Speed matters in the CFA exam. It's worth investing some time to learn how to use your calculator better, especially earlier on in your CFA prep.
(Side-tip: If you're still choosing your calculator, get the BA II Plus - the base model, NOT the professional one. It's the easiest to use, cheapest and least likely to give you trouble.)
There are step-by-step keystrokes and examples in our guide here, but the main points you should cover (and why) are:
Have a Killer Setup
Lots of small niggles can be solved right at the start by having the right setup. In general, do these 3 things:
- Increase To 9 Decimal Places - this ensures you don't have any rounding issues. Our guide specifies 'floating decimals' so that you don't see any unnecessary zeros.
- Set The Period Per Year To 1 - most common configuration used for most CFA questions.
- Use Algebraic Operating System (AOS) Instead of Chain Method (CHN) - so that 3 + 4 x 5 = 23, not 35.
Learn how to use these keys / keystrokes, you will use them a lot
- Parentheses (Or Brackets)
- Clear Entries & Memories
- Power Function (Exponents)
- Memory Function - storing and recalling numbers is something you'll use for almost every calculation
- Stat Function - a nearly unknown trick when we first started writing about it, now all competent CFA candidates know this!
If you have any questions, they may be covered in our FAQ - otherwise drop them in the comments and I'll answer!