The ACT mathematics test: 6 tips for test day

The ACT mathematics test is one of four multiple-choice tests you will encounter on ACT test day (along with the optional writing test, if you signed up to take it). This test measures the math skills students have typically gained at school up to the beginning of grade 12.

The test contains 60 questions, and you will have 60 minutes to complete them. You may use an ACT-approved calculator on the test, but it is not required. It covers math skills related to real and complex number systems, algebra, functions, geometry, and statistics and probability, and how well you can synthesize and apply your understanding of these concepts to solve complex problems.

Here are six tips to keep in mind while taking the ACT mathematics test:

1. Use your calculator wisely.

All of the mathematics problems can be solved without a calculator. Many of the problems are best done without a calculator. Use good judgment in deciding when, and when not, to use a calculator. For example, for some problems you may wish to clarify your thoughts on the question before you begin using a calculator to do computations.

2. Solve the problem.

You may wish to glance over the answer choices after reading the questions. However, working backwards from all five answer choices can take a lot of time and may not be effective.

3. Find your solution among the answer choices.

Once you have solved the problem, look for your answer among the choices. If your answer is not included among the choices, carefully reread the problem to see whether you missed important information. Pay careful attention to the question being asked. If an equation is to be selected, check to see whether the equation you think is best can be transformed into one of the answer choices provided.

4. Make sure you answer the question.

The solutions to many questions on the test will involve several steps. Make sure your answer accounts for all the necessary steps. Frequently, an answer choice is an intermediate result, not the final answer.

5. Make sure your answer is reasonable.

Sometimes an error in computation will result in an answer that is not practically possible for the situation described. Always think about your answer to determine whether it is reasonable.

6. Check your answer.

You may arrive at an incorrect solution by making common errors in the problem-solving process. If there is time remaining before the end of the mathematics test, it is important that you reread the questions and check your answers to make sure they are correct.

Click here to take a free practice ACT mathematics test!

Click here to learn more about ACT test prep.