What Type of Calculators Are Allowed in O Level Exams?

O/A level exams are globally recognized as a pathway to prestigious universities worldwide. These exams, equivalent to 10 and 12 years of education, play a crucial role in determining university admissions. This article aims to address a common concern among students – whether calculators are allowed in O/A level math exams and, if so, which types are permissible.

Overview of Math Paper in O/A Level Exams

The O-level mathematics syllabus consists of two parts. In paper 1, calculator usage is prohibited, while it is allowed in paper 2.

The exam covers various math skills, including algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and statistics, with a mix of multiple-choice questions and numerical problems.

Efficient time management is crucial for success in these exams, making a calculator an essential tool.

Calculator Policy for O and A-Level Exams

Similar to other standardized exams, such as ACT and CA, O/A level exams have specific guidelines for calculator use:

  1. Only specific types of scientific calculators are allowed.
  2. Calculators lacking graphing capabilities are recommended.
  3. Calculators with data retrieval or pre-installed formula-solving functions are restricted.
  4. Calculators with CAS (Computer Algebra System) capabilities are prohibited.
  5. Devices supporting Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, like electronic calculators and smartwatches, are not allowed.
  6. Calculators with QWERTY keyboards are prohibited.
  7. Only calculators with non-rechargeable batteries are permitted.
  8. Calculators with covering cases cannot be used.
  9. Calculators unable to handle algebraic equations are allowed.
  10. Calculators with electrical outlets are blacklisted.
  11. Devices returning output in numeric values only are acceptable.

Casio FX-991ES Plus-2nd Edition Scientific Calculator:

  • Non-programmable with a wide natural textbook display.
  • 417 built-in functions, suitable for math, trigonometry, statistics, and calculus.
  • Elegant design with a protective case for O/A level exam requirements.
  • Non-rechargeable battery-powered. Pros: Handy, user-oriented interface, solar-powered. Cons: No warranty.

Casio FX-82es Plus:

  • Non-programmable with a 2-line dot matrix display.
  • Essential functions for O/A level math.
  • Intuitive design and includes an easy-to-use guide.
  • Battery-powered. Pros: Intuitive, includes a how-to-use guide. Cons: The Keypad has a wobbly touch.

Casio FX115ESPLUS Scientific Calculator:

  • Powered by solar and battery.
  • Handles math, statistics, trigonometry, and more.
  • Can preview the history of calculations.
  • Budget-friendly with a comprehensive how-to-use guide. Pros: A budget-friendly, comprehensive guide. Cons: Cannot handle the negative of a complex number.

Casio FX-350ES Plus:

  • Non-programmable with 252 pre-loaded functions.
  • Returns output in fractions and handles various mathematical operations.
  • Battery-powered (single AAA battery).
  • Scientific notation and standard form display. Pros: Affordable, durable, multiple functions. Cons: None mentioned.

Texas Instruments TI 36 X Pro:

  • Recommended by teachers for school and college-level exams.
  • Non-programmable with ADP feature to lock the screen after 5 minutes.
  • Maximum display capacity of 16 characters per four lines.
  • Handles complex calculations, including the system of linear equations. Pros: Solar-assisted, approved by exam authorities, suitable for STEM studies. Cons: Limited for solving a system of linear equations with more than three variables.


As you progress in your studies, the complexity of subjects like A or O-level math increases, demanding efficient problem-solving tools. Choosing an approved scientific calculator is crucial for achieving high scores.

The article highlights calculators allowed in exam centres, providing information to help you make an informed decision based on your needs and exam requirements.