1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What's on the ACT Mathematics Section?

ACT Math


What's on the ACT Mathematics Section?

It's raining ACT Math. Hallelujah.

Getty Images | Kutay Tanir

ACT Math Basics

So maybe Math isn't your best subject. And the ACT Math section makes you want to leap into the nearest volcano. That's okay! (The scared part, not the leaping part.) The ACT Math section can seem frightening, but it really isn't. Here's what you need to know to master the Math section on the ACT exam.

ACT Math Details

If you've read ACT 101, you know that the ACT Math section is set up like this:

  • 60 multiple-choice questions (no grid-ins here)
  • 60 minutes
  • Grades 9-11 Math

Plus, good news, you can use an approved calculator!

ACT Math Scores

Just like the other sections, the ACT Math section can earn you between 1 and 36 points. The average is about a 21, but you’ll have to do much better than that if you’d like to hit up a top university for admissions acceptance – more like between a 30 and 34. This score will be averaged with the scores from the other multiple-choice sections (English, Science Reasoning and Reading) to get you your Composite ACT score.

What's a Good ACT Score?

ACT Math Question Content

What content do you need to know? Brush up your skills on this info you learned from middle school through about 11th grade:

13-14 Questions involving things like

  • Factors
  • Square roots and approximations
  • Absolute value and ordering numbers by value
  • Exponents
  • Scientific notation

Elementary Algebra
10-11 Questions involving things like

  • Exponents and square roots
  • Evaluation of algebraic expressions through substitution
  • Using variables to express functional relationships
  • Algebraic operations
  • Factoring and quadratic equations

Intermediate Algebra
9 Questions involving things like

  • Quadratic formula
  • Rational and radical expressions
  • Absolute value equations and inequalities
  • Sequences and patterns
  • Polynomials
  • Complex numbers

Coordinate Geometry:
9 Questions involving things like

  • Graphing and the relations between equations and graphs, including points, lines, polynomials, circles, and other curves
  • Graphing inequalities
  • Slope
  • Parallel and perpendicular lines
  • Distance; midpoints; and conics

Plane Geometry:
13-14 Questions involving things like

  • Angles and relations among perpendicular and parallel lines
  • Properties of circles, triangles, rectangles, parallelograms, and trapezoids
  • Transformations
  • Proof and proof techniques
  • Volume
  • Three-dimensional Geometry

4-5 Questions involving things like

  • Trigonometric relations in right triangles
  • Values and properties of trigonometric functions
  • Graphing trigonometric functions
  • Modeling using trigonometric functions
  • Solving trigonometric equations

ACT Mathematics Practice

There it is – the ACT Math section in brief. Think you can pass it? Sure you can! Take an ACT Math Practice Quiz to gauge your readiness, then launch into 5 Math Strategies to improve your score. Good luck!

  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Test Prep
  4. ACT
  5. ACT Math
  6. What's on the ACT Math Section? - Content Breakdown

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.