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Advanced Placement

AP Exam Calculator Policy 

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal

Updated on: 04 Jun 2024


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What is the AP Exam Calculator Policy?

AP Exam Calculator policy refers to the use of calculators on AP exams. The College Board permits the use of calculators on some AP exams such as AP Physics, Calculus, Statistics, etc.

The policy details the dos and don’ts of the types of calculators that students are allowed to use in the AP exams. For example, students are not allowed to use calculators that have programmable memories or that can communicate with other calculators.

Why are calculators important for some AP exams?

Calculators are important for some AP exams because they allow students to solve complex mathematical problems quickly and accurately.

For example, on the AP Calculus BC exam, students are required to solve calculus problems involving derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. Without a calculator, it would be very difficult for students to solve these problems in the time allotted for the exam.

What are the different types of calculators allowed on the AP exam?

There are three main types of calculators:

  • Four-function calculators: These calculators can perform basic arithmetic operations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Scientific calculators: Scientific calculators have more advanced features than four-function calculators, such as the ability to calculate trigonometric functions, logarithms, and exponentials.
  • Graphing calculators: Graphing calculators can display graphs of functions and equations, and they can also be used to solve mathematical problems numerically.

How to use a calculator effectively on AP exams?

If you are planning to use a calculator on an AP exam, there are a few things you can do to use it effectively:

  • Make sure you are familiar with your calculator. Before you take the exam, practice using your calculator to solve the types of problems that will be on the exam.
  • Be efficient with your time. Don’t spend too much time on any one problem. If you are stuck on a problem, move on and come back to it later.
  • Check your work. After you solve a problem, be sure to check your work to make sure that your answer is correct.

Calculator types allowed in the AP exams

AP SubjectSectionCalculator Type
BiologyMultiple choiceFour-function, scientific, or graphing
BiologyFree responseScientific or graphing
Calculus AB and BCMultiple choiceFour-function, scientific, or graphing
Calculus AB and BCFree responseGraphing
ChemistryMultiple choiceFour-function or scientific
ChemistryFree responseScientific or graphing
Physics 1 and 2Multiple choiceFour-function or scientific
Physics 1 and 2Free responseScientific or graphing
Physics C: MechanicsMultiple choice
Physics C: MechanicsFree responseScientific or graphing
Physics C: Electricity and MagnetismMultiple choiceFour-function or scientific
Physics C: Electricity and MagnetismFree responseScientific or graphing
StatisticsMultiple choiceFour-function or scientific
StatisticsFree responseScientific or graphing
Calculator types allowed in the AP exams

Source: College Board

Which calculators are allowed in the AP exams?

College Board has a complete list of approved calculators for each AP exam on its website. Some of the popular brands include Casio, Hewlett Packard, Radio Shack, and Sharp Texas Instruments. 

Click here for the full list of approved calculators.


Calculators are a valuable tool for students who are taking AP exams. However, it is important to use calculators effectively and to choose a calculator that is allowed on the AP exams you will be taking.

Reviewed by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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