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Best FE Approved Calculators With Description & Features

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is a fundamental test that engineers in the United States have to pass if they want to grow in their careers and attain a Professional Engineer (PE) license. 

The test requires reliable and the best FE approved calculators due to a multitude of advanced mathematical calculations involved.

While one’s knowledge and practice of performing calculations may be excellent, a good calculator can not only outperform inaccuracy but also save time. Time management is a highly important aspect of success. It is important to keep in mind that you cannot just show up with any calculator you can purchase because the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES®) has a list of approved calculators that you can use during your exam.

In this article, we are doing a round-up of the best NCEES® approved calculators you can use in your upcoming FE exam. We’ll also share some expert advice on how to make the most of your calculator in the next FE exam.

The NCEES approves the following calculators:

MakeModelPrice
Casio FX-115MS, MS SR, MS Plus, ES, and ES Plus$14 – $36
Casio FX-991EX ClassWiz$19
Texas InstrumentsTI-30X and TI-36X$14 and $20
Hewlett PackardHP 33S and HP 35S$40 and $84

1. Casio FX-115

This model gives you the complete range of MS, MS SR, MS Plus, ES, and ES Plus. Although this is a whole range of models buyers usually have trouble finding them, in which case you are good to go with the ES Plus. On the other hand, the ES Plus has a better screen which is a big plus to have. So, you are better off buying the Casio FX-115 ES Plus than other models of the same brand.

2. Casio FX-991X

The FX-991EX outperforms the FX-115 ES Plus in every way. Constants and conversions are highlighted. There is no need to search the covering for a code, and the identities of scientific constants are specified.

3. Texas Instruments TI-30X

Here you have both TI-30X and TI-36X, which means you could use versions including an a-SE IIB, and IIS Pro. Both the TI-30X and TI-36X are widely available in the market and the TI-36X costs a little more due to the larger screen it has.

Additionally, the TI-30XS is also offered as a digital calculator right on the NCEES® exam interface.

4. Hewlett Packard HP 35S

Hewlett Packard HP 35S Calculator

Here you have the HP 33S and the HP 35S; the latter being a far better and updated model. You may also have a difficult time procuring the 33S because it is outdated and was released back in 2003.

Both of these calculators are programmed with a default RPN system called Reverse Polar Notation, which means that if you enter 5 and then 5 again with plus after, it will give you 10. It is a kind of reverse action than normal calculators and unless you have good practice in using this, you may need some time to get used to it. It is highly recommended that if you are going to use this calculator during the exam, get some practice on it so that you do not end up losing time.

It’s difficult to choose a clear winner, but here’s a choice matrix to assist you. However, all of these solutions are excellent as they all address:

• Operations with matrixes

• Linear equations systems

• Interpolation

• Solve definite derivatives and integrals numerically

Expert Advice on How to Make The Most of Your Calculator in the Next FE Exam

Your initial step should be to obtain one of the above-mentioned calculators well in advance of the exam date. When studying for the FE test preparation, whether solving example questions or taking a practice exam, you should always use the calculator that you intend to use on the exam.

Understanding the button layout might help you save time and avoid errors while entering formulas. While some problems are “plug and chug,” you must still plug in all those numbers. Even the smallest error can cost you valuable time.

By training in this manner, you improve both your skills and your speed, which will give you an advantage on exam day. Bear in mind that every few seconds saved is time that can be devoted to solving the most challenging problems.

Most of us with simpler scientific calculators, hardly skim the surface of what our devices are capable of. Take a little time to review your user handbook and determine what options you have. If you don’t have a FE review manual, have no fear: they’re very easy to locate online.

It will take you no time at all to scan through the topics and locate instructions that will assist you in accelerating your problem-solving pace.

If you decide to try out a new command or function, do not wait until the night before the test to do so. Assume you’re going to use your calculator’s integration feature. Your first step should be to consult your user handbook for information on that function. Then, test it out on some example problem for which you already have an answer to ensure that you are utilizing it appropriately.

If you are unfamiliar with the calculator you intend to use, ensure that you can execute comparatively straightforward calculations requiring exponentials, logarithms, and memory. We have personally seen many students acquiring a brand new calculator just prior to an exam, only to flunk due to improper use.

Finally, on the day of the exam, ensure that you have new batteries for the HP (unless you are using solar models). If you keep batteries in it for an extended period of time, they will drain.

Computation is one of the most critical tools you will have during the FE exam. Don’t forget that purchasing the best FE approved calculator and learning to use it while studying for the FE exam has the ability to improve your performance even more. Take the time to explore what it is capable of, and ensure that any new capabilities or commands are used correctly. Your calculator can be your close companion or your most heinous adversary — the preference is entirely yours.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What calculator can I use on FE?

The NCEES® has an updated list of approved calculators that can be used in the FE exam. Here are the approved calculators:

MakeModel
Casio FX-115MS, MS SR, MS Plus, ES, and ES Plus
Casio FX-991EX ClassWiz
Texas InstrumentsTI-30X and TI-36X
Hewlett PackardHP 33S and HP 35S

2. Can you use TI-36X Pro on the FE exam?

Yes, you can use the TI-36X Pro as it is one of the approved calculators. To learn about all the functions of the TI-36X pro calculator, check out this article.

3. Is the TI 30XS allowed on the FE exam?

The TI-30XS is an approved calculator that is allowed for the FE exam. In fact, it is one of the best FE approved calculators to consider and get yourself prepared for the PE license.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a variety of different types of FE-approved calculators available on the market. Each type has its own unique features and benefits. When choosing the best FE-approved calculator for your needs, it is important to consider all of the factors discussed in this article. By doing so, you will be sure to choose the calculator that best suits your individual needs.

Wasim Asghar – P.E, P.ENG, M.ENG

Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.

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