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General Chemistry

Chemistry Department Exam Calculator Policy

In all general chemistry courses, the Department of Chemistry has a uniform policy concerning the use of calculators during exams such as mid terms and final exams. In order to ensure that every student has neither an advantage nor a disadvantage on such an exam, we provide a suitable scientific calculator to every student at the exam. No other calculator is allowed, nor may any other device containing a calculator (including those installed on a smartphone or tablet) be brought into the exam room.

Some students may own the calculator we specify; most will not. But no matter which calculator you own, we will require that you do not bring it to the exam and instead pick up one that we will provide. This part of the policy makes exam administration much simpler: nobody brings a calculator to the exam, and everyone picks up one of ours at the start of the exam and returns it at the end.

The calculator itself is quite simple to use. It is a Casio model FX 260 Solar Scientific Calculator, and it looks like this:

We will have these calculators available for you to try out during lab periods in advance of the first exam along with a short collection of the type of calculations you should be able to complete on your own with this calculator. In addition, you can download Casio's manual for it (as a pdf file) from Casio's web page here. Note that this page is a "Terms and Conditions" page on which you must read and agree to items such as the copyright protection the manual enjoys. Once you do so, you will be taken to a page with links to about a zillion manuals! Scroll about half-way down the page and look for "fx-260SOLAR." That's the one you want.

Make sure you have practiced using this calculator well in advance of the first exam! Post-exam claims that your wrong answer was due to a failure to operate the calcuator correctly will not be met with much sympathy. Having said that, however, remember that the numerical calculations you will be asked to do on an exam will never be more complex than those you will have seen in lectures or done on assigned homework problems.