For 11 years you've been trained to solve math problems the long way. "No shortcuts!" Mrs. Nicholas always said. Mrs. Nicholas was the best math teacher that I ever had, and her advice was correct for math class. But the ACT is multiple-choice, and we can save time and energy by using the answers; simply test the answer choices to see which one works. To make this even easier, when there are fractions, π, or square roots in the questions or answers, you can convert them to decimals. "Use the Answers" works best when there are variables or unknowns in the question and numbers in the answer choices.

Let's look at this question:

Solution: This question looks pretty tough to many students, but "Use the Answers" makes it easy! You can answer this question by setting up an algebraic equation, or you can just "Use the Answers." We want 3 consecutive even integers that add up to 36. That means we want 3 even numbers in a row, like 2, 4, and 6. Try each choice as the shortest side and see which one makes the situation work:

1. 7 is not even.
2. 8 + 10 + 12 ≠ 36
3. 10 + 12 + 14 = 36
4. 12 + 14 + 16 ≠ 36
5. 14 + 16 + 18 ≠ 36

Choice C is correct since 10 + 12 + 14 = 36. Careless error buster: Notice that the question asks for the shortest, not the longest, side.

### Easy

1. If 3x – 4 = – 10, then x = ?
1. –2
2. –1
3. 0
4. 2
5. 5
2. If n , then n = ?
3. What is the largest integer value of p that satisfies the inequality ?
1. 8
2. 9
3. 10
1. 11
2. 12

### Hard

1. Jaleesa earned a score of 160 on a recent 50-question spelling contest. The scoring for the contest was +4 for each correct answer, –1 for each incorrect answer, and 0 for each unanswered question. If she answered every question, what is the maximum number of questions that Jaleesa could have answered correctly?
1. 8
2. 20
3. 40
4. 42
5. 46