ACT Science Prep

ACT Science.  Scary stuff, right?  You can’t even use a calculator! (because  you really don’t need one).

You can be tested on biology, botany, zoology, microbiology, ecology, genetics, evolution, atomic theory, inorganic chemical reactions, chemical bonding, reaction rates, solutions, equilibrium, gas laws, electrochemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and properties, states of mattermechanics, energy, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, fluids, solids, light waves,  geology, meteorology, oceanography, astronomy, and environmental sciences!

But in actuality, the ACT Science reasoning section is more about interpreting data, graphical analysis and weeding through scientific jargon than actual science content.  Sure, a broad knowledge base in each content area will help you cruise through the question more quickly, but simple reasoning and analysis will get you the right answer every time.

The best way to prepare for the science section is to review your basic graph reading skills and make sure you are still aware of the concepts that surround them (John Smith).

Here are some general tips:

  1. There are 40 questions to answer in 35 minutes, which equates to less than a minute per question.  Skip hard questions and come back to them later if needed.
  2. Read the questions BEFORE reading the narrative.
  3. There are usually 2 bad answers – cross them out, and focus on the two best choices.  That leaves only a 50/50 chance.
  4. Don’t leave anything blank – there is no penalty for guessing.
  5. Mark up your test – take notes, highlight sections in the passage, and sketch on your graphs.
  6. Don’t get confused by the terminology.  Focus on the reasoning and analysis.
  7. Look for extremes in charts and graphs.  Most graphs will require you to estimate your answer.
  8. Be aware of different viewpoints – especially in developing hypotheses and drawing conclusions.

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