SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Best ACT Math Practice Tests: How to Find and Use Them

Posted by Dora Seigel | Jun 17, 2016 8:00:00 PM

ACT Math



Whatever your ACT Math prep plan, whether you’re doing self-study, a class, or working with a tutor, you need to be working with real ACT Math practice materials. The ACT Math test will be unlike any other Math test you’ve taken. You need to work with the real material to get used to the pacing and style of this unique test. In this short guide, I’ll let you know where to find free and paid official ACT Math practice tests. 


Best ACT Math Practice - Free and Official

These tests are totally free. We've gathered together all of them in one place for your convenience.

This test format can be a little clunky to use, but it's convenient and online. Answer all choices on the page. Then, click answer at the bottom to see the answers to the question. Once you’ve checked your answers, you’ll be able to move on to the next page. There are 12 questions per page with five pages for a total of 60 questions (just like the real ACT Math section which has 60 questions).

To keep the timing realistic, I recommend that you give yourself 12 minutes per page (which is 1 minute per question) since you get 60 minutes for 60 questions on the actual ACT Math section. Take as much time as you need to check your answers on the given page. Then, move on to the next page and give yourself another 12 minutes.


You might notice a few years are missing, and that's because the ACT duplicates the same test in different years. For example, the 2013-14 test is identical to the 2014-15 test. We've included the Form ID with each test so that you can check this for yourself (you can see the Form ID in the bottom left of each page on the test).


Best ACT Math Practice - Paid and Official

While studying for the ACT Math section, you’ll want more than six official ACT practice tests. I highly recommend The Real ACT 3rd Edition. The book only costs about $20, and it’s got five official Math practice tests. The book is written by the makers of the ACT, so it’s the real deal. Don't both buying Kaplan or Princeton Review for practice tests - their quality is far inferior to the tests put out by the ACT.

If you want to get in a couple more practice ACT Math tests, I also recommend the ACT Online Program, though it’s less cost effective at $25 for two extra practice tests. It also includes an online prep program, but it’s not good. If you make the purchase, just do it the practice tests, if you need it.



The ACT Math practice possibilities are (near) endless!


Other ACT Math Materials

In general, I recommend against using any ACT Math practice tests that were not written by the ACT as they won’t provide realistic practice. You want to use real practice materials so that you ensure you’re taking tests that reflect the actual content and difficulty of the real ACT.

If you take practices tests made by other companies, they may be more or less difficult and may not include all of the content on the real ACT. However, unofficial tests can be a great way to practice math skills if not trying to practice ACT-style questions. ACT Math, more than any other section, is based on knowing the math content, so having plenty of materials to practice the different math skills required is important and bad formatting doesn't matter as much. Check out our massive collection of ACT study material for some official and unofficial tests. 

If you still want more ACT study material, check out our guide to the best ACT prep books.   


How to Use These ACT Math Practice Tests in Your Prep

Even if you purchase all of the real ACT Math practice tests, you will only have 13, and each one of these tests will take you an hour, so you want to make sure you get the most out of each one. Here are my top three tips to best use your ACT Math practice tests:


Tip #1: Take Math Practice Tests Under Realistic Conditions

Take the math section in one sitting with accurate timing. Use a watch to time the one-hour math section. Sit for the full hour! It’s not that long! You need to sit for the full test so that you get used to the timing and learn to pace yourself.

You only get 60 minutes for 60 questions. The questions progress from easy to hard. You’ll need to work on spending less than a minute per question on the first part of the ACT Math section so that you have a little more than a minute per question to answer the harder questions at the end of the Math section.

Do not give yourself any extra time. This can allow you to do extra questions and improve your score. We want to use these practice tests as reliable indicators of your real score so stick to the real timing.

NOTE: realistic practice means obeying all of the rules of the test. You're only allowed to have your calculator for the math section. You should not have your phone out. You should be using a pencil. Read our full guide to realistic practice


Tip #2: Review Your Mistakes

When you finish your Math practice tests, score your Math test. Look at every mistake you made and try to figure out where you went wrong. If you skip this step, you're not going to learn from your mistakes, and you'll continue making them over and over again.

I recommend spending at least 30 minutes to an hour reviewing your ACT math test. It may seem like a lot of time, but it’s necessary to take this time so that you learn from your mistakes. It’s better for you to take three ACT Math practice tests with detailed review than six with no review.



Think quality over quantity!


Tip #3: Supplement With Skill Work 

There are some students who can see improvement in ACT math by just taking practice tests and familiarizing themselves with the pace and style, but that is rare. The majority of students need to do a more in-depth review of math skills that they might have forgotten, never learned, or never quite mastered. 

If you find you're not improving on your practice tests, I recommend that you look at our individual Math content guides. These articles tackle specific math subject areas (i.e. Linear Equations, Trigonometry, etc.) that you need to know to succeed on the ACT Math section.

When you review your first practice test, figure out the reason you got each math question wrong: was it due to misreading a question? Or not knowing the content? If you didn't know the content necessary to solve the question, then you need to review that content! 


Tip #4: Get Additional Help If You Need It!

If you’re not improving your score, you should supplement the practice tests with extra prep work, either a tutor, class, book (such as the ones linked to above) or a program. While some students may be able to learn from their mistakes on practice tests, the majority need additional guidance to point out their weaknesses and to help them improve.

However, a good prep program should be personalized to your needs, focusing on your area of weakness while not wasting your time covering topics that you’ve already mastered.


What’s Next?

Now that you know where to find ACT Math practice tests, you might want to take a look at our ACT math guides to help you study any individual ACT math topic from ratios to rotations, points to probabilities; we've got you covered.

Stuck on an ACT math problem? Whether you're stuck on a study guide, a practice test, or you're worried about getting stuck on test day, don't sweat it. We'll show you how to figure out when you're really stuck and what to do about it.

Need more help with ACT Math? We've compiled the best ACT Math guides into one ultimate ACT math study guide. No more searching for ACT math tips and resources—they're available here.


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Our program is entirely online, and it customizes what you study to your strengths and weaknesses. If you liked this Math lesson, you'll love our program. Along with more detailed lessons, you'll get thousands of practice problems organized by individual skills so you learn most effectively. We'll also give you a step-by-step program to follow so you'll never be confused about what to study next.

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Dora Seigel
About the Author

As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.

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