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The ACT Math Topics Breakdown List

The ACT Math section stresses many students out but it doesn’t have to do so. To make life easier on your studying, listed below are the main ACT math topics you’ll be tested on.

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For more ACT Math-related tips, be sure to check out our additional articles linked below.

How The ACT Math Test Works

The ACT Math Test contains 60 questions that you have 60 minutes to finish. It tests math topics and skills that students should have learned up until grade 12.


ACT Math Topics To Review Before Test Day


Pre-Algebra is normally taught in middle school as a warm-up class for regular algebra. It’s designed to introduce concepts like integers, factoring, and orders of operation.

Concepts covered include:

  • Basic operations
  • How to use place value
  • Factoring
  • Square roots and exponents
  • Scientific notation
  • Ratios, proportion, and percents
  • Linear equations
  • Date collection and interpretation

Elementary Algebra

Elementary algebra expands on topics taught in pre-algebra. It begins to include the usage of variables, how algebraic equations work, etc.

Concepts covered include:

  • More exponents and square roots
  • Using substitution to solve Algebraic expressions
  • Using variables
  • Understanding how algebraic operations work
  • Using factoring to solve quadratic equations

Intermediate Algebra

Intermediate Algebra involves getting deeper into functions, relations, and quadratic equations. More advanced topics like matrices and complex numbers are introduced too.

Concepts covered include:

  • Quadratic formula and inequalities
  • Radical and rational expressions
  • Absolute value equations and inequalities
  • Systems of equations
  • Functions and modeling
  • Matrices
  • Polynomial roots
  • Complex numbers

Coordinate Geometry

Coordinate geometry covers basic level concepts involving points and lines using 2 digit coordinates. Graphing is a huge component since it shows how to turn algebraic equations into pictures.

Concepts covered include:

  • Relationships between equations and graphs
  • Parallel and perpendicular lines
  • Slope line intercept
  • Distance formula
  • Midpoint formula
  • Conics
  • Graph inequalities


Plane Geometry

Plane geometry builds off of coordinate geometry. The focus now moves from coordinates and lines to shapes that exist on a flat plane.

Concepts covered include:

  • Angles and relations for perpendicular and parallel lines
  • Properties of circles, triangles, rectangles, parallelograms, and trapezoids
  • Geometric proofs
  • Transformations
  • Volume
  • Applying geometric principles to 3 dimensions


Trigonometry is all about studying the functions of angles and how they apply to mathematical calculations. Triangles are heavily studied to help explain the angle relationships.

Concepts covered include:

  • Trigonometric relations in right triangles
  • Trigonometric function values and properties
  • Graph trigonometric functions
  • How to use trigonometric identities
  • How to solve trigonometric equations
  • Trigonometric function modeling

Additional ACT Math Articles


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Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Written by Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Prep Expert Founder & CEO

Shark Tank Winner, Perfect SAT Scorer, Dermatologist, & #1 Bestselling Author
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