Frequently I get asked what type of calculator you can use on the Florida real estate state exam.  You just need a basic calculator.  There are two things we are going to discuss.  First we will discuss what Pearson Vue and the DBPR allow.  Then we will discuss what I, Karen Climer, recommend.

Let’s talk about the kinds of calculators are NOT allowed.  You canNOT use a:

• Cell phone calculator
• Calculator that makes noise
• Calculator that allows you to store formulas or other information
• Calculator that prints, even if there is no paper in it
• Calculator with an alpha keyboard

Basically, you just need a basic calculator.  In terms of what kind of calculator, I recommend that you get a calculator where the % key serves only one function.  You can pass the state exam without using the percent key at all – you can convert everything into decimals.  But often the math problem is easier if you use the percent key.

Here are two calculators.

This is the calculator that Karen Climer used on her sales associate, broker, and instructor state exams. The percent key serves only one purpose.

The percent key also functions as a set key. Karen Climer does not recommend this for the Florida real estate exam.

The one on the left is the calculator that I used to take the exam in 2002.  I still use it in class.  It has served me well for a long time.  You will notice that there is nothing on the percent button except the % sign.  That’s because that is the only function of that button.

The calculator on the right is owned by a frustrated student.  She ended up getting a different calculator.  The percent key on this calculator also says “set.”  I’m not 100% sure what the set key does, but I know it has something to do with the tax buttons.  (I don’t know what the tax buttons do either.  I leave taxes to the tax professionals.)  I don’t know what the purpose of the set function is, but I do know it has the effect of messing up the percent function.  So if you want to use the percent button on your calculator, get one that has the % sign on the button, and nothing else.

Lastly, whatever calculator you use for the exam needs to be the one you use for practicing.  Don’t use your cell phone all the time for practicing, then expect to be comfortable with a regular calculator on test day.  It won’t happen.  You will be frustrated at the exam and spend a lot of time messing with your brand new calculator.  Buy a calculator today and start practicing with it today.  When you get ready for the exam, you’ll be comfortable with it.