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Back to School 2015: What Graphing Calculator Should I Buy?
Published by KermMartian on August 21, 2015 at 2:32:41 PM CST | Discuss this article (13)



For the fifth year in a row, Cemetech is excited to bring you Back to School guides, helping you figure out the best graphing calculator to get for school and how to use it. In 2011 and 2012, we published trios of guides, showing you which calculator to buy, how to get programs and games onto your calculator, and how to learn to program your calculator. In 2013 and 2014, we held your hand through Which Graphing Calculator Should I Buy?. This year, we once again present a guide to selecting from the baffling array of graphing calculators now available to high school and college students. We'll help you figure out which calculator is right for elementary school, high school, or college students, whether for yourself, your child, or your students.

This year, we went the democratic route and asked Cemetech's members to vote on the best calculators in three categories: (1) High School Math and Science; (2) CAS (College); (3) Programming. As you'll see in the discussion below, the brand-new TI-84 Plus CE released this year was a very popular contender, along with TI's TI-Nspire CX CAS and HP's HP Prime. All three of these calculators are accepted on standardized tests like the SAT, and of the three, only the TI-84 Plus CE is allowed on the ACT. Since they've been phased out, we're no longer recommending the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. Although the TI-Nspire CX is a fairly popular high school math and science calculator, we feel that the TI-84 Plus CE is a better, easier-to-use choice.

Read the full article for details on the best graphing calculator to buy.



  • If you (or your child) are an elementary or high school student, your teachers may recommend a TI-84 Plus CE or a TI-Nspire CX, in which case you should follow their advice. Remember, all models mentioned herein are accepted on the SAT, and most on the ACT, so none win or lose big on that count. For high school students getting a new calculator, the TI-84 Plus CE is our favorite choice.
  • If you're looking to take college classes in higher math, science, or engineering, the TI-Nspire CX CAS or the HP Prime are the calculator for you.
  • If you're a programmer, or you want to encourage your student to be a programmer, the TI-84 Plus CE is the best options. It allow BASIC, ez80 ASM, and C programming. The HP Prime also has a very fast BASIC language, and the Casio Prizm was the original C-programmable calculator.
Good luck with the hectic rush that is Back to School, and I hope this guide helped make at least one decision easier. If you need help picking a calculator, getting games and educational programs for your calculator and onto the device, or you want to learn to program, just stop by Cemetech and chat with us. We're always happy to help.

The Final Verdict:
Now that the three major graphing calculator companeis all offer color-screen calculators, the quiet disappearance of the battery-conserving black-and-white graphing calculator seems inevitable to us here at Cemetech. We therefore are no longer recommending the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition and the TI-89 Titanium, as much as we respect those erstwhile models. Of course, if you already have a TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus (or Silver Edition) or a TI-89, you don't need to upgrade to a color calculator yet. If you need a new calculator, we recommend the TI-84 Plus CE, TI-Nspire CX CAS, or HP Prime. Read the full article for details on which of these calculators is best for you.

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2015 Articles
January 2015 January 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» Projects of the Month: December 2014 published January 1, 2015 by tifreak8x
» Mind Controlled Calculator! published January 3, 2015 by merthsoft
» 2014 ticalc.org POTY Results published January 9, 2015 by tifreak8x
» STEM Behind Hollywood: Zombie Apocalypse Part 2 (TI-84+CSE) published January 13, 2015 by KermMartian
» A First Look at the TI-84 Plus CE published January 13, 2015 by KermMartian
» TI-France's TI-83 Premium CE Hints at TI-84 Plus CE Features published January 15, 2015 by KermMartian
» STEM Behind Hollywood: Body of Evidence for TI-84 Plus C SE published January 23, 2015 by KermMartian
» TI-84 Plus CE Officially Launched: Exclusive Interview published January 26, 2015 by KermMartian

February 2015 February 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» Projects of the Month: January 2015 published February 1, 2015 by tifreak8x
» STEM Behind Hollywood: Science Friction for TI-84 Plus C SE published February 9, 2015 by KermMartian
» TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus Monochrome ASM on the TI-84 Plus CSE published February 22, 2015 by KermMartian
» Cemetech Minecraft 1.8 Server: Intellectual Survival published February 25, 2015 by KermMartian
» TI Connect CE: In-Depth Review published February 25, 2015 by pimathbrainiac

March 2015 March 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» STEM Behind Hollywood for TI-84 Plus C SE: The Full Set published March 1, 2015 by KermMartian
» Projects of the Month: February 2015 published March 2, 2015 by tifreak8x
» TI News: T^3 2015; TI-84+CE Contest, Apps; TI-Nspire OS 4 published March 12, 2015 by KermMartian
» T^3 2015 Day 1 Kickoff in Fort Worth, TX published March 13, 2015 by KermMartian
» Happy Ultimate Pi Day: T^3 2015 Mid-Conference Updates published March 14, 2015 by KermMartian
» T^3 2015 Wrap-Up: Days 2 and 3, Final Thoughts published March 21, 2015 by KermMartian

April 2015 April 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» Projects of the Month: March 2015 published April 1, 2015 by tifreak8x
» Hands-On with the TI-84 Plus CE: Full Review published April 6, 2015 by KermMartian
» z80 and ez80 ASM Support Added to SourceCoder 3 published April 9, 2015 by KermMartian
» TI News Bag: STEM Behind Health; TI-84+CE OS Upgrade Soon published April 21, 2015 by KermMartian
» "Programming the TI-84 Plus C SE & TI-84 Plus CE" published April 28, 2015 by KermMartian

May 2015 May 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» Projects of the Month: April 2015 published May 3, 2015 by tifreak8x
» GraphnCalc83: A Review of a Faithful TI-83 Lookalike for iOS published May 1, 2015 by Alex
» Doors CSE 8.2 Released published May 19, 2015 by KermMartian
» Exclusive: C Programming on the TI-84 Plus CE published May 27, 2015 by KermMartian
» Projects of the Month: May 2015 published May 31, 2015 by tifreak8x

June 2015 June 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» First TI-84 Plus CE Assembly Games Arrive published June 22, 2015 by KermMartian

July 2015 July 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» Projects of the Month: June 2015 published July 4, 2015 by tifreak8x
» Out and About with Cemetech: Elfprince13's Wedding published July 10, 2015 by KermMartian
» Graph3DC 1.0 Closed Beta 1 published July 12, 2015 by KermMartian
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» Fourth Cemetech World Maker Faire Appearance in September published July 28, 2015 by KermMartian
» Get a TI-84 Plus CE: Target Sale, TI Contest published July 31, 2015 by KermMartian

August 2015 August 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» Projects of the Month: July 2015 published August 3, 2015 by tifreak8x
» Cemetech Archives: TI-84 Plus CE Programs Folders Expanded published August 17, 2015 by KermMartian
» Tetric A (Tetris) for the TI-84 Plus CE published August 20, 2015 by KermMartian
» Back to School 2015: What Graphing Calculator Should I Buy? published August 21, 2015 by KermMartian
» ArTICL: MSP432 Launchpad to TI Graphing Calculator Linking published August 28, 2015 by KermMartian

September 2015 September 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» TI Listens to Bug Reports, Releases TI-84 Plus CE OS 5.1 published September 8, 2015 by KermMartian
» Wall-Powering Devices With 3D-Printed AAA Batteries published September 16, 2015 by KermMartian
» MateoConLechuga Wows with TI-84+CE Text Editor, Soon Mario? published September 22, 2015 by KermMartian

October 2015 October 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» Projects of the Month: August & September 2015 published October 4, 2015 by tifreak8x
» Cemetech at World Maker Faire 2015 Recap published October 4, 2015 by KermMartian
» Cesium: First TI-84 Plus CE Shell published October 6, 2015 by MateoConLechuga
» TokenIDE Now Open Source published October 22, 2015 by merthsoft

November 2015 November 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» TI Codes: TI-BASIC Tutorials from TI published November 4, 2015 by tifreak8x
» Projects of the Month: October 2015 published November 8, 2015 by tifreak8x
» Cemetech Contest 14: TI-BASIC Connect 4 AI Challenge published November 16, 2015 by KermMartian

December 2015 December 2015 [Back to News Archives Index]

» ticalc.org POTY 2015 Starts published December 4, 2015 by pimathbrainiac
» Upgrading an N Scale P42 Model Train Locomotive published December 8, 2015 by KermMartian
» Projects of the Month: November 2015 published December 8, 2015 by tifreak8x
» Officially Announcing Doors CE 9, Coming Soon published December 10, 2015 by KermMartian
» Cemetech Contest #15: Crypto Golfing published December 15, 2015 by KermMartian
» Cemetech Contest #15, Challenge 2 published December 22, 2015 by KermMartian
» Happy Holidays from Cemetech! published December 25, 2015 by Alex
» Cemetech Contest #15, Challenge 3 published December 30, 2015 by KermMartian
» CEmu - A TI-84 Plus CE Emulator Released published December 31, 2015 by pimathbrainiac

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