If opening your maths textbook gives you a migraine every time and you are despairing as each day brings you closer to your maths ACT test, we have got your back.
Instead of pulling your hair out of frustration, use these ten tricks that will help you ace your exams and get into the college of your dreams.
1. Don’t Spend Too Much Time on One Question
The ACT maths test requires candidates to solve sixty questions in sixty minutes. This is why time is of the utmost importance when you are sitting for the test.
If you come across a problem that is taking you longer than thirty seconds to solve, mark the question and skip ahead to the next one. Do not waste your precious time puzzling through the question.
This will induce anxiety and lower your performance.
Ideally, you want to solve the easy to medium questions that shouldn’t take you longer than thirty seconds each then move onto the harder, more time-consuming questions.
2. Focus on the Main Objective of the Problem
Some questions that will appear on the test may be so long that they might take several lines to convey their objectives, although the solution could be something simple you already know.
These questions serve to confuse you and test whether you are focusing on the main problem at hand.
When you are solving, read the question carefully, then use your pen to mark the main points and important figures that will help you find the answer on the test paper.
3. Use a Different Method to Check for Errors
Use this nifty trick when you are pressed for time while checking for errors. For example, if you have solved a maths equation that asks you to find the value of variable x, instead of checking each step of your work, simply place your answer into the original equation to see if it holds true.
4. When in Doubt Guess the Answer
ACT tests do not penalize incorrect answers. Lucky for you, if you come across a problem you can’t solve, there is still a chance that you can score a mark by guessing.
You have a twenty percent chance of getting things right. If you can solve the question halfway, it can help you eliminate some of the options. This will increase your chances of getting the answer right.
5. Learn All Formulas and Equations before the Exam
Although the first page of the test booklet will provide you with some of the equations that you need to solve a problem, make sure you have every formula memorized.
This will not only boost your confidence, but it will also help save time, which would otherwise be spent flipping back and forth to see the equations.
Memorize these formulas by writing them down repeatedly or by making flashcards and quizzing yourself.
6. Write Down Your Work for a Problem
You might have an unhealthy attachment to your calculator and only solve problems just by plugging values into your device. Unfortunately, if you don’t spend time writing down the steps, you are at greater risk of making a mistake.
In fact, being in the habit of writing your working will make it easier for you to check for errors once you are done with your paper.
7. Use Your Calculator to Check Answers
Armed with the proper knowledge, writing tools, and a trusty calculator, you can take on any maths problem. This is why buying a proper calculator is so important to acing your tests.
Before you get a calculator, check the ACT maths website for guidelines on using a calculator. The ACT test board does not allow using a smartphone as a calculator or calculators that make noise. Searching for a good calculator?
You might want to check out this HP prime calculator, which is high performing and suitable for use during any test.
Don’t take the risk of having your calculator battery die out on you. Take some spare batteries with you or change the batteries before your test just in case.
8. Don’t Solve Problems in a Hurry
The ACT maths test progresses from easy to medium to hard level questions. If you are determined to answer all questions, you might be tempted to rush through the easy to medium level questions so you can spend more time on the hard ones and still have time to check your answers with confidence.
However, you are setting yourself up for failure — particularly if you aren’t very good at maths. This is because you have a greater chance of getting the answers wrong if you rush through them. Furthermore, every question carries the same amount of points no matter their difficulty level.
A better approach would be to take your time and get the answers to the first forty questions right. This way, you’ll still have time for the last twenty questions.
Moreover, the final ten questions are so incredibly difficult that most students make errors or are unable to answer anyway. Focus on getting the answers right to as many of the questions that you can solve.
9. Wear Your Watch to the Exam
The ideal approach to solving all the problems in the test is to allocate the first thirty minutes for the first forty questions and the remaining thirty minutes for the last thirty questions. Your exam room will have a clock, and the proctors will make time announcements during the end of the first thirty minutes and the last five minutes of the exams.
However, wearing a good quality wristwatch to the exam will help you keep your own time and avoid any setbacks faced by incorrect timekeeping by the proctor or clock failure during the exam.
10. Prepare Using Practice Tests
It doesn’t matter what your current proficiency level at maths is; the more you practice, the greater chance you have of getting a good score on the test.
Doing practice tests will increase your knowledge on the topics covered by the exam syllabus and your ability to solve them.
Using the above tricks will undoubtedly help you score a higher grade. However, don’t forget to self-assess your progress and find your weaknesses. You need to constantly work on your mistakes in order to truly improve.