# Do I need a fancy calculator for L1?

By “fancy” I mean the ones that are specified on the CFA website (TI BA II+, HP 12C) I started studying about a week ago… The reason I’m asking is because a lot of problems I can solve fairly easily with a \$5 scientific calculator, but for a lot of problems, like for example finding the IRR for a series of uneven cash payments, you will end up having to solve a fourth or fifth degree polynomial and I can’t afford the time to be doing that by hand during the exam. Is a BA II+ / 12C calculator pretty much a must-have for the exam? Or will they not give you the type of problems that can only be solved with a financial calculator? Thanks, P.S. Here is the one I am using right now http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/4/48/20050911184332!TI-30Xa_Solar.jpg

The only calculators allowed are the TI and HP. You can’t even use a \$1 calculator.

I think you should definitely bring a \$5 calculator on test day…then promptly sign up for level I again.

Just white-out the “30Xa Solar” and write “BA-II” in neat handwriting. They usually don’t check that closely.

BosyBillups Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > The only calculators allowed are the TI and HP. > You can’t even use a \$1 calculator. ohh damn… I didn’t realize you must only bring one of those two models… thanks

Yea, no worries. You will probably use it 5 - 10 times according to people who have taken the exam, but still, get familiar with one of them.

supersharpshooter Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > By “fancy” I mean the ones that are specified on > the CFA website (TI BA II+, HP 12C) > > I started studying about a week ago… The reason > I’m asking is because a lot of problems I can > solve fairly easily with a \$5 scientific > calculator, but for a lot of problems, like for > example finding the IRR for a series of uneven > cash payments, you will end up having to solve a > fourth or fifth degree polynomial and I can’t > afford the time to be doing that by hand during > the exam. > Sure. Finding the roots of a fourth degree polynomial requires Cardan’s formula which I will bet huge you have never learned and don’t know. Finding roots of a fifth degree polynomial requires using numerical methods (e.g., Gauss-Newton) as Galois and his successors showed that a formula like Cardan’s does not exist. I would like to see you do Gauss-Newton by hand for the roots of a fifth degree polynomial. > Is a BA II+ / 12C calculator pretty much a > must-have for the exam? Or will they not give you > the type of problems that can only be solved with > a financial calculator? > > Thanks, > > P.S. Here is the one I am using right now > http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/arch > ive/4/48/20050911184332!TI-30Xa_Solar.jpg

I’m surprised this thread has made it this far without mention of strippers.

JoeyDVivre Wrote: > Sure. Finding the roots of a fourth degree > polynomial requires Cardan’s formula which I will > bet huge you have never learned and don’t know. > Finding roots of a fifth degree polynomial > requires using numerical methods (e.g., > Gauss-Newton) as Galois and his successors showed > that a formula like Cardan’s does not exist. I > would like to see you do Gauss-Newton by hand for > the roots of a fifth degree polynomial. It is not that hard really. There is an easier numerical method to solve 5th degree or more polynomials. Usually IRR in exams are between 5% to 15%, so you only need try each of them for a total of 11 times. It is still doable by hand I guess. hehe

There are two types of calculators allowed by CFA : TI BA II Plus and HP 12C. And for those who are using the first one, here’s a pretty good online tutorial : http://www.tvmcalcs.com/baiiplus.htm

ymc Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > JoeyDVivre Wrote: > > Sure. Finding the roots of a fourth degree > > polynomial requires Cardan’s formula which I > will > > bet huge you have never learned and don’t know. > > > Finding roots of a fifth degree polynomial > > requires using numerical methods (e.g., > > Gauss-Newton) as Galois and his successors > showed > > that a formula like Cardan’s does not exist. I > > would like to see you do Gauss-Newton by hand > for > > the roots of a fifth degree polynomial. > > It is not that hard really. There is an easier > numerical method to solve 5th degree or more > polynomials. Usually IRR in exams are between 5% > to 15%, so you only need try each of them for a > total of 11 times. It is still doable by hand I > guess. hehe if you know it’s unique between 5 and 15 and you have to get within 1% you just do bisection so I guess it would just take 4

Sometimes I really wonder why people ask these questions without doing the most basic research on the CFAI website… there is a whole section on exam requirements and specific instructions on the exact calculators that are permitted. I know this is a forum used to help people, but sometimes it feels more like a spoon-feeding session. If you are going for a CFA, you will need alot more motivation & initiative than is being shown so far (…mmm I think my Monday morning tantrum is kicking in)…

wilier Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I know this is a forum used to help people, but > sometimes it feels more like a spoon-feeding > session. lol wilier, true, but at least it creates opportunities for some funny responses. AF is a sort of nursing home / asylum for us candidates. But don’t worry, if you ever want out, all you have to do is lift the enormous water fountain, throw it through the gated windows and run into the countryside! (cite that reference, someone)

I think you can take you laptop and use the scientific version of the calculator preinstalled on windows. But only the scientific version not the standard version.