CAT Virtual Calculator – How it can be used in a better way?


CAT Virtual CalculatorCAT 2016 will be held on December 4, 2016. Over the years the exam has evolved into an online one and the virtual calculator is one feature incorporated into the testing system such that candidates need not bring a physical one to the test centres. While the move is an excellent one considering that carrying a physical calculator is eliminated and there can be no wrong doing involved in any circumstance with a virtual one in place. The problems start after that. It is a common fact that all students have studied with the help of the physical calculator as the concept of the virtual calculator is still practically non-existent in our education system, the enforced usage of the virtual calculator has become a bit cumbersome and bothersome to many. This leads to many students avoiding using it and acclimatizing themselves to good old calculations by hand. In this article, we try to clarify some of the myths around the CAT and how to use the virtual calculator.


CAT Experts advise that students must practise on the CAT 2016 virtual calculator as it will allow them to understand its working as well as they will get used to do calculations with its help. With constant practice candidates will be able to work with ease when performing the needed calculations. The calculations and other details have been taken from the CAT 2016 Mock Test. Candidates can use the calculator after logging in for the mock test for calculations and practice.

Understanding the functions of the CAT 2016 Virtual Calculator

Memory Functions: The first row after the display shows the memory functions. They are pretty simple to use and students just need to practice to incorporate their usage to aid them in their CAT 2016 exam. The memory functions are used to store values in memory to recall them later for other calculations.

MCThis is to clear the memory
MRThis is used to recall the stored data on display
MSsaves the value into memory
M+Adds the currently displayed number on the calculator to the number in memory
M-Subtracts the currently displayed number from the number in memory

Some examples for the use of the Memory functions:

For example: Get to the number 100 using the memory functions

Step 1Make sure the M indicator is not on. Then type 50 and press MS. This means that the number 50 is saved to memory
Step 2: To get 100 in memory, there are two methods: a. After the display is clear, type 2, multiply button and press MR. The number displayed will be 100
b. Make sure the screen is clear. Press MR to recall the stored number – 50. Press M+ and add 50. The number 100 will be displayed.
Step 3Press MC to clear memory

Other Characters in the CAT 2016 Virtual calculator:

Backspace allows candidates to clear the number last typed
CClear allows candidates to clear the data or the last operation performed
Square root functionExample: Calculate the square root of 225Step: 225 [ √ ]Result is 15
+/-This is the Sign button to change the sign of the number entered
+, -, /, xfor addition, subtraction, division and multiplication respectively
=The equal to button and gives the result of the operation performed. It can be used in the middle of any calculation to evaluate the answer of an intermediate calculation. Pressing = ensures that no calculation or operation is pending.
%The Percentage Key displays any arithmetic operation as a percentage. But it doesn’t work as simple as envisaged. See examples below
1/xThe Reciprocal allows one to compute the reciprocal of the number displayed. It takes the value given and puts it as the denominator with 1 as the numerator

How to use the % key?

QuestionSteps to follow
What is 10% of 90?Type 10, then % and 90. Press = button and you get 9
To calculate what the price may be after 10% hike on a product of Rs 90?Type 90+10%90 and then = you get 99
To calculate the price after a discount of 10% on a product of Rs 90Type 90 – 10%90 and then = you get 81

How to use the 1/x function?

QuestionSteps to follow
Input 4 and press 1/xThe answer given is 0.25 which is ¼ converted to decimals.
To get the decimal value of for the fraction 1/ (24 – 2.5)Enter 24 – 2.5 = 0.4. Press the reciprocal button to get 0.04651. This is the value of the fraction: 1/0.4.

Benefits of the CAT 2016 Virtual Calculator

The CAT 2016 calculator is a basic one and must be used prudently by students for calculating the fractions, percentage problems as well as the other. Most of the usage is expected to be in the Data Interpretation Questions (DI) as well as Quant questions.

While the calculator is definitely a useful tool, candidates must be the ones who will decide where and when to use it. This kind of ability will come only if students use the CAT 2016 Virtual Calculator frequently and get accustomed to working with it. Students must also learn to be judicious while adapting to the Virtual calculator of CAT 2016. They must use it for the complex fractions and such which may them a lot of time in calculations.

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