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  • Writer's picturePhilip Martin

Quiz: Math In Order of Importance

I own a lot of ACT prep books from a lot of different companies; it kind of comes with the territory when you've been teaching ACT prep as long as I have.


However, one of the main things that sets my prep books apart from the others is that I have done the research into not only what kind of math (for example) is tested on the ACT, but also which concepts and equations a student must know, which ones are good to know, and which ones are unlikely to be necessary, and which ones are a waste of time memorizing and studying.


Here are six concepts or formulas frequently studies as part of ACT Math preparation. Can you or your son or daughter tell me which 2 of the 6 fall into the "Have to Know" category (guaranteed to be needed on the ACT), which 2 fall into the "Good to Know" category (likely to be needed on the ACT, but not guaranteed), and which 2 fall into the "waste of time and memory" category?


*Answers below!*


1) The Quadratic Equation

2) The Formula for the Area of a Circle

3) The Law of Transversals

4) Relationships between Similar Triangles 5) The Distance Formula

6) Adding Matrices


At first glance, your child will probably say that all of them are necessary. They might not know what "similar" triangles are, so they might say that this is one of the two unnecessary ones, probably along with adding matrices. However, those answers are incorrect.


Here are the two that every student taking the ACT Math test must know (when I say "know" I don't only mean "memorize," but rather practice and master in different questions and situations): a) The Formula for the Area of a Circle

b) The Law of Transversals


Here are the two that would be "Good to Know," meaning should be studied after every concept in the "Have to Know" category has been mastered:


c) Relationships between Similar Triangles

d) Adding Matrices


Lastly, the two formulas or concepts that are unnecessary for the ACT Math test are:


e) The Quadratic Formula

f) The Distance Formula


Don't get me wrong; there's nothing bad about having these latter two memorized. If you've got the distance formula down, for example, it could definitely help you find the distance between two points. However, it is more difficult to memorize this formula than it is to learn a simpler way to find the distance between two points (making the distance the hypotenuse of a right triangle: all taught in The ACT System course). As for the Quadratic Formula, any trinomial the ACT expects you to factor will be simply done.


This is the kind of tiered ACT Prep you can expect out of The ACT System! Unfortunately, you won't find it anywhere else.


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