What kind of calculator is acceptable for use in Cambridge IGCSE Mathematics examinations?

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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.

Mathematics 0580

The syllabus says:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. 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:

  1. No calculators are permitted for: Paper 1 and Paper 2.
  2. A graphics calculator is required for: Paper 3, Paper 4, Paper 5, and Paper 6.
  3. 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.
  4. Other existing in-built applications should not be used and will gain no credit. Calculators with symbolic algebraic logic are not permitted.
  5. 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”.

Confuse?

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. 🙂


89 thoughts on “What kind of calculator is acceptable for use in Cambridge IGCSE Mathematics examinations?

  1. Can students use Casio 9860G II SD for IGCSE Math Exam 0607 Extended Paper 3-6? If they are not allowed to use, could you please give me a few models of Casio and Texas Instrument?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Ernie,

      We have provided a general guide here. You should check with your school or exam centre on the permitted models as each school has their rules.

      • Hi Sarah,

        Please check with the Examination Officer from your school or exam centre on what’s the permitted model. They have the final say on what is permitted and what’s not.

    • Hello Fatima,
      This is a heftily debated topic all over the world. From the model of calculator to materials. We have provided general guides here, and you still need to get the official confirmation from your school on the items permitted into the examination hall. Each school has their own rules. You must abide to that.

  2. Could you kindly let us know whether IGCSE have online course or book, document for homeschooling student? My child now is in eleven years old.
    Looking foward to hearing from you.

  3. I have encountered many students with these problems.

    Schools in Malaysia have these problems. Some allowed the use of model Casio 991EX, 991ES, 570MS, 570ES while some only allowed them to use Casio 300MS, Casio 300ES. Students felt that they have not been treated fairly because they know their friends can use Casio 991EX, 991ES, 570MS, 570ES while they can’t.

    Rediculously, there is one school (not to be mentioned) forced the students to only bring one calculator and they cannot bring an additional back-up calculator.

    I had the opportunity to clear doubts with the chief examiner over this, so please do not worry that model Casio 991EX, 991ES, 570MS, 570ES cannot be used. They can be used as long as it cannot perform algebraic manipulation and graphs drawing, it should be ok. If your school ban the calculator, please contact Cambridge Director of Malaysia and Brunei, Mr. Ng to communicate with the school-in-charge.

    • Hi mirajane,

      Please read the article above to understand better on what is allowed and what is not.

      For final confirmation, check with the Examination Officer from your school or exam centre on what’s the permitted model. They have the final say on what is permitted.

    • Hi Arya,
      You must get the confirmation from your school. Your school has the final say in which model is permitted into the exam hall.

  4. Hello IGCSE, During this may/june 2016 session for o levels, i was asked to write the calculator model and the name of the calculator company on the paper, i wrote the model number but i did not write the Calculator name for eg: CASIO. What will happen, does it make any difference! Tnx

  5. Hello IGCSE Centre, I have a calculator which is different from the ones that all of my other friends have. I have model fx 570 AR X while they have fx 991ES. I am not sure if fx 570 AR X is allowed because it looks similiar to what my friends have, its not a graphical calculator but it just has more functions such as vectors, matrices, ratios, probability and spreadsheets. So is fx 570 AR X allowed?

    • Hi Mo,
      You must get the consent from your school. They decide which model is allowed into the examination hall.

        • Hi Sarah,

          In this case you must get the consent from the exam centre. Exam centre is the centre where you registered your child to sit for his/her exams.

  6. Are broken scales allowed for Mathematics 0580 exam?
    Also, are they allowed in other subjects such as Biology 0610 ans Physics 0625, if graphs do come up in those exams?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hey Hasitha,
      IGCSE won’t look at your scale, but you will, for sure, be needing a suitable length of measuring equipment in your exam (E.g. Loci in Math, Magnification in Biology, Resultant force in physics, e.t.c.). It really doesn’t matter as long as you have a suitable scale (e.g. Millimetres or centimetres) on your scale. I’m pretty sure you’re almost done with IGCSEs but anyways…

  7. Hi IGCSE Center , I am a home-schooler that really needs help. I have been looking around the web to see what is required for a home-schooler such as me to “pass” the IGCSE exams without being in school. So far I have found little to nothing and I am desperately seeking answers. What exactly is required of me to pass IGCSE as a homeschooler if I register through the British council? I really need help in how many or which subjects I should be taking, if you guys could help or provide links where I can find these answers it would be much appreciated. Thank you

    • Hi Nicholas,
      First of all, please let us know what would you like to study in the future? We could plan downward from there 🙂

  8. Dear IGCSE Team,
    Apart from the use of calculators, are we allowed to use the french curves when plotting graghs in IGCSE Mathematics 0580….
    Thanks in advance.

    • i advice you to take Math, as its important for everything. English obviously. Sociology is important as it talks about people and societies. the sciences ( biology physics and chemistry ) they are core subjects. If you can take another language that would be better and then you need 1 more subject to complete your 8 o levels… you can take ict as its easy and useful. for A levels you can take Sociology and Psychology

      • For psychiatry you must first obtain a medical degree before specialising. Sociology and psychology are much less useful than physics chemistry and biology at A level. If you don’t study these in school you will need to do a foundation course at uni.

  9. Can Casio fx-991ES PLUS be used.What do we do if we are not allowed to use that model.Do we have to use fx-82 MS since some it is difficult to use because of its small sized screen.

  10. Dear IGCSE Team,
    I am from india and have just finished my two practical papers of ict (feb march 2016) please can you all release these papers cause I have to see the mark scheme(for my sake) or else tell me the release date.
    Yours sincerely.

  11. Hello IGCSE Team,

    My calculator is Canon F-718SG. It seems to comply with the regulations at first, but it has some functions like making tables, SD, Quad, Lin and Log functions. Is this allowed for Mathematics(0580)?
    Thanks a lot.

    • Hey Hasitha,
      That is a tricky question 🙂 … You might want to get the confirmation from your school / exam centre. They are the one have the final say on which model you could bring into the exam hall.

      So, go ahead and ask them. They won’t bite 😉

  12. The issue of calculators is well addressed as in past. I don’t think anybody would mistake the absolute views provided here henceforth.

  13. Thanks a lot , but I am facing a different problem actually I don’t know how to get an A* in math even though I’m using the accepted calculator and I had solved lots of past exams but still I can’t figure out where I’m lacking?? Can you help me? Thanks in advance.

  14. Dear igcse team
    Can you please help me sir…………………..I am using casio model fx-991ES, can i use that model of scientific calculator for my final igcse 0580 maths examination.

    • Hi Ashley,
      We have made a post to answer your question. If you are still not sure about the model that you are using now, please get the confirmation from your school.

  15. I am sitting for the 2015 IGCSE O/L Oct/Nov and I would like to know if Casio fx-82ES PLUS calculator is allowed for the Mathematics 0580 exam paper

  16. Dear IGCSE TEAM,
    I wanted to know whether the calculator casio fx-991es is allowed in the additional exam.
    thanks a lot.

    • Hello there,

      Here is the note from CIE:

      “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.”

  17. Hi, I am resitting papers in another school. I am sitting for IGCSE extended maths exams in a few days time. I was told I’m not allowed to use Casio Fx-570MS model calculator for my maths exam, but other schools such as my previous school allowed us to use. I’ve checked on the CIE website as my calculator is not against with the CIE rules for calculators. So, I’m wondering if I can use Casio Fx-570MS for the coming maths exam, as they said I’m not allowed to go in with Fx-570MS, I’ve bought Fx-350ES but it has limited functions and I’m not getting used to it. What should I do? Hope you can reply asap, thank you 

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