The ACT math test often makes students stress out. Many think it is the hardest part of the exam, but is it true? It could be, yet it doesn’t have to. You see, no matter what your strengths and weaknesses are, practice is the only thing that makes perfect. Still, you have to know how to prepare effectively to save time and achieve the perfect score. For this, we prepared time-proven ACT math tips and tricks that will make all the difference.
FAQ: The ACT Math Test in Simple Terms
Before we dive into the ACT math tips, let’s cover the basics to understand this section and know what to expect.
What is the ACT Math Section Format?
The ACT math test represents 60 multiple-choice questions with four variants. The exam assesses different skills in several areas:
- Preparing for higher math (35 questions). It focuses on advanced math concepts, from simple equation solving to logarithms. This section has five subcategories: algebra, geometry, statistics, functions, numbers, and quantity.
- Integrating essential skills (25 questions). This section evaluates your ability to find solutions to complex problems. It involves solving non-routine issues, connecting skills, and demonstrating fluency.
- Modeling (questions split between two previous categories). This part of the ACT math test includes tasks related to producing, interpreting, and evaluating models. It measures your ability to use modeling skills across various mathematical topics.
How Long Does the ACT Math Test Take?
The ACT math test lasts 60 minutes. This means that you have up to 50-60 seconds per question. In comparison to other ACT sections, math takes longer. Also, after this part of the exam, you will have a 10-minute break before the reading section. Still, there is no rest time between the English and math sections.
What Does the ACT Math Test Cover?
The ACT math section covers the school program, including algebra, geometry, functions, statistics, probability, and more. Apart from the basics, the exam also measures how well students can deal with more complex tasks, such as percentages and rates or median and average.
Should You Aim for a 36 Score on the ACT Math Test?
Of course, each case is unique. Yet, generally speaking, why wouldn’t you want to get a maximum score? The least a high grade could do is balance weaknesses in other ACT test sections. If you’re strong in math, you should do your best to compensate for potentially lower scores in science, English, or reading.
Is It Allowed to Use Calculator on the ACT Math Test?
The good news is that you can use a calculator during your ACT math test. You can complete many tasks without it. Still, it can speed up several processes and save time, which is very needed during the exam. So, before the test, ensure your calculator can manage positive and negative exponents, parentheses, basic functions, fractions/decimals conversion, and linear equations. But, sharing calculators during the test is not permitted, so you should use your own.
5 ACT Math Tips to Success
Knowledge of formulas and math rules is critical to succeed on the ACT math test. Practical experience with their usage is also vital, but there are additional things to look out for. Below, we’ve summed up some of the time-proven ACT math tips to help you get a perfect score.
Tip 1: Understand Your Strong and Weak Sides
Every student faces unique challenges in the ACT math test. Some struggle with math concepts, while others grapple with time constraints. To find your weaknesses, you should take several practice tests focusing solely on the math section. Set a 60-minute timer and simulate actual test conditions. If you exceed the time limit, continue until completing the exam. Then, mark each new or changed answer as the one done with extra time. After noting these, you can evaluate your test for both a realistic score (within time limits) and an additional-time score. This can help assess your performance under different conditions and better understand your struggles.
Tip 2: Fill the Content Gap With Practice
If, after the preparation, you figure out that you have some math knowledge gaps, it is time to focus on them. You can start refreshing each math section one by one and pay more attention to unclear topics. Do not hesitate to ask for help from your teachers and tutors. If you have some difficulties with studying in regular classes, you can try extra courses or specialized online sources for ACT math preparation. Just keep in mind that systematic practice and learning from your own mistakes is the one sure way to improve your score.
Tip 3: Consider Taking Extra Time
Your ultimate goal is to become so proficient in the ACT math exam that you not only complete every task but also have spare time for review. With 60 questions in 60 minutes, you aim for an average of 1 minute per question. Yet, the tougher tasks might take 2 or 3 minutes each. If you find any question taking more than 30 seconds and it’s still unclear, move on and return to it later. Even when aiming for a perfect score, consider skipping challenging parts to maximize efficiency. Every second will matter during your exam. Imagine that saving just 5 seconds per question gives you substantial 5 minutes of extra time.
Still, don’t stress too much about it. If you practice a lot, you have nothing to worry about. Try to quickly review your answer bubbling around 2 minutes before the time ends. To double-check your work effectively, you can solve questions differently. Allocate time for this at the end of the exam to avoid unnecessary back-and-forth.
Tip 4: Avoid Careless Mistakes
Careless mistakes are common and frustrating. Despite knowing the material and solution, errors occur when doing calculations. These mistakes are costly, but a few tricks can help. Start with underlining the specific goal of the question to avoid solving the wrong aspect. Next, determine the units if looking for a value (e.g., length — meters, kilometers, etc.).
Also, focus when entering numbers into the calculator to prevent unnecessary mistakes. The main reason for careless mistakes is rush. On the ACT math test, you have many questions and very tight timeframes, which is stressful. So, before the math test, you need to be mentally strong and focused. Unnecessary panic could cost you an excellent math score. Training is the game changer in dealing with anxiety. When you know that you are well-prepared, you are less likely to fear the exam.
Tip 5: Memorize ACT Math Formulas
Are you struggling with math formulas? It’s a sign you need more practice with the ACT math section. Mastery means fluently recalling required formulas. That’s why you’ll have to do some memorizing for smoother problem-solving. You can make a list of the most common ACT math formulas and rules and repeat them regularly. You should cover all math sections, such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. If some parts of the test are much harder for you than others, pay more attention to them by practicing more.
So, as you see, the ACT math test has many details to it. Still, you have a high chance to succeed if you are determined. The important thing is to try different strategies and choose the right one for your own training. Practice the ACT math tips mentioned in this blog, and you will definitely improve your score.