When it comes to calculator usage, the SAT has much more leeway in terms of what you can and cannot use on test day. If you, or your student, are getting ready for the SAT now or soon, then it’s important to know what kinds of calculators are allowed in the testing center.
For your reference, here is the latest SAT calculator list; pay close attention because not following these rules will get you kicked out of the testing center and your scores canceled.
For more information and strategies on how to succeed on the SAT, be sure to check out our various SAT classes available year round.
SAT Calculator Policy Basics
Let’s first go over where you can use a calculator on the SAT and what you aren’t allowed to do with it on test day.
The SAT, in general, has a far more lenient calculator policy than the ACT. That being said, there still are clear rules that must be adhered to on test day by every test taker. First, calculators are only allowed on the Math Test-Calculator section.
As part of the 2016 revisions, the SAT Math format changed by now placing restrictions on calculator usage. The old SAT format allowed calculator usage throughout the entire section. The new format has split the section in half: Calculator and No Calculator.
The plus side to this change is that the No Calculator section only contains 20 questions. The new Calculator section has 38 questions. Furthermore, no calculator usage is permitted on the Reading, Writing and Language section, as well as the aforementioned No Calculator section. The calculator must be clearly put away when working on questions in those sections.
Just like the ACT, in theory, you don’t NEED to use a calculator on the SAT Math section. Reason being that the test needs to be accessible to all students, regardless of income level. Simply put, if there are questions that require a calculator and a student can’t afford to purchase or bring one with them on test day, then the test can no longer be considered fair to all potential students.
However, while the Math section questions can be solved without using a calculator, the practical consideration comes into play. Calculators save time. Remember that each section is timed and every second will count. The more time you can save from smart calculator use, the better your chance of finishing everything on time.
It should go without saying that using the calculator for prohibited reasons, like sharing information with someone else during the test or trying to remove live questions and answers from the testing center, will get you in serious trouble. If you do so, then you will be immediately dismissed from the testing center and your scores will be canceled.
SAT Prohibited Devices
Speaking of prohibitions, let’s move onto what kinds of devices are specifically banned as per the College Board’s official policy; this way you’ll know what not to bring for sure.
When it comes to unacceptable devices to use on the SAT, the rules are straightforward and easy to follow:
- Laptops, tablets, cell phones, and smartphones
- Calculators that have Internet access, or any other smartphone-associated features like Bluetooth, audio/video recording, camera, etc.
- Models with QWERTY keyboards, pen-input capability or stylus
- Models that make noise, require electrical outlets, or use paper tape
- Mobile phones with a built-in calculator function
- Hardware peripherals, such as a stylus, are not permitted, even with an approved calculator model.
SAT Calculator List
When it comes to acceptable models that you can use on the SAT, the College Board offers a large list that students can choose from across various popular brands.
Here is the current approved device list, as per the College Board:
- FX-6000 series
- FX-6200 series
- FX-6300 series
- FX-6500 series
- FX-7000 series
- FX-7300 series
- FX-7400 series
- FX-7500 series
- FX-7700 series
- FX-7800 series
- FX-8000 series
- FX-8500 series
- FX-8700 series
- FX-8800 series
- FX-9700 series
- FX-9750 series
- FX-9860 series
- CFX-9800 series
- CFX-9850 series
- CFX-9950 series
- CFX-9970 series
- FX 1.0 series
- Algebra FX 2.0 series
- Graph35 series
- Graph75 series
- Graph95 series
- Graph100 series
- FX-CG500 (Stylus usage not permitted)
- HP-28 series
- HP-39 series
- HP-40 series
- HP-48 series
- HP-49 series
- HP-50 series
- HP Prime
- Radio Shack
- EL-9200 series
- EL-9300 series
- EL-9600 series (stylus usage is not permitted)
- Texas Instruments
- TI-83/TI-83 Plus
- TI-83 Plus Silver
- TI-84 Plus/TI-84 Plus T
- TI-84 Plus CE/TI-84 Plus CE-T
- TI-84 Plus Silver
- TI-84 Plus C Silver
- TI-89 Titanium
- TI-Nspire/TI-Nspire CX
- TI-Nspire CAS/TI-Nspire CX CAS
- TI-Nspire CM-C/TI-Nspire CM-C CAS
- TI-Nspire CX-C CAS
- Miscellaneous Calculators
- Datexx DS-883
Final Tips For Success
Now that you know what to use and what not to use, let’s quickly go over some overlooked tips that will only help you succeed on test day.
One important tip that students don’t consider at first is bringing a calculator that you’ve already worked with and practiced on. Don’t bring a brand-new calculator that you’ve never used before on test day. Chances are you’ll lose time trying to find your way around and again, you’ll need every second you can get to finish those questions.
A good scientific calculator that you’ve used on homework and tests, that you know your way around on, is much better than a fancy graphing calculator that you can’t figure out. While you’re working through a variety of menus to find the equation function you need, time will continue ticking down.
Instead, you could have easily memorized the equation, punched it in manually and reached the same answer in less time. Remember, if you think that you’re trying to solve a problem on your graphing calculator that isn’t possible on a scientific unit, then you’ve either misread the problem or are overcomplicating your calculator usage.
Another important tip to remember is basic maintenance – make sure that your calculator is working correctly and has fresh batteries powering it. The test center will not have any extra calculators or batteries available if you’re in trouble. Be safe then and make sure you’re ready with extra batteries and a backup calculator as a last resort.
Focused test prep, like what Prep Expert offers, will help you identify the information you need to have, figure out your strengths and weaknesses in those sections, and practice both fixing weaknesses and sharpening strengths.
If you haven’t done so already, take a moment to check out what we have to offer regarding both ACT and SAT prep, including how to handle those dreaded Math sections.
For more information and tips, check out Prep Expert.