ACT® Math Prep
Tips, Study Plan & Resources

Perfecting how to study for ACT® Math involves understanding its structure and effective strategies for success. In this complete guide, you'll get access to ACT Math tips and study plans specifically designed to tackle the unique challenges of the Math section, such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and elementary statistics. You'll establish a strong mathematical foundation by focusing on core concepts and incorporating strategic practice and review. You'll also learn how detailed study materials and practice tests, like those offered by UWorld, cultivate deeper learning and boost your confidence, leading you to achieve higher scores and excellence in ACT Math.

ACT Math Test Overview

Format of ACT Math Topics Tested in ACT Math
  • 60 multiple-choice questions
  • 60 minutes to complete the section
  • Score ranges from 1 to 36
  • Calculator is allowed for all questions
  • Difficulty typically increases as you progress
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Elementary statistics

The ACT Math section presents students with 60 multiple-choice questions that they need to complete within 60 minutes. It covers various topics, such as Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Elementary Statistics. The section is designed to progressively get more challenging and allows the use of calculators for all questions. Scores for this section range from 1 to 36. If you want to dive deeper into what is tested on the ACT Math, feel free to check out our comprehensive guide about the ACT Math Test on the subject.

How to Study for the ACT Math Section

To best learn how to study for ACT Math, it's necessary to adopt a structured study plan. Regular practice and a deep understanding of math fundamentals lay the foundation for success. By tailoring your study schedule to include a variety of math problems and revisiting core concepts, you can ensure comprehensive preparation and feel confident on test day.

How to do well on the ACT Math section

To excel in the ACT Math section, you need a strategic approach. Here are some tips:

  • Create a Study Schedule:

    Create a customized schedule that dedicates specific time slots to different math topics, so you cover everything evenly.

  • Practice with Timed Quizzes:

    Practice under test-like conditions by setting a timer for your practice sessions. This will help you improve your speed and accuracy under pressure.

  • Review and Revisit:

    Regularly go over challenging concepts and revisit any previous errors you've made. This will help you solidify your understanding and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

  • Use Realistic Practice Questions:

    Incorporate ACT practice questions that closely resemble the ones you'll encounter on the actual test. Our ACT Math QBank is a great resource for this, as it provides questions that mimic the style and difficulty level of the real test.

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Tips to get a 36 on the ACT Math

By focusing on these strategies, students can significantly improve their ACT Math score and increase their chances of scoring a perfect 36:

  • Master High-Yield Topics:

    Focus on mastering areas that are frequently tested on the ACT, like algebra and geometry, to maximize scoring potential.

  • Advanced Preparation Techniques:

    Challenge yourself with challenging and higher-level practice problems to build proficiency beyond the basics.

  • Analyze and Learn from Mistakes:

    Carefully review incorrect answers to understand mistakes and avoid repeating them in future practice tests.

  • Efficient Time Management:

    Develop strategies to allocate your time effectively across questions, ensuring that you have enough time for the more challenging problems.

  • Regularly Take Full-Length Practice Exams:

    Practice taking full-length, timed practice exams under test-like conditions to build stamina and become accustomed to the exam's pacing.

How do you study on your own for the ACT Math section?

To study independently for the ACT Math section, focus on mastering core mathematical concepts through practice problems, review targeted strategies using resources like UWorld, and take timed practice tests to enhance speed and accuracy. Our materials are comprehensive and provide a variety of practice questions and detailed explanations, so self-study becomes easier and more productive. By making a study plan that suits you and by using UWorld's resources regularly, you'll be able to build a solid math foundation and feel confident on test day.

How long should you prepare for ACT Math?

The amount of time you should spend preparing for the ACT Math section can vary. In general, a 6-month study plan provides a thorough and relaxed approach. However, if you already have a strong foundation in math, 3 months should be enough. Even if you tend to prepare at the last minute, a focused 1-month plan can still result in noticeable improvements. During the actual test, aim to allocate about one minute per question. This will help you maintain a good pace, ensure you have enough time to address each question, and allow some extra time to review and tackle more difficult problems.

ACT Math Study Plan

6 Months 3 Months 1 Month
  • Begin with basic algebra and geometry concepts, gradually progressing to more advanced topics.
  • Include regular practice sessions focusing on different math areas.
  • Take math-specific practice tests to track improvement each month.
  • Focus each month on a major math area: Algebra, Geometry, and Advanced Math/Trigonometry.
  • Incorporate daily practice problems and weekly mini-quizzes.
  • Use the last few weeks for comprehensive reviews and full-length math practice tests.
  • Allocate each week to a different math topic, ensuring coverage of all areas.
  • Practice daily with a mix of problem types and difficulties.
  • Conclude with a math-specific practice test to simulate the actual test environment and timing.

ACT Math Test Study Tips

When you're getting ready to study for this exam section, ACT Math tips can make a big difference. One thing to keep in mind is that using your calculator wisely is key. It's important to understand how it works and to not rely on it for simple calculations. This way, you can save time when you need it the most. Another effective strategy is to make good use of scratch paper. It can help you organize your thoughts and work through challenging problems step by step. Don't forget to read and comprehend each question carefully. This will help you avoid common errors and ensure your answer addresses the problem directly. And remember, it's always a good idea to double-check your answers. This can help you identify any mistakes and enhance your accuracy.

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Review math concepts

Mastering essential formulas and skills in algebra and geometry is pivotal for excelling in the ACT Math section. You'll need to memorize several ACT Math formulas for the test, including those related to geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. These formulas are essential for efficiently solving a variety of math problems. To improve your algebra and geometry skills, it's important to focus on understanding core concepts, practice problem-solving techniques, and apply these skills to different types of ACT Math questions. 

How should you approach questions on the ACT Math test?

Approaching questions on the ACT Math test effectively involves a strategic and methodical process. To solve problems efficiently, make sure you're familiar with the typical question types and practice using efficient methods like process of elimination or plugging in values. If you encounter a challenging problem, don't get stuck on it for too long. Instead, move on and come back to it later if you have time. Mastering these strategies will greatly enhance your performance. If you want more in-depth techniques and tips, check out our guide on how to solve ACT Math questions.

Work on your timing

Effective time management in the ACT Math section is crucial for performing at your best. It's important to give yourself about one minute for each question, focusing on solving the easier problems first to save more time for the harder ones. If you come across a question that seems too challenging or time-consuming, it's a good idea to skip it for now and come back to it later if you have time left. Using this strategy, you'll be able to answer as many questions as possible within the 60-minute time limit. Practicing with timed quizzes is a great way to improve your time management skills for the test.

Focus on your “areas for improvement” 

When getting ready for the ACT, it's important to concentrate on the sections where you need to improve. This strategy involves spotting and focusing on particular topics or types of questions that have given you trouble in the past or where you haven't been consistent in your performance. By spending more time practicing and reviewing in these areas, you can turn your weaknesses into strengths, ultimately leading to a more balanced performance on test day. Taking practice tests regularly and analyzing your results is a great way to identify these areas and keep track of your progress over time.

What are the most common mistakes to avoid on the ACT Math?

To avoid making common mistakes in the ACT Math section, it's important to pay attention to details. This means being careful not to misread questions, make careless arithmetic errors, or misunderstand key math concepts. If you're not sure about an answer, it's better to make an educated guess instead of leaving it blank because there's no penalty for wrong answers on the ACT. Make sure to allocate time for reviewing and practicing these challenging areas. 

Take High-Quality Practice Tests

Using high-quality practice tests is an important aspect of ACT Math preparation, and our ACT Math practice tests are a great resource for this purpose. These practice tests replicate the real exam conditions, helping you become familiar with the format and question types you will face. Regularly practicing with these tests can greatly enhance your problem-solving speed and accuracy, and they are essential for pinpointing areas that require additional study. 

ACT Math Review/Study Materials

When it comes to ACT Math prep, UWorld's question bank and practice tests are a must-have. Our extensive range of problems touch on all the math topics you'll encounter on the ACT. Plus, each question comes with detailed explanations, helping you grasp the concepts better and fix any mistakes you make. To top it off, these practice tests recreate the actual exam conditions, giving you a chance to get used to the format and timing. By practicing regularly with these materials, you'll see a significant improvement in your confidence and skills for the ACT Math section. 

Key Takeaways

ACT Math preparation involves following a structured approach that hones in on key math concepts, managing time efficiently, and practicing regularly using high-quality resources. It's crucial to highlight areas that need improvement, exercise caution with common mistakes, and make the most of practice tests. UWorld's question bank and full-length practice tests are incredibly valuable tools for comprehending and conquering the ACT Math section, enabling students to develop confidence and expertise for the test.

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  1. ACT. (2024). ACT Math Test Tips. Retrieved January 29, 2024, from
  2. ACT. (2024). Math Practice Test Questions. Retrieved January 29, 2024, from
  3. UWorld College Prep. (2024). ACT Math Test. Retrieved January 29, 2024, from

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The ACT Math section covers a broad range of topics, including Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Elementary Statistics. These areas encompass various subtopics like linear equations, functions, probability, and coordinate geometry, among others.
ACT Math is scored on a scale from 1 to 36. Each question carries the same weight when determining your final score. Your raw score, which is based on the number of correct answers, is then converted to a scaled score. It’s important to note that there are no penalties for incorrect answers.
Yes, you can use calculators in the ACT Math section. However, there are certain types and models that are allowed, so it’s important for students to review the ACT’s calculator policy to make sure their device is compliant.

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