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# Tip #28 to Get a Top ACT Math Score

By McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 7, 2011

"Problems" is a bad name for these; they are definitely no-problems. I know some kids who see a word problem and shut down; "I hate these; I have no chance," they say. So untrue! And anyway, imagine you're a soccer goalie. What if you analyzed every ball that came at you, analyzed whether you had a chance or not. You'd wind up watching a lot of balls go past. Go for every ball, every question. I'm not telling you to spend 7 minutes on one question, just to ask yourself, which Skill can I use for this question, what's the easy way to get it? You'll get more of them right, even ones you thought you had no chance on. Intimidation is the only thing standing in your way. So go for it.

Arithmetic word no-problems are really a type of translation. You just have to translate the words into math. Sometimes they are not as direct as the ones in Skill 27, but once you translate, the math is even easier. And every single ACT has at least 5 of these! That's a lot, and they are easy points, total gimmies, money in the bank.

A huge trick for these questions, and for any question containing fractions, is to translate fractions to decimals. This is amazing; it turns what looks like a tough question into a totally easy question. For some kids, this strategy alone gets them 3 more questions per test!

Let's look at this question:

Solution: First translate fractions to decimals: = 0.333 and = 0.4.

Then it's too easy! "Combine the jars" tells us to add them together.

So the combined jar is 0.333 + 0.4 = 0.733 full. Now just convert the fractions in the answer choices, and choose the one closest to 0.7333. Notice that this question asks for the approximate answer, so take the closest one to 0.7333.

F. 0.33 full       G. 0.60 full         H. 0.666 full       J. 0.90 full         K. Completely full

Choice H is the closest answer to 0.7333 of a jar of delicious yellow mustard.