I think Math is one of the most polarizing sections on the ACT. Students tend to either get it (and just need a little refresher) OR they can't stand it! Math is definitely the most content based of all of the sections on the ACT, and yes, how well you do in math might have something to do with how you do in math in school. Now with that said, there are still a lot of ways that you can increase your score if you
1. Practice, practice, practice.
This is true of all sections, but it can really help out on math. The more practice you do, the more questions that you will know how to do! More than half of the questions are Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Geometry, so even if you struggle with the higher math like Algebra 2 and Trig, you can still do REALLY well on the math test!
2. “Plug” your answer choices
There are two ways to use your answer choices. You can plug in your answers when there are numbers in the answer choices. You can plug in numbers to the problem when there are variables in the answer choices. In other words, if you aren't sure how to approach a problem, see if there is a way that your answer choices can help you!
3. Focus on the “easy” questions
Yes, there is going to be harder math questions, but you can still get a good score on the test by making sure you are doing well on the problems at the beginning of the test.
If you are stuck on a problem that looks like the top line, then look for problems that "feel" easier to you!
It is OK if you take more time on those and then have to guess on the questions at the end of the test. If you struggle with math, chances are that you will have a difficult time with the problems at the end of the test anyway. You will benefit (and so will your score!) if you make sure you take the time to get the “easy” questions correct.
4. Draw pictures for the geometry problems
As soon as a questions says, “Rectangle ABCD…” you need to draw rectangle ABCD on your paper! It is going to help you visualize what you are doing, and it is well worth the time!
5. The highest math is pre-calc
No worries though because there are only 1-2 questions that are at this level, and there are 4 trig questions! Focus on Algebra and Geometry to get biggest increase with your study time!
If you are in Algebra 2, there is a good chance that there will be problems on the ACT that you look at and think, "we are learning this right now!"
And here is a bonus tip added in....
6. Try your best
You are going to come across problems that you don't know. You are going to come across problems that you have seen before, but you can't remember when you look at it how you need to begin solving it. This is all EXPECTED. The single biggest factor in improving your math score is to do some educated guessing. Try to eliminate answer choices using logic before you guess. The more you can eliminate before you guess, the closer you are to the right answer!