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My previous Casio calculator lasted my four years and when it came to a replacement, just in time for the GCSEs I decided I would take the safe bet, take advice from my maths teacher and buy the renowned (in my school anyway) fx-83WA, much heralded by a certain Welsh maths teacher (private joke).
I like this calculator because it has an extra line at the top which you type all your calculations in, so you can see what you have typed. This means calculations such as area or volume can be done in one. This also allows you to retrace your steps using the "< REPLAY >" button and alter a number or mathematical symbol instead of typing the whole set of numbers again. Ideal if you're pushed for time in your GCSE (me pushed for time? nah!) The lower display also features a 10 digit display, so pretty accurate.
Another thing I love is the number of memories. With A through to F, X, Y and M you have a lot to play with (9 to be exact). These letters are used in statistics mode, which makes it useful when doing calculations for standard deviation and the likes!
This brings me neatly onto the modes of the calculator. There are 7 modes accessible by the "MODE" button: COMP, Statistics (SD), Regular (REG), Degrees (DEG), RAD, GRA, the rounding one (Fix), Sci and Norm. The nine modes are split into three groups and you simply press mode once, twice or thrice (depending on group) and a number between 1 and 3. Sound complicated? It's simple really once you actually do it.
The calculator has all the obvious functions, such as multiply, divide, subtraction, addition, pi and, of course, equals! There are also many other features accessible by the "SHIFT" button.
There are a few handy buttons which I think are absolutely fabulous! There is the root, square, cube root and cube buttons. These are great when dealing with silly volume and area formulae. Another button I like is "DEL". Vital to delete a slip of the finger when entering numbers.
Like most calculators there is a little "user guide" on the back with details on mode inititalisation, memory operations, operation of STAT mode and standard deviation. This is as well as a lovely detailed manual so you can really sink your teeth into the world of mathematical calculations.
Finally, the calculator comes in stylish grey and runs on an LR44 (1.5V) battery. Unfortunately there is no solar panel so if your battery packs up in your exam - you are in a bit of a fix. You can replace the battery, although you need a tiny screwdriver! The calculator comes with a grey case which slots over, so you can't accidently turn it on (and run down your battery!)
Overall, this is a brilliant little calculator. Why splash out on an expensive "bells and whistles" calulator when all you need is the basics. It only cost me £5.50 through school (that was less the VAT). In the shops, I should imagine £6.50. But for a calculator with all the features I have mentioned, this is a geat price. Get yours now!