At LearnMathWithMe.com, we promote practice to improve math performance. As any successful athlete knows, your game is made during practice. Here are 5 strategies to practice before you take the ACT to help improve your performance on the math section.
- If you find yourself spending more than 30 seconds on a question, mark that question to come back to at the end and move on. During the math section, you have to answer 60 questions in 60 minutes. Optimally, you want to answer all the questions AND have time to check. Some questions are more challenging than others and will take a little longer to complete. Try to get through all the 30 second or less questions that you know how to work before handling the more difficult ones. Practice will help you recognize these types of questions.
- Get to the basics of the question. I think that some word problems have more words than necessary, just to test you...to see if you are focusing. This can make a problem seem overwhelming, when it is really a straight-forward question. Don’t let lots of words confuse you. Pick out what the question is really asking and solve it. Underlining key parts of the question in your test booklet will help you with this.
- Try a different method to check a question. If you work a question one way during the test, try a different approach in checking. For example, if you are asked to solve for a variable (x) in an equation, you may use a method such as factoring to solve. When you come back later to check, plug your answer back in to the original problem to see if that answer holds true.
- If you miss a question, find out why! Did you make a careless error? Did you use the wrong technique or formula? Do you just not know how to solve the problem? Focus in on the reason and figure out how to get the question correct.
- Never leave the answer sheet blank. You are not penalized for wrong answers on the ACT. Therefore, even if you do not know the answer, make a guess! With 5 answer choices, you have a 20% chance on a blind guess of getting it correct. If you can eliminate some of the choices, you have an even greater chance of guessing the correct answer. We will talk about strategies of guessing in an upcoming post.
To try your hand with some of these strategies, I have developed many videos to give you practice. Watch these and try some of the practice questions. Plus, don't forget to grab a copy of my Most Needed Formulas Sheet for FREE. View the tips that will help you prepare as you use this tool.
What are your most useful strategies? I would love to hear about some of them. Leave us a comment below or share them with us on Facebook.