How to Use a Calculator

Calculators are essential for students, as it promotes the development of essential numerical skills. As they progress through school, they will require more advanced math skills that require the use of more advanced calculators and less basic ones.

You will need

  • Calculator


  1. Familiarise yourself with the symbols associated with math. Basic calculators are dominated by a few standard symbols including:
  2. plus sign (+) for additions problems
    minus sign (-) for subtraction
    multiplication symbol (x or *)
    division sign (÷) and
    equal sign (=).

  3. Understand the processes that go along with the signs. Without a proper understanding of the processes, the signs on the calculator will be useless as you will not know how to put them into practise.
  4. Acquaint yourself with the layout of a calculator. Know where the numbers and symbols are located.
  5. Once the above steps have been taken, you may use your calculator to perform mathematical calculations.


    • Check each number after you’ve entered it.
    • Use a piece of paper to hide the part of the calculation you haven’t got to yet, if you get confused in the middle of a calculation. If you get confused in the middles of a long number, use something to hide or point to the digits of the number.
    • Check each result by estimating it. Take the first digit of each number and add enough zeros to make it roughly the right size. It will then be easy to estimate the result.
    • Try doing a calculation more than once. If you do the same calculation twice with the same method, you might make the same mistake; calculate it differently the second time. If you are totalling a string of numbers, first add them from top to bottom, write the result, then add the numbers from bottom to top, and see if you get the same result.
    • When doing more than one calculation use the ‘C’ key before starting the new calculation to make sure that no number is left over from the previous one.

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