Overview of the ACT Mathematics Test

Overview of the ACT Mathematics Test

The ACT is a standardized test that assesses your university readiness and considers your grades during the admissions process. This is one aspect of measuring your eligibility for college or university admission. The test has five sections:

  • English (45 minutes- 75 questions)
  • Math (60 minutes- 60 questions)
  • Reading (35 minutes- 40 questions)
  • Science (35 minutes- 40 questions)
  • Writing (40 minutes- Optional)

You have 2 hours and 55 minutes, plus an optional 40-minute Writing test to answer 215 questions.

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How is the structure of the ACT Mathematics Test?

The math test is one of the longest parts of the test. You will be given a full hour to complete 60 questions. All of these questions are multiple-choice, and each relies on your understanding of some mathematical concepts. Most of what you will find in the ACT math section is very similar to what you learned in high school. Like other sections of the ACT, the math test is divided into several categories of knowledge, each question of the test is placed in a specific category. These categories involve Elementary Algebra, Pre-Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Coordinate Geometry, Plane Geometry, and Trigonometry.

Pre-Algebra (20-25%):

Pre-Algebra is typically taught in middle school as a warm-up class for regular algebra. It is designed to introduce concepts such as integers, factoring, and orders of operation. The topics covered include:

  • Basic operations
  • How to use place value
  • Factoring
  • Square roots and exponents
  • Scientific notation
  • Ratios, proportion, and percent
  • Linear equations
  • Data collection and interpretation

Elementary Algebra (15-20%):

Elementary algebra extends to the topics taught in pre-algebra. This includes the use of variables, how algebraic equations work. The topics covered include:

  • More exponents and square roots
  • Using substitution to solve Algebraic expressions
  • Using variables
  • Understanding how algebraic operations work
  • Using factoring to solve quadratic equations

Intermediate Algebra (15-20%):

Intermediate Algebra involves quadratic equations, getting deeper into functions, and, relations. More advanced topics such as matrices and complex numbers are also introduced. The topics covered include:

  • Quadratic formula and inequalities
  • Radical and rational expressions
  • Absolute value equations and inequalities
  • Systems of equations
  • Functions and modeling
  • Matrices
  • Polynomial roots
  • Complex numbers

Coordinate Geometry (15-20%):

Coordinate Geometry includes basic level concepts using points and lines using 2-digit coordinates. Graphing is a huge component because it shows how you turn algebraic equations into a photo. The topics covered include:

  • Relationships between equations and graphs
  • Parallel and perpendicular lines
  • Slope line intercept
  • Distance formula
  • Midpoint formula
  • Conics
  • Graph inequalities

Plane Geometry (20-25%):

Plane geometry is made of coordinate geometry. The focus now moves from the coordinates and lines to the shapes on the flat screen. The topics covered include:

  • Angles and relations for parallel lines and perpendicular
  • Properties of triangles, circles, rectangles, parallelograms, and trapezoids
  • Geometric proofs
  • Transformations
  • Volume
  • Applying geometric principles to 3 dimensions

Trigonometry (5-10%):

Trigonometry is the study of angle functions and how they are used in mathematical calculations. Triangles are widely studied to help explain angular relationships.

  • Trigonometric relations in right triangles
  • Trigonometric function values and properties
  • Graph trigonometric functions
  • How to use trigonometric identities
  • How to solve trigonometric equations
  • Trigonometric function modeling

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Do you give a formula sheet on the ACT Mathematics Test?

You do not have the right to have a formula in ACT, so memorize geometry, algebra, and trigonometry formulas before the ACT.

Is the ACT Mathematics Test hard?

In ACT Math, you have 60 minutes to answer 60 math questions. This is usually pretty hard for most students to get through – the answer to each question is just 60 seconds, and some of these questions take a long time.

Can you use a calculator on the ACT Mathematics Test?

The use of certified calculators in the ACT exam is allowed, but test designers note that all questions are technically solved without a calculator.

How is the ACT Test scored?

In the ACT, each subject area is given a scaled score between 1 and 36.

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Need a practice test to help you improve your ACT Math score?

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Do you know the key differences between SAT Math and ACT Math?

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