Many candidates are confused when it comes to the permitted calculator for use in their Cambridge IGCSE Mathematics examinations.
While there is no specific guideline in terms of models or makes, there are certain rules from CIE to abide, and what you must know before you are heading to your calculator hunt.
There are three different mathematical subjects being offered by Cambridge IGCSE: Cambridge IGCSE Mathematics (0580), Cambridge IGCSE Additional Mathematics (0606) and Cambridge IGCSE International Mathematics (0607).
We will cover each of them separately below.
Answers from CIE
Firstly, CIE has provided the answers for this frequently asked question.
Due to the sheer number of different calculator models available worldwide, we cannot give specific details of which models or makes of calculators are permitted in our exams.
Where the use of calculators is allowed in examinations, calculators used must not be able to manipulate algebra; they must be purely numerical integration/differentiation. Calculators with any of the following facilities are prohibited, unless specifically stated otherwise in the syllabus:
- graphic display
- data banks
- dictionaries or language translators
- retrieval or manipulation of text or formulae
- QWERTY keyboards
- built-in symbolic algebraic manipulations
- symbolic differentiation or integration
- capability of remote communication with other machines.
Cambridge will regard the use of any such calculator as malpractice. Students requiring more information should contact the Examinations Officer at their school.
Whilst graphical calculators are indeed an excellent tool for students to use in class, as part of our assessment we often assess the candidate’s ability to plot graphs accurately, that they understand how to draw a best-fit line, and can correctly calculate a gradient showing their working. These are basic skills, which would not be assessed if candidates were to return an answer from their calculator.
(There is an exceptional case for candidates taking International Mathematics (0607) )
So, what does the syllabus say for each of the subject?
Let’s take a look.
The syllabus says:
- Centres are reminded that, although use of an electronic calculator is permitted on all examination papers, candidates should develop a full range of mental and non-calculator skills during the course of study. Questions demonstrating the mastery of such skills may be asked in the examination.
- Candidates should have an electronic calculator for all papers. Algebraic or graphical calculators are not permitted.
Conclusion: You must take into consideration of the criteria from CIE answers above, and make sure the model that you are getting is not “Algebraic or graphical calculator”.
Additional Mathematics (0606)
The syllabus says:
- The syllabus assumes that candidates will be in possession of an electronic calculator with scientific functions for both papers.
Conclusion: You must take into consideration of the criteria from CIE answers above, and get a calculator with “scientific functions”. Plus, get the confirmation from your school / exam centre for permitted models.
International Mathematics (0607)
The syllabus says:
- No calculators are permitted for: Paper 1 and Paper 2.
- A graphics calculator is required for: Paper 3, Paper 4, Paper 5, and Paper 6.
- Candidates should be able to do the following using a graphics calculator:
• sketch a graph;
• produce a table of values for a function;
• find zeros and local maxima or minima of a function;
• find the intersection point of two graphs;
• find mean, median, quartiles;
• find the linear regression equation.
- Other existing in-built applications should not be used and will gain no credit. Calculators with symbolic algebraic logic are not permitted.
- Any other applications and programmes from external sources are not permitted.
Conclusion: You must take into consideration of the criteria from CIE answers above, and make sure the model that you are getting does not contain “symbolic algebraic logic or other applications and programmes”.
Don’t be. 🙂
If you are still in doubt, just get the confirmation from your school / exam centre for permitted model. They are the one who has the last say on what is permitted to bring into the exam hall. 🙂