Calculator Guidelines for ACT Compass® Testing

At the discretion of the institution where ACT Compass is being administered, calculators may be used on the ACT Compass Numerical Skills/Prealgebra, Algebra, College Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry tests provided they meet the requirements listed below.

To ensure fairness for all test takers, avoid disturbances in the testing room, and protect the security of the testing materials and process, the following types of calculators are not permitted:

  • calculators with built-in computer algebra systems
    Prohibited calculators in this category include:
    • Texas Instruments: All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92 and the TI-Nspire CAS—Note: The TI-Nspire (non-CAS) is permitted.
    • Hewlett-Packard: HP 48GII and all model numbers that begin with HP 40G, HP 49G, or HP 50G
    • Casio: Algebra fx 2.0, ClassPad 300 and ClassPad 330, and all model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G
  • handheld, tablet, or laptop computers, including PDAs
  • electronic writing pads or pen-input devices—Note: The Sharp EL 9600 is permitted.
  • calculators built into cell phones or any other electronic communication devices
  • calculators with a typewriter keypad (letter keys in QWERTY format)—Note: Letter keys not in QWERTY format are permitted.

The following types of calculators are permitted, but only after they are modified as noted:

  • calculators with paper tape—Remove the tape.
  • calculators that make noise—Turn off the sound.
  • calculators with an infrared data port—Completely cover the infrared data port with heavy opaque material such as duct tape or electrician's tape (includes Hewlett-Packard HP 38G series, HP 39G series, and HP 48G).
  • calculators that have power cords—Remove all power/electrical cords.

NOTE: ACT monitors new calculators as they become available. For the latest list of prohibited calculators, students and institutions are invited to call toll free 800/498-6481 for a recorded message.

If students plan to use a calculator, they are responsible for bringing an acceptable one to the testing session. Sharing calculators during the test is not permitted, and the test proctor will not provide a calculator.

Students are also responsible for ensuring that their calculator works properly. If their calculator uses batteries, students must make certain that the batteries are strong enough to last throughout the testing session. Students may bring a spare calculator and extra batteries with them.