Six Hacks for ACT Math: Top Clues, Tricks, and Tactics

Six Hacks for ACT Math: Top Clues, Tricks, and Tactics

The ACT Mathematics Test is designed to measure your skills in reasoning mathematically, to comprehend basic mathematical concepts, as well as to learn fundamental mathematical principles and formulas. You’ll be given 60 minutes to finish the ACT Mathematics Test (containing 60 Math questions). You should be able to solve problems as well as employ appropriate mathematics concepts in the following fields:

  • Prealgebra
  • Elementary Algebra
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Plane Geometry
  • Trigonometry

Preparing for the ACT Math test can be tricky. Whether you’ve been preparing for the test for months and are just looking for a few new tricks and tactics to help you increase your ACT Math score or you haven’t studied yet and are taking the ACT Math test in a few days, the last-minute tips and tricks below will help you through the ACT Math section.

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#1: Program your Calculator.

Understanding where, when, and how you can best utilize a calculator while taking the ACT can be tricky. You’re permitted to use a calculator on the test, but you must bring your own. Calculator programs can assist you in running formulas (from quadratic and exponential equations to distance formulas). The ACT® is extremely strict regarding the calculator types you can use. You cannot use complicated programming calculators.

Approved Calculators on the ACT:
Texas Instruments:

  • TI-30
  • TI-34
  • TI-73
  • TI-82
  • TI-83
  • TI-84
  • TI-84 plus C
  • TI-Nspire (any model excluding the CAS models)


  • Casio Prizm
  • Casio 9750 GII
  • Casio 9860 GII

Prohibited Calculators on the ACT:

Texas Instruments:

  • All TI-89 models
  • All TI-92 models
  • TI-Voyage
  • TI-Nspire CAS edition


  • HP 40G
  • HP 48GII
  • HP 49G
  • HP 50G
  • HP Prime


  • fx-CP400 (ClassPad 400)
  • Casio Algebra fx 2.0
  • Casio ClassPad 300
  • Casio Classpad 330
  • Casio CFX-9970G

A few programs that you need to use during the test are:

  • Quadratic equation
  • Slope solver/ slope-intercept equation solver
  • Midpoint and Distance Formula
  • Finding the simplest radical form
  • Finding the missing side or angle of a triangle
  • Finding the point-slope form of a line when given two points
  • Finding the missing hypotenuse

#2: Apply This Method to Answer Every ACT Math Question

  • Evaluate the question to recognize keywords as well as vital info.
  • Convert the keywords to math operations to solve.
  • Evaluate your answer choices. What are the differences between the answer options?
  • Label or draw a diagram if you need one.
  • Try to discover patterns.
  • Find the correct technique for answering the question. Utilize straightforward math, plugging in numbers, else you can test your answer choices (known as backsolving).
  • Double-check your work.

Best ACT Math Prep Resource for 2021

#3: Backsolve

Make the most of the reality this test is multiple-choice. If you do not understand how to solve the problem, review the answer choices and attempt to get rid of the ones that don’t fit. Whenever you see the phrase “Which one of the following” you must review the answers to be able to solve the problem. Plugging in the choices into an expression, as well as testing the answers to figure out the “least” or the “greatest” value adhering to a particular condition, can at times be quicker than attempting to find an algebraic method which might require too much time to complete.  Frequently a bit of logic may nevertheless allow getting rid of some of the choices and then you will have a better chance of choosing the right one.

Backsolving is a superb approach to utilize whenever numbers appear in the choices. As an alternative to setting up your own equation, presume each of the choices is correct. That’s a fantastic approach to utilize whenever you’re stuck as it allows you to check your work as you go!

#4: Plugging In Numbers

“Plugging in numbers” is a tactic that may be applied to many different types of math problems on the ACT. This method is usually utilized to make a hard question easier so it’s a lot more possible to understand it. By utilizing the strategy wisely, you can get the right answer with little trouble.

The idea is relatively simple–replace undetermined variables inside a problem with specific values. Whenever choosing a number, think about these:

  • Select a number that is simple, but not too simple. Usually, you ought to stay away from picking the number 1 (or choosing 0). A reasonable choice is to pick number 2.
  • Aim for not picking numbers that are already in your problem.
  • Be certain your numbers are not the same if you must pick a minimum of two numbers.
  • Most of the time, selecting numbers simply allows you to filter out a few of the possible answer choices. Intrinsically, do not merely choose the first answer that seems right.
  • If numerous answers appear right, then you will have to pick a new value and start over. Then, however, you will have to examine the choices you didn’t eliminate yet.
  • If the question has fractions in it, then a possible correct answer could consist of either an LCD multiple or an LCD (least common denominator).
  • You should pick the number 100 whenever dealing with problems that include percentages.

The Best Study Guide for the ACT Math Test

#5: Avoid Time Consuming Questions

If you struggle with time – and many likely do– it is vital not to become snarled in solving one specific question. If you understand the type of questions you need more time to solve, that can be useful to assist you in navigating the test. For many test-takers, time-consuming questions include:

  • Long word problems,
  • Series/ Sequences problems
  • Problems in which you need to figure out the “patterns”
  • Problems that do not seem to make sense when you first look at them as well as those you have no idea how to resolve.

Skip this kind of question and keep going– losing a few points to questions you skip (of course you could always guess the answer) will let you get farther in this test, plus allow you to solve other questions which don’t take so much time to do.

#6: Use Educated Guessing Method

This method is relevant to problems that you comprehend somewhat but can’t solve via straightforward math. With these, attempt to sort out all the choices for answers as you can before choosing the answer. Whenever you do not have a single clue regarding what a particular problem involves, do not waste time attempting to get rid of the possible choices for an answer. Merely pick one at random and move on to the following question.

As you can ascertain, direct solutions are the best approach. Carefully read each question, decide which solution uses the math you’ve learned before, then organize that answer by picking one of the possible choices. Are you stumped? Make the best guess, and then go to the next one.

Do not leave any of the fields empty! No matter if you can’t figure a problem out, try to do so.  Guess if you must. You won’t lose any points if the answer is wrong, but if you get it right you could gain some points.

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The Best Books to Ace the ACT Math Test

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