Good day, ACT scholars! Today I’m going to talk about something I used to know how to do well: ACT Math. Seriously, If I had to take the ACT Math Test today, this would be me:
My ignorance doesn’t mean I can’t guide you through the test’s content. Just don’t ask me how to do any of it, and we’ll be fine. In this article we’ll explore the 5 most frequently tested ACT Math topics, and I’ll provide a lot of links to help you expand your mathematical knowledge. First, a disclaimer: This list does not cover trigonometry questions. If you want to know this basics, this is the article for you. If you’re shooting for a 36, please check out our trig posts.
As the prefix ‘Pre’ implies, Pre-Algebra questions are the most basic (and easiest) topic on the ACT Math Test. As questions go from easy to hard on the test, you’ll see these questions first. Here are a few skills Pre-Algebra questions require you to know:
- Multiplication and division
- The difference between mean, median, and mode
- Fractions, percentages, and decimals
This topic may seem easy at first glance, but don’t become overconfident. Practice these ‘easy’ questions to make sure there are no gaps in your knowledge.
Things are staring to get a little bit harder now. The ACT Math Test switches from Pre-Algebra to Algebra questions when it asks you to substitute values. Though you may not see an ‘x’ in the problem, substitution and plugging in numbers to solve equations define Elementary Algebra questions.
Here are some other Elementary Algebra skills that you will definitely need to know:
- Factoring and Unfactoring
- Turning word problems into equations before solving them.
- Multiplying Binomials (FOIL-ing)
These questions will be some of the hardest (and most time consuming) questions on the test. You won’t see any Intermediate Algebra word problems. These questions will require you to know the following:
- Quadratic Equations (and the quadratic formula)
- Systems of Equations
- Functions (and Compound Functions)
Plane Geometry covers the simpler concepts contained within Geometry, probably things you learned in the first few months of your 10th grade Geometry class. As nearly a full quarter of ACT Math questions are Plane Geometry questions, it’s essential to know these topics:
- Basic Vocab: Line, Line Segment, Ray, Midpoint, Bisect
- Isosceles, Right, and Equilateral Triangles
- Pythagorean Theorem
- Special Right Triangles
- Area of Triangles and Polygons
- Finding the Area of Circles and Squares
- Measuring Volume
- Diagonal Length
- Rectangles and Parallelograms
Again, even though these are the ‘easier’ topics, make sure you know them all. Though it’s understandable to miss a really hard question, it’d be a shame to miss an easy one.
Is there a line graph and/or coordinate plane? If so, that’s a Coordinate Geometry question. Besides these two hallmarks of Plane Geometry, have the following down pat:
- Parallel/Perpendicular Lines
- Parabolas and conic sections
- Ellipses and Circles
P.S. For a review of the math topics tested on the ACT, check out our free ACT ebook for all you need to know about math and everything else!
P.P.S. We have this great printable ACT math formula sheet you can tape to your mirror!
That’s all for now, ACT Scholars. See you next time, and remember to carry the one!