ACT Math Overview

February 8, 2016

The ACT math section is the first test of the ACT.  60 questions must be answered within the 60- minute time limit.  The ACT math test consist of three subtopics: Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry and Plane Geometry/Trigonometry.   We’ll discuss more in-depth and provide more information regarding the six content areas.

1. Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra

Pre-Algebra (20-25%)
  • Basic operations using whole numbers, decimals, fractions, and integers
  • Place value
  • Square roots and approximations
  • The concept of exponents
  • Scientific notation
  • Factors
  • Ratio proportion, and percents
  • Absolute value and ordering numbers by value
  • Elementary counting techniques and simple probability
  • Data collection, representation, and interpretation
Elementary Algebra (15-20%)
  • Properties of exponents and square roots
  • Evaluation of algebraic expressions through substitution
  • Using variables to express functional relationships
  • Understanding algebraic operations
  • The solution of quadratic equations by factoring

2.Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate

Intermediate Algebra(15-20%)
  • The quadratic formula
  • Rational and radical expressions
  • Absolute value equations and inequalities
  • Sequences and patterns
  • System of equations
  • Quadratic inequalities
  • Function and modeling
  • Matrices
  • Roots of polynomials
  • Complex numbers


Coordinate Geometry (15-20%)
  • Graphing and the relations between equations and graphs, including points, lines, polynomials, circles and other curves
  • Graphing inequalities
  • Slope
  • Parallel and perpendicular lines
  • Distance
  • Midpoint
  • Conics

3. Plane Geometry/Trigonometry

Plane Geometry (20-25%)
  • Properties and relations of plane figures, including angles and relations among perpendicular and parallel lines
  • Properties of circles, triangles, rectangles, parallelograms and trapezoids
  • Transformations
  • The concept of proof techniques
  • Volume
  • Applications of geometry to three dimensions
Trigonometry (5-10%)
  • Trigonometric relations in right angles
  • Values and properties of trigonometric functions
  • Graphing trigonometric functions
  • Modeling using trigonometric functions
  • Use of trigonometric identities
  • Solving trigonometric equations

Rule of thumb, be cautious not to rely too much on the calculator, as it can slow your down.  If you have taken our course, we practice each of these subtopics and pinpoint what each student’s strength and weakness areas.   By the time students take the ACT, they are more confident and attain mastery through our practice questions.

For additional, ACT math test sample questions visit the ACT website. 


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