Saturday, April 23, 2011

Calculator Policy for California State Specific Seismic and Surveying Principles Exam:

The head proctor of the Seismic Principles Exam (April, 2011) surprised me when she said, "You can have any calculator, as long as it does not have QWERTY." Basically, they don't allow a calculator into which you can type-enter the questions.

It is still best to practice on the calculator you will use during the exam. Buy a compliant model as soon as possible in your preparation period. I used the Casio fx-115W. It is solar. This prevented any concern about dead batteries.

fx-115w - Allowed in PE Exam
Visit the page for the California Board of Professional Engineers. They specifically state,
"It should be noted that the Board's calculator policy for its state-specific examinations varies significantly from the NCEES calculator policy for the national examinations."
So, if you have a favorite calculator that NCEES disallowed, you can bring it to the California state-specific exams, as long as it is not one of the following "strictly prohibited" types (June 6, 2012):

1. anything with a QWERTY keyboard
2. palmtop
3. laptop
4. handheld or desktop computers
5. data banks
6. data collectors
7. personal data assistants
8. organizers

Calculators with other (non-QWERTY) alphanumeric keypads are acceptable.

Some of the strictly verboten calculators are listed on the bpels site. These are not allowed on the NCEES exam, but are permitted on California state-specific seismic and survey exams:

... the HP 39 series; the HP 41 series; the HP42S; the HP 48 series; the HP 49 series; the HP 50 series; the TI 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 89 series; the Casio CFX 9850; the Casio FX 7400; the Casio FX 9750; and the Casio FX 2.0.

Best Engineering Calculators

BPELS Calculator Policy 

Select the best engineering calculator, and price shop on one page. 

Starting in October, 2011, NCEES administration services will administer and proctor California State special seismic and surveying exams. Be sure to check the BPELSG site, and take an allowable calculator. 


  1. This could be very misleading information. Your last paragraph of "verboten" (verboten has one 't', not two) calculators, is actually a list that BPELSG (it is now BPELSG, not BPELS) allows on the state specific exams. So, yes, they are verboten on the NCEES 8-hr exam but are allowed on the CA Surv/Seis.

    1. ptatohed: Thank you. I corrected the spelling of verboten. However, my omission of the G in bpels is intentional. It is a protest against the change. Geologists should have their own professional agency. Their work differs considerably from that of engineers and surveyors.
      PS- you left out an 'o' in potato and an 'a' in head. Your welcome.
      Thank you again for improving the blog. Peace.


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