Do you really need to memorize ACT math formulas? As daunting as it seems, memorizing the math formulas for ACT is essential. The ACT doesn’t give you a math formulas sheet, which means you’ll have nothing to refer to when solving the math problems on the test.

The two biggest challenges of ACT Math are the time crunch—the math test has 60 questions in 60 minutes!—and the fact that the test doesn’t provide you with any formulas. 

By mastering these formulas, you’re not only preparing for the ACT but also equipping yourself with problem-solving skills that extend beyond the test. So, let’s get into the key formulas you need to know and how to set yourself up for success. 

Pre-Algebra / Elementary Algebra 

1. Arithmetic mean (average) = Sum of values / Number of Terms

2. Probability = Target outcomes / Total outcomes

3. Quadratic Formula: x = ?b ± ?b²-4ac/2a

Intermediate Algebra / Coordinate Geometry 

4. Distance Formula: d=?(x? – x?)² + (y? – y?)²

5. Slope Formula: Slope = y? – y? /  x? – x?

6. Slope Intercept: y=mx+b

7. Midpoint Formula: (x?+x?) / 2, (y?+y?) / 2

Plane Geometry

8. Area of Triangle: area = (1/2) (base) (height)

9. Pythagorean Theorem: a²+b²=c²

10. Area of Rectangle: area = length x width

11. Area of Parallelogram: area = base x height

12. Area of Circle: ? * r²

13. Circumference of Circle: circumference = 2? *  r


14. Sine (SOH): Sine = opposite / hypotenuse

15. Cosine (CAH): Cosine = adjacent / hypotenuse

16. Tangent (TOA): Tangent = opposite / adjacent

Tips for Memorizing Math Formulas for ACT

  • Understand Your Formulas: Don’t simply memorize formulas; understand what they mean and why they’re used. Knowing the purpose of a formula makes it easier to remember.
  • Know the Test: Focus on the specific formulas relevant to the ACT. You don’t need to know every formula in existence. There are 16 key math formulas to know for the ACT.
  • Use Mnemonic Devices: Create rhymes, stories, songs, or acronyms to aid memorization. Mnemonic devices make formulas easier to recall. For example, the Quadratic Formula can be remembered as a rhyme: “X equals negative B, plus or minus the square root, of B squared minus 4 A C, all over 2 A.”
  • Practice: Practice applying the formulas in problem-solving. Avoid checking formula correctness while solving problems; making and correcting mistakes strengthens memory. Continuous practice enhances your ability to recall formulas during the ACT exam.
  • Reach out for Help: Boost your ACT success with Socato

Socrato can process bubble sheets large number of retired and released Tests. Socrato ACT diagnostic Report provides a detailed topic-level analysis which helps identify areas for improvement.

To learn the ACT preparation strategy to ace the test download our ACT ebook.