Syllabus and Topic-wise Weightage Explained: ACT® Maths Test

Student solving math problems on white sheets

When preparing for the ACT® Math test, it is helpful to know what to expect from the format and structure of the exam. You should know that the exam covers seven topics: Integrating Essential Skills, Modeling, Algebra, Functions, Geometry, Statistics and Probability, and Number and Quantity. 

Throughout the exam, you will encounter 60 questions that cover this range of topics. Some topics are more common than others. By reviewing the number of questions covered for each topic, you should be able to create an efficient study plan. You may choose to prioritize your studying and practice work with each of the question types based on their quantity throughout the exam.

Questions that fall in the topic category of Integrating Essential Skills are the most common on the ACT Math exam. Because of this, you may decide to dedicate more time to this topic than the topics that only have four to seven questions. If you are looking for ways to improve your scores, working on the most common question types can allow you a better chance of increasing the number of questions you answer correctly. Let’s take a look at which topics are more common on the ACT Math exam.

Integrating Essential Skills

There will be a total of 24–26 of these questions on the ACT Math test. These questions will focus on elementary topics that you would’ve covered in high school. Some of the skills you need to solve these questions include: rates and percentages, proportional relationships, surface area and volume, and averages and medians. These question types are the most common on the ACT Math test.

Modeling

There will be a total of 15 or more of these questions on the ACT Math test. Modeling questions make up more than a quarter of the Math test, and according to ACT.org, these questions assess your skills with creating models, evaluating models, understanding models, and correcting models. These models pertain to any of the topics covered in the Math exam.

Algebra

There will be a total of 7–9 of these questions on the ACT Math test. To do well with these questions, you will need to understand different types of equations such as linear, exponential, radical, polynomial expressions.

Functions

There will be a total of 7–9 of these questions on the ACT Math test. Your ability to define functions, write in function notation, apply functions, and represent functions in various forms is necessary to solve these questions. You will likely have to translate different kinds of functions and evaluate relationships in graphs.

Geometry 

There will be a total of 7–9 of these questions on the ACT Math test. ACT.org states that these questions require skills assessing the composition of shapes and an ability to define relationships. You can also expect some of these questions to ask you to solve for surface area, volume, or missing values. 

Statistics and Probability 

There will be a total of 4–7 of these questions on the ACT Math test. These questions test your skills in assessing sampling methods and relationships in data. Expect to find the measure of center and pinpoint relationships (like the spread of distribution in the data). You can also expect to find probabilities in these questions. 

Number and Quantity 

There will be a total of  4–6 of these questions on the ACT Math test. To do well on these questions, you will need to study and practice working with various numerical forms. According to ACT.org, these questions include real numbers, complex numbers, integer numbers, rational exponents, vectors, and matrices. Note that this is the least commonly tested topic in the ACT Math exam.

As you prepare, consider these different ACT Math topics to create a study plan that is effective and will help you achieve your target score. 

Be sure to streamline your studies using UWorld’s ACT Prep Course, which offers performance tracking tools, detailed answer explanations, and thousands of sample questions. You can use the performance tracking tools to pinpoint weak areas throughout your practice work. 

You can also take advantage of the detailed answer explanations to dive deeper into the topics you struggle with. If you are constantly making mistakes with the same topics, then consider studying the answer explanations in our prep course to deepen your understanding. 

Lastly, you should know that the thousands of sample questions offered through UWorld’s ACT prep course are realistic to the style and level of difficulty that you will find on the official ACT test. Preparing for the Math section will take lots of practice, so use these study tools to maximize your study plan and reach your full scoring potential!

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