ACT Approved Calculator

ACT Approved Calculators | Complete Expert Guide5 min read

How embarrassing would it be if you arrived at the ACT location only to find out that the calculator you brought isn’t among the ACT Approved/Permitted Calculators? Disappointed, I guess.

You may study your toughest to prepare for the ACT mathematics exam, but in as much as you can’t make use of your calculator, you will be out at an automatic disadvantage.

And not for a second should you assume that you will be allowed to make use of your phone as a substitute.

This is why it is essential to know what kind of calculators termed “ACT Approved Calculators” are so that you can come prepared. 

Why you should make use of an ACT Approved Calculator

ACT examination is not termed complete if you do not come in with an ACT Approved Calculator accepted by the exam body.

Understanding how to use an ACT Permitted Calculator won’t only give you the advantage of preparing effectively for your most effective strength, your ACT; it can determine the final results at the D-day.

Also, the ACT Approved Calculator policy makes a choice even more difficult. Thus, selecting the proper calculator is crucial.

ACT is quite strict regarding permitting calculators into the examination hall, and its regulations replicate the same.

Bringing the wrong calculator can cause your ACT exam to be canceled. Moreover, no student needs to face this kind of frightening scenario.

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What is the ACT Calculator Policy?

The ACT requires all exam candidates to utilize any 4-function, graphing, or scientific calculator that isn’t mentioned among the ACT’s prohibited calculators.

It is always the best option for candidates to use calculators they are quite familiar with, as long as the calculators are ACT Approved Calculators.

Because if you try making use of a calculator you are not used to, you could spend more time trying to figure out the device’s basic functions.

Thus, candidates do not necessarily need to use a calculator to solve ACT questions; however, candidates can use it to their advantage.

What Section of the ACT requires the use of the ACT Approved Calculators?

It is mostly the math section of the ACT that requires the use of ACT Approved Calculators.

However, the majority of the ACT math section does not require the use of a calculator.

Candidates may also find the need to use the calculator when attempting questions in the science section. 

ACT permitted Calculators: What Calculators not Allowed for the ACT?

Computer Algebra System Functionality is a major function that is not allowed for the ACT.

The ACT Math exam examines its test-writers on their ability to solve algebra problems without the need to make use of the kinds of calculators that would help solve them.

Here are some non-accepted calculators:


  • All model that have initials of CFX-9970G
  • ClassPad 330 or ClassPad 300
  • fx-CP400 (ClassPad 400)
  • Algebra fx 2.0


  • All models that have initials of HP 50G, HP 49G or HP 40G
  • HP48GII
  • HP Prime
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Texas Instruments (TI):

  • TI-Nspire CAS
  • All models that have TI-89 or TI-92 as their initials

Furthermore, candidates are not allowed to make use of laptop calculators, tablet calculators, or phone calculators.

Calculators that come with QWERTY formats are not termed “ACT Approved Calculators.”

Modifications of Prohibited Calculators to meet ACT Approved Calculators Standards

You can use many calculators on the ACT, but only if you make certain modifications to turn them into standards of ACT Approved Calculators.

In that case, you have to get rid of all the computer algebra system functionality programs.

Calculators without the computer algebra system functionality are good as they are not multiple-purpose and possess at most 25 logical lines of code.

Additionally, modify any features that may cause distractions before you can use them on the test: if your calculator has a paper tape, remove the tape; if it makes noise, disable the sound; or if your calculator has power cords, discard them.

In summary, the ACT calculator policy restricts all candidates from using calculators that offer them an unfair benefit or calculators with features that could be a source of distraction to other candidates sitting for the ACT at the same time.

Recommended ACT Approved/Permitted Calculators

Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphics Calculator:


  • SAT and ACT Approved Calculator
  • Widely known calculator providing comprehensive functionality
  • Nice design and feel
  • Extensive third-party apps support


  • Price differs by the colours

TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator


  • Durable materials with a sturdy grip
  • It contains many statistical and mathematical functions
  • The battery is rechargeable
  • Backlit, color LCD and slim design


  • None

Texas Instruments TI-83 Graphing Calculator


  • Very affordable for students on a budget
  • Good build quality and durable materials
  • Extensive support and pre-loaded apps
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  • Comparatively less RAM and storage space
  • Missing some advanced math functions

Casio fx-9750GII Graphing Calculator


  • SAT and ACT Approved Calculator
  • Straightforward navigation with Intuitive programs
  • Powerful, easy to use ACT calculator
  • No discreet function locations


  • Low memory for storage and programs
  • Less documentation and fewer third-party apps

HP 39gs Graphing Calculator


  • It comes at a low price
  • SAT and ACT Approved Calculator 


  • Freezing issues
  • You have to cover the infrared port for the duration of the exam.


The only thing that beats coming to the exam hall with an unapproved ACT calculator is entering the exam hall with a dead or malfunctioning calculator.

It is recommended to come along with an extra calculator battery to the exam hall just in case the battery in your calculator fails or if your calculator is rechargeable, ensure it is fully charged.

Note that you will not be offered any writing material or calculator at your ACT exam venue, so do well to come with the necessary writing materials and an ACT Approved Calculator.

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