Students taking the ACT have only 60 minutes to complete 60 questions in math. It is therefore understandable that test-takers may fail to answer all the questions within the allotted time, or maybe be forced to pass them unconsciously. Because of this, students need to understand how they can successfully manage their time in ACT math.
Here are some tips on how to use your maximum of 60 minutes.
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1- Memorize formulas
The ACT does not provide a formula sheet, so test-takers will have to memorize all of the formulas that may need. At first, this may seem like a disadvantage, but it is not – by keeping formulas in mind, you will be able to access them faster than you had to go back to a separate page.
2- Identify your specific ACT math test weaknesses
Your problematic concepts should be identified as you use ACT practice tests. Some online practice tests even categorize questions by concept, so keeping a list of the areas you struggle with the most should be easy.
The general timing recommendation for students is to take one minute for each ACT math problem. However, you may be able to complete easier questions in just 45 or 50 seconds.
Educate yourself to spend less time on these questions that are your strengths. This can be done using a timer at first. Later, you can use a mental clock that you create with constant practice. Saving time on simple questions can be given to difficult questions. For example, if you only spend 45 seconds on Pythagoras’s theorem problems, you can spend a minute and 15 seconds on a wordy algebra problem.
3- Don’t always use a calculator
Used wisely, a calculator can save you time on ACT math costs and serve as a quick way to confirm your answer. If used too much, dependence on the calculator can be a waste of time and cause negligent mistakes.
In general, the best thing to do is to do simple arithmetic mentally. You will probably spend more time entering phrases like to solve it in your mind. Take several hours of preparation time to memorize multiplication tables, and you’ll see how fast you can move through the many ACT math problems.
Try to reserve your calculators for more complicated operations, like very large numbers and irreducible fractions, or any other operations you do not trust yourself to complete accurately by hand.
4- Develop a system for marking questions
Students should fill the answer bubble immediately when they are sure of their solutions. While some students may wait until the end of a section to complete their answer sheet, this method leads to more mistakes. However, when students are unsure about a question and would like to return it later, they should mark it with a symbol.
5- Become a graphing expert
It is not enough to know the list of formulas such as the middle formula or the distance formula – you also need to know how to apply formulas to the graphs.
Sometimes the ACT does not give you a list of points to connect to an equation. It gives you a graph with one point, and you have to use the graph to calculate the other points, even before you solve the real problem!
Likewise, make sure you know how to read the data correctly from the tables.
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6- Annotate the word problems
Read the word problem once and underline the terms that you think are important. Drawing pictures or diagrams is also useful to help you understand the question. Next, write down all the formulas you think you need. Write them down without filling them out first. Finally, enter the information from the word problem into the formulas and solve it.
7- Use the process of elimination
Look for delete answer options, and you will have a better chance of getting the question correct. Consider the values in the problem and use logic to your advantage.
8- Wear a wristwatch to keep track of time
If you hope to get 36 on the ACT math test, you have to solve all the problems correctly. This means that you must have enough time to complete the work.
You must budget:
- 30 minutes to answer the first 40 questions
- 30 minutes to answer the last 20 questions
Although there is a clock in the test center and your proctor provides time notifications, it is best to have a watch to save time. This way you can ensure that you maintain the right speed and progress, and finish the test on time.
9- Don’t recheck all of your answers
Ideally, you have time to do each ACT math problem twice to make sure you did not make a mistake. However, because you are within a precise time limit, you will not have time to repeat each answer. Instead, think of these as actions that you must take regularly. Efficient means fast but accurate.
When taking the test, remember to put a box next to the questions that are difficult for you but you are sure of the answers to, and a star next to the questions that you are not sure the answers to.
When reviewing your answers, make sure you have the correct bubble for all your answers. This should be your priority because a forgotten bubble can leave out the rest of your answers.
In the next step, repeat the starred questions from the beginning to see if you have found an answer that you are more confident about. Finally, if time allows, retry the boxed questions to make sure you have reached the same solution as the first time.
10- Control stress during the test
It is normal to have stress on the day of the test, but it is only a waste of time. In such cases, you can reduce your anxiety with relaxation techniques. If you have difficult questions, stay focused and if you are unable to answer them, move on to the next question.
If you have these 10 ACT math strategies in mind, you are on your way to getting a score of 36 on the ACT math test! Use these strategies to study effectively and take the ACT math test like a pro.