Science-Adjacent: Tips for ACT Science Success

The ACT Science section confuses, frustrates, and challenges many students. And it is a strange section to say the least.

The English tests on English concepts and rules. The Math tests on Math concepts and rules. The Reading tests on Reading comprehension and speed. 

But the Science section isn’t really testing on science concepts and rules; instead, it seems to test on how to “think” like a scientist. In a sense, the Science section is another form of reading comprehension, with the majority of questions on data interpretation and locating information. 

The key to success with the ACT Science section is equipping yourself with effective strategies.

Here are 5 easy strategies to quickly improve upon the ACT Science Section:

  1. Go straight to questions (for all passages except “Conflicting Viewpoints”). Unlike the ACT Reading section, it isn’t beneficial to read the passage prior to answering the questions. Simply put, you don’t have the time. 

  2. Use the information in the question wisely BEFORE jumping over to the passage.

    1. Identify where to look. The question will direct you to a specific place: Figure 1, Table 2, Study 3, etc. Questions that direct you to the “results” want you to look at the data. Questions that direct you to the “passage” or “information” require you to read parts of the text. 

    2. Identify what to look for. Use the specific units and science terminology in the questions (or even the answer choices) to guide your search.

    3. Save time. If you have a good idea of where you to look and what to look for when you FIRST go to the passage, then you won’t waste as much time flipping back and forth between the passage and the questions.

  3. Look for trends in the data. Don’t get caught up in the particulars of the data; instead, consider what the data is showing overall (an increase, decrease, constant, etc.).

  4. Recognize that the questions in each passage increase in their level of difficulty as you go. This means, if you are running out of time, be strategic in which questions you choose to answer. Rather than trying to get 1 more complicated question correct, you could skip over it and answer 3 or 4 of the next passage’s early questions. 

  5. Treat the “Conflicting Viewpoints” passage (one per test) differently. Read the text prior to moving into the questions. 

While the ACT science section has its difficulties, adopting these simple strategies can increase your score. Practice really makes perfect in this section--the more familiar students become with the variety of tables and graphs and types of questions, the easier it is to score higher. Familiarity breeds confidence, and confidence is essential to tackling this science section.

Need additional help crushing the ACT Science section? Contact us today!

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