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Calculator Features
If you are not already using the following features, they
take only a few minutes to learn,
and could save you time during an exam:
2^{nd} FORMAT (2^{nd} function of “.” Key)
This is personal preference, but I strongly suggest
the following settings: DEC=9 and AOS (These are the first and last functions
in FORMAT; the others (degrees/radians, date format, and commas/decimals
are not critical to financial calculations).
With decimals set to “9” (floating, actually), you will
always have the
maximum accuracy in your answer, and can round it to the number of places
that will suit the problem.
With AOS (algebraic operating system ) active, the
mathematical processes
will be performed in the order dictated by the usual rules of algebra
(exponents first, then multiplication and division , then addition and
subtraction), and you will have less need for parentheses in your calculations .
(Example: Perform the following calculation: 2 + 3 x 4 = .
If your calculator is set to Chain (“Chn”), the answer will be 20 (= 5 x 4).
If your calculator is set to “AOS,” the answer will be 14 (= 2 + 12).
RESET
(2^{nd} function of the calculator’s decimal point key: Press “2^{ND} RESET ENTER”)
It is important to understand the RESET function, because your calculator will
be
reset by the exam administration staff when you check in to take the actuarial
exam. This resets to zero all of the memories , the TVM registers, etc. It also
changes P/Y and C/Y to 1 and BGN /END to END. None of these changes should
create a problem for you.
HOWEVER, the RESET key also changes “decimal places” to 2,
and changes
“order of operations” to Chain (“Chn”). As explained above, you will likely want
to change these back to “9” and “AOS,” respectively, before the exam begins. To
do this, press the following keys:
2^{ND} FORMAT  9 ENTER  UP ARROW  2^{ND} SET  CE/C  
display:  DEC=2  DEC=9  Chn  AOS  0 
2^{nd} ANS (2^{nd} function of the “=” key)
This gives the result of the last calculation (the
last calculation that ended with the “=” key, that is). This can often save you
the time of recalculating a number that you should have saved but didn’t.
2^{nd} MEM (2^{nd} function of “0” key)
This allows you to review the contents of all 10
standard memories, using the upanddown arrow keys.
2^{nd} DEL & INS (2^{nd} functions of upanddown arrow keys)
These buttons allow you to
insert and delete cash flows when entering or editing a series of cash flows in
the CF workbook.
CE/C
You can use this key (instead of “2^{ND} QUIT”) to exit the special financial
calculator features: Bond workbook, Cash Flow workbook, BGN/END function,
P/Y function, MEM function, AMORT workbook, and ICONV workbook.1
You can also exit any of these workbooks or functions by
activating a
different workbook or function.2 You can perform a calculation while in a
workbook, but the onscreen “caption” will remain in the display during your
calculation, and the calculator will still be in the workbook mode.
If you have performed a calculation while in a workbook,
you will have to press
CE/C twice to exit the workbook. The first time you press CE/C, the calculator
will display the previous workbook value (which can be a useful feature); press
CE/C a second time (and in some cases a third time) to exit the workbook.
RCL the TVM values
All of the TVM buttons (N, I/Y, PV, PMT, FV) can be used
with RCL (e.g., RCL PMT) to redisplay the value that has been either entered
or calculated for that variable.
→ Just below the ON/OFF key is the “arrow” button for
correcting erroneous
numerical entries , one character at a time. For example, if you have hit the
decimal point when you didn’t want to, or entered too many zeroes, just back
up by using this key.
Don’t
forget to use these keys when you need to square a number or take a square
root . It is much faster than using y^{x} . Hitting a key twice also comes in handy
for
4^{th} powers and 4^{th} roots, which are fairly common in interest problems.
Solving a polynomial
If you have an emergency need to solve a polynomial , you
can try using the CF workbook, although its capabilities are distinctly limited.
Here is the process: Enter the constant term as CF_{0}, the
linear coefficient (the
coefficient of x ) as C01 (and F01=1), the 2^{nd} degree coefficient (the
coefficient of x^{2}) as C02, etc.
Then press “IRR” and “CPT.” This displays a value for 100 i (that is, an
interest rate in percent). But you are want to find the value of v, because x in
your equation is v in the IRR formula .
Press the following keys to find x: ^{3} รท 100 + 1 = 1/ x
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