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# Tip #18 to Get a Top ACT Math Score

By McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 7, 2011

Dr. Evil: Finally we come to my number two man. His name? Number Two.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (New Line Cinema, 1997)

If "Use the Answers" is our single most useful and important strategy, "Make It Real" is number two. You could say that if "Use the Answers" is Dr. Evil, then "Make It Real" is … well, Number Two.

Let's look at this question:

Solution: You'd have to be Einstein to get this question; it's too theoretical. So we take it out of theory and "Make It Real." We choose real numbers in place of the variables, and it becomes easier. We can choose any numbers that seem to fit the equation, and we might as well choose numbers that work evenly and avoid decimals. In this case, let's say b = 3 and e = 4. (Be careful of choosing 0, 1, or 2 for "Make It Real." These numbers behave in strange ways, as we'll see in Skill 46.) So when b = 3 and e = 4:

c = –2b – 2(2eb)
c = –2(3) – 2(2(4) – 3)
c = –6 – 2(5)
c = –6 – 10
c = –16

The question asks what happens when we add 2 to both b and e, so let's add 2 to both b and e and then solve the equation again. With b = 5 and e = 6:

c = –2b – 2(2eb)
c = –2(5) – 2(2(6) – 5)
c = –10 – 2(7)
c = –10 – 14
c = –24

Cake. C was –16 and is now –24, so it decreased by 8.

This strategy turns very difficult questions into much easier ones!

It's my single favorite ACT strategy.

### Easy

1. If t represents an odd integer, which of the following expressions also represents an odd integer?
1. t – 3
2. 2t – 1
3. 2t – 2
4. 3t –1
5. 4t – 4