Answer all the questions that are easy for you and then go back to the hard ones. Remember that you don't get more points for answering hard questions. All questions, no matter how easy or hard, count equally toward your Mathematics total score. If you don't see a way to solve a problem, or if the method you're using seems to be taking a lot of time, skip the question and move on to questions that you can answer more easily. Don't forget, however, to mark in the test booklet (not on the answer sheet) all those questions that you skip so that you can find them easily when you go back to them later.
Pace yourself. There are 60 questions to be answered in 60 minutes, which allows you an average of 1 minute per problem. Some problems will take you less than I minute, and some will take you more. Don't spend too much time on any one question. You should keep a close eye on your watch to make sure you work at a pace that will allow you to finish the test.
Answer all questions even if you have no idea how to solve some of them. If you're stumped and have time, eliminate as many of the options as you can and then guess from among the ones that remain. If time is running out and you don't have time to eliminate any of the options, guess anyway. Even a wild guess has a 20% chance of being correct, but a blank has no chance of being correct. Remember, there is no penalty for guessing and no penalty for wrong answers.
Watch out for the answer choice "cannot be determined". The answer choice "cannot be determined" is rare. When you see it, it's very likely wrong. It's almost always wrong in a question that comes with a diagram or for which you can draw one.
Plug in the answer choices. Sometimes you can find the correct by working backwards. Try plugging in the answer choices to see which one works. For example, suppose you're trying to solve a quadratic equation and you can't get the quadratic expression to factor and can't remember the quadratic formula. You might be able to get the correct answer by substituting the options, in turn, into the equation until one works. However, don't use this strategy if it is more time-consuming than other strategies.
Use your calculator wisely. A calculator will be helpful on the Mathematics Test only if you are very familiar with the one you bring to the test and you use it wisely during the test. Remember that a non-calculator strategy is often better than a calculator strategy. And make sure the numbers your calculator gives you are reasonable and make sense.
Think! Read each problem carefully. Before answering each question, ask yourself: What is the questions ask? and What do I know? Then make sure to:
Don't panic if you suddenly can't remember a formula or all of the steps of a procedure you've been taught. There might be another way to do the problem that will work just as well. For example, you don't have to write and solve an equation for every algebra word problem. You might be able to reason through such a problem and get the correct answer without an equation. Sometimes it's best to let your common sense about numbers take over. For example, Can Mary runs at 40 miles per hour?
- Answer the question asked.
- Check if your answer makes sense.
- Check your answer again using a different method, if possible.
Finally, remember that the ACT doesn't punish wrong answers. So don't leave anything blank, or you'll waste your points.
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