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Calculator guidance for Certificate level computer based assessment candidates

As part of the Certificate level computer based assessment software, candidates are provided with a
calculator. This calculator is onscreen and is available for the duration of the assessment.

The following guidance is provided to allow candidates to familiarise themselves with the calculators
functionality in advance of the assessment. All candidates must complete a 15 minute tutorial before
the assessment begins and will have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the calculator and
practice using it.

The calculator is available in each of the five Certificate level assessments and is accessed by
clicking the calculator button in the top left hand corner of the screen at any time during the
assessment (see below).

Two versions of the calculator are available. The default is a standard scientific calculator. By
clicking Modes in the calculator window, candidates can toggle between this scientific calculator and
a simple (four function) calculator (see below).

Last updated 15 November 2012

Candidates can use either the mouse or the number keypad to enter figures. The window containing
the calculator can be dragged around the screen and placed where it is convenient. It can also be
closed when no longer needed.

If candidates need to access the maths tables or formulae provided for the C01 and C03
assessments (from the tabs in the assessment), the calculator may be hidden but will reappear once
those windows are closed and any data input would remain.

The calculator will automatically close when the candidate presses Next to move on to the next

Candidates may practise using the calculator by downloading and installing the practice exam at The calculator can be accessed from the fourth sample question (of 12).

Please note that the practice exam and tutorial provided by Pearson VUE at is not specific to CIMA and includes the full range of question
types the Pearson VUE software supports, some of which CIMA does not currently use.

Candidates should also familiarise themselves with CIMAs guidance on calculating and entering
numerical answers, particularly with regard to rounding. Assessment guidance notes for candidates
can be downloaded here

The scientific calculator is an online version of the Texas Instruments TI-30XS model. More
information about this model can be found on the Texas Instruments website here

Last updated 15 November 2012

The full guidebook for this model can be downloaded here

Please note that, as an online calculator is provided, candidates are not permitted to bring their own
calculators into the testing room.

Top tips for common calculations

Sometimes, there can be slight differences in the labelling of keys on popular scientific calculators, or
in the order in which key strokes need to be performed. The ability to calculate powers and roots is
important, and below there are some examples given of such calculations:

Keys: The ^ key raises a number to a power. Some examples of raising numbers to a power are
given below:

To calculate , the following key sequence is required: 5 ^ 2 enter (which equals 25)
To calculate , the following key sequence is required: 9 ^ (-2).enter. (which equals 3) (Note that the
negative sign in the brackets is the (-) key, rather than the subtraction key).

The key returns the xth root of the number in contained within the root sign.
So, for example, if the 3rd root of 8 is required (which can also be written as the following key
sequence is required: 3 8 enter (which equals 2).

If you require any further guidance, please contact

Last updated 15 November 2012