As the test gets closer, this article is a short article with comments and advice for anyone taking a math test and needing an engineering calculator. The most common calculator problems are:
- Put the calculator in the correct mode
- Can’t find calculator instructions!
- Calculator mode switching memory
- Rounding and misinterpretation
Why use an engineering calculator
All engineering calculators perform math operations in the same order. This order is different from reading the calculations from left to right. The rules for performing mathematical calculations determine the order of precedence, and thus the order in which the calculations are performed. Engineering calculators work in the same order. This order is abbreviated with terms such as BODMAS and BIDMAS so that students can remember the order of the calculations.
- 1st. place for parentheses (all calculations inside the parentheses are done first)
- 2nd. Operations (e.g. square, cube, square root, sin, cos, tan)
- 3rd. Division and multiplication
- 4th.Addition and subtraction
To use the engineering calculator correctly, you need to know this sequence. This order should always be applied to all math calculations, whether you are using a GPA Calculator or not.
Engineering calculator control
There are two types of engineering calculators and the latest version is an algebraic engineering calculator. The algebraic engineering calculator allows you to create calculations in the order they were created. Older engineering calculators require the user to press a math key after entering a number.
For example, to find the square root of 9 (with 3 answers), press the button.
- Engineering algebra calculator: [ROOT]  [=]
- Engineering calculator non-logarithmic:  [square root] [=]
All these types of engineering calculators are good for testing, but you should know how to use your own type.
If you are unsure if you have an engineering calculator, enter:
 [+]  [x]  [=]
If the answer is 14, then you have a non-scientific calculator from left to right.
If you get answer 10, you will solve the multiplication part first, so you will have an engineering calculator.
Lost calculator guide
The calculator guide is very easy to lose or not find it when the test is approaching. FAQ: What happens if I lose the calculator user manual? For newer models, you can download a copy from the manufacturer’s website. The manuals for the old Sharp calculators or the old Casio can still be found on the Internet. Even search engines may take some time to find these guides. The following links provide information about new and existing guides for Casio, Sharp, Hewlett-Packard, and Texas Instruments calculators.
Now that you have the Scientific Calculator instructions, you can set the calculator to the correct settings. The standard settings are usually:
(Using the MOD button – general selection, not statistics) Note: SD or REG
(Use MOD or DRG button) Note: RAD or GRAD
(Using MOD or SETUP and the arrow keys) Note: FIX, SCI, ENG
Many calculators have a reset button on the back that you can press with a pen or paper clip if original factory settings are desired.
The most common mistake is to put the calculator back into the previous mode and forget to change it again! (We’ve all done it, so please don’t do it in your tests!)
Common calculator error
- Do not accidentally press the DRG button to ask trigonometric questions in the DEGREES mode. (Forget exiting DEGREES mode if you are doing advanced tasks!).
- Borrowing an unknown calculator or buying a new calculator very close to the exam and not knowing how to change keys and modes.
- I forgot to write and check a sentence. You should see a warning on all calculator exams! It is very important to log the calculation to get the result of the method. In addition, all calculations must be repeated if the wrong key is pressed.
- The round before the end of the calculation. Keep your calculations in memory and use all decimal places for your calculations. Rounding values prematurely will lose precision.
- Forgetting the use of parentheses in division calculations (e.g., dividing parts below a fraction as a whole).
Many calculators are now very efficient and have amazing computing power. Some programmable calculators are mini-computers. They all make 100% accurate calculations every time, but unfortunately they are just as accurate and precise as the operator!