My kids from Congo and Uganda can’t speak Lingala or Luganda anymore. Why? They stopped speaking it. Now they only speak English.
Math is a language you learn to speak. If you stop speaking it, you too will start losing it.
On the ACT, we must be able to quickly speak the language of math to efficiently determine correct answers.
The math test is 60 questions over 60 minutes. That does not mean you have 1 minute per question. It may average that rate, but easier questions are at the beginning. The first 20 questions shouldn’t take you 20 mins.
To work efficiently, you need to have math fresh on your mind from several years of high school and junior high math.
Approximate breakdown of math section:
53% Pre-algebra, Algebra, and Algebra II
No calculus on the ACT.
Most students will start with pre-algebra and algebra I. Many schools will then have students take geometry. This will typically be the freshman year for advanced students and the sophomore year for everyone else. Then algebra II follows geometry. Students may finish with any combination of trigonometry, math analysis, pre-calculus, and calculus.
Some schools encourage students to bypass all courses after algebra II and take college algebra as a concurrent class.
Concurrent classes count for both high school and college credit. With the cost of college these days, these courses can save you a lot of money.
So what math classes should you take and when?
If your goal is to maximize ACT scores, you should take these courses to start:
Trigonometry is the key class. It reteaches or refreshes geometry.
Finally, you must take a math class your senior year. This math class can be one listed above. If those are already taken, the senior math course should be calculus or a concurrent math class.
“But I wanted my son to have a happy senior year.”
Don’t buy this lie. When he can’t do math because he stopped speaking the language of math, you and he won’t be very happy.
Refresh basic math before each test. No derivatives or integrals. Make sure you remember basic geometry and algebra.
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