What Calculators are Allowed on the SAT?

What Calculators Are Allowed on the SAT?

You’ve been studying for the SATs for months, working your butts off. Now imagine, you enter the exam hall fully prepared to ace it.

You go through all the test sections, but when you come to the SAT math, you suddenly realize that the calculator you have bought has stopped working in the middle of the test. To make it worse, you might realize that the calculator you have packed is not appropriate!

To avoid such a nightmare, equip yourself with all the available information on your hands about what calculators are allowed on the SAT?

What is the SAT?

If you have never heard of the SAT, you might be wondering, “What is the SAT?” To put it simply, the SAT is a test that determines whether you are a good fit for a particular college. Those who perform well on the SAT are more likely to succeed in college.

Hence, SAT is an important tool that can help you prepare for college and even beyond. With so many applicants to universities each year, the SAT assists these institutions in weeding out the students fit for their programs.

Mathematical Section of SAT

The SAT comprises two mathematical sections. While you are not allowed to use a calculator on the first portion of the test, you are not allowed to use a calculator for the second portion.

For the first one-third of the math section, the use of a calculator is strictly not allowed. This “No Calculator Section” comprises 20 mathematical questions.

In addition, the remaining approximately two-thirds of the math section allows the use of a calculator. This “Calculator Section” comprises about 38 mathematical questions.

A calculator is very helpful to speed up and solve the questions on this portion of tests. This reflects that the College Board is well aware that to get the best grades, students must be able to do mathematical questions with as well as without a calculator in hand.

SAT Calculator Policy

Before you pack your belongings, familiarize yourself with the College Board’s calculator policy to get a clear and concise understanding of what calculators are allowed on the SAT?

Although the SAT calculator policy enables the students to use a calculator on some portions of the test, they are not provided. Instead, the students appearing must bring their own calculators. There is a strict policy against sharing these machines.

A calculator may be used only in the Calculator section of the SAT mathematical paper. It must be properly put away for the first no-calculator section. Along with this, it should be put away for other sections such as reading, writing, and language.

The SAT allows certain calculators. These include:

  • All sorts of scientific calculators
  • Certain graphing calculators (not all graphing calculators are allowed)
  • Certain four-function calculators (although not recommended due to lack of essential functions)

There is a particular criterion that needs to be met when it comes to what calculators are allowed on the SAT. The most important requirement is that the calculator must be battery operated, and handheld. Calculators with power connections are strictly not permitted.

As surprising as it may sound, the test coordinator will allocate you a particular seat in case of your calculator contains characters that are an inch or higher or a raised display. Both of these will require the coordinator to keep a close eye on your work!

Using the SAT Calculator

Each SAT calculator is distinct and comes with different features. Switching the calculator or models on regular basis is not recommended. You must master one single calculator. This is because it is important that you understand all of its operations and hence improve your operating speed for the test day.

You should familiarize yourself with every key feature including input functions, key combinations, menu choices, and any specific abbreviations.

Another major piece of advice for you is to update the software on your device before your test day. This will save you from any unnecessary update pop-ups while sitting for the exam. Moreover, although a calculator can do wonders, do not get distracted and spend excess time fidgeting with it.

Calculators Authorized for SAT

Because the goal of the SAT is to ensure that students hailing from all backgrounds, and socioeconomic levels are treated equally and fairly, the mathematical portion that allows the use of a calculator does not mandate the use of a specific calculator.

However, using a calculator can help a student reduce hesitation and boost the pace with which he or she solves and answers the mathematical-based questions.

When it comes to what calculators are allowed on the SAT, most of Texas Instrument and Casio’s calculators are authorized for use. You are good to go if you have any of these calculators among others:

  • TI-84
  • TI-89
  • TI-Nspire
  • TI-Nspire CAS
  • Casio fx-950GII
  • Casio Prizm

This is not an exclusive list of authorized calculators, but rather a list of the best SAT-approved calculators in 2021. For further information and other models, you can visit the College Board’s official website for the complete list.

Related Post: 5 Best Calculator for SAT 

Calculators not Authorized for SAT

On the other hand, any of the following items are not permitted to be used on the exam as a calculator:

  • Devices such as tablets, cell phones, and smartphones.
  • Laptops and other computers.
  • Smartwatches or any such wearable items.
  • Electrical outlet models, models that create sound or contain paper tape.
  • Calculator models with features like internet connection, recording, camera, or any other smartphone feature.
  • Latest models that include a touch display are not allowed.
  • Furthermore, hardware accessories like stylus are not permitted to be used even with a calculator that is approved for use.

The Texas Instrument TI-92 and TI-92 Plus graphing calculators are among the TI model calculators that are not permitted for use on the calculator allowed section of the SAT. The question arises why is it so? This is because despite being handheld and being battery operated, they have a qwerty keyboard that is among the not allowed features.


It is critical to give it your all and perform your best for the SAT. You want your SAT score to be a benefit rather than a burden. Your efforts will reflect when you take the time and put in the effort. With your utmost efforts, the right tool is also necessary.

It all comes down to one most important thing, what calculators are allowed on the SAT. With this rightly answered, there is nothing to stop you from acing your SAT.

For more information about SAT Calculators visit other blog posts on our website.