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Calculator Exam Mode - Why and How with the fx-9750GIII and fx-CG50 Prizm

Updated: Mar 15

We are entering the season of assessments (which is not as glamorous as it sounds!), and teachers and students are all preparing to take SAT®, ACT® and AP® exams. Hopefully, if you were able to explore my previous posts with tips and strategies for preparing for these exams. If not, the links to each of those are below:


There are also state and local math assessments, such as End-of-Course exams and IB Exams. With COVID19 and the strange school year we have had, states are approaching these exams/assessments differently, so be sure to ask your school district what the policy is for these assessments this year. The Department of Education is not letting many states out of state testing, but how they are counted toward student achievement will differ by state.


Exam Mode - The Why

None of the national assessments ( SAT®, ACT® and AP®) require that students put any graphing calculators they use into Exam mode, but many state and local assessments do require this process before students are allowed to use a graphing calculator. Exam Mode locks down some of the applications and functionality of the calculator so that student do not have an unfair advantage when taking the assessment. Exam Mode restricts the calculators access to Memory mode (so students can store formulas, for example), Program mode (where they could have created a program to solve specific things), e-Activity, vector commands, Program commands, E-Con3/E-Con4 mode, data transfers, add-in applications (like Geometry tools, Physium, and Probability Simulations), add-in languages, storage memory access, and any user-name editing. Casio has four different exam modes, available on the fx-9750GIII and fx-CG50 graphing calculators. They are each described in the PDF document attached below, but only two are relevant for U.S. students, so I will describe them here:

  1. Exam Mode for IB (available on both the fx-9750GIII and the fx-CG50):

  • Restricts e-Activity, E-CON3/E-CON4, Memory, Program, Python, and all Add-in Applications and Vector Calculations

  • On the fx-9750GIII, the Math Output option is also restricted

  1. Exam Mode for Texas (US) (available on both the fx-9750GIII and the fx-CG50)

  • Restricts e-Activity, E-CON3/E-CON4, Memory, Program, Python, and all Add-in Applications, Vector Calculations, and Inequality Graph

  • On the fx-9750GIII, Math Output is also restricted.

Exam Mode - The How

For each calculator, the process to get the calculator into Exam Mode is similar, but I am going to provide a walk-through video for both the fx-9750GIII and the fx-CG50 below. A couple things to keep in mind when entering a Casio calculator into Exam Mode:

  1. You do NOT need to be connected to another calculator or computer to enter a Casio graphing calculator into Exam Mode

  2. You DO need to have the latest OS for each calculator, so be sure to check your OS first (see the attached guide above for checking and updating your calculator OS). Here is a link to a video that shows you the process for updating your OS for your handheld graphing calculator.

  3. Setting Exam Mode in the calculators (NOTE: Once a calculator is set to Exam Mode, it stays that way for 12 hours, though there are ways to shorten that - SEE STEP #5 below). You can see the steps for all Exam Mode Options in the Casio Graphing Exam Mode Guide above, but I have listed the two specific to US below.

  • Steps to set graphing calculators to Exam Mode 1 (IB)

  • Be sure calculator is OFF

  • Hold down [COS], [7] ), and [AC/on] buttons all at once

  • Press [F1] (yes) then [F2] (Continue?)

  • Steps to set graphing calculators to Exam Mode 4 (TX)

  • Be sure calculator is OFF

  • Hold [DIVIDE BUTTON](T), [PLUS BUTTON] (X), and [AC/On] all at once

  • Press [F1] (Yes), then [F2] (Continue), then [F1] (Yes)

  1. Once a calculator is in Exam Mode, there are indicators that allow you to visually see if a calculator is in exam mode

  • On the black-and-white fx-9750GIII, you should see a blinking 'R' in the right hand top corner no matter what menu app the student is in.

  • On the color fx-CG50, a green border appears around the screen of the calculator and there is also the blinking R in the top right corner, so it's easy to visually confirm that students calculators are indeed in Exam Mode

  1. EXAM MODE LASTS 12 HOURS - and then will automatically turn off

  • On the Casio calculators, you do not need to do anything to get out of Exam Mode - the calculator will automatically revert to regular mode after 12 hours, making it really easy to get back to normal operations the next day after an assessment.

  • If however, you desperately need to turn off Exam Mode before the 12 hours is up, you have two options

  • Using a USB connector, connect the calculator to a PC/Computer

  1. Click on the calculator from your storage list (it's acting as a USB thumb drive)

  2. Drag any file/image into the storage of the calculator

  3. Terminate/Exit the USB Connection - this automatically will turn off Exam Mode

  • Use a calculator-to-calculator connection (3pin cable) and connect the Exam Mode calculator to another calculator NOT in Exam mode

  1. On the Exam Mode calculator, go to the Link App menu and press [F2]

  2. On the NON-Exam Mode Calculator, go the the Link App Menu and press [F3], [F1], [F1]

The following videos are quick how-to's for putting the fx-9750GIII and fx-CG50 into Exam Mode, and then taking them out of Exam Mode via computer connection, IF you don't want to wait the 12 hours for the auto-exit from Exam Mode.

fx-9750 Exam Mode and Exam Mode Exit



fx-CG50 Prizm Exam mode and Exam Mode Exit


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