Can You Use Personal Calculators For The CIMA Exam?

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There are plenty of calculations you need to do during the exam, so what resources can you utilize? And although Pearson Vue provides an on-screen calculator during your exam (both certificate and professional levels), I DO agree that it is easier (and faster) to perform calculations on a machine that you are familiar with. Newly registered CIMA exam candidates often wonder – ‘does CIMA allow the use of personal calculators during the exam’? CIMA officials have addressed this situation and announced in this excerpt that YES, they are generally allowed…Long story short, you can bring your own calculator, but it has to be a non-programmable one from a pre-approved list (shown below for your convenience).


What does it mean?


lady calulator w logo275x413All the calculators from the pre-approved list are not programmable, so no candidate will be able to take advantage of any unfair means.

The exam administrator will check the calculator to see if it matches with the model from the pre-approved list. Therefore, they may reset the function of the calculators before the exam.


ONE TIP – I would suggest that you print out CIMA’s official guide just in case before the exam so you have it with you. I read on different FB CIMA groups, that few students had this issue with the Pearson Vue office – they were not allowed to bring in their personal calculators, even if they were from the pre-approved calculators’ list. That happened last year and those were rare cases, however just to be on the safe side, better to take the guideline with you. Once again, here it is: using a calculator in the CIMA exams guideline.


Below you can find a list of scientific and financial calculators, that are permitted (valid as of 2016) together with some tutorials we have found online for them.


Permitted Calculator ModelsType by CIMAUsage tutorial (examples)
Casio FX modelsscientificCasio FX-83GT, FX85 and FX300ES
Sharp EL531XscientificSharp EL 531x
Texas Instruments TI-30XscientificTI-30X
Hewlett Packard HP 10S or HP 300S+scientificHP 300S+
Hewlett Packard – HP 10bIIfinancialHP 10bII
Texas Instruments – TI BA II Plus financialTI BA II Plus
Sharp – Sharp EL733A financialSharp EL733A
Casio – Casio FC 100Vfinancial

I believe it is always easier to use your own calculator, but you also have an on-screen calculator available to you in case.  By using ‘Question Tutorials hosted by Pearson VUE,’ the exam candidates can practice the exam questions and try out the on-screen calculator before the big day. You can also download a tutorial to make sure they are familiar with the application of on-screen calculator.

This is where you open a free account at Pearson Vue in order to see how the real exam will look like:


Good luck with your exam and please leave a comment below if you would like to add anything to this article. 

Also if you like the idea of utilising your calculator a bit more, check the box below and provide us your email address, so we could send you directly a guide with additional resources that show you hwo to use yout calculator to the maximum! That's a skill personally I find really useful during the exam, especially if you have to perform plenty of calculations in a very limited time. You don't want the technology to hold you back, do you?

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