
- Electronic writing pads and pen-input devices are included in the list as well.
- The calculators with the QWERTY format letter keys are not allowed in the test.
Recommended calculators for the ACT.
A suitable calculator for the ACT is a must-have. Practicing the calculations using the calculator will help you to speed up during the final test and provide you an edge with the high calculation speed.
The calculators used for the ACT must follow the standard test guidelines. Here is a well-curated list of the calculators that are best for the ACT:
1. Texas instruments TI-84 plus.
It is a suitable companion for students aiming to score on the ACT. With the functionalities it provides, it can be used for calculus as well as Pre-algebra.
Working with decimals becomes easy and saves you time and hard work. The calculator has a high-resolution display with a full-color backlight.
- It can be used for pre-algebra, algebra I and II, AP Statistics, Trigonometry, and AP calculus.
- The calculator has MathoPrint functionality.
- It easily helps you to convert decimals into fractions.
2. Casio fx-9750GII Graphing Calculator
It is a budget-friendly calculator with graphing features, and students can also use the calculator for the PSAT and SAT exams.
The calculator can be utilized to solve problems of Algebra I and II, Pre-algebra, trigonometry, geometry, AP calculus, calculus, AP statistics, etc.
- The calculator has a USB connectivity option to share files easily.
- You get to solve the bar graph problems within a few seconds.
- The CPU of the calculator has a high speed and saves time.
- The display comes with a high-resolution LCD.
3. TI-Nspire CXII
The calculator is a value-for-money deal. A worth-it calculator to go with for your CAT test. It will provide a great helping hand if you are familiar with its formulas, functions, and shortcuts.
You can use TI-Nspire CX to solve problems of the topic like algebra, calculus, statistics, graphs, and trigonometry.
- The calculator has a slim design and is easy to carry.
- The display has a color LCD and is backlit.
- You get a rechargeable battery in the calculator that tends to last long.
- Comes with many mathematical and graphical functions.
4. Texas instrument TI-83.
It is a suitable calculator if you need the basic functions. It will fulfill all your calculation needs for the ACT and has an affordable price. The calculator suits the college requirements and the high school requirements as well.
A graphing calculator can solve problems like pre-algebra, statistics, basic graphics, etc.
- The calculator’s built quality is great and will likely last long.
- The calculator provides pre-loaded apps and extensive support.
- Simple to use and easy to understand
The above list will help you find the most suitable calculator. You can pick the calculator based n its functionality and the budget.
Sections that allow the use of Calculators in the ACT.
The ACT has approved using calculators only in the Math portion of the test, which is divided into three sections.
The first section consists of basic Algebra, functions, and linear equations. It has 40% of the weightage and consists of 24 questions. The next section comprises intermediate algebra and coordinates geometry with a weightage of 30% in the Math portion. The section consists of 18 questions. The last section comprises trigonometry and geometry with 18 questions. The section sums up to 30% of the maths portion.
You will require the calculator in the second and third sections. In the first section, you can perform calculations using your basic knowledge. Using a calculator in the first field will reduce your speed in the first section.
You can make the most of the calculator while finding the area and circumference and working on the basic function.
Tips to remember while buying a calculator for the ACT
The best calculator you should carry for the ACT is the one approved by ACT guidelines that you are familiar with. Before attempting the test, you must be well-equipped and familiar with the calculator you have decided to use for the ACT. Hence, you must make a point to practice well the use and hacks of the calculator.
Next, before buying the calculator, look at the calculator recommended for the ACT and compare them according to your needs. Then, you can check out which calculator fits your budget and function requirements. Finally, you can avoid unnecessarily going for the expensive ones if the budget-friendly calculator meets your needs.
If you already own a calculator, here are a few tips to modify your calculators to make them acceptable for the ACT:
- You must turn off any sound that the calculator emits.
- Remove the paper tape from the calculator if there is any.
- Any power cord attached to the calculator must be removed and detached.
- If you own a calculator with an infrared port like HP 38G, 39G, or 48G series, you need to cover up the infrared port with transparent duct tape.
- The calculators can only store documents or programs with computer algebra system functionality if all the documents and data are erased.
What features does an ACT-acceptable calculator have?
Your ACT calculator can have the following features:
- Four-function calculator:
The four-function calculators are the most affordable, easy to use, easily available in the market, and suitable for all basic calculations.
The calculator model of Texas Instruments TI1503SV is great for the four-function calculator. You can also use a printing four-function calculator for the test, provided that you remove the paper from the device before the exam.
However, a four-function calculator in a phone, tablet, or laptop is prohibited.
- Scientific calculator:
Scientific calculators are also quite affordable and fall under the permitted calculators according to the ACT guidelines. Although most of the functions in the scientific calculators are irrelevant to the ACT exams, you can still take advantage of a few extra functions compared to the four-function calculators.
However, if your calculator includes CAS, it will be prohibited for the ACT. Therefore, you must ensure you are purchasing the right calculator.
- Graphic Calculators
Graphic calculators of the older versions are allowed for the ACT. For example, graphic calculators that contain the CAS are strictly prohibited unless you remove them.
The prohibited calculators are already mentioned in the article; make it a point to check out the list before you buy the graphic calculator for your ACT.
Moreover, make it a point to check that no matter which calculator you buy, it doesn’t contain the computer algebra system as it is prohibited for ACT candidates.
Tips to efficiently use your ACT calculator
- Strategize about how to use your calculator during the exam.
Having a crucial idea about how to use and when to use your calculator is a crucial idea you need to strategize. Knowing your calculator, its features, and what it offers is all you need to keep track of.
- Practice solving questions with your calculator:
While preparing for the test, make sure to practice questions with the help of the calculator. This will give you an edge over others during your test. Make a point to practice using a calculator before you appear for the test. If not practiced properly, you will face speed issues during the test.
- Use the graph function:
The use of graph calculators is allowed for the ACT. These calculators will help you to easily solve the coordinate geometry and algebra problems that involve finding the x-intercept. You must prefer if you need to learn about using the graphic calculator.
- Back-solve with the help of the calculator.
Back-solving the equations by replacing the variable using the options available to solve the given equations will help you to find the answers. This may save you more time if you are familiar with the back-solving technique.
- Have a backup calculator
A backup calculator will surely be a savior; however, many students need help with the calculator during the final examination.
Impact of your ACT scores on your college admission chances.
Many of the standard colleges require the tests as a standardized process for admission. However, the tests are getting optional, and many students still prefer to appear for tests to gain a more competitive place and get admitted to prestigious universities. ACT score greatly impacts a student’s chance to enroll in the nation’s top colleges or prestigious universities.
Many schools today have a minimum ACT score requirement for admission. On the other hand, some institutes choose average ACT scores and SAT scores for their admission process. However, you must have a good ACT score to ensure your entry into your dream college.
Many admission officers prefer to compare students with the help of an academic Index (AI). It is calculated using the student’s grades, class grades, and test scores. Competitive schools usually do not prefer students with low AI. Your ACT score is handy in helping you grab your college position.
That’s all about the ACT calculators.
The crucial phase in a candidate’s life is D-day of the test that he has prepared for, so you must make sure that you follow the ACT guidelines and ace your test.
If you still need clarification about the best calculator, here are our top picks.
- Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator
- Casio fx-9750GII Graphing Calculator
The above article has helped you clear your doubts regarding the calculators used in the ACT and its guidelines.