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Molly Kiefer

ACT Math 2018: Prep for THIS YEAR’S Test | Video Post

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If you’re planning on taking the ACT, you may be feeling little nervous about the Math Section. Don’t stress! A lot of students struggle with ACT Math…but our experts are here to help!

The big questions is: What’s the best way to prep for this year’s ACT Math Section?

We’ve got you covered! To get you started down the path to studying success, we’re proud to present our brand new ACT math resource: the “ACT Math 2018: Prep for THIS YEAR’S Test ” video.

Watch the embedded video below, or scroll down for a full video transcript. 🙂

What Will I See in the “ACT Math 2018: Prep for THIS YEAR’S Test” Video?

In this free video, our ACT expert Kat will give you a brief introduction, followed by five must-have tips for crushing the 2018 ACT Math section.

In this video you will learn about:

    1. Means!
    2. Medians!
    3. Modes!
    4. Geometric Diagram Problems!
    5. Understanding your mistakes!

Check out these Math Practice Questions for 2018! And if you like the video, don’t forget to hit Like, and subscribe to the channel for more ACT study tips. 🙂

“ACT Math 2018: Prep for THIS YEAR’S Test” Full Transcript


Hey there, this is Kat at Magoosh, I’m the ACT expert.

And today I’m gonna talk to you about what is on the ACT math section in the 2018, 2019 test cycle.

So we’ve been looking at most recent exams and studying some trends, studying frequency of question types.

And I have some really interesting findings to share with you, but more importantly, I wanna give you some tips that will help you get those questions right.

One really interesting thing about the 2018, 2019 exams, or at least the ones in the last couple of years, and we predict to see this continue to happen, is that questions on averages come up quite a bit.

So when I say averages, what I’m talking about specifically are the mean, median, and mode.

And I know a lot of you have seen this, maybe it’s been a while since you have seen this.

But these are really great things to learn before the exam because if you can remember which of these terms means what type of average, that’s gonna make such a difference.

We have found this problem sometimes to come up as frequently as four times on a single exam.

So that’s a lot, it might not sound like a lot but that’s like one of the most frequently occurring type of questions.

So let’s go over really quickly, what is the difference?

So, a mean is basically just the average, this is when you add everything up and you divide that sum by the number of items, okay?

And so I kind of remember it that mean, this isn’t the best way to remember it but, that mean is kind of like it takes you a long time.

It’s kind of like the mean type of average.

It’s cranky cuz you have to slow down when you have to calculate the mean, right.
And sometimes you may use the word average, we really are just talking about the mean.

So if you don’t know anything else about the scenario, something says calculate the average, they mean to calculate the mean, all right.

So that’s the mathematical one.

The median just means the center most number and I’m gonna show you an example of this in just a second.

All right, but it’s the middle, and you can see that of course, if you speak Spanish, the middle part of the range of numbers.

And then last we have the mode, the mode is the most frequently occurring number.

Now sometimes you have more than one mode, because you might have a number that occurs the same number of times, as some other number.

All right, but in that case you will just have more than one mode.

So I know this just kind of lot of words.

Let’s go through it with an example using real numbers.

Let’s pretend you have this set, you’ve got an 8, 2, 1, 2, 5 and you’re asked to calculate the mean, median, and mode.

Now on the ACT exam it’s probably not gonna be quite as straightforward as that, but this is just for review, right?

So this is your number set, the first thing you’re always gonna do put them in order from lowest to highest number.

And you can see we have two 2s up here, so I actually write out the 2 twice.
Now the mean is gonna be adding all of these together and then dividing by, we’ve got five digits, by 5.

And I did that ahead of time, thought it through, and the mean is 3.6 in this example.
Okay, so that’s just the average.

What is the median?

Well it’s right in the middle, it’s a 2.

And then what is the mode?

The mode here is the most frequently occurring, it’s also a 2.

If there was another 5 right here, we would have two modes.

We would have 2 and 5 as being our mode.

Okay, so that’s an important thing to review and of course you want to use more examples.

You wanna practice with questions that are a little bit more complicated just to make sure you really can apply these concepts to questions about averages.

Another really interesting thing we found is that there’s this trend toward word problems and also Geometry, and sometimes the combination of the two, Geometry word problems.

And they show up a lot more than students are often prepared to see.

Sometimes 20% Geometry, 40% word problems or more.

And what’s interesting is that a lot of students actually lack sufficient practice in these areas.

In American high schools, there’s a movement towards Algebra.

More Algebra, harder Algebra, earlier on in high school and middle school.

And what other studies have found, and I’ve seen this with lots of different reports, is that American high schoolers are getting better at Algebra, but to the detriment of other things.

To the detriment of pre Algebra, to the detriment of Geometry, right?

So one thing in particular I’d really like you to get practice on is what are called geometric diagram problems.

So that’s a problem where maybe they’re giving you this word problem and they’re saying like the Rodriguez family is going to landscape their backyard and it’s a 10 by 12 backyard and they want to put a goldfish pond right in the middle.

And then they’ll ask you something about maybe calculating the area of the goldfish pond, based on a couple other variables you’re given, right?

Or they might even ask you, how much soil are they gonna need to buy if they have to fill this planters around the gold fish pond or something like that, right?

So anyway, that’s an example, a lot of students get a bit overwhelmed.

Because you’re never totally sure what’s gonna come up on these geometric practice problems.

So the solution to that, okay, and the way to bridge this gap we’re seeing between what are American high schoolers prepared for and what is the ACT testing you on, of course it’s gonna be more practice.

And I’ve put together, a couple practice problems that you can check out, so just look at the link and the description below and try to do those practice problems.

And even more importantly, read the explanations, so that you know how to approach problems like this.

The third tip I have for you, and this might sound kind of like not a very interesting tip, kind of generic, but it’s so important cuz this makes all the difference for students.

Is that when you’re doing practice math problems and you find one of those problems you just don’t quite understand, figure out how to understand it, okay?

So a lot of students, they’ll do that, they’ll look at the answers and they will say, oh I could see why I go that one wrong.

I just switched to negative sign or something like that.

But then those really hard questions come up and maybe the explanation doesn’t even totally make sense to you.

What do most students do in that situation?

They say, well, that won’t really come up in the actual exam or they will say, well that’s hard, I mean I don’t really need to know that anyway.

But that makes all the difference and we’ve seen these other tutors say the same thing.

My colleagues at Magoosh also agree this is a really good habit to get into.

So if you come across one of those explanations and you just don’t understand where you went wrong.

Why you didn’t get the answer.

Find help, you can try and ask a student you know whose really good at math.

Maybe your math teacher or maybe your school has some after hours tutoring service or something like that.

Make sure you get answers to those problems that most students are just gonna shrug off.

But you are gonna know how to do them.

So that’s it for today, these are the most important skills and areas that I think you need to know going into the 2018, 2019 cycle.

And if you like this video, hit Like.

You can subscribe to this channel to get more tips and I’ll see you next time.

Want More ACT Math Tips?

Ready for more? Take a look at some of our other free ACT Math tips and resources:

Happy studying! 🙂

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About Molly Kiefer

Molly completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She has been tutoring the SAT, GRE, and LSAT since 2014, and loves supporting her students as they work towards their academic goals. When she’s not tutoring or blogging, Molly takes long walks, makes art, and studies ethics. Molly currently lives in Northern California with her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


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