Even though the problems in the last three subjects will be more difficult, most students will have gone over the material recently, so you should be able to avoid not knowing how to do many of them. (photo credit:attercop311 via Flickr)
Hey Albuquerque students!
We talked about the math section of the ACT last time
, specifically about the Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Shape Geometry subjects. And while those three subjects have the easiest and most numerous types of problems, and are what most students should focus on, by no means should anyone neglect at least some of the latter three subjects: Algebra II, Coordinate Geometry, and Trigonometry.
In fact, a lot of students find some of these problems even easier than those from the first three subjects because they just covered that material in school. This is especially useful because there are far fewer tricks to these than there are for the first three. Don't worry though, 'fewer' doesn't mean 'none'.
Subject 4: Algebra II
According to our expert math tutors, Algebra II is probably the simplest of the three 'hard' subjects, not only because most students have studied it recently, but also because it's still just alebra...just a little more complex algebra. As such, it still has a lot in common with Algebra I on the ACT. The main difference between the two Algebras is that Algebra II will introduce exponents with their variables. This could take the form of simple 'combine like terms' equations, foil or factoring equations, or functions.
Subject 5: Coordinate Geometry
While it would be wonderful if you could use the concepts from Shape Geometry in Coordinate Geometry, you can't quite do so, or at least not to the same extent that you can use Algebra I in Algebra II. Instead, Coordinate Geometry will be dealing exclusively with the coordinate plane, as you could probably guess. There will be four things on the graph that you'll deal with though: points, lines, parabolas, and circles. The important thing to keep in mind with this, which is true for Shape Geometry as well, is to draw on the figures (or draw the figures) as much as you need to understand the problem. One common example of this would be drawing two perpendicular lines to make a right triangle with a given line to find its distance. That is usually much easier than trying to remember the distance formula.
Subject 5: Trigonometry
In some ways, trig has become the red-headed step child of math. At Albuquerque schools at least, trig classes are not being offered frequently in favour of pre-calc, so a lot of students are only being taught the most basic elements of trig. There are two bits of good news to balance that out though. The first is that Trig on the ACT only really uses the most basic elements of trig, specifically sin, cos, and tan; and the second is that there are only four Trig problems per test. So even if you've never taken trig and have absolutely no idea how to do those problems, it's not going to hurt you all that bad.
And that wraps up all six of the Math subjects on the ACT. Now, everyone should know what types of problems will be on each test and how to tell them apart. And knowing is half the battle!
Regardless of whether you'll be looking for the easiest questions to do first or if you'll be looking for the hardest questions to avoid, having a good strategy for the Math section will increase your score.
If you still have questions about the Math section of the ACT, or would like a more in depth conversation about it, please contact us to schedule an introductory consult. Our team of highly-qualified tutors is here for all your academic tutoring, test prep tutoring and college consultancy needs.