ACT Math

McGraw-Hill’s Top 50 Skills: ACT Math

amazon barnes and noble borders booksamillion

LeafACTmath.jpg“Anyone even thinking of taking the ACT needs this short but targeted guide to the math section. You simply can’t afford not to spend the time reading his laser sharp drills that break down every type of problem on the ACT, show the math behind each type and then provide drill sections based on that skill set. Even poor math students can learn to recognize all the types of math on the ACT and learn the ropes enough to get most of the easy and medium questions right every time. Mr. Leaf’s guide is even entertaining as he gives the skill sets names like “Green Circle, Black Diamond” to make it feel like you are skiing rather than slogging through lessons. If you want a short but concise guide to the ACT with every trick and mathematical explanation necessary to get a perfect score, this is the book for you. You may even actually LEARN real math in the process as Mr. Leaf’s love of the subject shines through so you don’t just feel you are learning for a test.”

Dr. Michele Hernandez, author of the bestselling books A is for Admission, The Middle School Years, and Acing the College Application


“Brian Leaf knows how to talk with students and in his book, McGraw-Hill’s Top 50 Skills: ACT Math, you can hear his voice loud and clear. Students who follow Brian’s “Mantras” and work through the practice questions will gain confidence in their work, as well as improve their ACT scores.”

Barbara Anastos, former Director, Monmouth Academy


"Feels like you have an insider divulging secrets from behind the walls of the ACT! At times going so far as to circumvent the math skills themselves, Brian gives practical tips and tricks specifically designed to outwit the ACT's formula, and he does it all with a sense of humor and fun. Nice job!"

Danica McKellar, actress (The Wonder Years, West Wing), mathematician, and author of New York Times bestsellers Math Doesn't Suck and Kiss My Math



McGraw-Hill's Top 50 Skills: ACT Math

McGraw-Hill's Top 50 Skills: ACT Math pinpoints the obstacles you face and provides the skills to eliminate them. The book comes with a pretest so you can identify your weaknesses and then master the essentials for exam success. The skills are presented in easy-to-negotiate two-page spreads with step-by-step examples.

Here’s a sample from the book.

Skill 4

“Mean” Means Average


Every ACT has a “mean” question. If you didn’t know the term before and you do by the end of this page, you will gain points! “Mean” is just a fancy term for “average.” So when a question asks for either the “mean” or the “average” of a bunch of numbers, just add them up and divide by how many numbers there are:



The ACT throws only two “mean” curveballs. First, instead of giving you a list of numbers, they’ll show you the data in a table or graph. This throws kids; it surprises them and they don’t know what to do. But since you know to expect it, it’s easy. Just identify the data and use our average formula: add up the numbers and divide by how many there are. Once you drill this topic, you’ll never miss a “mean” or “average” question again!

The second curveball is that sometimes the ACT whips out a question about median or mode.
These are usually rated “medium” or “hard,” only because most kids don’t know what these terms mean!
Median is the middle number in a list of numbers, and mode is the number that occurs the most often. Consider this list: 5, 7, 9, 9, 11, 12, 12, 15, 15, 15, 15. The median is 12 (it’s in the middle of the list). The mode is 15 (it occurs most often, 4 times). When you see a median or mode question, just rewrite the data as a list in order.