Pre-Algebra Practice Questions on the ACT

By Lisa Zimmer Hatch, Scott A. Hatch

On the ACT Math Test, about one‐fourth of the questions cover pre-algebra (normal people refer to this as arithmetic). These questions can include such concepts as fractions, decimals, and subtracting negative numbers.

Here are a few questions for you to try:

Sample questions

  1. 1. What is 25% of

    image0.png

    (A)

    image1.png

    (B)

    image2.png

    (C)

    image3.png

    (D)

    image4.png

    (E) 12

  2. 2. Trying to get Willie to turn down his stereo, his mother pounds on the ceiling and shouts up to his bedroom. If she pounds seven times for every five times she shouts, which of the following could be the total number of poundings and shouts?

    (F) 75

    (G) 57

    (H) 48

    (J) 35

    (K) 30

  3. 3. What is the order of operations for this equation:

    image5.png

Answers and explanations

  1. 1. The correct answer is Choice (C).

    First, you don’t need to do any calculation to eliminate Choices (B) and (E). 25% of

    image6.png

    or 12. Then notice that the answer choices are in fraction rather than decimal form, so work the problem with fractions. When you convert 25% to a fraction, you get

    image7.png

    Of means multiply. So your equation is

    image8.png

    Convert the second fraction and multiply:

    image9.png

  2. 2. The correct answer is Choice (H).

    Add the numbers in the ratio:

    image10.png

    The total must be a multiple of 12 (which means it must be evenly divisible by 12). Here, only 48 is evenly divisible by 12.

  3. 3. First, do what’s inside the parentheses:

    image11.png

    Next, do the power:

    image12.png

    (Did you remember that any number to the 0 power equals 1?) Next, multiply:

    image13.png