Student Resources


We recognize that calculators can be useful tools in understanding and exploring mathematical concepts. They can also help to reduce the computational demand present in problems. Your instructor will determine what level of calculator use is appropriate for your class. This will be in your syllabus. Please consult your syllabus for specific guidelines for your course as use varies widely.

The following calculator policies hold for the entire Mathematics Department.

If you are in MAT 121, 133, 191, 192, or 293, the Mercer University Mathematics Department policy is as follows: If your instructor plans to use a calculator for in-class activities and demonstrations, you should check to see what calculator he or she will use. All professors currently use TI calculators and most use a TI-84 Plus. If you are permitted to use a calculator on a test, please keep in mind that:

“Any misuse of a calculator on a test is a violation of Mercer’s Honor Code. Use of a calculator with built-in or downloaded computer algebra system functionality is not permitted. Additionally, using the calculator’s storage facility to store formulas, equations, text, etc. is a violation of the Honor Code. Unless otherwise stated, the graphing calculator is only to be used for numeric computation and for graphing. If you (the student) are unsure of the correctness of using a capability of the calculator, the student should consult their instructor.”

A partial listing of prohibited calculators (or equivalent) include:

Texas Instruments:

  • All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92
  • TI-Nspire CAS — Note: The TI-Nspire (non-CAS) is permitted


  • HP Prime
  • HP 48GII
  • All model numbers that begin with HP 40G, HP 49G, or HP 50G


  • fx-CP400 (ClassPad 400)
  • ClassPad 300
  • ClassPad 330
  • Algebra fx 2.0
  • All model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G

Handheld, tablet, or laptop computers, including PDAs

Electronic writing pads or pen-input devices

Calculators built into cell phones or any other electronic communication devices

Calculators with a typewriter keypad (letter keys in QWERTY format) Note: Letter keys not in QWERTY format are permitted.

Placement Test

Placement: Entering Mercer students are placed into their Mathematics courses based on their math index score. This score is based on SAT scores, ACT scores, and high school GPA. We have found this placement system to be effective at assigning students to courses that allow them to be successful. Your placement will be one of the following:

  • Category 1: Prepared for MAT 095 – College Algebra (for those who need a calculus course OR who must demonstrate that they are calc ready), MAT 104 – Mathematical Ideas (a fun course that exposes you to a variety of interesting mathematical concepts), and PHI 180 – Logic and Language
  • Category 2: Prepared for MAT 133 – Precalculus (for those who need a calculus course OR who must demonstrate that they are calc ready), STA 126 – Introduction to Statistics and CSC 204 – Programming (also prepared for any courses in Category 1)
  • Category 3: Prepared for MAT 191 – Calculus 1 (and any courses in Categories 1 & 2)

Changing Placement: If you have placed into Category 3 (Calculus 1) but feel you are missing background knowledge and are unprepared, you may take a lower level course. If you have AP credit for Calculus 1 and/or Calculus 2, you are encouraged to take the next course rather than repeating a course you have already mastered.

If you do not have a math index score or if you believe that your placement does not represent your true knowledge, you may take a math placement exam to move to a higher category. The exam is given during the summer orientation sessions and during Bear Beginnings (in August). You may only take this exam ONE time. You may bring pencil and paper to use. Please see your orientation or Bear Beginnings packet for information about the location and times of this exam.