Analysts may use either a Texas Instruments BA-II Plus or HP-12C (or the various editions of either calculator) when taking the CFA exams. Trained users of either calculator can perform all necessary tasks in relatively the same amount of time so there is no obvious best choice in terms of exam viability. In most cases, it probably makes sense to choose the calculator you’re the most comfortable with so you spend less of your valuable study time dedicated to learning calculation steps. Ideally, you should choose your calculator before you begin studying so you use the same calculator as you work through examples and practice tests. If you have one of each calculator but plan to use the BA-II Plus as your primary calculator then it may still be a good idea to try and borrow another BA-II Plus from a friend or co-worker to use as a backup in the unlikely event that you’ll need it.
Calculator Tips and Tricks for CFA Exams (HP-12C or BA-II Plus)