What calculator can I use in an ACCA exam?

What calculator can I use in an ACCA exam?

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is globally recognised as one of the most prestigious accountancy qualifications. As with any professional examination, it’s essential to come adequately prepared, and a part of that preparation is knowing which tools you’re allowed to use. One tool in particular that students often enquire about is the calculator. Which ones are allowed? Are there any specific features that are prohibited? Let’s delve into this topic to make sure you’re well-prepared for your ACCA exam.

The Basics: ACCA Calculator Guidelines

When sitting for the ACCA exam, you are permitted to use a calculator. However, there are stipulations on the kind of calculator you can use. Here are the basic guidelines:

  1. No Programmable Calculators: Your calculator should not have the ability to store or retrieve text. This means any calculator that can be programmed is not allowed. Calculators with built-in formulas, like certain financial or graphing calculators, are also prohibited.
  2. Battery or Solar-Powered: The ACCA doesn’t have a preference for battery over solar-powered calculators. However, it might be wise to bring a battery-powered calculator with a fresh battery, especially if you’re unsure about the lighting conditions in the exam hall.
  3. Silent Operation: Ensure your calculator operates silently. You wouldn’t want to be the one causing distractions with noisy button presses.
  4. No Print Functionality: Calculators that can print are not allowed in the examination hall.

Best Calculator Choices for the ACCA Exam

Given the guidelines, you might wonder which calculators are ideal for the ACCA exams. Here are some popular choices among ACCA students:

  1. Casio MX-8B: This is a basic calculator that covers all your arithmetic needs. It’s straightforward and easy to use.
  2. Sharp EL-531: For those who prefer scientific calculators for their additional functionalities, the Sharp EL-531 is a reliable choice. It doesn’t have programmable features, which makes it suitable for ACCA exams.
  3. Texas Instruments BA II Plus: This is a financial calculator that’s not programmable, making it ACCA-compliant. It’s beneficial for specific paper modules that require financial computations.

Preparing for Exam Day

It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with your calculator before the day of the exam. You don’t want to be fumbling around trying to figure out how to perform a specific calculation or function during your test.

Furthermore, even though the ACCA allows calculators, do not overly rely on them. Many exam questions test your conceptual understanding, and blindly punching numbers into a calculator won’t be of much help.

CBE calculator

Whilst most students seem to prefer to bring their own calculator with them it’s worth remembering that the CBE software used in the exam has a calculator so you can always use the on screen calculator if you prefer.


When preparing for your ACCA exam, ensuring that you have an approved calculator is crucial. While it’s a tool to aid in your computations, remember that your understanding of the concepts and principles is of paramount importance. Choose a calculator you’re comfortable with, practice with it, and approach your ACCA exam with confidence!

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