I took my Technician and General tests back in September and ours were still administered on paper and required the requisite #2 pencil so they could later scan the answer sheets to validate the results of our exams. However, the on-site results were just validated one answer at a time by the VE's, the actual scanning to validate their tentative scores was apparently done off-site in a central location. A calculator, they prefer non-programmable calculators be used, is handy for double-checking some answers, though in many cases you just need to work out the magnitude and sign (+/-) of the result to pick the correct answer from those offered, so you often do not need to work the do,union to completion. You will mostly use it to calculate wavelengths, frequencies or basic Ohm's law equations. Unfortunately, you are expected to have memorized the formulas (no formula cheat sheets or calculator programs are permitted for the tests). I've never been a big fan of this sort of memorizations because these formulas are the sort of thing most people will only memorize if they use them frequently, for those that do not I would rather a person did look up the formula beforehand rather than rely in a possibly faulty recollection of such for a possibly important calculation. But then these tests seem to be formulated more on the principle of brute memorization skill than actual mastery of the concepts covered. You'll find advice on the ARRL website as to what to bring to your exam and the suggestion of pre-registering for your FRN is included in that advice if you prefer to withhold your SSN during your first exam session (which was the option I took as well). It takes just a few minutes to register and create your FRN number on the FCC's website and there is no fee for creating the account. Once you have your FRN number this is the only number you should report on your test forms from there on as it is to this account that your license details will be assigned. At the time of my exams in September the VEC administering the exams was only charging $10. If an individual failed an exam and wanted to retake the exam then it would have been an additional $10, otherwise you can keep taking exams until you either pass all three exams or fail one for the same initial $10 fee. I'll be returning in December or January to take the Extra exam and complete my license upgrade.