The ACT Science Test is often the most difficult section for students since it is so unlike the science tests they take in school. The ACT Science Test examines students’ science reasoning abilities, rather than specific scientific content. For example, questions will ask students to analyze data tables, charts, graphs, experimental results, and scientific theories and draw logical conclusions. Since no outside scientific knowledge is required for this section, the ACT Science Test is most similar to the ACT Reading Test.
The ACT Science test has 7 passages and 40 questions to be completed in 35 minutes. Passage types can fall into one of three categories – Data Representation, Research Summaries, and Conflicting Viewpoints. In order for students to stick with an appropriate 5-minutes-per-passage pace, they cannot spend too much time reading and understanding the passage. They should try to jump right into the questions and refer to information in the passages to find the answer.
DO prepare by completing several ACT Science practice sections before you take the test.
Many students believe the science section to be the most difficult one on the test since it is so unfamiliar. However, students at GLC usually see the biggest score increases in this section after they do several practice passages and understand the reasoning and pacing required to perform well in the section.
DO skip around.
Since each passage only as 5 questions, start with a passage with which you feel comfortable to build confidence and maximize the number of right answers. If you feel confused when you first look at a passage, it’s ok to jump to another passage and return to it later in the test.
DON’T waste time.
The pacing on the ACT Science Test is very quick, so the best strategy is to read the introductory information of a passage and then jump right to the questions. Use the passage graphs and descriptions as reference as you answer the science questions. You simply don’t have enough time to fully understand the graphs and experiment descriptions AND answer all the questions correctly; you must be judicious with your time.
DON’T get lost in the details.
The ACT Science Test is filled with intimidating graphs that present simple information in a complicated or unconventional way. However, with a small amount of examination, you can understand what the graph is depicting. Focus on chart titles, axes labels and units (watch out for reversed axes!), and which variables are changed, and you can get the questions right.
At the end of the day, students prepare for the ACT because they want to boost their scores. Since 1998, we’ve helped over 5,000 students in Northern Virginia and Charlottesville improve their test scores! Click the button below to learn more about our programs, view class schedules, or register for ACT Prep.