Mastering the CFA Exam: The Importance of Your Approved Calculator

As an expert in the field of finance and a CFA charterholder, I have seen firsthand the importance of having the right calculator for the CFA exam. Many candidates often ask me if they can bring two calculators to the exam, and the answer is simple: no. The CFA Institute has strict rules regarding calculators, and it is crucial to follow them to ensure a smooth and successful exam experience. First and foremost, it is essential to bring your approved calculator with you on the day of the test. You cannot borrow a calculator from the test center, nor can you share one with another candidate during the exam.

It is also important to note that if you prefer to carry a replacement calculator as a backup, you must double the cost listed below (only those approved by the CFAI) during the exams. The reason why calculators are so crucial for the CFA exam is that it requires a lot of calculations, just like any other financial exam. Your calculator is a device that you can count on in more ways than one. However, it is not enough to simply have an approved calculator; you must also be proficient in using it. Prior to the exam, the testing center will perform a series of inspections to verify that everything is in order and in accordance with CFAI standards. Regardless of which certified calculator for the CFA exam you use, repetition and lots of practice with the calculator are essential to become proficient enough to pass the exam.

An effective way to familiarize yourself with the calculator is to use it during your mock CFA exam. Learning to use the calculator long before the exam will not only give you an advantage in time management, but it will also reduce your calculation errors by a significant margin. It is crucial to ensure that the settings on your calculator are correct for most of the calculations required in the CFA exam curriculum. In this case, “correct” means a calculator from the list approved by the CFA Institute that you are familiar with. Every question on the CFA exam must be answered efficiently and correctly, and calculations can be complicated.

Therefore, it is essential to have a calculator that you are comfortable using and that you have practiced with extensively. If you need to borrow a calculator (or anything else), you must do so before the start of each exam session. To successfully pass the CFA exams, the calculator must become a natural extension of your approach to problem-solving. This series of calculators, including the original and BA II Plus Professional versions, is widely viewed as an easier-to-use option because of their familiarity and functionality. If you are using the TI BA II calculator, here are some additional functionality tips that you may find useful:

  • The most recent BA II Plus calculators have a default value of 1, although many older machines have a value of 12.

Serena Lubahn
Serena Lubahn

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