The last thing one wants in an FE exam is a failed calculator. Imagine the panic! There’s also the risk of carrying an unapproved calculator and ending up not having one at all. Such circumstances jeopardize our futures and cannot be taken lightly.
Now, out of the 16 calculators that NCEES allows for FE examinations, it is vital to pick the best. Why? Because your calculator is your support system through the exam. If it doesn’t help you, you will not be able to do as well as you’d hoped. All that preparation might go waste!
Okay, we think that’s enough scaring. Let’s get to the bottom of this by discussing which of the 16 calculators are the best. This will help you purchase the right one and ensure that you have no nightmarish memories of your examination day! But, before that, we would like to talk about the FE exam itself.
What is FE and PE exam?
The FE or Fundamentals of Engineering exam is the first stepping stone to become a Professional Licensed Engineer or PE. It is for students who have attained or are close to attaining an undergraduate engineering degree from any program that the EAC/ABET accredits.
The 6-hour long FE exam is computer-based and includes 110 questions. The questions may be multiple-choice or AITs (Alternative-item types), which came into the picture in 2017. There’s a 23-minute scheduled break in the middle too.
Best Calculator For FE Exam
1. HP 35s Scientific Calculator
Hewlett-Packard is one of the recurring names when we speak about electronics and gadgets for students. Its calculators are widely used in medicine, science, surveying, and engineering. This is why we are starting our list with this gem. Listed below are some of its features:
- It is apt for FE exams, SAT, ACT, AP Chemistry/Physics, PSAT/NMSQT, etc.
- It has an LCD screen.
- The adjustable contrast makes it easy to see the screen. The dot matrix and the lines make it even better.
- You can choose between algebraic entry-system or RPN based on your requirements. HP claims that this is the only scientific calculator that offers this feature.
- It has 100+ built-in functions and constants. You can use these immediately!
- The manufacturers offer a 1-year warranty.
2. Casio fx-115ES Plus Engineering/Scientific Calculator
Casio is synonymous to feasibility. Its calculators are very popular because they are functional and affordable at the same time. In fact, they are the number 1 choice for many students. We think that’s the reason why Amazon has also fallen in love with it! You can skim through its features below:
- Its display is outstanding and gives you a textbook feel. You can see results just like you see them in your textbook. This actually makes operation easy.
- It has more than 280 functions to get you started. These include complex number calculations, fractions, linear regression, statistics, base arithmetic, computer science, standard deviation, etc.
- Its multi-replay function is another feature we can’t stop praising. It lets you go back in steps and edit if there’s a mistake. Recalculations are, thus, easy and quick.
- It has 40 metric conversions.
- You can use it for all vector and matrix calculations.
- The calculator is permitted for NCEES, AP tests, ACT entrance exams, SAT, and PSAT/NMSQT.
- It works on battery and solar power. So, if the batteries run out, the sun can help you until you replace them!
3. Texas Instruments TI-30XS Multiview Scientific Calculator
The fact that it is a bestseller probably tells you a lot about this calculator. It is affordable, reliable, and uniquely-designed for the convenience of students. Below are a few of its highlights:
- The calculator is constructed to allow the entry of two calculations. This enables you to compare the results without switching screens.
- It has a four-line display.
- You can view decimals and fractions in different forms with the help of the toggle key.
- It has a MathPrint Mode that lets you enter common math notations such as exponents, stacked fractions, and exact square roots.
- You have the freedom to view previous entries when the need arises.
- It allows 23 levels of parentheses.
- You can edit entries as well as cut and paste them.
- It is battery-powered with an alternative option of solar power.
4. Texas Instruments TI-36X Pro Engineering/Scientific Calculator
Here’s another good one from Texas Instruments! It is slightly more expensive than its counterpart, but it is worth the extra bucks. Let’s go ahead and explore its features now:
- If graphic technology is not permitted in your curricula, this calculator will be your knight in shining armor!
- Its multi-view display enables you to see different calculations together on the screen. This makes comparison and analysis easy.
- Its MathPrint feature gives you a textbook feel by showing symbols, stacked fractions, and math expressions exactly like they appear in textbooks.
- You can choose from multiple modes such as number format, floating/fix formats, and degrees or radians.
- The calculator is handy not just for FE exams but also in biology, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc.
Using a scientific calculator is complicated. It takes time to get familiar with the functions. That’s why we recommend that you buy the calculator well in advance and start practicing. Use the calculator while studying and taking practice exams so that you understand it thoroughly. This is crucial because using it for the first time during the exam will force you to waste time. And, we all know how quickly time passes when we are writing an exam!
It is also important to understand the full potential of your calculator and figure out how to quickly find functions, commands, and in-built features. Going back to previous logs and editing them is also something you should be familiar with because even one typo can spell disaster.
Your scientific calculator can either help you during the exam or be the reason why you fail it. It is totally up to you to decide your fate. May you make the right choice. All the best!