What types of calculators are allowed on the ACT, SAT, and PSAT?

Standardized math tests can be intimidating. Fortunately, students are not entirely on their own when it comes to the math sections of the SAT, PSAT, and ACT. Bringing the right calculator on test day can boost your score by helping you maximize your time and minimize simple computational mistakes.

Before packing your bag, it’s important to understand the College Board’s and ACT’s calculator policies. Here’s a guide to the types of calculators you’re allowed to use on the ACT, SAT, and PSAT.


The SAT and PSAT each include two math sections, and while students are not permitted to use a calculator on the first section, a calculator is permitted on the second section.

Calculators permitted by the College Board must be battery-operated, handheld models. These include:

  • Most graphing calculators
  • All scientific calculators
  • All four-function calculators (not recommended)

Calculators not permitted by the College Board include:

  • Calculators that have a computer-style (QWERTY) keypad or stylus
  • Any laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, etc.

Check out a complete list of College Board-approved calculators here.


Students can use a calculator on the entirety of the math section of the ACT. Any 4-function, scientific, or graphing calculator is permitted as long as it is not on the prohibited list.

Here are the calculators that are not permitted:

  • Calculators with built-in or downloaded computer algebra system functionality, including:
    • All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92
    • TI-Nspire CAS (the non-CAS TI-Nspire is permitted)
    • HP Prime
    • HP 48GII
    • All model numbers that begin with HP 40G, HP 49G, or HP 50G
    • fx-CP400 (ClassPad 400)
    • ClassPad 300 or ClassPad 330
    • Algebra fx 2.0
    • All model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G
    • Texas Instruments:
    • Hewlett-Packard:
    • Casio:
  • Calculators that have a computer-style (QWERTY) keypad or stylus
  • Any laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, etc.

Check out ACT’s full policy here.

Note that on the ACT, SAT, and PSAT, you may be seated at the proctor’s discretion if you are using a calculator with larger characters (one inch or higher) or a raised display that might otherwise be visible to other students in the room.

Tips for test day

Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Practice using your calculator well in advance. The best calculator is not necessarily the flashiest model—it's more important that you feel comfortable with the calculator you're going to use on test day.
  • Make sure your calculator is charged or has fresh batteries so that it works properly during the exam.
  • If possible, bring a backup. On the off chance that you do run into calculator issues on test day, it's helpful to have another option (even if it's a more basic model).


Need more individualized advice?

The recommendations above are general suggestions. If you have specific questions, reach out to our experts here. We’re happy to help in any way we can.


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Erin Ohsie-Frauenhofer

About Erin Ohsie-Frauenhofer

As one of the highest-performing tutors in ArborBridge’s history, Erin coaches tutors and develops tools and trainings to disrupt old habits and empower new strengths. With a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, Erin worked as a classroom teacher and student services director prior to joining ArborBridge in 2017. Her decade of success as an educator has prepared her to ensure that programs are tailored to individual students’ needs.

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