How to Ace the ACT Math Section
An abundance of superhero movies are coming out, ACT and SAT season is right around the corner, and students across the country are breaking out into a studious sweat! If you’re a little worried about the ACT or SAT math section, I’m here to give you 3 tips that will raise your math scores above what you even expected.
1. Beef up your Pre-Algebra/Algebra I skills – Review how to do basic operations with fractions – adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. In addition, make sure you’re pretty confident with decimals too (since they relate to fractions). Not too confident? Check out Khan Academy for some great, free math exercises. Over 50% of the math section is Algebra-related, so this is a MUST if you want to get a good score! What Algebra concepts should you know? Start with these: How to graph linear equations, how to graph linear inequalities, proportions, ratios, percentages, solving for roots of quadratic equations, solving systems of equations, FOILing, and factoring quadratics.
2. Expand it out and Simplify – Whenever you have a mathematics problem, be sure it’s 1) expanded out, meaning there’s no parentheses, and then 2) simplify it by combing like terms or canceling terms that appear on both sides of an equation. This alone allows a lot of students taking the ACT and SAT to spot the answer right away. Just breathe, remember all the fun operations you learned from tip#1, and do it right. But check your answer.
ALWAYS CHECK YOUR ANSWER. ALWAYS.
3. Get an awesome calculator – I don’t mean a TI-84 or TI-85 (sorry guys). I’m talking TI-Nspire CX, aka Mr. Calculator MacDaddy. Allowed on both the ACT and SAT, this new TI calculator does run higher than the TI-85 but, if you’re going into a math field, this will be indefinitely valuable to you. If you’re not, maybe try borrowing one. You literally just have to put in the equation and it gives you the answer. Done. Remember work smarter AND harder!
If you’re not sure if you should take the ACT or SAT, check out this concise comparison between the two. It all depends on your strengths, so take the test that’s easier for you!
Dominick, Director and Lead Creative Tutor of Launch Academy, Recipient of the DaVinci Scholar Award