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Most high school students are familiar with one of the first decisions to directly affect their future: whether they take the ACT, the SAT, or both exams. The SAT is a standard exam you may have expected to face before moving on to college, but the ACT has emerged as another major exam that universities value as an objective measure of student achievement. Before deciding which exam to take, it is crucial to consider the requirements of the schools to which you wish to apply; certain schools accept one exam and not the other, and other schools accept both.

For those students who find themselves preparing to apply to schools that accept both exams, deciding which to take can be a tough decision. The ACT is often perceived as more directly testing concepts presented in high school classes. On the other hand, the SAT aims to test students’ abilities to reason and think critically, and does so using questions that can seem more like puzzles than questions you have seen on in-class exams. Because of this, the ACT is more likely to feel familiar. The ACT Mathematics section, in particular, often seems much more familiar to test takers than SAT Math questions. Whether you need ACT Math tutoring in New York, ACT Math tutoring in Chicago, or ACT Math tutoring in Los Angeles, working one-on-one with an expert may be just the boost your studies need.

The ACT Mathematics exam tests three broad categories: elementary algebra; intermediate algebra; and plane geometry and trigonometry. Because these subjects closely align with the content of high school courses, you may want to consider which classes you have actually taken. Have you completed courses through trigonometry and geometry? If not, you may find the ACT Mathematics exam more challenging than many SAT Math questions. Without a doubt, the best preparation for any standardized exam is succeeding in a challenging high school program!

One aspect of the ACT Mathematics exam that most students find especially challenging is the diversity of concepts tested. You probably took a course covering geometry in an entirely different academic year than a course covering elementary algebra. As a result, you have likely not taken one single exam that demands you move from a geometry question to an algebra question in the course of minutes. Because this back-and-forth among divergent concepts can be exhausting, practicing with simulated ACT exams under real-life, timed conditions is critical.

Many students also find valuable the opportunity to work in study groups, because few students have mastered all the divergent concepts tested on the ACT Mathematics exam. Working with other students, or with tutors who have succeeded on the exam in the past, can help pool skills. You can learn from the strengths of others, and reinforce your own strengths by teaching concepts to your partners. You may also benefit from an ACT Math tutor or the free ACT prep book offered by Varsity Tutors.

Working through Varsity Tutors’ free ACT Math Flashcards can also help you practice working with each of the various concepts tested on the ACT’s Math section and figure out where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Our ACT Math Flashcards are organized in varying levels of subject specificity, so you can run through cards drawn from elementary or intermediate algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, or all of these subject areas. When you identify a weak spot, you can work on specific concepts like finding the slope of a line and factoring polynomials. Each ACT Math question is paired with a full explanation, meaning that you can figure out exactly where you went wrong in answering any questions that you got incorrect. Our free ACT Math Flashcards are available on the Learning Tools website as well as on the free Varsity Tutors’ app, making it easy to study where and when it best suits you. Making use of Varsity Tutors free ACT Math resources can help you get your ACT Math review off to an efficient and effective start. In addition to ACT Math tutoring, taking some of our ACT Math practice tests can help you review for the test as well.

Despite some overt differences, the ACT Mathematics exam is similar to many other standardized exams at its core. Most exams are designed to measure your ability to reason and think analytically. Simply memorizing facts, questions, or equations is not sufficient if you want to score well on any standardized exam. Instead, you should condition yourself to approach each question individually, and rationally consider the most appropriate approach using the toolbox of strategies you have developed over the course of your education. It is no coincidence that this is the same skill rewarded in challenging college courses. Developing this skill now can not only help you score as highly as you can on the ACT Mathematics section, but can also also set you up for the best chance of success in college and beyond.

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