Even before reading this article, you’ve already finished years of ACT Math practice. Yet until now, you never knew it.
Calm down! There’s a reason for this fortunate turn of events. Compared to the English, Reading, and Science Tests on the ACT, the ACT Math Test is very similar to multiple choice tests you’ve taken in middle and high school. In other words, you’ve practiced for the ACT Math with every Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, or Trigonometry test.
There are a few more things you need to know, and do, to be successful on the ACT Math test. This guide provides some strategies for test prep, but it’s still up to you to do the ‘practice’ of ACT Math practice.
The ACT Math is like the most unorganized buffet you’ve ever seen. Yet instead of having the hot dogs in the fruit section, the ACT math may have a Pre-Algebra question right after a Trigonometry question. In short, your mind is going to have to change gears many times throughout the test.
This is where the benefit of taking multiple ACT practice tests comes in handy. Even if you’re a straight A Math student (good for you if that’s the case), you still need to get used to the ACT Math’s format.
Getting to Know Your Calculator
As you’re going through your ACT Math practice, be sure to use the calculator you plan to bring on test day. But first, make sure that ACT will let your calculator in the test room.
Even if your calculator has only the four basic functions, practicing with it will make you more comfortable on test day. Remember, typing in numbers takes up valuable seconds.
Like when preparing for all parts of the ACT, don’t forget about time management. Fortunately for you, the ACT Math Test provides one minute per question, making it significantly easier to track your progress than the other three tests.
Don’t forget, though, Math questions do take more time than other questions on the ACT. As difficulty varies throughout the ACT Math, some questions may take less than a minute, but other might take more.
But I’m stuck on a question! What do I do?
If you’ve given a question just over a minute, and there’s still no clear answer, guess. There’s no penalty for wrong answers, and you may just get it right.
If you find through taking practice tests that you usually finish with a few minutes to spare, mark questions in your test booklet where you had to guess. This will let you go back when you finish. Yet if you’re the type of test taker who needs every single second, it’s best to just guess and move on for good.
But I Always Struggle with (Insert Math Topic Here) Questions!
Though it’s always frustrating to see the same types of difficult questions appear on different practice tests, being mindful of your struggle is the first step towards improvement.
It’s best, if possible, to take an example of the question to your Math teacher. He or she will be able explain the root concept and work through the problem with you. If the teacher is unavailable, it doesn’t hurt to ask one of your peers for help.
That’s all for now, mathematicians. And don’t worry, when Math gets tough, don’t forget what Albert Einstein had to say on the topic: