ACT Math Topics

January 22, 2023
By AdmissionSight

ACT Math Topics

What is ACT Math?

What exactly is ACT Math? The mathematics part of the ACT is designed to evaluate whether or not students have gained the mathematical skills that are normally taught in classes that students take up until the beginning of the 12th grade.

Most questions are self-contained and some may belong to a collection of numerous questions.

The material that is covered places an emphasis on the primary content areas that must be completed before one can be successful in entry-level courses in mathematics at a college or university.

Students working on a school work while sitting.

For the purposes of these tasks, it is expected that you have a working knowledge of basic formulas and computing skills; nevertheless, it is optional for you to be able to recall complex formulas or perform substantial computations.

What are the Math topics covered on the ACT?

What are specific areas of mathematics tested on the ACT? In the mathematics part, a total of nine scores are reported: one score for the section as a whole, as well as eight reporting category scores based on specific mathematical knowledge and skills.

The following is a rough estimate of the proportion of the section that is devoted to ACT math topics:

Preparing for Higher Math (57–60%)

This section covers the more current mathematical concepts that students are learning, beginning with the introduction of algebra as an all-purpose method for expressing and solving equations. This category can be further broken down into five distinct subcategories.

Number & Quantity (7–10%)

Show that you are familiar with both real and complex number systems. Students will acquire an understanding of numerical quantities in a variety of forms, including integer and rational exponents, as well as vectors and matrices, and will be able to reason with them.

Algebra (12–15%)

Find solutions to, graph, and model a variety of different expressions. Equations of a wide variety, including but not limited to linear, polynomial, radical, and exponential relationships, will be used by the students.

The student will be able to apply their knowledge to many applications and find solutions to systems of equations, even when simple matrices represent such systems.

Functions (12–15%)

Knowledge of function definition, notation, representation, and application are all put to the test by the questions contained in this category.

The following types of functions may be asked about: linear, radical, piecewise, polynomial, and logarithmic functions.

However, this list is incomplete. Students will perform operations such as manipulating and translating functions, as well as locating and applying essential characteristics of graphs.

Geometry (12–15%)

Define and apply knowledge of forms and solids, such as the links between congruence and similarity or the measures of surface area and volume.

Gain an understanding of the components that make up things and how to handle problems involving missing values in triangles, circles, and other shapes. This may involve the use of trigonometric ratios and equations of conic sections.

Statistics & Probability (8–12%)

Learn how to calculate probabilities, including the relevant sample spaces, apply and analyze data collecting methods, understand and model relationships in bivariate data, and describe the center and spread of distributions.

Integrating Essential Skills (40–43%)

In this section, the focus is on evaluating how well you can synthesize and apply your understanding and skills to the solution of more complex issues.

Concepts like rates and percentages; proportional relationships; area, surface area, volume; average and median; and expressing numbers in a variety of various ways are brought up in the questions.

Find creative solutions to non-routine situations that call for skill combination in a series of steps, application of skills in a variety of contexts, awareness of linkages, and demonstration of fluency.


This category encompasses all questions pertaining to the development of models, as well as their interpretation, comprehension, assessment, and enhancement.

Each question is also counted in the various reporting categories that are relevant to it, as detailed above. This section is an overall measurement of how well you use your modeling skills across different areas of mathematics.

How to study for the ACT Math test?

How should one prepare for the Math portion of the ACT? Some students may have the impression that the ACT math topics are challenging, but if they have a comprehensive understanding of the test resources, appropriate study techniques, and practice, they can ace the test in no time.

Three students talking in a bench while holding their notes.

If you are planning to take the ACT, the following tutorial will walk you through each phase of the preparation process for the ACT Math test.

Determine the course of your academic pursuits.

There are a lot of helpful books and study materials available for ACT Math that you can use to prepare for the test.

Every major company that helps students prepare for standardized tests has at least one product that may be used to prepare for the ACT Math test; hence, narrowing down the options to just one book is a phenomenon that can be considered perplexing.

There are also several ACT Math classes that may be taken online. It will be easier for you to find the right resources since you are aware of the ACT math topics that you need to study.

Maintain an optimistic outlook when doing math.

Your first step is to develop a constructive attitude toward mathematical problems. This viewpoint enables you to approach mathematical issues with an open mind, and it also prepares you to learn more effectively, which will ultimately result in a higher score on the ACT.

Therefore, you should not view mathematics as a burden that you should try to escape as quickly as possible.

Make the ideas understandable.

If you still need to begin learning the necessary lessons for the ACT, it is best to begin by learning the fundamental concepts of the ACT.

As soon as you feel comfortable with the fundamental ideas, it is time to move on to the more advanced stage of learning, which covers more difficult ideas.

Keep in mind that the process of learning must be sequential. Suppose you try to acquire complex concepts before you have a firm grasp of the fundamentals. In that case, you are setting yourself up for failure and increasing the likelihood that you will feel disillusioned and disheartened in your attempts to learn them.

Commit to regular practice.

It doesn’t matter how talented you are in arithmetic; in order to enhance your competence and speed on the ACT, you need to practice on a daily basis.

The ACT exam consists of sixty questions, each of which must be answered within sixty minutes. Each question will have a response time of one minute. Therefore, having a high speed of action and making decisions in a timely manner, which is a skill that can be acquired via daily practice, will be the most crucial factor in whether or not you pass this test.

Your abilities will improve, and you will get closer to the score you want on the ACT if you practice every day.

If you need to, enroll in online programs and work with a tutor online.

The ACT can be prepared for in a variety of different ways. Participating in ACT prep workshops and using ACT prep books can be helpful strategies for some individuals taking the ACT.

You can speed up the process of learning through direct study with the help of instructors at times as well.

Male student using a laptop for college application in a libaray.

Candidates take classes to become more familiar with the specifics of the examination as well as the methods necessary to prepare for it.

For instance, AdmissionSight’s private tutoring program can walk you through the processes and procedures you might not be familiar with.

Make sure the equations are fresh in your mind.

You should be aware that you are not permitted to bring formula sheets into the ACT test with you. Because of this, you should make sure that you have memorized the relevant formula for algebra, geometry, and trigonometry before you take the test.

On the other hand, this does not imply that you need to be concerned about the absence of a formula sheet. The majority of the formulas that you will need to know for the test are straightforward formulas that you have undoubtedly encountered and applied a number of times before.

It’s possible that there are only one or two problems that require a complicated formula to answer. Therefore, all that is required of you is sufficient to practice while keeping the formulas in your head.

Remember to go through them thoroughly the day before the test, and check that you are familiar with the appropriate applications of each one. On the day of the test, you will have a better chance of remembering the formulas if you do.

Participate in Mock Examinations.

Once you feel confident in your mathematical abilities, it is time to put your skills to the test by participating in some simulated practice tests. You can improve your skills by taking advantage of the many online and written examinations that are available for this purpose.

You will discover where your strengths and weaknesses lie by taking these exams, which are modeled around the ACT. You must not overlook the importance of the time limit in the test.

Unidentified student writing in a desk.

When taking the ACT, time management is one of the most critical elements to consider.

Process your registration.

Visit the website of the ACT when you feel that you have finished all of the essential steps to prepare for the exam and when you are ready to do so.

You have the option of registering either online or via mail. One of the benefits of registering online is that it is simpler and takes less time than traditional methods.

If you register for the exam online, you will have the opportunity to quickly become familiar with the requirements and specifics of the test, as well as obtain the relevant information.

You will be able to immediately check this manner to see if the testing facility of your choice has adequate space for you to use.

Online registration is available for students studying in the United States as well as students studying in other countries. You will need to register for an account on the official ACT website in order to accomplish this. You will not be able to register unless you have first created an account on the website.

You should expect to be asked questions concerning your history as well as your current educational standing. You will furthermore be requested for details regarding your identity and you have to give thoughtful responses to these questions.

Take the ACT exam.

Check that you have all of the necessary equipment for the test the night before it is scheduled to begin.

On the day of the ACT, you need to bring the admittance ticket with you to the test. It is required that you print this ticket out from the ACT website. If you choose to register for the exam by mail, you would receive this ticket.

Writing in a desk in a classroom.

In addition, on the day of the exam, you need to bring a valid form of identification with you, such as a driver’s license or a student ID card.

You should also bring with you two pencils, a sharpener, an eraser, a wristwatch for improved time management, a suitable calculator, and a bottle of water for drinking during breaks in the testing. Check to see that the calculator you are carrying is one that the testing facility permits.

In the testing room, you are not permitted to bring in any personal materials, including formula sheets, cell phones, or other electronic devices.

Make every effort to get to the testing facility a few minutes before the test is scheduled to begin. You have 60 minutes for 60 questions that cover the ACT math topics. Take your time before moving on to the more challenging ones.

Nevertheless, you should not waste time on questions that require further thought. You should completely skip them for the time being and save the answers until the end of the exam.

Because there is no penalty for giving the wrong response, you should not avoid answering any of the questions.

Take a look at your respective score reports.

Typically, scores are made available anywhere from two to eight weeks from the date of the test. You need to visit the official ACT website two weeks after the exam in order to check your account and determine whether or not your score has been delivered.

A number of times every week, score updates are processed and added. If, after two weeks have passed, you still have not been able to view your score, you should check again at a later time.

It is essential that you are aware that the ACT organization creates three different examinations for each individual who takes the exam.

First, the student report, which is available in the student’s ACT personal account anywhere from two to eight weeks after the exam.

Second, suppose the student gives permission when they enroll. In that case, the school will receive a report from the student’s high school that contains their scores as well as information about how they plan to proceed with their education and future profession. This data is stored in the admissions profile of the student by the educational institution.

Lastly, the student’s college choice will receive a college report once they have made their decision. This report may include the student’s ACT results, as well as information about the student’s grades and performance in the classes, as well as forecasts regarding the student’s performance in college.

Is ACT Math harder than the SAT?

Is the ACT Math test more difficult than the SAT? The level of difficulty varies from student to student. There are mathematical ideas that are comparable on both examinations; nevertheless, depending on the student’s level of proficiency in mathematics, they may find one examination or the other to be more challenging.

In spite of what certain superstitions may have you believe, neither the ACT nor the SAT is more difficult than the other.

At AdmissionSight, we provide personalized, 1-on-1 instruction to help you perform at the highest level on your ACT test. Our private tutoring program will allow you to go through all ACT math topics that you’re having a hard time learning about. Contact us to book your consultation.


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