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One of the inquiries we hear most commonly from students who are beginning their GMAT prepare is, “Are calculators allowed on the GMAT?”



In this article, we’ll answer all of your burn questions around using a calculator ~ above the GMAT.

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Let’s start with the most vital question the all:

Can You use a Calculator ~ above the GMAT

The GMAT has an on-screen calculator during the combined Reasoning ar only. There is no GMAT calculator enabled during the Quantitative section. Instead, at the beginning of her exam, you will certainly be detailed with a dry-erase pad and marker that you can use in ~ any suggest during your exam. Every one of your calculations will certainly be performed v the pen and pad. We’ll mention those again a tiny bit later.


The GMAT has an on-screen calculator throughout the integrated Reasoning section only. There is no GMAT calculator allowed during the Quant section.

Before you start to hyperventilate, we’ve gained some good news because that you: You don’t require a calculator for GMAT Quant.

Let’s comment on why.

The GMAT tests Logic, Not complex Math

At that core, the Quantitative thinking section that the GMAT is a logic test. Sure, you’ll need to be able to perform straightforward calculations, such as multiplication and also long division, throughout the Quant section. That’s when your trusty dry-erase pad will come in handy.

The makers of the GMAT–and, an ext importantly, the folks in admissions at business schools–aren’t do the efforts to determine your ability level at performing calculations ~ above a calculator. They desire to recognize how reliable you room at using knowledge and logic to reason your method through problems. So, a concern that looks, on the surface, as if it involves complex math is in fact experimentation you on your capacity to a) analyze what is walking on in the problem and b) use your knowledge of math concepts and also principles to remove answer choices and also arrive in ~ the exactly answer.

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The makers of the GMAT no trying to determine your ability level at performing calculations on a calculator. They desire to know how reliable you are at making use of knowledge and logic to reason your method through problems.

Take the following example:

202 + 212 + 222 + 232 + 242 + 252 =


Instead that going with the long and also tedious (time-wasting) procedure of detect the amount of the equation above, if we’ve studied the crucial math rules tested on the GMAT, we can conveniently recognize that this concern is actually trial and error us on systems digits, and also we can simply discover the systems digit that the sum. We use the systems digits of every square to recognize the units digit that the sum.

The devices digit of 202 have to be 0, since 0^2 = 0.The systems digit that 212 need to be 1, since 1^2 = 1.The units digit of 222 should be 4, because 2^2 = 4.The devices digit of 232 need to be 9, due to the fact that 3^2 = 9.The systems digit of 242 have to be 6, because 4^2 = 16.The units digit the 252 should be 5, since 5^2 = 25.

With this, we can sum the systems digits: 0 + 1 + 4 + 9 + 6 + 5 = 25. Thus, the devices digit is 5 and the correct answer is A.

Now the you understand you can not use–and actually don’t need–a calculator for the Quant ar of the GMAT, you might be wondering, what does the GMAT calculator because that the incorporated Reasoning section look like?

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What walk the GMAT Calculator for the incorporated Reasoning ar Look Like?

GMAT check – integrated Reasoning Calculator

During the incorporated Reasoning ar of her GMAT, there will be a switch labeled “Calculator” in the peak left-hand edge of the computer screen. To reiterate, this switch will no be existing during any type of other section of the exam. As soon as you click the Calculator button, a calculator will show up in the center of her screen.

Like any type of standard calculator, the IR calculator functions a number pad in the middle. Buttons for clearing the critical digit girlfriend typed (Backspace); the last heat of numbers you gone into (CE); and all ahead operations, consisting of the current entry (C), sit in a row over the number pad.

The appropriate side of the IR calculator features the standard column of 4 buttons come perform simple arithmetic (division, multiplication, subtraction, addition) and a obelisk to the ideal of that containing buttons because that the adhering to functions:

sqrt: Calculates the square root of the number you just entered.%: rises or to reduce a number through a certain percentage (for example, 35 – 15%).1/x: Calculates the mutual of the number you just entered.

The left next of the calculator has a column of storage functions. These buttons, from peak to bottom, are:

MC (Memory Clear): as you could expect, this switch clears the memory.MR (Memory Recall): screens the number currently stored in the memory.MS (Memory Store): This is what you press to store a number for later on use.M+ (Memory Addition): adds the number currently displayed on the calculator come the number currently stored in the memory.

Keep in mind that while the memory functions may be helpful when you’re performing calculations that require several steps, this functions additionally have the potential to reason confusion or, also worse, mistakes the you don’t notice. Imagine, because that instance, the you forget to clean the memory after you end up a question, and then you add numbers come the memory the are pertained to a various question? because that test-takers who don’t have much endure using memory features on a calculator, writing necessary numbers on the detailed dry-erase pad might be a much safer bet. Remember, the IR ar tests a lot of the same an abilities you’ll usage in the Quant section, where you i will not ~ have accessibility to a calculator. So, in general, relying greatly on the calculator during IR is most likely not a good strategy.

A final Note around Not Needing a Calculator for GMAT Quant

Many students are nervous about having to finish the Quant section of the GMAT without accessibility to a calculator. Furthermore, many assume the answering Quant problems would it is in much quicker with a calculator. The fact is the GMAT Quant concerns are especially designed to be answerable there is no a calculator, and also for the well-prepared test-taker, many Quant questions have the right to be answered without a calculator in 2 minutes or less. In fact, utilizing a calculator would, in many cases, slow-moving down the process of comment a GMAT Quant question, due to the fact that GMAT Quant tests the ability to use logic and also apply math concepts, not the ability to perform facility calculations by hand. For those times when a tiny “elbow grease” is required, the detailed dry-erase pad and also marker have to be all that you need.

Remember also that, because you can’t usage a calculator top top the Quantitative section of the GMAT, you absolutely should not use a calculator to answer Quant questions during practice tests. Doing anything top top the Quantitative sections of practice tests the you can not do throughout the Quantitative section of your actual GMAT could produce artificially inflated Quantitative scores ~ above your practice tests. (The same, the course, is true for various other section scores.) Inflated ar scores could give friend a false feeling of your readiness because that test day, resulting in disappointment as soon as you sit because that the real GMAT.

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So, in order to appropriately assess your Quant strengths and weaknesses before test day and avoid “score shock,”never use a calculator during the Quantitative ar of a GMAT exercise test.