Which Calculator is Best for CFA Exam

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For the CFA exam, there are two calculators allowed by the CFA Institute. The candidates are able to buy them and carry them to the Exam Center on CFA exam day. By the way, which calculator is best for the CFA exam?

Allowed Calculators for the CFA Exam

The CFA exam calculator policy allows two calculators models for the CFA exam:

  • Texas Instruments (TI) BA II Plus (including BA II Plus Professional)
  • Hewlett Packard (HP) 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C 30th-anniversary edition, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)

Both of these calculator models are widely available. You are able to order them on the Texas Instruments and HP websites, Amazon, and Walmart online. Also, both are often sold at office supply stores.

Which Calculator is Best for CFA Exam

Which Calculator is Best for the CFA Exam?

As we explained above, there are only two calculators allowed by the CFA Institute for the CFA exam. The two calculators are Texas Instruments BA II Plus Financial Calculator (including BA II Plus Professional) and HP 12C Financial Calculator (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C 30th anniversary edition, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)

Both these are good calculators. But if you are going to buy one then the best calculator for the CFA exam would be Texas Instruments BA II Plus. Of course, there are some reasons why we feel this is the best calculator for the CFA exam. One strong reason is that most training providers provide their examples with Texas Instruments BA II Plus. Therefore, when you are learning you get hands-on instructions on how to solve each issue with this Texas Instruments BA II Plus calculator. Also, Texas Instruments BA II Plus calculator has more formulas (Such as for NFV, Combination and Permutation) that Hewlett Packard (HP) 12C calculator does not have. Aside from that, Texas Instruments BA II Plus calculator is also comparatively easier to use.

On the other hand, Hewlett Packard (HP) 12C calculator is a more traditional calculator and several people may prefer it. However, if you are looking for more functions, ease of use, and support from training preps, then Texas Instruments BA II Plus calculator is the best calculator for the CFA exam.

The features of the Texas Instruments BA II plus calculator are performs common math as well as many financial functions; the Worksheet mode includes the tables for amortization, depreciation, bond, and compound interest, Built-in memory for storage of previous worksheets, enable perform cash-flow analysis and advanced list-based statistics and a Slide-case included to protect the screen. While the Hewlett Packard (HP) 12C calculator features built-in financial functions and statistics, utilizes Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), more than 120 built-in functions, including register-based cash-flow analysis, 1-line LCD display, 10-character, Device measures 5.0 x 0.6 x 3.1 inches (WxHxD).

Reason You Need a Calculator for the CFA Exam

If you have already begun your CFA exam prep, you may already know why you need a calculator. But if you have not started yet, here is the answer. Need to know that you are going to have about 90 seconds to answer the questions on the CFA exam. The equations and calculations you are expected to complete are complicated. As a result, it is almost impossible to take the CFA exam without a calculator and expect to pass. Keep in mind that calculators are not provided at the testing center, and you cannot borrow a calculator or share one with someone else at the testing center. So, you have to bring your own calculator to the CFA exam.

Bringing and Using a Calculator for the CFA Exam

Please bring the approved calculator with you on the CFA exam day. Remember that you cannot borrow a calculator from the test center. Also, you cannot borrow from or share a calculator with another candidate during the CFA exam.

Your calculator is going to be inspected prior to the start of the CFA exam. After inspection, you are going to be asked to clear the memory from your own calculator. Use or possession of an unauthorized calculator during the administration of the CFA exam will result in your exam results being voided. Failure by the proctors to detect an unauthorized calculator prior to the start of the CFA exam, or your possession and/or use of an unauthorized calculator at any time during the CFA exam, does not imply you are in compliance with the CFA calculator policy.

Calculator covers, loose batteries and keystroke cards are permitted in the testing room; instruction manuals are not. You are able to keep a small screwdriver with you if necessary to replace batteries in your calculator. Need to note that CFA Institute does not profit from the sales of these calculators. Also, CFA Institute does not endorse, warrant, or guarantee the calculators or any other products or services provided by these distributors.

CFA Exam Calculator Tips and Tricks

Because you will not be able to refer to the calculator manual during the CFA exam (even if you could, you would not have time), you have to learn how to use the calculators beforehand. You are able to learn how to use Texas Instruments BA II Plus calculator and Hewlett Packard (HP) 12C calculator from the web. If you have decided to use the Texas Instruments BA II Plus calculator, then you are able to learn the basics in the Kaplan Schweser video tutorial. Also, there are tutorials for the Hewlett Packard (HP) 12C calculator.

CFA Exam Day Tips

Before the CFA exam starts, the proctors are going to inspect your calculator. You will need to keep it on your desk where it can be obviously seen because the proctors are able to inspect it at any time throughout the CFA exam. If the proctors do not detect that you have brought or are using an unauthorized calculator, it does not mean that you are in compliance with the policy. Also, the proctors can take it from you at any time. So, do not take any chances. Please bring one of the approved calculator models with you.

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