If you’re planning on taking the SAT this year, you’re probably wondering what the best calculator for the SAT math section is. We’re going to share some options of student-recommended calculators for the SAT and beyond. Whether you are looking for a scientific calculator or graphing calculator, we’ve got the best calculator for the SAT to fit your needs.
In a hurry? Here are our top 3 picks:
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What Qualifies as an Acceptable SAT Calculator?
According to The College Board’s SAT Calculator Policy, there are 3 types of calculators allowed on the SAT:
- Graphing calculators (most models)
- Scientific Calculators
- Four-function Calculators
These calculators must be battery operated and no power cords are allowed.
Best Graphing Calculators for the SAT
Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator
Making it to #1 on our list of the best calculators for the SAT is the TI-84 plus graphing calculator. This calculator comes with all the bells and whistles so that you can utilize it for classes that range from Pre-Algebra to AP Calculus! We love this calculator because of its feature for converting decimals into fractions, which is a nifty feature that saves you time on the SAT.
- MathPrint functionality
- Can be used for Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and II, Trigonometry, AP Statistics, Business & Finance, Biology, Chemistry and AP Chemistry, AP Calculus, Physics
- Converting decimals into fractions
The TI-84 Plus is the gold standard for graphing calculators that are functional throughout high school math and also ACT permitted.
Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator
The Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium is an extremely popular graphing calculator for the SAT as well as for high school math classes, making it #2 among our list of the best calculators for the SAT. Please note, however, that if you plan on taking the ACT, this calculator is NOT permitted.
- Can be used for calculus, algebra, matrices, and statistical functions
- Flash technology allows upgrading to future software versions
Casio fx-9750GII Graphing Calculator
Casio’s fx-9750GII graphing calculator is probably the best budget graphing calculators we have presented here on our best calculators for the SAT list. This graphing calculator can be used on the PSAT, ACT, as well as the SAT and can be used in a wide range of classes including Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, AP Calculus, AP Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Finance & Business.
- Quick pie chart & bar graphs
- USB connectivity
- High-res LCD display
- High-Speed CPU
Best Scientific Calculators for the SAT
Although we recommend a graphing calculator over a scientific calculator, there still are some scientific calculators that will still have the majority of features needed to solve SAT Math questions. Here are our two favorite scientific calculators for the SAT that will also double in saving you more money than if you were to purchase a new graphing calculator:
Texas Instruments (34MV/TBL/1L1) TI-34 MultiView Scientific Calculator
- 4-line display enables scrolling and editing of inputs
- MATHPRINT mode: includes pi, square roots, fractions, percents, and exponents
- Previous entry allows for previous entry reviews and looking for patterns
- Table features
- Fraction Features
- Scientific Notation output
Casio fx-115ES PLUS Scientific Calculator
- Can be used in General Math, Trigonometry, Statistics, Algebra I and II, Calculus, Engineering, Physics.
- Over 280 functions, including fractions, statistics, complex number calculations, base arithmetic, linear regression, standard deviation, computer science, and polar-rectangular conversions
- Multi-replay function
- Matrix and vector calculations
- Multi-line display
- Table function
Another scientific calculator that is not only budget-friendly but is designed specifically for high school math class.
What is the Best Type of Calculator for the SAT?
Although you are technically allowed to bring in many models of the graphing calculator and any models of the scientific and four-function calculators, we recommend using a graphing calculator for the SAT.
Benefits of Using a Graphing Calculator on the SAT
Instead of manually drawing graphs of functions on your scratch paper, one of the biggest benefits of the graphing calculator is simply plugging the function into your graphing calculator and choosing the graph that looks the most like the one on your calculator!
Quickly Solving Systems of Equations
The graphing calculator is also super helpful when solving systems of equations by using the INTERSECT option.
Finding Points of Intersection
When given two graphs, you can find the point of intersection using your graphing calculator. Check out this guide for how to find points of intersection using a graphing calculator.
Converting Decimals into Fractions
We love the feature of most graphing calculators to convert decimals into fractions, saving you tons of time by converting your answer with a simple button. And better yet, it will give you the fraction in its most reduced form.
Finding Absolute Zero
For finding absolute zero on the SAT, you can use your graphing calculator. Simple select MATH and use the right arrow key to NUM and select choice: 1 abs(.) Try this function with this guide.
SAT Calculator Rules
- Only an acceptable SAT calculator is permitted for the Math Test portion of the SAT
- You may not use a calculator while working on any other sections of the SAT
- Your calculator may not be used to share information from the test to others or after or suffer immediate dismissal
- You must bring your own calculator and you may not share with others
SAT Calculator Tips
1. Use your calculator as frequently as possible before entering the SAT: It’s important that you are familiar with the functions and can use it both quickly and effectively upon test day. You can use your calculator in your math classes leading up to the SAT. You can start practicing using your SAT calculator on these free official SAT practice tests!
2. Know when to use your calculator on the Math section and when not to use it. Not every question on the SAT requires a calculator to solve, and if you use it for every question, you probably will run out of time.
3. Make sure your batters are fresh on test day, as the testing center will not have backup batteries for you during the test.
4. Double check the entry line: The calculators that we recommend in this list for the SAT all have an entry line (since we don’t recommend using a four-function calculator. It’s imperative to double check what you have typed in your entry line to catch any typos, as these simple mistakes can make the difference between a high scorer and an average scorer.
Can I use my PSAT-Approved Calculator on the SAT?
If you already purchased a calculator for the PSAT, then we have some good news for you! All of the PSAT-approved calculators we recommend are allowed on the SAT.
Calculators Not Allowed on the SAT
This seems pretty obvious, but no laptops or computers, smartphones, tablets, or cell phones can act as a calculator on your SAT Math section. Here are additional criteria of calculators that are not allowed on the SAT:
- Calculators that can access the internet, have wireless, Bluetooth, camera, cellular, and/or audio/video recording
- Models with a typewriter-like keypad, pen option, or stylus
- Models with electrical outlets, make noise, or paper tape
We hope you found this list of the best calculators for the SAT helpful. Are you planning on using any of these calculators on your upcoming test? Let us know your experience using this calculator by commenting below!
As you are prepping for the SAT test day, be sure to know what to bring to the SAT.
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