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Are you allowed to bring your own calculator to a CLEP or DSST?

Transcript Below

Hey there, Justin from Free-Clep-Prep here, and answering more questions. The people have sent in to the website. Today's question is from Regina who says, "I'm planning to take the Principles of Statistics DSST. I was wondering if I can bring my own calculator for the exam. Which type of calculator would you recommend?"

It's a good question. I get asked that a lot for the college mathematics, college algebra. Pretty much any math based exam out there. The answer is that it's really up to the testing center, but most testing centers will allow you to bring your own calculator. If you want to play it safe, it has to be a nonprogrammable calculator. I'll tell you why.

*See slide* Here we're looking at the Principles of Statistics DSST fact sheet. This test is actually a really good one for this question. If you look on the fact sheet which we have here, this part right here the use of nonprogrammable calculators is permitted during the test. This is your backup. This is to prove that Prometric allows the use of nonprogrammable calculators in the exam.

Like I said in the end it's up to the testing center whether or not they allow it. However if you print this off and bring this with you with your calculator, it goes a long way towards soothing any problems that they might have with it. The calculator function is available during computer-based exams according to this. They're right. However, the calculator that they provide in there is horrible. Not only just the whole punching buttons on the screen instead of being able to type them into a keypad, but also a lot of the functions that you'll get on a good calculator just aren't available for you on the on-screen calculator so it takes a much longer time to complete the test than it would otherwise.

Now I always recommend that people call the testing center prior to actually showing up. Whenever you do, I wouldn't ask if you are allowed to bring a calculator. I would ask it more in terms of the statement, and just ask about local policy. So if I was planning on taking the exam I might call the testing center and say, "Hi, I'm planning on taking the exam this Saturday. I see on the fact sheet that Prometric allows me to bring my own calculator. I just wanted to know if there was any local policy against it."

Doing it this way removes you asking permission to bring your own calculator. You already have the justification that says that you can. So most testing centers will go ahead and go along with Prometric and allow that. The same can be said about College Board whenever you're taking a CLEP there.

Now as for what kind of calculator to use, opinions vary on this. For myself it was always the Texas Instrument BAII. They have a BAII professional plus and they have a BAII plus. You just need the BAII plus. You don't need the professional. If you go on Amazon you can actually find one for relatively cheap. I've always had good luck there.

One last thing I am going to recommend, give it a couple of days to actually learn how the calculator works. The BAII plus if you end up getting that one, is a pretty serious calculator. Don't leave it in the package until you get to the testing center; otherwise you're going to be hurting. Take a couple days prior, open up the instruction manual, because it does come with one, and actually learn your way around it. It will save you so much time during the exam. It will literally make you fly through the exam versus having that clunky on-screen calculator that they have.

So hopefully that answered your question Regina. If anybody has any questions further about this or another topic, you can go ahead and comment in below. Or you can write me at free-clep-prep, just use the contact me form. Thanks again for watching. I appreciate your time. Best of luck on all of your exams and I'll see you next time.


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