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# Tip #29 to Get a Top ACT Math Score

By Brian Leaf
McGraw-Hill Professional

When approaching a question, students often say, "I have no idea where to start!" This book, and this strategy especially, tells you where to start.

Examples:

• When you see x2y2, factor it to (xy)(x + y).
• Note: x2y2 = (xy)(x + y) is the ACT's favorite kind of factoring, memorize it!

• When you see (x – 3)(x + 2), FOIL it to get x2x – 6.
• When you see , reduce it to .
• When you see , simplify it to or just 7.07.
• When you see , use your calculator (top divided by the bottom) to convert it to 0.875.

These steps tell you where to go with a question. I have seen this strategy dramatically help students, especially kids who get stuck and don't know what to do next—this strategy tells you what to do next.

Let's look at this question:

Solution: When you see x2y2, factor it.

x2y2 = 84
(xy)(x + y) = 84     Factor x2y2 to (xy)(x + y).
6(x + y) = 84     Substitute in 6 for the (xy), since (xy) = 6.
(x + y) = 14

### Medium

1. If xy = 4 and z = 6x – 5 – 6y, then z = ?
1. –1
2. 1
3. 19
4. 24
5. 29
2. For x2 ≠ 49, = ?
3. The expression is equal to which of the following?
1. 5
2. 6
3. 8

### Hard

1. When = 8, a2 – 64b2 = ?
1. 0
2. 7
3. 8
1. –7
2. –8

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