ACT Science

What do you need to know about prepping for The ACT?

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The ACT Science test is a 35-minute, 40-question section testing students’ ability to read the provided summaries, diagrams and data, and use logic and reasoning to evaluate and interpret the information. Students who do well on the ACT science read carefully, ignore extraneous information, and are able to take the given data and make inferences and predictions from it.

Genotype Number of individuals in the Population with that Genotype Number of allele A Contributed to the Gene Pool by that Genotype Number of allele a Contributed to the Gene Pool by that Genotype
AA 50 50 X 2 = 100 50 X 2 = 100
Aa 40 40 X 1 = 40 40 X 1 = 40
aa 10 10X 0 = 0 10X 2 = 20
Totals 100 140 60

There are typically six or seven passages: a summary with several tables, graphs, charts, and/or diagrams. Each passage has 5-7 questions. The topic varies widely in each. The most important element in the science passages is the question itself. The passage provides way more information than necessary; part of the challenge is sifting through this surplus.

One key point to know is that the subject matter is often unfamiliar to high school students. Although all of the needed information for the questions is given, the foreign nature of the material is distracting. Here are examples of topics from past tests:

  • Lightbulb illumination
  • Flood basalt plateaus
  • Ecological succession
  • Heat expansion
  • Solar radiation
  • Oceanic shrimp migration

Although most of the passages look and function similarly, each test contains one that’s worth recognizing immediately: the Conflicting Hypothesis passage. In it, students are required to carefully read all of the text and understand the different views (normally 2-4 of them). Because of the absence of tables and graphs, these questions tend to be harder and more time-consuming for students.

Success is possible on the science section! Prepstar classes and private tutoring will help students learn how to handle the passage material by building strategies for time management, learn to ignore the unneeded data, and use the question and answer choices to find the information quickly. Students will find that practice and careful review will bring clarity to the section that, at first, can seem out of reach.