CFA® Calculator Policy
- Why You Need a Calculator for the CFA Exam
- Allowed Calculators for the CFA Exam
- TI BA II Plus vs. HP 12C
- Approved Calculator Accessories
- Calculator Tips and Tricks
Why You Need a Calculator for the CFA Exam
If you have already begun your exam prep, you already know why you need a calculator. However, if you haven’t started yet, here is the answer. You have approximately 90 seconds to answer the questions on the CFA exam. The equations and calculations you are expected to solve are complicated. As a result, it is almost impossible to take the exam without a calculator and expect to pass. Calculators are not provided at the testing center, and you can’t borrow a calculator or share one with someone else at the testing center. Therefore, you must bring your own to the exam.
Allowed Calculators 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 Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th-anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)
TI BA II Plus vs. HP 12C: Which Is Better for the CFA Exam?
The answer to which model is better depends on your preferences and comfort level with the two different types of operating systems. If you’re used to algebraic inputs, and you haven’t had much experience with any other type of operating system, the TI BA II Plus model will probably work best for you. Most exam preparation providers, including Kaplan Schweser, focus on teaching you how to use the TI BA II Plus model.
If you have been using one of the authorized HP 12C models in your work or studies, then it might be the better choice for you. You can find a lot of information about why some candidates and CFA charterholders prefer it by checking out Analyst Forum and Quora.
The Difference Between Approved the Calculator Models
Approved Calculator Accessories for the CFA Exam
The CFA exam calculator policy allows additional calculator-related items such as:
- Calculator covers
- Keystroke cards
- Loose extra batteries
- Small screwdriver for replacing your BA II Plus batteries
Can You Bring Two Calculators to the CFA Exam?
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CFA Exam Calculator Tips and Tricks
Because you won’t be able to refer to the calculator manual during the exam (even if you could, you wouldn’t have time), you should learn how to use the calculators beforehand. You can start by downloading the manuals for the TI and HP models from the web.
If you have decided to use the BA II Plus model, you can learn the basics in this Kaplan Schweser video tutorial and then tackle the more advanced features. There are also tutorials for the HP 12C. This tutorial covers the HP 12C for all finance applications, and this HP 12C tutorial is specific to the CFA exam.
Exam Day Tips
Before the exam starts, the proctors will inspect your calculator. You’ll need to keep it on your desk where it can be clearly seen because the proctors can inspect it at any time throughout the exam. If the proctors don’t detect that you’ve brought or are using an unauthorized calculator, it doesn’t mean that you’re in compliance with the policy. The proctors can also take it from you at any time. So, don’t take any chances. Bring one of the approved models with you.
Preparing to Take the CFA Exam?Now that you know what calculator models are allowed on the exam start preparing by checking out our CFA exam packages.
Free eBook: Before You Decide to Sit for the CFA® Program Exam
Free eBook: CFA® Program Fundamentals, 2nd Edition
Ready to Pass the CFA® Exam?