# Easy Test-Taking Tips: Succeed with the Math Section of the ACT!

The **Math Section of the ACT** is unique among the "big four" sections of the exam: English, **MATH**, Reading and Science.

How so?

First, it is the **only section with five answer choices **instead of the usual four choices found in all other sections. See two examples below of a Math and English question respectively:

Second, it is the **only section that is not subdivided into "passages"**.

The first difference is kind of a bummer because it means that if you are forced to guess on a question the odds are longer that you will guess correctly. The second difference is also kind of a bummer because it makes it slightly harder to regulate your timing---if you know your per passage timing goal, it's easy to check if you are on pace.

Don't worry though! We have tips below to help overcome these two annoying features and **master the ACT Math Section!**

**First, recall the Math Section's basic format:**

it has exactly 60 questions

you will get 60 minutes to finish

you can use use your own scientific calculator for the entire test

most the questions are based on algebra, geometry and a little trigonometry (especially SOH CAH TOA problems!)

the questions get harder as you go

**Next check out these go-to tips to ramp up your math score!**

**BASIC MATH SECTION STRATEGIES**

1) FOCUS ON PROBLEMS YOU KNOW HOW TO DO & GUESS ON THE HARD ONES!

This core strategy comes from three facts:

FACT ONE...the math test's questions get significantly harder as you go from question 1 to question 60.

FACT TWO...all questions, no matter how difficult, are worth the same point value: 1 POINT.

FACT THREE...it is a timed test.

Putting these facts together you can see why it makes zero sense to spend a lot of time on questions you don't know how to do right away. If you did so, you would be wasting time for just one point and that assumes you somehow manage to figure out how to correctly answer that tough question.

This core strategy also helps manage your timing. You should spend 90 percent or more of your time on questions you know how to do and do them well! The right answer for tough questions is always "guess and move on"! Don't let those hard questions suck up your time. And don't leave them blank! Make your best guess right away on tough ones and star them on your test booklet if you think you might want to come back to it later. Sometimes students leave tough questions blank thinking they will come back later, but then forget to come back. There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT so don't leave any questions blank.

There are not separate "passages" in the Math Section like there are in the other three sections, but you can sort of think of the test as subdivided into three equal parts:

*Questions 1-20 are the "easy" first section**Questions 21-40 are the "medium" middle section**Questions 41-60 are the "hard" final section*

Some general timing guidelines:

If you are okay, but not a rock star at math, chances are you should focus on the first 40 or so questions of the test and make quick guesses on the rest.

If you struggle with math, make the first 30 questions your main area of focus.

If you excel at math you can possibly afford to spend some time on the last 20 questions.