ACT Math Test: Problem Solving Techniques

The ACT Math Test is a key component of the ACT exam, assessing your mathematical skills and problem-solving abilities. To perform well on this test, it's essential to not only have a strong grasp of mathematical concepts but also employ effective problem-solving techniques. In this guide, we'll explore strategies to tackle ACT Math problems efficiently and accurately.

1. Understand the Format:

  - Familiarize yourself with the format of the ACT Math Test. It consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, divided into two sections. You have 60 minutes to complete each section.

2. Manage Your Time:

  - Time management is crucial. With 60 questions in 60 minutes, aim to spend about a minute on each question. If you get stuck, don't dwell on a single problem. Mark it, move on, and return if time permits.

3. Read Carefully:

  - Read each question carefully and thoroughly. Understand what is being asked before attempting to solve it. Pay attention to units, figures, and diagrams.

4. Solve in Order:

  - Start with the questions that appear easiest to you. This boosts your confidence and ensures you secure points early on.

5. Use Scratch Paper:

  - Keep scratch paper handy to jot down calculations, diagrams, and ideas. This helps you stay organized and prevents errors.

6. Use Your Calculator Wisely:

  - While the ACT provides an on-screen calculator, use it sparingly. For straightforward calculations, mental math may be faster and reduce the risk of input errors.

7. Pace Yourself:

  - Develop a pacing strategy. Allocate more time to questions that involve complex calculations or concepts you find challenging.

8. Plug In Answers:

  - If a problem involves solving for a variable, consider plugging in answer choices to test which one works. This can save time and effort.

9. Estimate:

  - When dealing with large numbers or complicated calculations, use estimation to quickly eliminate answer choices that are far from your estimate.

10. Use Process of Elimination:

   - If you're unsure about an answer, eliminate clearly incorrect choices. This increases your chances of guessing correctly.

11. Backsolving:

   - In some cases, you can work backward from the answer choices to find the correct solution. This can be especially helpful for algebraic problems.

12. Draw Diagrams:

   - For geometry and trigonometry problems, draw clear diagrams. Visualizing the problem can make it easier to solve.

13. Practice, Practice, Practice:

   - Consistent practice with ACT Math problems is essential. Work through practice tests and questions to become familiar with the types of questions and the level of difficulty you'll encounter.

14. Learn from Mistakes:

   - After taking practice tests, review your mistakes thoroughly. Understand why you got a problem wrong and learn from it. Keep an error log to track recurring mistakes.

15. Seek Help When Stuck:

   - If you're stuck on a problem for an extended period, don't hesitate to seek help from teachers, tutors, or online resources. Sometimes, a fresh perspective can lead to a solution.

16. Stay Calm and Focused:

   - On the day of the ACT Math Test, stay calm and focused. Anxiety can hinder your performance. Trust in your preparation and problem-solving abilities.

17. Review Math Concepts:

   - Ensure you have a strong foundation in fundamental math concepts, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and basic statistics.

18. Use Official ACT Resources:

   - The ACT provides official practice tests and questions on their website. These materials closely resemble the actual test and are valuable for preparation.

19. Take Full-Length Practice Tests:

   - Simulate test-day conditions by taking full-length, timed practice tests. This helps you build stamina and develop effective time management skills.

20. Stay Informed:

   - Stay updated on the latest ACT rules and guidelines by regularly visiting the official ACT website.

Remember that success on the ACT Math Test comes with consistent practice, effective time management, and a clear understanding of mathematical concepts and problem-solving techniques. By following these strategies and dedicating yourself to consistent practice, you can maximize your chances of performing well on this crucial portion of the ACT exam. Good luck with your ACT Math Test preparation!


In conclusion, excelling in the ACT Math Test requires a combination of strong mathematical knowledge and effective problem-solving techniques. This guide has provided you with a comprehensive set of strategies to approach ACT Math problems efficiently and accurately.

It's important to remember that consistent practice, a clear understanding of the test format, and efficient time management are key to achieving a high score on the ACT Math Test. Regularly working through practice questions, reviewing your mistakes, and building confidence in your problem-solving abilities will contribute to your success.

As you prepare for the ACT Math Test, stay focused, stay calm, and approach each question methodically. By following the strategies outlined in this guide and remaining dedicated to your preparation, you can maximize your performance on this important section of the ACT exam. Best of luck in your ACT Math Test journey!