Approved list of calculators for use in University examinations (effective from February 2010)

It was agreed by Programme Quality Team at their meeting held on 11 January 2010 that the following calculators will be acceptable for use in University Examinations:

  • Aurora SC582
  • Casio FX-83 series*
  • Casio FX-85 series*
  • Sharp ELW531 series
  • Texas Instruments TI-30 series

* These calculators are specifically recommended for students with dyslexia.

Please refer to ‘Guidelines on choosing a scientific calculator’ below.

Calculators on the approved list can be inspected and compared in the Mathematics Learning Support Centre. Students with Specific Learning Difficulties can make an appointment to see a specialist tutor to discuss their individual needs.

If your calculator is not specifically listed above, it will NOT be allowed into the exam hall and will be confiscated immediately if found.

The only situation where a calculator not on the approved list will be permitted in the examination hall is where it is explicitly specified in the examination rubric and included in the relevant module specification.

If you do have any questions about this, please contact although students should be aware that the university will not enter into any discussion about the suitability (or otherwise) of calculators not on this list.

Guidelines on choosing a scientific calculator

The guidelines have been produced to inform students and tutors when purchasing a 2-line scientific calculator. They are produced in general terms and not based on specific models because these frequently change and become obsolete. There are a number of general considerations as well as specific guidelines.


  • Dyslexic students should purchase a 2-line calculator with an “Ans” button. Both these features help short-term memory difficulties.
  • Dyslexic students should check the algebraic logic because it is helpful to input mathematics in the order it is written.
  • Adequate time should be give to dyslexic students to familiarise themselves with the new calculator so automaticity develops.
  • Since dyslexia and dyspraxia frequently co-occur it is felt that it is important that buttons are individual and large so to reduce keying errors for students that are dyslexic/dyspraxic.
  • Dyslexic students should purchase a dual powered calculator so there is a backup power source.



What is beneficial

Background colour

Dark and opaque backgrounds are preferable to light, metallic or transparent which cause glare. Blue appears to be the optimum colour.

Background contrast

Keys clearly visible against backgrounds. Avoid those that are visually similar (e.g. white numbers on grey buttons)

Button size and shape

Large and regular are preferable

Font type and colour

Large fonts that are clear for both primary and secondary functions. Avoid less prominent colours (e.g. orange shift functions on grey backgrounds)

Screen size

Large screens showing full calculation which avoid the need to scroll to view full calculation

Screen appearance

Good contrast between background and digits in both lines of display and smooth pixel display that is not grainy. Additionally, screen should not be reflective.

Coloured screens


Green or other appropriate colour depending on availability. Avoid red.


Advisable to select a calculator with familiar symbols e.g. ^ or y x which ever is most recognisable.


Uncluttered. Avoid too many second/third functions

January 2010