Imagine showing up to take your ACT test and not being allowed to use the calculator you brought?
You worked hard to prepare for the Math section on the ACT, but you’ll have a tough time without your calculator. You will also NOT be able to use the calculator on your phone.
ACT Calculator Policy
In general, the ACT Calculator Policy allows “any 4-function, scientific, or graphing calculator, as long as it is not on the prohibited list and it is modified if needed.” Use a calculator you’ve used before. Yes, you could borrow one. But if you’ve never used it, you’ll spend valuable time struggling to calculate the basic buttons. While all ACT problems can be solved without a calculator, you’ll find it to be a key resource.
Prohibited Calculators on the ACT
The ACT mainly prohibits the Computer Algebra System function. You must solve algebra problems on your own. Here are a few calculators that are specifically banned:
- TI-89 or TI-92
- TI-Nspire CAS (the TI-Nspire non-CAS is permitted)
- HP Prime
- HP 40G, HP 49G, or HP 50G
- fx-CP400 (ClassPad 400)
- ClassPad 300 or ClassPad 330
- Algebra fx 2.0
You cannot use any calculators in cell phones, tablets, laptops, nor calculators with QWERTY format letter keys.
Required Calculator Modifications
You can use many calculators on the ACT with modifications.
If your calculator can hold programs or documents, remove all with computer algebra system functionality. Other programs are allowed if they are single-purpose and have fewer than 25 logical lines of code.
Also, turn off any distracting features of your calculator before the test. For example, a calculator with paper tape (remove the tape), calculators that make noise (turn off the sound), or a calculator with power cords (remove them).
Ultimately, you cannot use any calculators or features that give you an unfair advantage or potentially distract students around you.
ACT Calculator Recommendations
Don’t spend $100+ for a brand-new graphing calculator that you don’t know how to use. We recommend the TI-30 or any TI calculator with a number between 30 and 40. You can purchase one from Amazon, Walmart, or other stores for less than $20. These calculators are simple to use and provide all you need for ACT (or SAT) math questions.
Bring extra batteries or make sure your calculator is charged. The only thing worse than bringing a banned calculator is bringing a dead one.
Your ACT testing center is not required to provide you with a calculator (or a pencil!), so don’t plan on that option.
Charge your calculator the night before the test or grab an extra set of batteries just in case. Use every edge you can on the test (like ACT test prep!).