What is the Best Calculator For A-Level Maths & Further Maths?

In A-Level by Think Student Editor4 Comments

Being a student myself who has recently finished GCSE’s and is now studying both Maths and Further Maths at sixth form college, I thought I’d give you a few tips on what calculator you will need!

Gone are the days of simple little calculators and writing crude little upside-down messages on unlit screens – this article will be going over the best calculators available for the most efficient prices. The links below will take you to Amazon.co.uk.

The short answer: If you want the best calculator for A-Level Maths you should really be getting the Casio FX-CG50, as it provides all the functionality you need for A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths. However, if you don’t have the budget for the Casio FX-CG50, you can definitely get by with the Casio FX-991EX.

Which calculator do you think is the best for A-Level Maths & Further Maths?
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Which calculator options are available?

There are so many calculators out there its very easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of choice you have available to you. This article will be delving which ones we recommend and which we think you should avoid.

Casio FX-CG50

This is in our opinion the best calculator available for A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths. This graphical calculator has all the functions you need to ace your exams, and it will help you out massively when learning the graph-plotting topics (which is most of them). To purchase the Casio FX-CG50, click here to head over to Amazon.co.uk.

Casio FX-991EX

This calculator will still get you through your A-Level Maths and Further Maths exams. If money is a big factor, then I’d recommend going for this option as it is fairly cheap and will just about get you to the end of college. You can find this calculator here on Amazon.co.uk.

Casio Scientific Calculator FX83GT

This is likely the one you used for your GCSE’s. This is not recommended for A-Level Maths or A-Level Further Maths. It does a good job at GCSE but falls short when it comes to college. Again, not a great idea to use this calculator for your A-Levels, but if you want to check it out then head over to Amazon.co.uk by clicking this link.

Q Connect 8-Digit Pocket calculator

This isn’t really an option, just on this list to show you what not to buy. This is possibly the worst calculator you use for your A-Levels, but if you insist on buying it, you can find it on Amazon.co.uk here

For more information on all the calculators mentioned above please carry on reading.

Can you use your calculator from GCSE for A-Level Maths and Further Maths?

If you’re doing A-Level Maths or A-Level Further Maths, then I don’t recommend you use the same calculator. A good calculator is essential in your A-Levels, as it is used more than you will have used your calculator in GCSE. Depending on your calculator it probably lacks the required functions for A-Level. 

This means that a new calculator must be bought for your A-Levels, one that has more functions and is more advanced, to handle the advanced calculations and equations you’ll come across. There are a few better alternatives than a scientific calculator, and they are listed below.

The calculator you use for GCSE will get you a little bit of the way into A-Level, but it’s not cut out for the high-calibre calculations and graph plotting required for your exam. It can be used for a short while until you find a better replacement, but it is not a good idea to sit your A-Level exams with this calculator.

Make sure to check out the list below for a couple of better alternatives for your A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths exams. Unless of course you happened to use the Casio FX-CG50 for your GCSE exams…

What features should you look for in a good calculator?

Good question. A calculator should be lightweight, portable, easy to use, and easy to understand. Most of the time it depends on the situation you’re in – for example, a calculator you might use for working out tax wouldn’t be as effective at calculating rocket propellant power.

However, there are some universal features that all the best calculators have. Long battery life, sleek design, and ease of use are important features to look out for when deciding on what the best calculator for you is.

The best calculator for A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths will give you lots of functions, enabling you to work out even the most complicated equations. It will be easy to use, making sure that the time you have in your exam is spent working on the questions, and not working out how to use the calculator.

The least advanced calculator that you can get for your A-Level Maths and Further Maths exams includes algebraic equation qualities, advanced table creation, and many other functions superior to that of any GCSE calculator.

A graphical calculator will help you out massively in your exam, as it has the ability to produce precise diagrams of equations. This is useful in most topics studied in A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths, and it will help you to better grasp the concepts and ideas and how they affect the image produced on a graph.

If you want to know which topics are in A-Level Maths or A-Level Further Maths, check out the relevant article below:

This article should hopefully shed some light on the different types of calculators and their uses, whilst also giving some downsides. That way you know which one is going to be the best option for you and your revision!

What calculators are you allowed to take into the exam?

There are many calculators that are allowed into exams. It is important you check the functions the calculator has available when purchasing.

For example, a calculator that can connect to the internet is not allowed! That way you could look up the answers to all the questions, and that is most definitely cheating.

Calculators that have language translators in are also prohibited in A-Level Maths, so make sure you’re not taking anything like that into your exams. This is because people can alter these language translators to implement equations, and therefore they can cheat.

Any calculator that includes symbolic algebra manipulation, symbolic differentiation or integration, or communication with other machines are not allowed in your exam.  

They must not have any form of data stored in them, be it databanks, dictionaries, mathematical formulas, or text. When you enter your exam, you will be responsible for clearing any data stored in your calculator, so make sure you’ve cleared the memory.

Graphical calculators are allowed in A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths, as long as they don’t break the rules I’ve stated above.

Graphical calculators are recommended for your A-Level exams, as they include more functions than your average calculator.

If you are worried about whether or not the calculator you are going to get will be allowed in your exam, take my advice and get either the Casio FX-CG50  or the Casio FX-991EX . Both calculators are allowed in an exam.

You should really be buying your calculator a few months before your exams. That way, you can get comfortable with all the different buttons and functions before you must use them in your exam.

Do you really need a graphical calculator?

It’s not absolutely essential to have a graphical calculator, however, having a piece of equipment such as the Casio FX-CG50 does give you an edge over everyone else.

A graphical calculator is a great machine to have when studying for A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths exams. A graphical calculator can plot graphs, solve simultaneous equations, and perform lots of other tasks that include variables. 

This is super helpful when you try and make the links between functions and their implications on a graph, as you can see their effects plotted on your calculator. It will help you to recognise the relationship between parts of a polynomial and their effect on a graph, too.

A graphical calculator can also solve simultaneous equations, eliminating the need for long lines of written maths in your book. This reduces the time you take in an exam to complete certain, potentially easier questions, meaning more time for those questions that you might get stuck on.

The Casio FX-CG50 is a graphical calculator that includes all of the above features I’ve mentioned, and is an amazing tool to use in your A-Level exams.

It also stores the calculations you do chronologically – so you can look back and see what you’ve calculated. This is helpful when deciphering long exam questions where lots of calculations are involved, as you can easily take a look at the steps that led you to your answer without having to write them down.

Casio FX-CG50

This is the best calculator for A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths by far, but it does come at a price. With more functions than any other calculator in this list, it’s guaranteed to help you get through exams. This calculator is much more advanced than the other calculators I’ve mentioned, and in my opinion is the best choice.

Pictured below is the Casio FX-CG50 calculator in all its glory:

A-Level Maths And A-Level Further Maths Calculator Casio FX-CG50

It also happens to be a graphical calculator, so it can plot graphs. It also has a 3D function, meaning that you can work with the x, y, and z planes.

It also has differential, integral, and probability functions to assist you in both A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths. This puts it head and shoulders above other, less sophisticated calculators, due to its great capability of handling complex equations.

If you give the calculator specification sheet a read, you will see that the Casio FX-CG50 meets every demand of the A-Level Maths syllabus and the A-Level Further Maths syllabus.

This calculator is just over £100. Prices do vary – check current price here. This may seem like a lot of money, but it is definitely worth it if you want that edge over the competition.

Casio FX-991EX-S-UH

This calculator is great for A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths, and it’s relatively cheap, too. With an easy-to-use operating system and clear display, this calculator is a great tool to use throughout your college life.

The demands of the A-Level Maths syllabus can be met comfortably with this calculator – that’s not saying a graphical calculator would not be of great help, as it very much would be.

The A-Level Further Maths syllabus has more of a need for a graphical calculator. This is due to the increased complexity of graphing questions (e.g., complex reciprocal inequalities).

I personally know a couple of friends that have this calculator, and they’re doing incredibly in their studies. However, it is worth mentioning that they still feel that not having a graphical calculator does cause them inconvenience often.

The Casio FX-991EX-S-UH pictured below:

A-Level Maths / A-Level Further Maths Calculator Casio FX991EXThe best thing about this calculator is the range of functions you get for the price – it has just enough that you can get by in your A-Level, whilst staying at a low price.

It meets the requirements of calculators you can take into exams and goes a long way to help you when studying by including over 550 different functions.

This is probably the cheapest calculator you can get for your A-Levels whilst still having all the functions you need to get through the syllabus. 

It also features a solar panel (alongside a battery) to charge, and so there is no worry of it running out during an exam and leaving you helpless. In addition, its lightweight case makes it easy to carry around, so it’s perfect for the hustle and bustle of college life.

This calculator is the minimum that I would recommend for your A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths exams, as it just about has all the functions necessary to complete your exams.

It will get you through your A-Levels, but it still lacks a few key features that other graphical calculators can offer.

For example, it doesn’t have a graph-plotting feature, and as I’ve previously said – a graph-plotting feature will significantly help you out when you learn about polynomials and the trigonometric graphs.

It is very cheap at around £28 – check updated price here. It is a great substitute whilst saving up for that end goal calculator that will be the best for you and your exams.

Casio Scientific Calculator FX83GT

The next calculator I’ll be taking a look at is the Casio Scientific Calculator FX83GT. This calculator is the most common calculator used for GCSE, and rightly so! For only £6.99, this calculator brings 260 functions with it.

Sounds good right? For GCSE, it is good, however, this is not the calculator you should be using for either A-Level Maths or A-Level Further Maths.

Casio scientific calculator FX83GT pictured below:

GCSE Maths Calculator FX-85GTIt boasts having the same layout and symbols as that of a textbook, meaning that its answers are easier to understand.

This was, in fact, the same calculator that I used for my GCSE, and so I can confirm that it is perfect for GCSE standard questions.

It’s not quite as compact as the other calculators we’ll look at, but it definitely fits the definition of portable. Weighing just under 100g, this calculator is perfect for travel and use.

Versions of this calculator also include a solar panel to conserve energy whilst in use, and so this means that less long-term money is spent on battery life.

However, if you are looking for a calculator to use in your A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths exams, this may not be the one for you. Although it gets you quite far in the syllabus, there are certain topics (such as reciprocal graphs) where a more advanced calculator would help you understand the topic that little bit better. 

The Casio FX83GT does not include a graph plotting function. It is not essential for A-Level, but as I have said, it will certainly be useful. This calculator is a good substitute for the start of college until a better alternative can be acquired.

You will need to upgrade your calculator pretty soon into your A-Levels as you’ll need higher functionality from a calculator, and so the scientific, GCSE-standard calculator will become obsolete. 

If you’d really like to buy this calculator, click here to purchase on Amazon.co.uk. Otherwise, let’s move on to the last calculator on the list.

Q Connect 8-Digit Pocket Calculator

This calculator is the most basics of basics – the Q Connect 8-digit Pocket Calculator. It lies on the lowest end of the spectrum, being the cheapest calculator on this list at just £2.69.

This calculator is not fit for GCSE, let alone any maths A-Levels! Unless you have the mind of a maths genius and can plot cubic and reciprocal graphs in your massive head, I do not recommend buying or using this calculator.

However, this calculator is a lot smaller than some of the other calculators on this list. I am by no means endorsing you buying this calculator, but maybe it’d be useful for calculating the time you should spend revising?

This calculator (like many, many others) has a solar panel, and this means that the battery charges while not in use. It weighs just 59g, and so is by far the most lightweight. If you really want to purchase this calculator, then click this link to head over to Amazon.co.uk.

Q Connect 8-Digit Pocket Calculator pictured below:

GCSE Calculator: Q-Connect

Even though this calculator may not necessarily be useful in A-Level Maths or Further maths, other mathematical subjects (such as accounting or business studies) can make use of it. It can be useful for quickly calculating amounts and figures, using division, multiplication, addition, and subtraction.

In all seriousness, this calculator will not get you anywhere in Maths or Further Maths, and so I recommend you check out some of these other calculators for information on a more suitable alternative. 

This calculator lands itself at the very bottom of my list of best calculators for A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths, so definitely make sure you buy one of the other calculators I’ve talked about.

There you have it, the best calculators for A-Level Maths and A-Level Further Maths. Thanks for taking the time to read this article, don’t forget to check out some of my other articles on the website!

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4 years ago

Hi,what about Texas instrument ti-nspire cx ii graphing calculator?can I use it in a-level?is it better that the Casio FX-CG50?

Reply to  Tam
4 years ago

Hi there Tam! There are two reasons why I would recommend getting the Casio FX-CG50 over your mentioned calculator: 1 – The Casio FX-CG50 is familiar to many A-Level teachers across the UK, whereas, the Texas Instruments calculator is not so familiar. This means that if you ever have any questions about how to operate your calculator, your teacher will have more chance of being able to help you with the Casio as opposed to the TI. 2 – I do not know whether the TI calculator is exam board approved, whereas, I do know that the Casio FX-CG50 is… Read more »

2 years ago

Wrong. I studied Further Maths and STEP in London and was told to absolutely not use a graphical calculator. It was not allowed in exams and I’ve never used one. If you know how to estimate a graph from a function (which you really should be able to do if you’re taking Further Maths) then you won’t be tempted to use a graphical calculator either.

Reply to  Vicky
1 year ago

Yeah, I didn’t bring a calculator to my A level exams, I just used my brain (which you really should be able to do if you’re taking Further Maths) :)@