Casio Fx85: why we use it

Working on calculator
By Alex Burden, Student Blog

18 June 2018

The calculator is one of the most important tools you will use during your time as a CA student, besides your brain. Our education team share their tips and tricks for getting the most out of the CA calculator of choice.

The Fx85, produced by Casio is a scientific calculator that is specifically allowed into UK exams that require a calculator. Solar-powered with a battery back-up, it’s the tool of choice for accounting students, and comes in a variety of colours for those who feel like jazzing up their desk a bit!

Past and present ICAS lecturers have great tips and hints for getting the most out of your calculator in class and exams

Tim Burrows: You can change how to display numbers as they are written, rather than using an exponential format. You can do this by pressing 'Shift – Mode – 8 – 2'.  If you get to grips with programming the memory on the calculator it will save writing numbers down.

From a practical point of view, it’s good to read the instruction manual that comes with the calculator, and always remember to bring it with you to classes and exams. I always used to keep a spare calculator in case one broke. That might be viewed as cautious, but it stood me in good stead.

Stephanie Jenkins: Students should bring a calculator from day 1 in class, and to all their mocks.

Kirsty Millar: I have the pink version, which always makes me smile a wee bit when in class! I tend to use the ‘to the power of’ function most frequently in my work. My tip is: remember that it’s important when writing exams to show your working. If you press the up arrow on the calculator, then you can scroll through the calculations you have completed.

David Young: The calculators come pre-set to show a fraction, and students then have to press another key to get a decimal. You can re-set by pressing 'Shift - Mode - 2'.

Anna Cameron: Students need their calculator for PAR and ABS exams: despite being ‘wordy’ subjects, they are sometimes required.

Duncan McKellar: Be careful when inputting figures into the calculator as the most common error I see is typing in the wrong numbers. Always sense-check your answers and don’t just assume that because you are using a calculator you will have the right answer – if you input the wrong numbers you will get the wrong answer!


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