10 Helpful Terms to Boost Your ACT Science Knowledge

The creators of ACT Science have long said that a test taker won’t need advanced knowledge of various scientific fields to take the test. This is true; they are more interested in seeing if you can think like a scientist than whether or not you’ve memorized the periodic table of elements. For most of the Science section you will be asked to deal with the information placed directly in front of you: a chart, an opinion, or an experiment.

However, sometimes, a question will require some introductory-level knowledge be provided by the test taker. These aren’t difficult concepts, but reviewing them might just give you an easier time and a bit of an edge on the ACT Science section.

Let’s look at the common culprits:

Hypothesisa reasonable proposition that supposes the end result of an experiment with the understanding that it may be proven wrong

Variablea factor, trait, or condition that can be introduced in differing amounts or types within your experiment (an Independent Variable is a variable you change within the experiment and a Dependent Variable is a variable that changes as a result of tests)

Controla group that consistently does not change in order to serve as a baseline, to which the experimental groups with changing variables can be compared

Steps of the Scientific Method 

  1. Ask a question.

  2. Do background research.

  3. Construct a hypothesis.

  4. Test your hypothesis through an experiment.

  5. Analyze data.

  6. Draw a conclusion.

  7. Communicate results.

Natural SelectionPut forth by Charles Darwin, and also called “survival of the fittest,” Natural Selection is the theory that whatever traits allow an organism to live longer and, therefore, produce more offspring will become dominant in following generations.

Taxonomic Rank (in order) 

  1. Kingdom

  2. Phylum

  3. Class

  4. Order

  5. Family

  6. Genus

  7. Species

Freezing/Boiling point of water in CelsiusWater freezes at 0 degrees Celsius and boils at 100 degrees Celsius.

Phase ChangesAll materials have their own freezing and boiling points. At its lowest temperatures, material is a solid. When it warms up, the material becomes a liquid, and then, if it reaches boiling, the material can become a gas.

Formula for DensityDensity = Mass/Volume

Ph ScaleOn a scale of 1 to 10, this scale tells whether something is acidic, basic, or neutral. Below 7 is acidic, above 7 is basic, and 7 is neutral.

Having these terms in mind will only make the ACT Science section easier for you. Why not make a few flashcards and take a small potential stumbling block out of your way? Check out additional ACT Science strategies at this previous blog post.

For additional help and strategies for the ACT, contact Pivot Tutors to set up a test prep plan today!

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