About the ACT Math Section

  • You'll have 60 minutes to work 60 problems, which gives you an average of one minute per problem. Some problems will take you less than a minute to work, while others will take more than a minute.
  • Certain types of calculators are allowed: Official ACT Calculator Information
  • Use the margins of the exam booklet as scratch paper to work the problems.
  • The problems are arranged from easiest to hardest, according to how likely the test-writers think it is that you'll miss any given problem.
  • Try to spend 1 minute or less on each problem the first time through the test. Use the time saved to go back to problems you’ve skipped or want to check again.
  • You don't lose points for guessing on this test, so mark an answer for every question. Keep an eye on the time so that you can mark any unanswered questions before time expires.

The First 20 Problems on the ACT Math Test

You'll see a lot of Pre-Algebra and Algebra problems in the first 20 problems on the ACT Math Test, along with a few problems from the other areas. These problems should be easier to work than the later problems.

ACT Study Guide Tip: Try to spend less than one minute on most of the first 20 problem on the ACT Math Test so that you can accumulate some extra seconds for later, harder problems.

ACT Math Problems 21-40

The middle 20 ACT Math problems will be more challenging than the first 20 problems. This part of the test will include a few Pre-Algebra problems, along with plenty of Algebra, Coordinate Geometry, and Plane Geometry problems. You may also see one or two Trig problems.

ACT Study Guide Tip: Continue to try to spend no more than one minute on these medium-level ACT Math Problems, but you may come across some that take longer than a minute. It is OK to spend a few extra seconds, but try to avoid getting bogged down on a single problem.

ACT Math Problems 41-60

These are the most challenging problems in the ACT Math Section, and here's where the seconds you've saved up will be needed. These problems can include any of the ACT Math topics. Most of the Trig problems will fall in this final third of the test since these problems are answered incorrectly by many students.

ACT Study Guide Tip: Use any extra time you have wisely. It is much better to skip a problem and return to it if you have time, than to waste several minutes trying to work a single problem. In those extra minutes, you might be able to gain more points by double checking several problems rather than spending all your extra time on a single problem.


ACT Math Formulas & Tips pages

MathOnTime's ACT Math Prep course, The ACT Math Test Made Easy, includes one-page summaries of Formulas and Tips for Coordinate Geometry, Plane Geometry and Trigonometry.

ACT Math Individual Practice Problems

Our video ACT questions have a built in one-minute timer to give you a chance to try the problem before viewing the solution.  The average time per problem on the ACT math test is one minute, but some problems will take less than a minute and others will take more. Practicing with a one-minute timer helps you become more aware of how long you are actually spending on individual ACT math problems, so that you can develop a good pace for your ACT test day. To see all 60 practice problems (Easy, Medium & Hard problems) enroll in The ACT Math Test Made Easy.

ACT Math Practice Tests

  • MathOnTime's Guided Video Practice Test (The ACT Math Test Made Easy). This is a complete (60 problems) video ACT Math practice test with a one-minute problem-timer and detailed video solutions. This guided practice test helps you perfect your pacing for the ACT Math test.
  • A free ACT Math practice test with solutions is available on the official ACT website in the document Preparing for the ACT.
  • The Official ACT Prep Guide is a book/CD that contains several complete ACT practice tests.