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Written examinations — calculators
Information sheet 49

Details about the specifications and conditions for use of approved graphics calculators and scientific calculators; in external examinations.

This information is provided for the following subjects:

Mathematics subjects

  • Essential Mathematics
  • General Mathematics
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Specialist Mathematics

Designated non-mathematics subjects for which the use of calculators is permitted in the examination

  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geography
  • Information Technology
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Tourism

Calculators are not approved for use in the external examinations for any other subjects.

General conditions for the use of approved calculators

1. Students must provide their own calculators or be allocated a calculator by the SACE coordinator.

  • For mathematics subjects, students may bring two approved graphics calculators or one scientific calculator and one approved graphics calculator into the examination room.
  • For designated non-mathematics subjects, students may bring two approved graphics calculators, two scientific calculators, or one scientific calculator and one approved graphics calculator into the examination room.

2. See Specific conditions for the use of approved calculators for requirements to clear the memory of calculators.

3. No external storage media may be used with calculators.

4. Calculators must be used silently.

5. Students are advised to use, in the examinations, calculators that they have been using throughout the year.

6. Removable covers of calculators and instruction booklets/manuals are not to be taken into the examination room.

7. Students are permitted to use a calculator during the 10-minute reading time for the examination.

These general conditions must be read in conjunction with the specific conditions. It is the responsibility of schools to ensure that these conditions for the use of calculators are adhered to.

Computer algebra systems (CAS) are not permitted in external examinations.

Students have access to special provisions for incidents that occur outside their control in an external examination. However, flat batteries, an inadequate power source, or incorrect resetting of calculators are not grounds for special provisions.

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Approved calculators

Approved graphics calculators

Students may use any of the graphics calculators listed below in the external examinations for mathematics subjects and designated non-mathematics subjects. Examination invigilators will check the model of the calculator being used.

Casio Texas Instruments Sharp Hewlett Packard
fx-9860G AU
fx-9860G AU Plus
fx-CG20 AU
fx-CG50 AU
cfx-9850G*
cfx-9850G Plus*
cfx-9850GB Plus*
TI-83 Plus
TI-84 Plus
TI-84 Plus C–silver edition
TI-84 Plus CE
EL-9900 HP 39GS

*These calculators are not approved for 2019 onwards

Schools that have students who wish to use calculators that are not on the approved list should contact the SACE Board.

Approved scientific calculators

There is no list of Board-approved scientific calculators. Any scientific calculator, except those with an external memory source (USB jack or SD card slot), may be used. All students are required to clear the memory of their scientific calculators.

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Specific conditions for the use of approved calculators

Read General conditions for the use of approved calculators in conjunction with these specific conditions.

Mathematics subjects

The following conditions apply to the use of approved calculators in external examinations for Essential Mathematics, General Mathematics, Mathematical Methods, and Specialist Mathematics.

Students are not required to clear the memory of their graphics calculators.

Computer algebra systems (CAS) are not permitted.

Students are required to clear the memory of their scientific calculators before the examination.

It is the responsibility of students to ensure that their calculators are set in the correct mode.

Designated non-mathematics subjects

The following conditions apply to the use of approved calculators in external examinations for Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Information Technology, Nutrition, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, and Tourism.

Students are required to clear the memory of their graphics calculators and scientific calculators before the examination.

Students’ attention must be drawn to the declaration on the use of calculators printed on their examination attendance slip.

It is the responsibility of students to ensure that their calculators are set in the correct mode.

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Capabilities of graphics calculators used for external examinations for mathematics subjects

The following summary lists the mathematical capabilities of graphics calculators and computer software that are available and may be expected to be used in external examinations for mathematics subjects.

 

1. Standard scientific calculator operations or functions.

2. Graphing functions, including:

  • graphing functions simultaneously or consecutively
  • investigating and calculating aspects of interest for one or more functions
  • Points of intersection
  • Axes intercepts (roots)
  • Local extrema
  • graphs in coordinate, polar, and parametric forms
  • graphing inequalities and piecewise defined functions.

Note: A graphing function has a zoom capacity to focus on a section of interest (‘box zoom’).

 

3. Data, including:

  • storage and analysis of bivariate data, including means, standard deviations, regression coefficients, and product-moment correlation
  • graphical displays of data, including histograms, box plots, scatter plots, and least squares regression lines, including linear and other models of regression.

4. Matrices stored and manipulated, including:

  • matrix addition, multiplication, and inversions
  • solutions to systems of linear equations numerically solved
  • determinants and transposes.

5. Numerical calculus facilities:

  • numerical derivatives
  • definite integrals (e.g. areas between functions).

6. Numerical solutions to equations — graphical or iterative.

7. Tabular array for a function.

8. Complex numbers:

  • operations (arithmetic operations and operations with rational indices)
  • conversions between Cartesian and polar form.

9. Sequences and series either through list structures or by formula.

10. Probability, including:

  • calculating probabilities, using the normal distribution and the binomial distribution
  • calculating the mean and standard deviation for the normal distribution and the binomial distribution
  • calculating confidence intervals for the population mean and the population proportion
  • calculations associated with the Z-test that compares a sample mean to a stated population mean (null hypothesis).

Computer algebra systems (CAS) are not permitted in external examinations.

SD-card facility (or similar external memory facility) is not permitted in external examinations.

Flash memory (memory that can be used to store add-in programs and other data) must not exceed 5.0 MB.

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