# TI 84 Calculator Top 6 Tips Before Getting Started

First, you need to know this:

## ENTER is your Equals Sign

Once you have entered the function or equation you want, you have to press ENTER in order for the calculator to calculate what you just entered. Basically, ENTER is your equals sign. So, get to it.

## Parentheses Will Save You

You have no idea how important parentheses are when using any calculator to help you in math. The best example is in the use of fractions or rational functions.

Easily, using parentheses, more likely not using them or using them incorrectly is the number one cause of miscalculations on a calculator. Not kidding. I’ve been teaching/tutoring over 20 years. Want to make a mistake: misuse parentheses.

## Difference Twixt Negative and Minus

This is the next biggest cause of problems with any calculator, TI 84 calculator or otherwise.

If you’re entering a negative number, use the negative sign. For subtraction, you can use the minus sign. Most of the time you will be using minus in subtraction. However, as you progress through math, you will learn the difference between the two. If you use a minus in place of a negative sign, your TI 84 calculator won’t like it. In fact, it won’t calculate the answer. Instead, it will give you an error message.

## Types of Errors TI 84 Calculator

There are some typical error messages you will encounter no matter how proficient you are using your TI 84 calculator. Don’t worry. We all make mistakes.

If it’s any consolation, the TI 84 makes mistakes, too. They are exceedingly rare. If you want to know them, please ask.

## Upgrade Operating System TI 84

There’s a chance you can upgrade your TI 84 operating system. That is, if your operating system is outdated. If you can upgrade, you’ll only need the TI Connect software. This is a free download from the TI 84 website (link).

After you have the software, you’ll need the cable to connect your TI 84 calculator to a USB port of your computer.

*Just a hint: some aspects of the video might be dated.

## Keyboard Overview

There are some parts of your keypad you ought to know. The more familiar you are with your TI 84 keypad, the more enjoyment you will experience in using your TI 84 calculator.

Good luck and have fun using your TI 84 calculator! The more you know the less you’ll suffer.

## By Martin

Martin McSweeney is a National Merit Finalist, Pomona College Graduate, and member of MENSA. He has worked at the Center for Talented Youth (Loyola Marymount University campus); Upward Bound (Harvey Mudd campus); various test prep companies; and Whittier High School. Now, Martin helps students of all abilities improve their relationship with math.