Everything You Need to Know About ACT Mathematics Section


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Feb 28, 2022 11:34 AM IST

ACT scores are used not only for college admission but can also determine scholarship eligibility and even course placement. How should you prepare if you wish to take the ACT mathematics section? Let’s find it below in detail.

Everything You Need to Know About ACT Mathematics Section

Your junior year is approaching its spring semester-April to be precise. The next morning, you wake up bright and early, head to your testing site, and start mentally preparing. In the next three hours of your life story, you will feel your heart skipping beats and you will be digging deep into your memory banks for lessons you learned in the beginning years of your high school.

It's 45 minutes later, and you've completed the English part. You're already sick and tired of thinking. I will reveal the next dreaded triangle... the one-angle triangle with a leg's length measurement. Or, this might be your old buddy, the quadratic equation. Furthermore, the examiners will want you to solve for x too, but who can remember how to divide or multiply fractions at this point in time?  

There may be waves of anxiety emanating from your peers. Still, you are in good hands. Since you are reading this article, you will know well about what to study and what to skip for the ACT math test! 

Fortunately, you can use a calculator for the 60 questions in an hour test (no I didn't need one for that either), but the questions are designed to be answered without one as well.

Our Study Abroad Consultants' have trained a great number of students on a one-to-one basis to score excellent results, particularly in the ACT Mathematics Section. We are glad to see so many of our students are attending the colleges to which they aspire. Know More.

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The ACT Math Section: What's the Format?

It takes one minute to answer each question on the ACT math section, which has a total of 60 questions bound with a time limit of 1 hour (or 60 minutes). The questions are all multiple choice. It'll be a race against the clock if you want to answer them all! 

It's the pace and problem solving on the ACT math section that the test takers need to focus on. Trying to pace the questions while maintaining accuracy is tricky. Aside from recognizing the causes of problems, you must also find solutions quickly. ACT math requires quicker and more strategic thinking than your math class requires, which is why you have to study for it specifically.

Problem-solving skills, or reasoning abilities, are what the ACT requires. Further, you will need to be well-prepared to switch quickly between topics such as statistics, algebra as well as geometry, as the math questions are not organized by any particular topic.

Also Read: 

Everything You Need to Know About ACT Science

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Test Content and Requirements for ACT Mathematics Section

By the end of grade 12, students are expected to be familiar with the math content of the ACT which means nothing more than Algebra II. However, if you are an advanced student, you will find the ACT math content to be above board or uncomplicated.

ACT math content is divided into the following sections:

  • Trigonometry (5 to 10%)

  • Intermediate Algebra (15 to 20%)

  • Coordinate Geometry (15 to 20%)

  • Elementary Algebra (15 to 20%)

  • Plane Geometry (20 to 25%)

  • Pre-Algebra (20 to 25%)

We'll explore each of those sections in detail and explain how you receive your scores.

Calculators are allowed - but only permissible calculators. ACT tests are not calculator-dependent, so you don't need to use a calculator for every problem. When you use a calculator, make sure you shouldn't depend too much on it, as it can actually slo-mo your calculations. 

Because there are no reference materials like on the SAT, you must be able to understand basic math formulas (such as y = mx + b, the quadratic formula, the area formula, etc) but nothing much complicated.

Also Read: Why Many US Universities Are No Longer Considering ACT/SAT Scores as an Admission Requirement

How Are ACT Math Section Subscores Calculated?

You earn points out of a possible 60 by totalling the points you earn. A section score between 1 and 36 is derived from the raw score.

The six content areas are further broken down into three subscores: pre-algebra and elementary algebra, planar geometry and trigonometry, and intermediate algebra and coordinate geometry. Generally, colleges do not pay as close attention to the subscores since they provide more details about your performance (the overall math section score and the ACT composite are the most important ones).

You can, however, use these subscribed areas to concentrate on studying mathematics topics. Here we will examine three mathematical subsections where you may find that you have more than enough preparation for one area, but may also require to concentrate or practice on a single topic, such as trigonometry and coordinate geometry.

The ACT math section will be explained fully in the following sections, but we also recommend taking full practice tests in order to get an accurate feel for the actual test.

#01: Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra

Pre-Algebra (20 to 25%) 

  • Value place

  • Mathematical operations involving whole numbers, decimals, fractions, and integers

  • Approximations and square roots

  • Scientific notation

  • Exponentiation

  • Factors

  • One-variable linear equations

  • Percentage, ratio, and proportion

  • Descriptive statistics: understanding the basics

  • Counting and probability are elementary concepts

  • Numbers with absolute value and ordered by absolute value

  • Representation, interpretation, and data collection

Elementary Algebra (15 to 20%) 

  • Substitution as a method of evaluating algebraic expressions

  • Properties: square roots and exponents

  • Calculating algebraic expressions

  • Expression of functional relationships using variables

  • Using factoring to solve quadratic equations

Also Read: Top Courses for International Students to Study in the USA

#02: Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry

Intermediate Algebra (15 to 20%)

  • Radical and rational expressions

  • Equation of quadratic form

  • Equations in a system

  • Modeling and functions

  • Numerical complexes

  • Quadratic inequalities

  • Equations and inequalities involving absolute values

  • Patterns and sequences

  • Matrices

  • Roots of polynomials

Coordinate Geometry (15 to 20%)

  • Inequalities: Graphing

  • Relationships between equations and graphs, as well as points, lines, polynomial functions, circles, and other curves

  • Distance

  • Conics 

  • Perpendicular and parallel lines

  • Slope

  • Midpoints

Struggling With ACT Mathematics Preparation? Talk to Our Experts! 

#03: Plane Geometry/Trigonometry

Plane Geometry (20 to 25%)

  • Trapezoids, triangular figures, rectangles, parallelograms, and triangles

  • Angles between perpendicular and parallel lines, as well as properties and relations of plane figures

  • Three-dimensional applications of geometry

  • Proof concepts and proof techniques

  • Transformations

  • Volume

Trigonometry (5 to 10%)

  • Trigonometric functions: values and properties

  • Calculating trigonometric identities

  • The graphing of trigonometric functions

  • Trigonometric function modeling

  • Equations involving trigonometry

Also Read: Study in the USA: Know All About January 2023 Intake

How to Improve ACT Mathematics Score

Do you know how you can improve your ACT Math score? Here are four excellent strategies you can use.

Strategy #1: Focus On Easier Questions First

The ACT assigns the same points to every question in every section. Therefore, a question that is "easy" is worth the same as one that is "hard.".

Some students find this counterintuitive since they're used to getting bonus points on exams for answering difficult math questions. During high school tests, they tend to rush through the easier questions so they can concentrate on the more difficult questions. Needless to say, this approach will not be useful for ACT Math.

Start by tackling easier questions first, and make sure that you are 100 per cent confident in your abilities before moving on to more difficult ones. ACT Math questions 1-40 typically take up most of your time.

When working on a problem, skip it if you spend more than a minute on it. Double-check your work on those early questions if there's time left at the end of the test.

Strategy #2: Adapt the Answers to Your Needs

Isn't it interesting how all of the answers are in numerical form? It is excellent that you can manipulate those answers so that they work for you instead of getting bogged down in complicated algebra!

Then, you can see which answer matches the stipulations of the question by plugging in the answers to the problem. It's much easier and faster than doing it the conventional way.

Remember: ACT Math does not care how you arrive at the correct answer, because no one judges your work. Thus, choose the simplest and most efficient method of arriving at the correct answer.

Strategy #3: Substitute Concrete Values for Abstract Values

Working with abstract values is always much more challenging than working with concrete values. Hence, put actual numbers in place!

If picking numbers, make sure they are comparatively small and easy to work with but refrain from using 1, -1, or 0.

Strategy #4: Get to the Heart of Word Problems

Word problems make up a large portion of ACT Math! There are often many words in these questions, making it difficult to get a grasp on the actual math. Pay attention to the main idea of the question itself and focus on the solution.

Keep in mind! ACT Math loves to disguise the actual mathematics involved in word problems by using complicated wording. Have fun studying!

Also Read: ACT vs. SAT: Which One is Right for You?

For more queries about ACT Mathematics Section, contact our experts at abroad@collegedekho.com. Our Study Abroad Consultants' have prepared a great number of students to take the ACT Mathematics Section with excellent results. As many of our students as possible are pursuing their dreams by attending the colleges to which they hunted for. Know More.

Boost Your ACT Mathematics Preparation With Our Experts! 

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