You are Here: Home >< Maths

# A level maths exams graphical calculator use watch

1. My college was telling me for 2 years I can't use a graphical calculator in the exams, until I just got to know I can! So I immediately bought one...

I got the model Casio CFX-9850GC Plus

I'm doing FP2 and FP3 as well and I suppose the calculator is most useful for these modules.

Now I know I can sketch graphs, deal with matrices and evaluate definite integrals.

Other students who use graphical calculators, could you give me any advice how I can save time/energy with a graphical calculator?

I'm also doing S2 M2 C3 C4

Any advice is more than welcome!

Thanks
2. (Original post by lawlieto)
...
When you're asked to integrate an indefinite integral, tack in easy limits, do it manually then check on your calculator. If it's the same, you've done it right.

When asked to do partial fractions then method of differences in FP2 to derive a general formula to n, plug in a value of n like n=50, then do the sum on your GDC using the sigma tool and see if you get the same thing, if so, it's correct.

Plot modulus graphs for FP2 inequalities and graphs.

Plot the equations of tangents you've been asked to find to see whether it really looks like a tangent or not. Even for polar/parametric curves.

etc...
3. (Original post by Jabberjay_)
To clarify, are we even allowed 'graphical calculators'?
Yes, they are allowed as long as they can't perform symbolic differentiation or integration or do symbolical algebra, etc...

The TI-Nspire cx is a popular graphical calculator that is allowed.
4. (Original post by Zacken)
Yes, they are allowed as long as they can't perform symbolic differentiation or integration or do symbolical algebra, etc...

The TI-Nspire cx is a popular graphical calculator that is allowed.
Are there any other graphical calculators you recommend which don't cost £100? I'll be doing FP2,3 in addition to C3, 4 this year.
5. (Original post by Jabberjay_)
Are there any other graphical calculators you recommend which don't cost £100? I'll be doing FP2,3 in addition to C3, 4 this year.
I'm not very good with calculators, not a very big fan of them, but look at the Casio (graphical calculators) range? They're usually good value for money, at least better than the standard 100 quid ones.

Do bear in mind that a graphical calculator is overkill and (imo) a waste of money, you'd be better off going for a cheap Casio normal scientific one.
6. For S2 I know you can use it to calculate binomial and poisson distribution, and if you know how to use it well you can use the graph function to draw the PDFs (or CDFs I can't remember hehe try both)
7. (Original post by Jabberjay_)
To clarify, are we even allowed 'graphical calculators'?, the edexcel site says
"There is no list of calculators which can be used, though it can probably be assumed that any calculator that is not on the list above is permissible. This includes graphical calculators, those which can perform numerical differentiation and integration, manipulate matrices, change bases, and so on."
"any calculator that is not on the list above is permissible. This includes graphical calculators"

I got mine for £20 on ebay... I've seen on Amazon it was £80
8. Ask on your student Facebook groups, someone is bound to have bought one and not used one or no longer needs it. I got one given to me by a porter in the accommodation block, someone left it behind and it was worth around £160 on Amazon. Obviously handed it to someone who could get use out of it, graphs scare me.
9. (Original post by Jabberjay_)
Are there any other graphical calculators you recommend which don't cost £100? I'll be doing FP2,3 in addition to C3, 4 this year.
My plan is to use my normal scientific calculator for ehm.. normal things and to use the graphical ones for checking my integration, equations etc.. i juts want to have the piece of mind that i checked my answer, which is crucial for FP2 and FP3. As it was said above look for some Casio one (even second hand), they're £20-50.
10. (Original post by lawlieto)
My plan is to use my normal scientific calculator for ehm.. normal things and to use the graphical ones for checking my integration, equations etc.. i juts want to have the piece of mind that i checked my answer, which is crucial for FP2 and FP3. As it was said above look for some Casio one (even second hand), they're £20-50.
I bought a casio fx-cg20 earlier today and it seems to be great so far. Though it did cost a bit.
11. I have a TI-Nspire CX, its great
I use it for checking integrals mainly, sometimes drawing inverse functions alongside y=x to check if my algebra on the day is ok
I also use it alot for stats, like normal, chi squared all of that. checking answers is peace of mind in any exam!
12. (Original post by The-Spartan)
I have a TI-Nspire CX, its great
I use it for checking integrals mainly, sometimes drawing inverse functions alongside y=x to check if my algebra on the day is ok
I also use it alot for stats, like normal, chi squared all of that. checking answers is peace of mind in any exam!
I was going to get it, but it doesn't give exact answers; only decimals, so it kind of put me off.
13. (Original post by Jabberjay_)
I was going to get it, but it doesn't give exact answers; only decimals, so it kind of put me off.
I have a library that does the exact forms of answers on it, couldnt do without
14. (Original post by The-Spartan)
I have a TI-Nspire CX, its great
I use it for checking integrals mainly, sometimes drawing inverse functions alongside y=x to check if my algebra on the day is ok
I also use it alot for stats, like normal, chi squared all of that. checking answers is peace of mind in any exam!
Does it save time for stats? or do you use it to check your answer for stats?
15. (Original post by lawlieto)
Does it save time for stats? or do you use it to check your answer for stats?
I only check for distributions like normal, and also with poisson. It is very good for chi squared though as it does the contribution tables in a nice matrix, meaning i dont have to waste 10 minutes calculating them individually. For example, to get full marks in a chi squared question i do an example calculation and state the equation, and then use the calculator to do the rest (usually more than 6) for me... has saved my bacon a couple of times with stupid errors on my behalf!
16. (Original post by The-Spartan)
I only check for distributions like normal, and also with poisson. It is very good for chi squared though as it does the contribution tables in a nice matrix, meaning i dont have to waste 10 minutes calculating them individually. For example, to get full marks in a chi squared question i do an example calculation and state the equation, and then use the calculator to do the rest (usually more than 6) for me... has saved my bacon a couple of times with stupid errors on my behalf!
Is this something from S2 chapter 7? (just finished chapter 6 )
17. (Original post by lawlieto)
Is this something from S2 chapter 7? (just finished chapter 6 )
Aha yeah it is its usually quite long, involving around 8 calculations minimum. If you are lucky they only ask for specific values or they give you the chi squared, otherwise then it takes around 10 minutes for the calculations, and they are usually worth upwards of 9 marks each.
Its good when you can do all the calculations in around 1 minute
I would not say the calculator is worth what it costs however, i got mine fwee!! XD

Just to add: In S2 i find this most useful, it gives me peace of mind knowing i got the calculations right and it saves me the most time.
In C3 and C4 the only things i find it useful for are the graphing aspects, or sometimes the definite integrals Mathematical ability is still much more needed to do well in these than a fancy calculator (unfortunately for me huehue )
18. (Original post by The-Spartan)
-
Yes mathematical ability is quite important but it was worth £20 for me to save time in my exams and also the piece of mind of knowing your answer is correct

getting an A* is also about good exam techniques as well as ability. My teachers were trying to talk me out of getting a graphical calculator saying "you know how to sketch graphs you don't need to rely on this" - I don't want to rely on this, but however I look at it, this does give some advantage.
19. (Original post by lawlieto)
Yes mathematical ability is quite important but it was worth £20 for me to save time in my exams and also the piece of mind of knowing your answer is correct

getting an A* is also about good exam techniques as well as ability. My teachers were trying to talk me out of getting a graphical calculator saying "you know how to sketch graphs you don't need to rely on this" - I don't want to rely on this, but however I look at it, this does give some advantage.
Definitely. £20 is worth the graph plotting ability alone for me, id pay £20 to know i got half of a C3 paper correct and around quarter of C4...

Agreed. Mine did too, i always get slated for it (if i do well in a paper, its always my calculator that did it for me)
There is a definite advantage to it there is most certainly no disadvantage to having that ability!!

Best of luck in your exams. Hope you get the A* you are aiming for!

TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

This forum is supported by:
Updated: April 16, 2016
Today on TSR

### Tuition fees under review

Would you pay less for a humanities degree?

### Buying condoms for the first time - help!

Discussions on TSR

• Latest
Poll
Useful resources

### Maths Forum posting guidelines

Not sure where to post? Read the updated guidelines here

### How to use LaTex

Writing equations the easy way

### Study habits of A* students

Top tips from students who have already aced their exams

## Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups
Discussions on TSR

• Latest

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE