Whether you're on a budget or just want to see what kind of ACT math study material you can access for free, you've come to the right place. Though the internet is chock full of ACT study material of dubious quality, we have collected and put together only the highest quality FREE ACT math study material available.
So let's jump right in!
[Note: For guides and reviews of the best for-pay ACT study, check out our list of ACT study links, which includes both free and for-pay materials for every ACT topic.]
Before We Begin
Because the ACT is a very specific type of test, it is paramount that you study from the right sources. Studying the wrong materials is about as bad as not studying at all and there are, unfortunately, a lot (a lot) of poorly-designed ACT prep materials floating around. Don’t be tempted by the many websites and programs out there, both free and not, that provide ACT prep materials of poor quality.
If you spend your time studying from inferior materials, you will not have a clear sense of how you’ll perform on the day of the test. Proper test prep is about assessing your current level and improving upon it, but you won’t be able to do this if you get a false sense of your skill level (either higher or lower) based off of poor study materials. Any practice problems that don't properly reflect the types of questions you’ll see on the ACT aren't worth your time.
Knowing this, the absolute best study strategy is to base your studying off of the official ACT materials. The test is designed by ACT, Inc and their free materials are far and away the best place to start. From here, you can then branch off into programs and materials based off this official material.
Because you should only be studying from websites and programs that are as close to the source (aka, the official ACT) as possible, there are, unfortunately, not a whole lot of free materials available. But we will look at all the links for all your free official practice tests and guides from the ACT, as well as all the free programs and guides out there that are based on this official material.
Again, the company that designs and issues the test should always be your first study go-to and, luckily, they provide a good deal of free study material. ACT, Inc has both complete tests as well as individual math practice, so let's take a look.
Complete Free Practice Tests
You may notice that there are missing years (2005/2006, 2006/2007, etc.). The ACT repeats tests for different years, so the tests for these missing years are duplicates of the ones above. The 5 tests linked here are the only free tests available from the past 10 years.
(Note: If you purchase the ACT Red Book, you will have access to 5 more official ACT practice tests, but this is, obviously, not free.)
Free Math Practice
In addition to complete tests, the ACT website also provides sample math questions with answer choice feedback. These are a full 60 questions in ascending order of difficulty, just like a real ACT math section. It is essentially another free complete math test with which you can study.
We recommend solving all your questions on paper and then checking your work at the end, rather than checking your accuracy after each question. This method will give you a better sense of how you’ll do on the actual test (remember--you won’t have immediate feedback while you’re taking the real test!)
No need to worry about bills here--most of your ACT studying can be done for free.
PrepScholar has free resources for all of your ACT math needs, including detailed guides on every math topic on the ACT. All of our guides include definitions and explanations of each math topic, give examples of how you’ll see each topic on the test, and provide real ACT practice questions with detailed answer explanations.
Plane and Solid Geometry
In addition, we also have strategy guides that will help you solve numerous ACT math problems across the board, including:
You can also sign up for a free 5 day free trial to our test prep program. Our program assesses your current strengths and weaknesses and adapts based on your progress. It gives you practice questions tailored to your areas of needed improvement and provides answer explanations for all questions.
All our questions are based off of real ACT test questions and, though the full program is not free, we guarantee your money back if you do not improve by 4 points.
Okay, so you've got your study material. Now how do you best use it?
How to Effectively Use Your Study Material
In addition to knowing what study material to actually use (and what to avoid), it's just as important to know how to best utilize that study material. These steps will help you achieve your highest score from the materials available.
1) Start by taking a full test in one sitting
Though you're probably reading this article because you are mostly concerned about your ACT math score, you'll still need to know how you fare over the course of the full ACT. Answering one or two ACT questions may not be overly challenging, but the test is a marathon and, if you are not prepared, you can find yourself exhausted by the end of it. And exhaustion will lead anyone to make mistakes.
So before you dedicate your focus to the math alone, see how your math score fits into the larger test-taking picture. And bonus--by taking the full test, you will also be able to see how your math score does over the course of the entire math section (remember--the questions get harder and harder over the course of the math test).
2) Practice with proper timing
As you take both your complete test and any math-specific sections, make sure you follow the proper timing outlined on the test itself. You will have one minute, on average, to answer your math questions and you'll need to know how well you fit into these parameters before test day. It's not worth much if you can answer every question accurately but can't complete the test in time.
Don’t worry if you run out of time while taking your first practice test! This is completely normal and gives you a place to begin and improve. If the trend continues, check out our guide on how to stop running out of time on the ACT math section.
3) Review your mistakes
Taking the practice test is merely the first step to the process. Afterwards, you must identify the patterns in your correct and incorrect answers so that you can understand how to improve. Do you tend to get the last few questions wrong on each math section? Do function questions always throw you for a loop? Really examine your errors and tailor your studying to hit those areas.
4) Target your areas of weakness
Remember, your goal is to answer as many questions as accurately as possible, so dedicate the majority of your time to improving your areas of weakness.
Make an effort to also prioritize the first 40 questions or so in the math test. Each question is worth the same amount of points, but they get more and more difficult as you go through the test. So it is more efficient in terms of your time and energy to solve two questions in the 20-range than it is to spend twice as much time solving question 60.
5) Pace your studying
Don’t cram all your studying into one day before the test. With a busy schedule, cramming may seem like your only option, but real improvement happens over time. And yet don't despair, either! No matter how much time you have left before the test, you can make a balanced study program.
Start by looking at the time you have before test-day. Next, assign yourself at least three full practice tests in addition to your normal studying time, paced out over the course of your time until the test.
This probably won’t be possible if you only have a week or two before test-day, but it’s still important to fit in at least one practice test or two in where you can. If you are on an accelerated or last minute schedule, check out our guide to improving your score in 10 days.
6) Sign up with a tutor or prep program if you are not seeing signs of improvement
Some people find that they want to do all their studying alone, but for others this is untenable. If you find that the material does not make sense to you or you need an outward push to help you (or to just make you make time to study), then a tutor or a test prep program (or both!) are necessary to give you that final push and maximize your potential score.
There are many different study-paths and you'll find the right one for your needs.
Want to best make use of your study materials? Now that you've gathered your ACT math study materials, check out how to get the most realistic ACT experience while you practice.
Bitten by the procrastination bug? Time running out until test day? Check out how to beat the urge to procrastinate and learn how to balance time for your study prep.
Looking to get a perfect score? Check out our guides to how many questions you can get wrong and still score perfect and how to get a perfect 36 on ACT math, written by a perfect-scorer.
Want to improve your ACT score by 4 points?
Check out our best-in-class online ACT prep program. We guarantee your money back if you don't improve your ACT score by 4 points or more.
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.
Check out our 5-day free trial:
Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Courtney scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT in high school and went on to graduate from Stanford University with a degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology. She is passionate about bringing education and the tools to succeed to students from all backgrounds and walks of life, as she believes open education is one of the great societal equalizers. She has years of tutoring experience and writes creative works in her free time.