Tools: Casio FX-85GTPLUS

If your child is in secondary school, working towards a Maths GCSE’s (or A level) and does not have this calculator, then I strongly suggest you buy it.

Casio FX-GT83

Casio’s most popular GCSE Calculator

Yes, it is a £10 investment (cheaper if you shop around), but it is worth every penny.

I will attempt to list out some of the reasons why you should spend the money:

  • The maths teacher at school will be familiar with this calculator – or something very very similar. This means that every new maths topic taught in class will probably include instructions on how to do it using THIS calculator. If your child has a different calculator, they will be busy trying to interpret the teacher’s instructions and become unnecessarily flustered.
  • This calculator is easy to use for predictably right answers. I wish this wasn’t the case – I hate it when one product dominates the market – but there is a good reason why this calculator is the most popular. I have had three students turn up with different calculators in the past six months alone (I won’t mention the brands) and in every case, I have been able to demonstrate how the Casio calculator makes it easier to get the right answer, and to fix problems when they make a mistake.
  • Most school shops will sell this calculator – this means that you should be able to pick it up quite easily and for a reasonable price. It is also the most common GCSE Maths calculator that is available from local supermarkets, and stationery shops.
  • Technology matters – we are not in an era of slide rules. Our children are part of an ever-more technical world, and when they enter the working world, confidence with technological tools will be important. I do not subscribe to the notion that only Mental Maths is good – being good at using technology to solve problems is important – I personally feel that calculator skills are more important than being able to use a pair of compasses, or a protractor. It will certainly be more relevant long-term to the majority of students, than these engineering tools.

If your child spends his/her high school years learning maths with this calculator, then by the time they come to sit their exams, they will be able to maximise their performance, through confident knowledge of how to use the many features.

I have experienced countless “Wow!” moments, where a student cannot believe how much easier it is to do something on this calculator than they had previously thought. This contributes to confidence with maths, and improved performance in exams. Much as I am cynical of our national over-emphasis on exam performance, as parents and teachers, we are all striving to give our children the best future we can – and good exam results are part of that!

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