PSAT 8/9 Calculator Use

Calculators are important tools, and to succeed after high school, you'll need to know how—and when—to use them. In the Math section of the test, you’ll focus on complex modeling and reasoning, using your calculator to save time.

You're allowed to use a calculator on all questions in the Math section. The digital test platform itself has a built-in graphing calculator that you can use if you wish, or you can use your own approved calculator. The choice you make should be based primarily on which tool you're more comfortable with. We recommend that you try out both options during your practice.

However, like any tool, the calculator is only as smart as the person using it. The Math section includes some questions where it’s better not to use a calculator, even though you’re allowed to. In these cases, students who make use of structure or their ability to reason will probably finish before students who use a calculator.

Calculator Rules

  • Bring your own calculator. You can’t share one.
  • You may not use a calculator while working on the Reading and Writing section. You must put the calculator away during these modules of the test.
  • You'll be dismissed and your scores canceled if you use your calculator to share information during the test, or to remove test questions or answers from the test room.

Calculator Tips

  • If you're not familiar with the Desmos calculator that's embedded in the digital test, take some time to learn how to use it while taking a practice test on the Bluebook™ app or on a Desmos Graphing Calculator preview experience.
  • If you prefer to bring your own calculator, don't bring a brand-new calculator. Bring one you know. Practice for the test using the same calculator you'll use on test day.
  • The Math section includes some questions where it's better not to use a calculator, even though you’re allowed to.
  • It may help to do scratch work on the scratch paper provided. Get your thoughts down before using your calculator. Make sure your calculator is in good working order and that the batteries are fresh. If your calculator fails during testing and you have no backup, you can continue testing using the built-in Desmos graphing calculator.

Using the Built-In Desmos Graphing Calculator

The embedded calculator available for test takers in Bluebook is the Desmos Graphing Calculator, a fully digital, accessible graphing calculator used for computational, graphing, statistical, and other mathematical purposes. You may already be familiar with the Desmos calculator from your classes, as it's an application commonly used in education as well as in other fields.

The Desmos Graphing Calculator embedded in Bluebook mimics the experience users see at, except that images, folders, and notes (usually available via the plus mark button—i.e., the Add Icon button atop the expression list) are removed in the testing calculator.

Acceptable Calculators

If you have a calculator with characters that are one inch or higher, or if your calculator has a raised display that might be visible to other test takers, you will be seated at the discretion of the test coordinator.

Only battery-operated, handheld equipment can be used for testing. No power cords are allowed for calculators.

Calculators permitted during testing include:

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


FX-6000 series FX-6200 series FX-6300 series
FX-6500 series FX-7000 series FX-7300 series
FX-7400 series FX-7500 series FX-7700 series
FX-7800 series FX-8000 series FX-8500 series
FX-8700 series FX-8800 series Graph25 series
FX-9700 series FX-9750 series FX-9860 series
CFX-9800 series CFX-9850 series CFX-9950 series
CFX-9970 series FX 1.0 series Algebra FX 2.0 series
FX-CG-10 FX-CG-20 series FX-CG-50
Graph35 series Graph75 series Graph95 series
Graph100 series FX-CG-500**  
** The use of the stylus is not permitted.


HP-9G HP-28 series HP-38G
HP-39 series HP-40 series HP-48 series
HP-49 series HP-50 series HP Prime

Radio Shack

EC-4033 EC-4034 EC-4037


EL-5200 EL-9200 series EL-9300 series
EL-9600 series** EL-9900 series  
** The use of the stylus is not permitted.

Texas Instruments

TI-73 TI-80 TI-81
TI-82 TI-83 TI-83 Plus
TI-83 Plus Silver TI-84 Plus TI-84 Plus CE
TI-84 Plus CE Python TI-84 Plus Silver TI-84 Plus C Silver
TI-84 Plus T TI-84 Plus CE-T TI-84 Plus CE-T Python Edition
TI-85 TI-86 TI-89
TI-89 Titanium TI-Nspire TI-Nspire CX
TI-Nspire CX II TI-Nspire CX II-T TI-Nspire CM-C
TI-Nspire CAS TI-Nspire CX CAS TI-Nspire CX II CAS
TI-Nspire CX II-T CAS TI-Nspire CM-C CAS TI-Nspire CX-C CAS
TI-Nspire CX II-C CAS    


Datexx DS-883 Micronta NumWorks

Prohibited Calculators

  • Laptops or other computers, tablets, mobile phones, smartwatches, or wearable technology
  • Models that can access the internet, have wireless, Bluetooth, cellular, audio/video recording and playing, camera, or any other smartphone-type features
  • Models that have a computer-style (QWERTY) keypad, pen input, or stylus
  • Models that use electrical outlets, make noise (unless approved as an accommodation), or have a paper tape

In addition, the use of hardware peripherals such as a stylus with an approved calculator is not permitted. Some models with touchscreen capability are not permitted (e.g., Casio ClassPad).