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Making the Most of Your Time on the ACT Math Test

By August 20, 2018September 4th, 2018ACT, Math

The timing on the ACT math test can be quite intimidating!  The idea of getting through 60 questions in 60 minutes can definitely make some students break out into a cold sweat.  

The good news is that, unless you’re trying to get a perfect score, you don’t have to do every question on the test.  The trick is discovering which problems are worth your time and which aren’t.

Slow down to maximize your performance on questions 1-30.

It can be tempting to speed through questions 1-30.  After all, they’re relatively simple, and you’re worried about timing.  However, rushing can cause you to make silly mistakes and miss out on easy points.  

Since every question on the ACT is worth the same amount, it makes the most sense to proceed quickly yet carefully through the first half of the test.  If you can get almost all of those questions right, it will make a huge difference in your score.

On questions 40-60, ask yourself “What makes this question hard?”

By the time you get to the 40s, you may notice that the questions are getting more difficult.  This is when you should start being selective about which questions are worth your time.

Questions on advanced topics you’ve recently studied like trigonometry, imaginary numbers, or logs may not be that difficult for you.  In fact, questions on upper level subjects usually tend to be pretty straightforward. Those are great questions to attempt.

On the other hand, if you see a question towards the end of the test that’s on something easy like fractions, beware!  There’s a reason why this question is “hard.” It may take a long time to complete, or it may be really tricky. Make an educated guess and quickly move on.  



The Compass Team

Compass is one of the world's leading providers of in-home and online, live one-on-one tutoring for high school students aspiring to attend selective colleges.

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