Can I use a calculator?

You may use a calculator on the ACT Mathematics Test but not on any of the other tests in the ACT. You are not required to use a calculator. All problems on the Mathematics Test can be solved without a calculator.

WARNING: You are responsible for knowing if your calculator is permitted. If testing staff find that you are using a prohibited calculator or are using a calculator on any test other than the Mathematics Test, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. If ACT determines later that you used a prohibited calculator or that you used a calculator on a test other than the Mathematics Test, your scores will be cancelled.

If you choose to use a calculator, you are responsible for bringing it to the test center and making sure it works properly. Testing staff will not provide backup calculators or batteries. You may not share a calculator with another examinee. You may bring a backup calculator, but you may have only one calculator on your desk or in operation at a time. If you need to use your backup calculator, it must first be checked by a member of the testing staff.

You may use your calculator only while you are working on the Mathematics Test. At all other times, it must be turned off and put away. You may use only the mathematics functions of your calculator—if your calculator has other functions (such as games) you may not use those functions. If you finish the Mathematics Test before time is called, and have rechecked your work on that test, you must turn your calculator off and wait quietly.

Permitted Calculators

You may use any four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator, unless it has features described in the Prohibited Calculators list. For models on the Calculators Permitted with Modification list, you will be required to modify some of the calculator's features.

Prohibited Calculators

The following types of calculators are prohibited:

  • Calculators with built-in computer algebra systems
    Prohibited calculators in this category include:
    • Texas Instruments:
      • All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92
      • TI-Nspire CAS—Note: The TI-Nspire (non-CAS) is permitted.
    • Hewlett-Packard:
      • HP Prime
      • HP 48GII
      • All model numbers that begin with HP 40G, HP 49G, or HP 50G
    • Casio:
      • fx-CP400 (ClassPad 400)
      • ClassPad 300 
      • ClassPad 330
      • Algebra fx 2.0
      • All model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G

  • Handheld, tablet, or laptop computers, including PDAs.
  • Electronic writing pads or pen-input devices—Note: The Sharp EL 9600 is permitted.
  • Calculators built into cell phones or any other electronic communication devices.
  • Calculators with a typewriter keypad (letter keys in QWERTY format)—Note: Letter keys not in QWERTY format are permitted.

Calculators Permitted with Modification

These types of calculators are permitted, but only after they are modified as noted:

  • Calculators with paper tape—Remove the tape.
  • Calculators that make noise—Turn off the sound.
  • Calculators with an infrared data port—Completely cover the infrared data port with heavy opaque material such as duct tape or electrician's tape (includes Hewlett-Packard HP 38G series, HP 39G series, and HP 48G).
  • Calculators that have power cords—Remove all power/electrical cords.

Using the TI-89 is the most common reason students are dismissed from the ACT for prohibited calculator use.