ACT Math : How to simplify an expression

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT Math

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Example Questions

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Example Question #31 : How To Simplify An Expression

What is the simplified version of the expression:
?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Use PEMDAS to dictate which operation comes first. Simplify the parentheses:
  and

.

Next come exponents:

After that comes multiplication and division left to right:

 and

.

Finally, add all the terms together:

Example Question #32 : How To Simplify An Expression

  The expression

 

 

can be rewritten as:

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

To simplify this problem, let’s look at each term individually. ; ; . Thus B is the correct answer.

Example Question #33 : How To Simplify An Expression

The product of two consecutive odd negative integers is . What is the smaller of the two integers?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The problem gives us the product of two consecutive odd negative integers, so we know that one number is  less than the other one. Thus, we can set our two numbers as  and .

At this point, the more algebraically inclined student might recognize that if , then the equation can be remade to say , and use the quadratic formula to solve.

But this is the ACT, and the faster method by far is to simply recognize that if the product of our two integers is , then  must be evenly divisible by our two integers. The only two choices we have that divide evenly into  are  and , making  the smaller number and our answer.

Example Question #31 : How To Simplify An Expression

Suzanne is at the grocery store. She has $5.00 to spend on produce. Oranges are $2.50 per pound, apples cost $1.50 per pound and bananas are $0.50 per pound. Which combination of fruit will fit her budget?

Possible Answers:

1.5 pounds of oranges and 4 pounds of bananas

3 pounds of apples and 2 pounds of bananas

1 pound of oranges, 1 pound of apples and 2 pounds of bananas

1 pound of oranges, 1.5 pounds of apples and 1.5 pounds of bananas

2 pounds of oranges and 1 pound of apples

Correct answer:

1 pound of oranges, 1 pound of apples and 2 pounds of bananas

Explanation:

Make a simple algebra equation and test it against each combination:

Total Cost = $2.50 * (# Oranges) +  $1.50 * (# Apples) +  $0.50 * (# Bananas)

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