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Advice on Calculators

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Hello Folks

I wanted to get peoples opinions on what maybe the best overall calculator from the 3 different models accepted by NCEESfor the PE exam.

Willie

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The best calculator is the one you are familar with (and is allowed). Dont get caught up in the hype of calculator brand. It is just a tool, your ablility to use the tool is what will make the difference. I hope that helps.

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I can only give my opinion for the EE exam with EEC option. But I have heard similar things about other exams. It made absolutely no difference. The calculator is basically not an issue at all. If you know how to do the problems it won't matter and you'll have plenty of time, if you don't it won't help. I use the solar one, which ever that was. I got used to it when I studied, and brought an extra.

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I liked the approved Casio a lot more than the approved TI. My reasoning was location and tactile feel of the buttons, in addition to the ease of calculation including imaginary numbers on the Casio (which probably doesn't come in to play much on the Civil exam). I hate RPN, so the HP was never an option for me.

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Hello Folks

I wanted to get peoples opinions on what maybe the best overall calculator from the 3 different models accepted by NCEESfor the PE exam.

Willie

HP 33 or 35 is the way to go. You'll save a lot of time when you use the programs and learn all the keys functions.

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I liked the approved Casio a lot more than the approved TI. My reasoning was location and tactile feel of the buttons, in addition to the ease of calculation including imaginary numbers on the Casio (which probably doesn't come in to play much on the Civil exam). I hate RPN, so the HP was never an option for me.

Willheldp_PE my discpline is actually Mechanical but I dont know how to go back and switch it. I selected Civil by mistake.

Thanks for the advice.

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Willheldp_PE my discpline is actually Mechanical but I dont know how to go back and switch it. I selected Civil by mistake.

Thanks for the advice.

To change your information, go to "My Controls" and then select Edit Personal Profile.

Any approved calculator should be able to do the job fine. As suggested by others, try to do as much of your practice work as possible using the calculator you will use in the exam. The last thing you need to be doing is wasting time trying to figure out how to work the calculator. :2cents:

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I think the best thing to do(like the posts above) is to get one that is close to one you are familiar with, and then buy it and spend ALOT of time with it. I used an HP48 for college and the EIT so I went with the HP version so I could have RPN, I can barely use a normal calculator so using any other brand would have been just another pain in the arse to deal with.

probably the best advice is to pick an approved calculator and then use it for work, studying, checkbook, etc....

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I think the best thing to do(like the posts above) is to get one that is close to one you are familiar with

I tried to do that and ended up with the approved TI calculator since I have used TI-8x calculators ever since high school. The problem is that the approved TI calc is a P.O.S. The buttons have a bad feel to them (sometimes, you'll get a tactile "click" from a button, but the input won't register...which could be disastrous during the exam). The button layout was completely different from the TI-82 that I normally use, and it's not intuitive at all. Plus, doing calculations with imaginary numbers is impossible as far as I can tell.

The Casio had a much better feel, layout, and imaginary numbers were a piece of cake. I took the TI with me as a backup in case my Casio exploded, but thankfully, I never had to use it.

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I'm an RPN guy. The HP 33s was the only approved HP when I took the test. I didn't like the calculator much, but like RG, I can't work fast or reliably with an algebraic calculator. I have an HP 35s which is also approved and I like it much better than the 33.

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Maybe my exam was completely different than all the others. Obviously, if you like RPN you should pick an RPN, and if you like algebraic pick an algebraic. But I've read people complaining that the only reason they didn't pass was that they couldn't use the calculator they want. Sorry, I just think that's total crap.

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I personally hate Casio calculators. All the Casios I have had in the past felt flimsy in my hands. The buttons were too senstive or not sensitive enough when it matter.

I went with the HP 33s because of the ability to program and to store equations. I didn't use all of the equations I inputted, but some were helpful during the exam.

Also, I am an algebraic guy and the HP 33s does allow for both Algebraic input and RPN.... And even though I had to use the second function key to input brackets, I find I am much faster using my HP33s than my old TI-85...

I think the HP 33s has a good feel and if this is one of the worst calculators HP has to offer, I think I have been missing out all these years and wish I found HP calculators much earlier on in my academic career...

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I personally hate Casio calculators.

I'm not a big fan of Casio calculators either, but choosing your PE calculator is a lot like a presidential election...you choose the best of the shitty options.

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yeah I meant mainly between RPN and regular, to me casio & TI are the same ;)

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I don't know RPN and don't feel like learning, so the HP calculators weren't my cup of tea.

I originally bought one of the TI calcs that is allowed, since I adore my TI-89 and have always used TI calculators, but it just didn't work out well. Specifically, it was the TI-30XS Multiview and it SUCKS. It doesn't do much and doesn't have an intuitive button layout. I use it for keeping a running total of my purchases while grocery shopping, and that's about all it's good for (IMO).

I picked up the Casio fx-115 ES and really like it. Not only was it cheaper than the TI that I bought, but it does a heck of a lot more. I will buy another as my backup for the test.

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Katiebug,

I was in the same boat. I used a TI-89 in college. So I went with a TI -30X IIs for the EIT exam 4 years ago. I personally did not like working with the calculator.

So I figured I should ask since I am registered to take the PE exam this october. I think I will take a look at the casio fx 115. There are currently 2 models the MS and the ES.

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I started out simply by buying the least expensive calculator from the approved list (Casio fx-115MS). I figured that I would spend a week with it and if it wasn't working out for me, I'd go buy the next one on the list. Luckily, the Casio worked just fine for me. I have never felt comfortable using stored equations... I always feel the need to "double-check" them because I'm worried that I might have entered the variables wrong or something... so that feature would not have saved me any time on the exam.

Once I decided that I was going with the Casio, I put away/hid ALL of my other available calculators. I got an extra Casio and kept one at work and one at home. I used the Casio for anything that I had to do that required a calculator. Now, I actually like it better than any calculator I've used previously, and still use it on a daily basis.

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I used a TI-89 in college. So I went with a TI -30X IIs for the EIT exam 4 years ago. I personally did not like working with the calculator.

I hated the TI-30X IIs. The TI-30Xa is a lot easier to use, IMO.

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Hello Folks

I wanted to get peoples opinions on what maybe the best overall calculator from the 3 different models accepted by NCEESfor the PE exam.

Willie

Willie,

I used the HP35s due to my past experience with RPN through the HP48x and the HP32sII from my past schooling and work. I am a huge believer in RPN and I have always liked the quality of the HP calculators. I was going to try the HP33, but read bad reviews on it and the picture on web sites that sell it made it look like a Casio or a TI, which I can't stand either of. But, like the other posts, this is just one persons opinion. I agree with several other posts in that which ever one you choose, make sure you spend plenty of time using it before the exam. I spent about 2 months using the HP35s and it gave me time to play with the formulas and figure out the best significant digits I was comfotable with,a long with just where the important keys were. Speed is the key on the test and you don't want to be unsure of how to use the vital functions, the key strokes should be automatic at test time. Also, take extra batteries for the test. Murphy is always waiting to strike!

Good luck, hope you make the best choice. :unitedstates:

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I don't think the calculator you choose makes a bit of difference, so long as you have been using it for your studies and are familiar with it. I prefer TI models as I've been using one since high school. It's a no frills, get it done calculator. I used the TI-36X Solar model for the exam. It worked great.

I would advise you to bring two identical calculators to the exam. If one dies (not likely - but why risk it?) you've got a back up.

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Hello Folks

I wanted to get peoples opinions on what maybe the best overall calculator from the 3 different models accepted by NCEESfor the PE exam.

Willie

In my humble opinion the calculators on the approved list are about as useful as the one pictured below (which oddly enough is not on the list):

11dig1.jpg

Seriously, all of the approved calcs are pretty basic so neither should cause you to pass or fail. Just be sure you really know how to use the one you choose. Don't work any practice problems with a more advanced calculator. Work them all with the one you're going to bring into the exam.

I suppose the determining factor will be RPN or not. If you want RPN then HP is it but don't expect the approved HP to live up to your expectations.

I personally used the Casio FX-115ES. It's a little flimsy but they all are. It had some good features and I'm not a RPN guy so the algebraic entry and natural textbook display suited me better. I really liked the way complex number calculations were handled and conversion from rectangular to polar was very quick and simple. I liked the way matrices were done as well. However, I'm sure if I'd chosen the TI it would have been OK too.

I suppose the good thing about the Casio is that it's so cheap you can buy one and if you don't like it then use it for your check book and buy one of the others for the test. Actually these are so inexpensive that I bought 2 of them (one for a backup) and was out only a little over $20.

Anyway, like others have said, pick one and work with it. As long as you do your practice problems with it and get comfortable with it's quirks then you'll be OK.

Good luck.

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I prefer the Casio fx-115ES. It's natural display makes it tops over all the others for me. IIRC some of the others didn't work with complex numbers, which I need in my discipline.

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I will echo what others are saying: what is most important is to do all of your practice problems with the calculator you will use during the exam. You won't have time to waste during the exam to search for the cubed root button, or for reading the calculator manual to find out how to perform statistical analysis.

I thought the TI-30X IIS did a fine job for me, because I had become familiar with it. I've spent time during my career using HPs, casios, and TIs, and I don't think there is a big advantage for one versus the other. If you like RPN, choose the HP, but it's really no faster or more efficient than the others, if you are used to them. I don't think the ability to store equations is all that important for this exam...too many equations to choose.

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Guest Dexman1349
I don't think the calculator you choose makes a bit of difference, so long as you have been using it for your studies and are familiar with it. I prefer TI models as I've been using one since high school. It's a no frills, get it done calculator. I used the TI-36X Solar model for the exam. It worked great.

I would advise you to bring two identical calculators to the exam. If one dies (not likely - but why risk it?) you've got a back up.

I used a TI36x solar back in high school and didn't make the switch to the graphing TI-8x until college so I was already very comfortable with that. I actually still have that calculator and used it to pass both the EIT and the PE exams.

Whatever you choose to use, keep the packaging and the receipt. Work with it for a week or two and if you don't like it, return it and get a different one. I actually bought a back-up and didn't even bother taking it out of the packaging for the exam. I ended up returning it on my way home from the exam since I didn't need it.

I agree with everyone else though: get comfortable with the calculator you have. The way the exam is written I could have used a basic check-book type calculator for about 90% of the exam. Most of it is simple +-*/ functions with the occasional ^, sqrt, and sin/cos/tan.

Edited by Dexman1349

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I personally hate Casio calculators. All the Casios I have had in the past felt flimsy in my hands. The buttons were too senstive or not sensitive enough when it matter.

I went with the HP 33s because of the ability to program and to store equations. I didn't use all of the equations I inputted, but some were helpful during the exam.

Also, I am an algebraic guy and the HP 33s does allow for both Algebraic input and RPN.... And even though I had to use the second function key to input brackets, I find I am much faster using my HP33s than my old TI-85...

I think the HP 33s has a good feel and if this is one of the worst calculators HP has to offer, I think I have been missing out all these years and wish I found HP calculators much earlier on in my academic career...

I agree that HP 33s is the acceptable one. What I like about it it has all options you can possibly need on the exam. Not necessarily all of them are actually needed, but I just felt the more options I have the better off I am... The only thing - before the exam it is a good idea to solve 10-20-30 or more problems of all kind to learn all functions of the calculator, so that you would not have to struggle looking for SIN button on the exam... Also, I had with me EXACTLY the same HP 33s for a backup - in case the first one dies. Yes, it is an overkill, but it helped me to stay away of nightmares before the actual exam about my calculator's going bad right in the middle of the exam.

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