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on October 27, 2006
I bought this calculator's distant ancestor six or seven years ago in College and loved it ever since. The old model was the first calc that gave you graphing calculator editing capabilities in a small calc package and it was a steal for the $12 or $14 I paid for it then. This new generation is nothing short of a quantum leap forward. For the first time you can enter equations exactly as you would write them. The font switches to a smaller size, so you can review the whole equation at once. It also has a solver funtion that is intuitive and quick; I used it all the time on open channel flow problems, or any equation that would require more than mild rearranging of terms. This may be the only calc on the PE approved list that has this ability.

Other high points:

* excellent battery life and solar ability

* Table function

Minor quibbles:

* you may have to slow down the pace when keying in as it will miss keystrokes if you type too fast

* you have to hit Shift to get to 'X' (alpha) or Pi

* when editing an equation, very slow to cursor to where you want
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on September 18, 2009
I failed the FE last semester. Yes, probably one of 5 who failed out of like thousands who did fine. Needless to say I'm ashamed. I was a last semester senior in civil with a completely overwhelming 18 hour schedule which I should have known was suicide. Plus many other personal life complications and interruptions. All that business led me to completely put off all studying for the FE thinking it would be a sinch. Plus, friends had said it wasn't that bad at all. Lesson learned. Study for this test! I will not allow myself to fail this test again. Unless you're a genius, do not put off the studying like I did. I'm a 3.5 gpa student.

I'm registered to take this test again this October. I'm now a grad student and my schedule is actually much more realistic. I have been studying with a partner 2-3 times a week, for several hours at a time. We help push each other when we we're stuck. We both have the giant FE review manual by lindebergh. Also, go to the NCEES site, print out the Reference Manual available in pdf at kinkos and have it bound there. It is vital to get to know your way around it.

CALCULATOR!!! I actually owned this Casio fx 115ES for my first time taking the FE. Though I had spent a little time getting to know it before the test, I have realized only recently that it was not near enough! I have vowed to know this thing inside and out and in the process I have realized that this may be the best calculator ever created.

I have used a TI-86 for years. I always loved the TI setup so I thought about getting one of TI approved models, but the fx-115ES was rated a lot higher and had better reviews than the other calculators permitted on the exam. I got it. It frustrated me for a while because it seemed so unlike the format of TIs. I thought I was comfortable enough with it for the test, but obviously I wasn't. I feel I'm a notoriously bad timed test taker. You should know absolutely everything about the ref manual you can and know every short cut on your calculator as possible. Each 4 hour segment moves way fast!

This semester I have actually been using the fx-115ES during classes and for all my homework. Discovering shortcuts that I had no idea existed. The display is amazing. I like seeing a fraction like how I would write it on paper and this calculator allows you to do that. In fact, you can put fractions in the numerator and denominator of a fraction! You can even put fractions in the next fractions! Does that make sense? It helps me immensely because I have realized I notoriously type things in wrong in calculators. If I get an answer that isn't one of the choices, I can press the navigation key and go back and look at everything I typed in and easily fix it. It is amazing. I have done that over and over.

You can enter constants (Avogadro's number, gravity, etc etc) and can convert units by using the little cheat sheet that is already glued on the inside of the sliding case. Figuring out how to quickly use that (which is not hard at all) is also an amazing help.

There is a genius little button that converts mixed numbers to decimal form. I know that it's in most calculators but it seems better on this one. There is also a button to convert to engineering (i.e. 10^-4). At my level of schooling, integrating and derivation are very quick and easy, but holy crap, I can do it even faster on this calculator! There are so many great little features in this calculator that you'll find yourself wondering why other calculators even exist. Because I don't need to do a lot of graphing anymore, I actually have switched so this is basically my sole calculator. I recommend everyone do this. I am beyond confident that I will slaughter the FE this time around.

And just to prove to you one more thing. I researched the hell out of the available TI calculators this summer. I got the one that I thought was the best and offered the most functions. TI-36Solar. Don't even bother. It is built way cheaper than the fx-115ES. It's only solar and I found that it had a hard time turning on and being seen in the middle of the day!!!! This is a huge issue as FE exam rooms can be very dim! The Casio is double powered and contrast is easily controlled! The buttons on the TI are inferiorly organized to the Casio.

LAST NOTE! DO NOT get the fx-115MS or ANY other model of the fx-115. My study friend after seeing me gush over this ES finally decided to get one. He accidently got the MS and to his horror, the display is only one line and with less functions. I cannot believe I have typed all this up. I think I'm just hoping to help people to not make the same mistakes I did.
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VINE VOICEon June 4, 2007
I had an upcoming exam that specifically prohibited programmable calculators, so while I have quite the "stable" HP RPN machines, all of them were out. The FX-115ES was what I found as a substitute, and I'm quite impressed, especially for the price (which is $18 at Target, BTW). The machine works well and is quite feature-laden and easy to use -- I believe it is the most powerful non-programmable, non-graphing machine out there, and at a price where you can afford a few spares to spread around your home, office, car, etc. so that you don't have to worry about losing one.

I've had tons of calculators over time, with the Casio FX-4000P (back in the late '80s) being the first truly memorable one (my brother had an FX-7000G, the first graphing calculator). I switched to HPs in college, and I am still an RPN die-hard (I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the 30th anniversary HP-35s this summer!), but I can still appreciate a quality product such as this from Casio.
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on April 23, 2007
Casio has always been about Bang-for-the-buck and they have gotten really good at it too. I loved the constants and conversion features. The only aspect i don't like about this calci is it switches itself off after a short while, often while you are contemplating what to do. This is annoying because all the previous calculations in memory or the value on the display get viped out. This is why I am stripping one star out of its rating.
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on February 7, 2008
King of affordable full featured sci calculators anyways. I bought this & the 115ms specifically for the NCEES FE/FS exams after heavy use of ti-86 thru most of undergrad school. The TI certainly is nice for graphing, full matrix capability, programming, etc., but in general, i wish i had used the Casios all along as they are so incredibly handy & much easier to lug along. It's really all you'll need, even thru calculus, physics, statistics & chemistry. The 2-line display on the 115es is handy, and the natural display is nice for seeing fractions displayed in a horizontal stack (as would appear on paper), for entering derivative or integration problems as would be in a textbook, and for the standard display of answers (i.e. exact answer vs. decimal answer). Otherwise, its easy enough to switch to the more common 'line' entry mode to get all answers in decimal(as some mental giants here have complained about), or simply hit the S-D key [standard to decimal].

Things i like about the 115ms specifically (compared to the 115es) is its clearer, crisper display, the keyboard is more intuitive, and also the solve feature is more flexible than the es. If you input an equation using multiple variables, with the ms, you just toggle between the variable inputs as you're entering the data to solve for the desired one. With the es, you have to specify at the end of your equation which variable you want to solve for, before you even get to the data input. A minor gripe.

Otherwise, the es is definitely more user-friendly in the various modes available, and with matrix, table, and vector capability, unit conversions and some scientific constants, much more advanced than the ms. Casio should combine the pros of the 2 platforms and they could call it the 115ts because it would be "the-sh#t! Also, they need to make a real operator manual - otherwise i would of given 5-stars for this full-featured gem.
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on March 25, 2006
This calculator does some great things: solve 2nd and 3rd degree polynomials (quadratic and cubic equations), solve 2-eq-2-unknowns and 3-eq-3-unknowns (must be in the correct form), solve equations of any form that contain 1 variable type, convert degrees/radians, convert rectangular/polar, solve integrals/derivatives/summations that have numeric answers, it keeps answers in "exact" notations (a result can show up to be "5/2 pi", and press a button to toggle the decimal value), it can do simple matrix operations on up-to 3x3 matrices, it can accept an "f(x)=..." and produce a table of values when you input the start value, stop value, and step (you must limit it to 30 results), and you can input a bunch of data values and instantly calculate the mean and standard deviaion. The screen is huge, allowing for menus that haven't been possible on previous scientific calculators, and it's easy to enter fractions with lots of stuff in the numerator/denominator.

Some poor interface decisions were made. The "Shift" and "Alpha" colors are dark yellow and red, and it's hard to see the difference. There's no "X" key--you have to hit [Alpha] [X], yet there are keys for "M+", "^2", "^-1", and two very similar "log" keys; this is extremely annoying, as I use "X" all the time. When editing your input you can't hit [Shift] [right arrow] to jump to the rightmost side (as you can on a TI graphing calculator). If an answer is on the screen, you can't hit [square root] [=]; you have to hit [square root] [ans] [=]. It's annoying that you can't use "Polar(a,b)" or "Rect(mag,theta)" in Complex mode. Finally, just for fun, my own personal benchmark, "69!", is slower to compute than with previous fx-115 calculators.

The bottom line: a TI-89 is 10 times better in every way than the fx-115ES, having a much better OS, screen resolution, keypad layout, and much more robustness with all computations and variable handling. Standardized tests might prohibit graphing calculators but allow the ES, and it's the best scientific calculator I've seen.
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on August 9, 2011
I was jubilant when I bought this calculator for $17. The natural display is great, and the functionality listed was pretty impressive. After all, it handled matrices, vectors, complex numbers, n-summations, binomial coefficients, and integration; it had a table and statistics modes; and it could solve quadratic and cubic equations!

Sadly, memory and computational restrictions (both signalled with the dreaded "math error") spoil most of these advanced features. Here are my gripes about those:

1. I use matrices on a regular basis, but 95% of the computation I do with 3x3 (or 2x2 or 1x1 or non-square x<4, y<4) matrices takes less time mentally than with the ES. I was excited about the ES because many operations with 4x4+ matrices (most) are extremely time-consuming. However, the ES is limited to 3x3 matrices.

2. Many calculations that I've needed to perform on exams, homework, or research result in out-of-memory errors ("math error"). Sometimes the calculations can easily be split into multiple parts, but sometimes not. It has occasionally run out of memory in simple (albeit long) calculations, but the far greater issue is that advanced functions take tremendous memory to perform. Anything involving n-summations, certainly, is likely to be an issue.

3. Integration, differentiation, and (to a lesser extent) complex-number calculations are quite limited. Many real integration problems result in math errors, and I've even seen it return false results. The differentiation seems to work moderately well, and simple complex-number calculations work fine; but neither is great.

In essence, what I feel I have is a non-graphing, natural-display, few-advanced-features $17 calculator, which is honestly still a bargain.
The natural display really does help prevent mistakes (though, to warn: the natural-display fraction costs more memory than the more familiar slash), and the statistics functions can save a lot of time.

Three complaints I do have about the interface:
1. When memory gets low, you must wait between keystrokes.
2. There is no way to scroll quickly, so it's possible to spend (and I have spent) 10 seconds just scrolling through a long fraction.
3. There are two settings: scientific notation or no scientific notation. When it's on scientific notation (for any number of digits 0-9 you set it to display), 5x5 displays: 2.500000000x10^1, which is mildly annoying. When it's not on scientific notation, 111111x11111 displays: 1234554321, so I often have to take a pencil point to the display just to count the digits.

I recommend the ES for anyone needing it for exams where no computer or graphing calculators are permitted. But when I need to do calculations outside of an exam room, I use my laptop or TI-89.
My opinion is that it should be bought for its natural display, low cost, and lack of graphing capability, not for its advanced features.

I'm an undergraduate (junior) computational biology / math dual-major.
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on April 9, 2010
I'm taking college algebra right now, which this calculator is perfect for. I purchased this model for the versatility it offers; since I will be taking statistics next semester I needed something that I could also potentially use for that. According to Casio's website this calculator has been suggested for the following courses : General Math, Calculus, Pre-Algebra, Biology, Algebra I and II, Chemistry, Geometry, Physics, Trigonometry, Engineering and Statistics.

Concerning calculator use, I especially love the customizable logarithm button, which allows you to punch in bases other than the default 10 depending on what you're doing (of course the default log button is still present, it just has an added one for custom logs eliminating the need for the change of base formula). I also really like the fact that the screen shows everything you have entered before you compute the answer, allowing you to go back and edit the equation if you discover you have made an input error (a feature which my last scientific calculator did not have).
Overall a great calculator and definitely worth the money.
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on April 25, 2011
It's a great calculator. You can read find out what it does from the specs. Yes, it does a lot.


All clear button, or turning the calculator off... Clears the stack, AND ALL HISTORY. (neither ti30sx multiview, or Sharp 516 have this issue). Everything. You walk away for 5 minutes, come back to turn it on, ALL YOUR CALCULATIONS ARE GONE FROM HISTORY. I don't know what casio was thinking. Drives me nuts.

The "E" button is replaced by a gimpy "x10^x" button, which prints a very annoying "x10" characters in smaller font. It acts just like an "E" character, but just looks stupid.
Instead of "4E34", this calculator shows "4x1034" with "x10" part slightly smaller. It really looks stupid, it's a half-ass conversion to full scientific notation, which doesn't convey clearly the actual scientific notation, and on top of that doesn't look right.

Of all the important functions, Casio chose to put "STO" (memory store) as a 2nd function. Interestingly "RCL" (recall) is the primary function of the button, but it's not even necessary, because "alpha" key does exactly the same... So there's 2 buttons duplicating the same function, and the important "sto" got shoved away into 2nd function. Does casio even have engineers or beta testers? Any attention paid to ergonomics? Why not put the whole number pad into 2nd function while they're at it, making their calculators more difficult to use than necessary.

If you have a fraction, you MUST press "fraction" key BEFORE entering the fraction.
So when entering 2/3, you have to press [frac],[2],[->],[3]... you canNOT enter [2][frac][3].. it's not intuitive, and drives me nuts every time.

I'm unhappy with unit conversions as well. The unit displays no way to look up conversions or constants without looking at the cheat sheet on the back cover. I guess you're supposed to memorize the meaningless codes for each conversion and constants that you like using (?).

Another weirdness, is that to enter sinh, you press [hyp] button, but then you have to choose the function from the menu! WHY? Why didn't they route you to the regular sin,cos,tan after pressing [hyp] to finish the command (just like they do it on every other calculator).

It's an alright calculator otherwise. Yes, it's pretty-print, and it does numerical integration. Does matrices, imaginary and vectors. I'd recommend the Sharp EL-W516B Scientific Calculator with WriteView (Black). Pretty much does the same thing, but without those annoyances. Ti-30xs multiview is a more userfriendly machine, but lacks most of the advanced functions (solve, int,deriv), if you don't need those, I'd recommend any of the current multiview TI's. Or wait until TI-36x pro comes out.
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on August 29, 2010
Not all scientific calculators are created equal: different capabilities are presented by different models depending on what disciplines they support. I needed a new scientific calculator, but wanted one that made quick computer science calculations easy.

After shopping unsuccessfully for some time, I stumbled upon this model one day in a Staples. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had three different logarithm keys: one for natural logs, one for log base ten, and a third which allows the base to be inserted as a variable. Since many computer science calculations require base two logarithms, I was overjoyed. Then I saw it had keys supporting the following bases: 2, 8, 16, and 10. My jaw dropped when I saw how inexpensive it was, so I quickly bought it.

I have used this calculator quite a bit. I'm not rough on such things, but a couple years of use has not led to any problems. The display allows me to see both what I have typed in and the answer, so I can confirm the calculation is what I wanted. A small solar panel helps power the device. I like the reversible slide-off cover better than the flip-cover of my older Sharp calculator. This calculator is light weight and just over half an inch thick, so it slips easily inside a briefcase or pack.
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