By Hannah Blaser
Welcome to the second post in our Test Prep 101 series! This series of blogs is designed to give students insight into the sections of the test. Test Prep 101 will offer suggestions on things to study, test-taking strategies specific to each section, and tips on how to stay focused, energized, and on-task.
The ACT is a long, and at times, tricky standardized test. Students going into the test with knowledge of what will be tested and how it will be tested are much more prepared to tackle the ACT.
What does the ACT Math section look like?
The ACT Math section is the second section of the ACT test students will have to get through. This section consists of 60 questions. Students have 60 minutes to complete this section of the test.
Tips for the ACT Math section:
1. Get to the heart of the question
The math section of the ACT consists of a lot of story problems. Getting to the actual question in these story problems will help students understand exactly what they’re being asked to do. Underline the question and cross off any irrelevant information. Spend a few seconds thinking about what exactly the question is asking and work from there.
2. Draw it out
Write on your test! If a question doesn’t give you a graph, triangle, circle, or visual aid, don’t be afraid to draw one yourself. Students should also write out all their work. While it can be tempting to try to do everything on a calculator, it’s so easy to make a little mistake when your work isn’t written out. Writing on the test can also help students visualize how to solve a problem. Taking a moment to focus in on a math problem is something you won’t regret.
3. Don’t make a question more difficult than it already is
Often, really long word problems are actually asking for a simple solution (Ex: How many miles did someone travel?). Don’t let all the words around the question fool you. Another thing to look out for is equations. Does the question give you an equation? If so, just plug numbers from the problem into that equation, and you’ll probably be at your answer.
4. Use your calculator
We all wish we could be mental math geniuses, but the truth is that the ACT is long, and sometimes students might get tired and make a careless mistake. Don’t be afraid to put things into your calculator to avoid those little mistakes. You’ve done all the work to get to the end of the problem, so make sure you get credit for it! If you don’t remember what 12 x 13 is or how to divide two negative numbers, use the calculator. It’s better to get a problem right because you used your calculator than to miss a problem because of a small division error.