The Best Calculator for FE Exam
One important element to consider when studying for the FE exam is your calculator strategy, as it will have a significant effect on the amount of time you require to complete each question.
The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) recently released an updated list of the 16 calculators approved for use during the FE exam. In this article, I have narrowed down that list to the top 3 based on ease of use, mathematical capabilities, quality of the user manual, availability of video instruction, and user reviews.
No matter this list that you find detailing the top calculators for the FE exam, these 3 will always be cut.
Casio fx-115 ES Plus
There are many Casio fx-115 models but you will be hard-pressed to find any other than the ES Plus. Some have been discontinued, some simply impossible to find for sale.
The Casio fx-115 ES Plus is the most advanced solar-plus-battery scientific calculator that provides long life and dependability. This also means that you don’t have to live with the fear of your calculator dying midway through your exam.
It’s a lightweight calculator with a “Natural Textbook” display, in addition to its advanced Statistics, Matrix, and Conversion functionality, and it also comes with downloadable manuals and video tutorials readily available to help you hit the ground running.
The user’s guide explains the multi-line display, how the input and results are displayed, and how to perform the functions of the calculator. The first pages show how to change modes, and how to set up the calculator.
The Casio fx-115 ES Plus is actually on the inexpensive side of the fence when compared with similar calculators, typically priced around ~$15, so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.
Texas Instruments TI-36X Pro
This will come as music to the ears of engineering students as they will likely be familiar with the TI user interface having used some version of their calculators throughout college.
The TI-36X Pro is an advanced, four-line scientific calculator, with higher-level math and science functionality. It is also a solar-powered calculator at a price comparable to the Casio at roughly $20.
It has an easy-to-use mode menu, built-in solvers, and it comes with the ability to view multiple calculations at one time and to see math exactly as it appears in textbooks.
Hewlett Packard HP 35S
Hewlett Packard is a familiar name for those immersed in the education world. Their calculators are widely used in medicine, science, surveying, and engineering. This model, however, is the most expensive calculator on this list, typically going for roughly $40.
The HP 35S is a programmable calculator with an LCD screen and a 1-year warranty. It has 100+ built-in functions and constants, and it can solve vector equations, matrices, financial equations, linear equations, net heat transfer, beam stresses, and more.
One feature that sets this calculator apart from the rest is its ability to calculate imaginary numbers in a matrix, which is critical for solving circuit theory-related questions.
These are three dependable, acceptable, and affordable options when considering a calculator to use for your FE exam. Happy studying!
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