**Updated: ** 17 August 2005

We will often do in-class exercises,
so you should **bring a calculator to class every day**.

Exams are written assuming you will be using a basic scientific
calculator.

**You may not share calculators during a test**, so come prepared.

A cell phone is not a calculator, it is an illegal electronic device
that may not be used during an exam. If you are "on call", you can
leave your phone on my desk during the test. Otherwise, turn it off.
**Remember: If you answer your cell phone, I pick up your test. **

I only want to see naked calculators on your desk during exams.

Remove the cover from your calculator and leave it in your backpack.

My main reason for providing this list is to encourage you to
choose a good, easy-to-use calculator over ones that I believe
to be junk without having to spend much money.
(I put a list of bad choices at the bottom of this page,
right after a list giving price comparisons for four
reasonable choices.) If you own a __TI-30 Xa__, I strongly
suggest you throw it away (or give it to a person you dislike)
and replace it with one of these.

**TI-30X IIS**

This is a very reasonably priced (see below for price comparisons) calculator that has no known flaws. [It is one of three different calculators that I use regularly.] I dislike how it handles EE notation, but it works in a way similar to the TI-83 I will sometimes use in class.Do not confuse the excellent*Important:*__XIIS__with the awful__Xa__.

**Sharp EL-531VB**

This is a good, low cost calculator that I find particularly easy to use for scientific calculations. [It is my first choice among the calculators I own and use regularly.] The only reason it is not listed first is that the TI calculators are more common on the TCC campus so you might be less familiar with its keypad layout.

**Casio FX115ms**or**HP-30S**

These appear to be reasonable choices for this course but I do not have personal experience using either one. One thing you might check before buying one is whether it gives the correct answer when evaluating -3^{2}. [The correct answer is -9]. Many students dislike the way calculations are entered into an HP calculator, so be sure to try it before you buy it.

**TI-83 Plus**or**TI-83**

This is an excellent calculator, but it costs about eight times more than the alternatives. You will never need to use its graphing or other high-end features in this class. The only reason to buy it would be if it is required for some other class at TCC, such as MAC1105 or STA2023; otherwise it is a waste of your money.

*You may not use the*
__TI-84__, __TI-85__ *or* __TI-89__
*or similar calculators on tests*.
Doing so will be considered cheating under the TCC honor code,
and appropriate action will be taken.

If you want to use any 'high end' calculator other than a TI-83
on a test, you must bring it *and all its documentation* to
my office *before* a test so I can check out what it can do.
In practice, if you paid more than $100 for it, you probably
cannot use it. I might add that if you can afford to buy one
of the calculators listed in this section, you can afford to
spend $15 to buy one like everyone else has.

**Calculators to avoid:**

My experience with students trying to use the __TI-30Xa__ indicates
that it, and other one-line calculators that implement parentheses in
the same way it does, should be avoided at any cost.
Students have trouble verifying complex calculations when the
sub-expressions are evaluated as soon as the parentheses are closed,
which is the way most of the one-line calculators work.

I do not allow the __Silver Edition TI-83__ because
it has built into it some things that you are expected to know or
know how to find from the constants and info sheets given to you on
the exam. (If you want a cool look, consider the blue or purple
versions of the TI-83 that Target was selling in fall 2002 and that
Staples carried in fall 2003.)

The __TI-86__ is also forbidden because of some automatic
features it has that other calculators do not have.
The same statement applies to the __TI-85__.

**The standard calculator at TCC:**

TCC math classes, starting with college algebra and continuing
through calculus, require the __TI-83 Plus__ or its almost
equivalent, the __TI-83__.
Because we will not need to use the graphing features to solve
any problems in this class, the TI-83 calculator is not required for
this course and I will not teach assuming you have it.
You can do all of the calculations on a much cheaper calculator,
which happens to be what **I** do.
However, I might sometimes use the TI-83 with a projector to show
how to do a calculation (particularly ones that students with a TI-83
often get wrong). Owners of other calculators will have no problem
following these examples on their calculator.

**Note:**
*At present I do not allow formula sheets and, as a result,
storing formulae in your calculator is also a violation of
the TCC honor code. I reserve the right to check and/or
clear the memory of a TI-83 before or during a test.*
(If you are taking a statistics class, be forewarned that
the "seed" for your random number generator is cleared if
I reset your calculator before a test, as I am likely to do.)
If there are programs you have in yours that are used in other
classes, save them on a computer or another calculator, or
consider one of the options below.

**Much cheaper alternatives:**

Even if you have a TI-83, you might want to get one of these other
calculators as your emergency backup or because (in some cases) it
is easier to use for simple calculations than the fancier ones.
However, I have not used some of these, so you should check out
its functionality before buying one.
For reference, I also give some fairly recent prices at Staples.
Advertised prices at Office Depot are similar to these.

**Sharp EL-531WB [$13.99 on 8/17/2005 at TCC Bookstore]**is very good.

I have used the EL-520L, and its predecessor (EL-5813), for decades and have a new EL-531V as a backup/replacement for it.

**TI-30X IIS [$16.39 on 7/2/2004]**is also good, but I dislike how it handles EE notation.

Many features are the same as on the TI-83 (not always a good thing, but convenient to 'finger memory' if you normally use the TI-83), while others (such as statistics) work somewhat differently. I also own and use one of these.Do not confuse the*Important:*__30XIIS__with the awful__30Xa__.

**Casio fx-115 [$15.75 on 7/2/2004]**looks OK.

**HP-30S [$16.98 on 8/7/2003]**looks OK, but only HP fans will like using it.

**Calculators to avoid:**

My experience with students trying to use the TI-30Xa indicates
that it, and any calculators that implement parentheses in the
same way it does, should be avoided at any cost.
Students have trouble verifying complex calculations when the
sub-expressions are evaluated as soon as the parentheses are closed,
which is the way most of the 1-line calculators work.

**TI-30 Xa**should be thrown away- TI-36X appears to have same design as TI-30 Xa
- Casio FX250 appears to have same design as TI-30 Xa
- TI-34II does not appear to make it easy to evaluate trig functions;

you need to use menus to access some simple functions.

Contact me
if you have any questions.

**My TCC home page.**