GED Calculator Guide: Know the TI-30XS

Are you planning to take a high school equivalency test in math soon? If so, you may want to start thinking about calculators. Each test has specific rules for calculator use. The GED and TASC tests both use the TI-30XS scientific calculator. The HiSET exam uses a simpler four-function calculator. An on-screen calculator will be provided for you for computerized testing, so you do not need to purchase your own. Find out which test is available in your state, then learn all about the calculator for your test.

About the TI-30XS

TI-30XS is a scientific calculator, so it's a little more difficult to use than a basic calculator. Don't worry, though. High school equivalency tests use only the more basic functions of the TI-30XS. You don't need to learn about the advanced features to pass the test.

It's important to learn the TI-30XS, or the alternate calculator you'll use on your test, so you'll be prepared. You'll want to know the location of the keys and the functions they perform. This will help you with speed and accuracy.

Calculator Tips and Tricks

The TI-30XS is a complicated machine with a lot of functions you won't need to use. To make it simpler, we recommend you learn the following:

  • Use the "On" button to reset the calculator or to clear the memory.
  • Use the "Clear" and "All Clear" buttons.
  • Use the number keys. Use the basic operation keys for addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division.
  • Locate the decimal point, equals, and percent keys, and learn how and when each is used.
  • Locate the "Shift" key, and learn how and when it is used.
  • Locate the "Change Sign" and "Fraction" keys and how to use them.
  • Locate the "Square" and "Square Root" keys, and learn when to use them.
  • Enter problems using the correct order of operations.
  • Locate and use the keys for raising powers and creating exponents.

Practice is important! Once you have some hands-on experience, you'll see that it's not too difficult.

How To Use the Calculator

Want to practice? Try this tutorial to get familiar with the TI-30XS calculator: GED Test Calculator Tutorial or check out this reference guide.

The GED Math Test

The calculator is used mostly for the math subject test. It's important to be prepared for what to expect, so here are some example questions you might see on the exam.

Solve the equation for x: x2 + 5x = 10

Solve the equation for y: y2 - 2y = 12

A calculator can help you get a precise answer quickly. Mental math is harder and slower, so having a calculator will be a huge benefit.

The GED Social Studies and Science Test

You can use the calculator on some sections of the Social Studies and Science test subjects too. There won't be any complicated math questions on these subjects, but you may need to do some simple math to get certain answers correct. Math skills can help you figure out the temperature or determine a length of time in word problems or from graphs. A calculator helps you find the number faster.

You Can Do This!

It's not as hard as you think. High school equivalency tests only require basic calculator knowledge. It still pays to practice beforehand. Understanding the calculator can help you understand the math you'll need to know. The TI-30XS is worth learning.

Understanding also goes a long way toward reducing math anxiety. Try using the TI-30XS while taking a free GED practice test. Familiarize yourself with its functions before sitting down for the exam. The better prepared you are, the better your score will be.


Erica Machado, Educator


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