## CSETMathGuru: THE Site for Single Subject Math

**Are calculators allowed on the CSET?**

GRAPHING calculators - of very specific brands and models: See Below! - are permitted ONLY for Subtest II (Geometry/ Statistics). Let me rephrase that: ONLY graphing calculators of certain makes and models are allowed, and in Subtest II ALONE! In other words, no ordinary SCIENTIFIC calculator! Your handy-dandy TI-30Xa that you'd otherwise reach out for, is absolutely NOT permissible: prepare to be mortified when such a device is confiscated!

Otherwise, you are NOT allowed ANY calculator AT ALL for Subtest I (Algebra/Number Theory) or Subtest III (Calculus / Trigonometry / History of Mathematics)!

You might wonder, however, why in the blazes is a GRAPHING calculator granted for the ONLY Subtest (II) that does NOT call for any of those graphing capabilities?!

Here's probably why: in Subtest I (Algebra/Number Theory) and III (Trigonometry/Calculus), they seek to test one's ability to graph algebraic (for Subtest I) and trigonometric (for Subtest III) functions BY HAND. Use of a graphing calculator would defeat this purpose, and wouldn't demonstrate the understanding that a manual construction would!

But still, why INSIST on a GRAPHING calculator for Subtest II? I examined the panoply of allowed calculator models - listed below - and it struck me that perhaps, what all these models have in common is their superior STATISTICAL facility: the Statistics portion of the Subtest II can call for computing, for a data set, the mean, median, standard deviation, correlation coefficient, the Least Squares Regression Line, the Chi-Square test and so on...

Anyway, in light of the above constraints - NO calculators for Subtest I and III, and only GRAPHING calculators for Subtest II - well, if you're taking Subtest II alongwith either (or both) of the other Subtests, you'd be compelled to first take Subtest II and

*then*move on to the other one(s). In other words, if taken with another Subtest, you

*always*take Subtest II first, for which you can use your graphing calculator; then, once you're done, you're supposed to PUT IT AWAY, and commence on one of the other Subtests!

Furthermore, this implies that once you finish and turn in your Subtest II answer document and proceed onto Subtest I or III, to the best of my knowledge, you're not likely to be permitted to RETURN to Subtest II at the end!

So plan your preparation and strategy accordingly!!

**Which models of graphing calculators are allowed on Subtest II?**

Examinees taking CSET: Mathematics Subtest II must bring their own graphing calculator but may not bring a calculator manual. Graphing calculators will not be provided at the test session. Only the brand and models listed below may be used. Approved calculator brands and models are subject to change; if there is a change, examinees will be notified. Test administration staff will clear the memory of your calculator both before and after testing. Therefore, be sure to back up the memory on your calculator, including applications, to an external device before arriving at the test center.

- Texas Instruments TI-73
- Texas Instruments TI-83
- Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus
- Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus Silver Edition
- Texas Instruments TI-84
- Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus
- Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus Silver Edition
- Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition
- Texas Instruments TI-Nspire Handheld with the TI-84 Plus Keypad (Examinees using the TI-Nspire Handheld may not remove the TI-84 Plus Keypad while testing. Violation of the rule, or any other test center rule, may result in the voiding of your scores.)

**How much calculator use does Subtest II demand?**

I confess that I compose this advice with some trepidation since it seems a trifle against the grain of popular conception! After all, the inordinately misplaced calculator-related anxiety might alone drive a quarter of Prozac's profits!!

The fact of the matter is that the simple $10 TI-30Xa would be as good as the idiotic graphing calculator that the CSET requires for Subtest II: at BEST, you might use it to find basic trigonometric ratios of an angle (say, sine(36 degrees) or something!) but otherwise you'd be surprised that for the most part, your calculator shall be remain chaste and untouched (!) except when used for routine ARITHMETIC (+, -, *, /) operations, say to find the volume or surface area of a pyramid or cylinder involving 'awkward' decimals!! Even the quite tedious statistical operations can be performed reliably using your familiar scientific device.

Could one conceivably - and by this, I do not mean it even in the 'remote' sense! - pass Subtest II WITHOUT using a calculator AT ALL, making use of intelligent approximations and the Test of Reasonableness alone? Unquestionably!! The number of Qs demanding use of the apparatus in general is VERY limited!!

Having said that, I wouldn't advise you to take Subtest II unarmed, so to speak! While I stand by my assertion that it is eminently possible to pass it unencumbered by a calculator, it wouldn't be very prudent! Much like a prop, the calculator can play an astonishingly big role in improving test-takers' attitude, and positive attitude is CRUCIAL to test-taking success - as indeed in math in general. You'll see this again and again in your future students, shockingly many of whom are likely to have both test anxiety and math anxiety.

To be sure, the blasted devices cost only a little less than it what it'd take to refurbish the Guggenheim - upwards of $90, (hey, I didn't claim that the refurbishing would be extraordinarily smashing...!), but on the obverse side, if you ever intend to teach upper Math classes, Precalculus or higher, not unlike a pet animal that does computations, they're terribly useful to have around at home!

Yes, yes, you can, I suppose, bring one from your class-set home, but it's just prudent to have one's own, you know: let's just say, it's good for the economy, and all that sort of baldersdash!

**Which calculator model do I recommend?**

I heartily endorse the TI-83 Plus -- though the 84 Plus is even better! The regular BLACK one would perform admirably: one doesn't need the swanky SILVER Edition...not only does it cost about $20 more, in any case, the infernal thing doesn't have ANY silver whatsoever! (Trust me, I scraped it!!) Beware of the 'higher' models like TI 84 and TI 89: most AP classes employ the 83 Plus!!

(For the sake of FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm a majority stockholder in Texas Instruments...I kid, you fellows!!)

The TI-83 Plus typically runs about $95, the price varying with store and season (in my reckoning the prices drop a bit when the new school year starts in late August to early September!). Stores like Office Depot, Staples, Office Max and Target carry them. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm a majority stockholder in all those companies too!)

If finance is an issue - or you don't imagine yourself teaching higher Math, and consequently ponder about the cost-benefit of your 'investment' - borrow the apparatus from some obliging friend or acquaintance or from someone who has already taken the test!