Any one who took an engineering board examination will agree with me that scientific calculator is our best friend during the examination. It will speed up our work and will allow us to go through the analysis of the problem. In most cases, solving the equation is not the real issue, it is to write the correct equation that matters. If we are able to determine the correct equation of a particular situation, the burden of that problem is over. Our next step is obviously to solve for the desired value. It is important to note that the correct answer can only be derived from the correct equation. To determine the correct equation is where should our brain go, not in finding the solution of that equation. You guess it right, we use our best friend, the scientific calculator, to do the task. Don't do manual calculation please, the examiner will not give you bonus points in finding the roots of
manually. Calculator can easily solve for the value of θ fast and accurate than you.
Be aware however that not all scientific calculators are capable of solving such an equation above. Make sure that the one you are going to use during the board examination is capable of such type of calculation. This type of calculator will ease your burden in doing the calculation and will let you focus on deriving the correct equation.
Personally, I love Casio and I am using the Casio fx-991ES. It can store multiple values in its memory, with a wide screen and two way power. The following features are the functions that I like most in this model.
- SOLVE - let you calculate the value of the unknown by just writing the equation into the calculator.
- ∫ - it can do integration. You will love this feature, believe me.
- d/dx = useful for rapid differentiation
- MATRIX - you can store up to 3 - 3 × 3 matrices and of course manipulate them.
- VECTOR - can manipulate vector quantities
- nPr and nCr - permuation and combination of n things taken r at a time.
- CONV - You forget how to convert mile to kilometer? Don't worry.
- CONST - What is the exact atmospheric pressure? This calculator has up to 40 built-in constants in its memory.
- STAT - as the key says.
- and many more...
The best calculator for the engineering board examination must at least have the functions mentioned above. Any brand will do as long as it is allowed by PRC. The Casio fx-991ES calculator is my personal preference, I am not promoting it, it just happen that I am using it and satisfied with it. I know there are many more powerful calculators out there. The most important is you know how to use it. Take note also that not all calculators are allowed in engineering board examinations. Generally, programmable calculators are not allowed. The PRC has a list of allowed calculators in the board examination. Note however that the page on that link is outdated and many more models are added in that list. You may visit the PRC office nearest you and ask for the most recent list of allowed calculators.
If you ask me what is my preferred brand. I am using Casio as mentioned above and it is my preferred brand. For what model, I found the following Casio models excellent to use: fx-570ES, fx-570ES Plus, fx-115ES, fx-115ES Plus, fx-991ES, and fx-991ES Plus.
In the next days, I will be doing series of posts on how to do shortcut solutions using the calculator. There are many time saving calculator techniques in solving engineering math problems. We've been doing these techniques inside the review, and I think it would be beneficial to you if as early as now you will learn how to do it. So don't forget to come back, subscribe to us or like us on FaceBook so that you will be notified with our new posts.
Update: Here is the updated list of allowed calculators.