ACT Math Practice Tips

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Unless you’re a Math savant that loves tackling problems, the ACT Math test creates anxiety in students. The good news is there are easy strategies you can use to reduce those fears for test day. Here are some ACT Math practice tips that anyone can use.

Besides these tips, we also have pointers on which ACT calculators you can and can’t use on test day.

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5 Helpful ACT Math Practice Tips

Practice Important Equations & Formulas

Commit important equations and formulas to memory before exam day through constant practice.

Despite the ACT provides some equations and formulas at the beginning of the Math section, you’ll have an easier time finishing faster if you memorize these ones before:

  • Equation of a line
  • Quadratic equation
  • Equation of a circle
  • Pythagorean theorem
  • SOH CAH TOA

The huge benefit here is saving yourself time. If you aren’t sure where to use these equations or formulas exactly, then you’ll lose time flipping back to the first page for reference.

That shaves off time to answer correctly. At that point, you’ll start to rush and make mistakes. That’s the first ACT Math practice tip you can use on day one.

Write Out Problem-Solving Steps

Don’t solve problems in your head, write them out.

If you’re a mental Math wizard or calculator addict, then writing down steps when solving problems may seem like a waste of time.

However, writing out your steps is actually the best defense against making simple mistakes. When you’re under pressure, they’re surprisingly easy to make.

Common mistakes include:

  • Entering the wrong number into your calculator
  • Giving the answer for x when you’ve been asked for 2x instead

The pencil and paper approach shows every step you’ve taken, or potentially not taken to get the answer. Plus, if you finish early it’s easier to review your answers quickly.

Don’t Rush Through Problems

Every Math problem is worth the same number of points, so don’t rush through easy ones and make mistakes.

Students often believe that they must finish the Math test early, without guessing on anything. However, test problems do get harder as you progress.

Because of this progression, it’s natural to rush through the easier questions, so you have more time for hard ones. There’s a big problem with this strategy, especially if you aren’t great at Math.

Speeding through the easy questions causes a lot of simple mistakes. Those mistakes create wrong answers and lost points. Even if you catch some in time, now you have to fix things that you should be done with.

The better approach to take is:

  • Take your time with the early questions
  • Answer as many of the first questions correctly as possible

Again, all the problems on the test are worth the same number of points. You should still have time to tackle the remaining 20 questions but remember the last 10 questions are quite difficult.

Most students get them wrong anyway. So, if you’re gonna guess, these are the best ones.

Bring A Wristwatch To Track Pacing

Wear a wristwatch to keep track of your answering pace.

If you want a 36 on the Math test, you’ve got to solve every problem correctly. To do so, that means leaving yourself time to double back and check answers.

To provide enough answer review time, work on budgeting your time:

  • 30 minutes for the first 40 questions
  • 30 minutes for the last 20 questions

A clock will likely be in the test center, and you’ll hear announcements from the proctor, but bring a watch to track your pace without stopping.

Plug Answer Choices Into The Question

If you get stuck, then use this trick to try and find the answer.

It doesn’t always work perfectly, but when it does—you’ve found the answer! Quick note – make sure to plug in every choice, to make sure you didn’t make a mistake.

However, use this tip only as a last resort—because it eats up a lot of time, don’t rely on it for every question. Only use it if you can’t crack it any other way.”

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