In addition to the other sections of the ACT, the science section is an amalgamation of biology, chemistry, and some physics; however, the ACT does not require direct knowledge of the subject, but it does require a significant amount of critical reading and thinking skill. Remembering that all answers to passage questions must be found in the passage can help guide studying from the beginning. Students do not necessarily need to have complete memorization of a topic but should be well versed in critical reading, critical thinking, and interpretation of figures, graphs, and charts. Whether you need top ACT Science tutors in Atlanta, ACT Science tutors in Houston, or ACT Science tutors in San Francisco, working with a pro may take your studies to the next level.
As mentioned before, the ACT does not test specific topics in biology, chemistry, and physics, but it does test areas of knowledge. Specific areas of knowledge addressed by the ACT Science section include:
- Data Representation: presentation of graphs and charts similar to those found in scientific journals are used to assess how well students understand trends and direct or indirect relationships between variables. Line and scatter plots figure heavily into data representation topics.
- Research Summaries: one or more experiments conducted by a student or scientist is presented to the student. These questions focus on experimental design, rationale, and interpretation of experimental results. Students are often asked why a certain order of research steps would be necessary based on information contained in the passage or why one student’s results may be more correct than another’s.
- Conflicting Viewpoints: several hypotheses from different scientists or students are presented that seek to explain a physical phenomenon. Sometimes students are asked to determine which of the claims is not based on evidence presented in the passage or how two arguments could be reconciled with additional data. Comparison of alternative viewpoints with both explicit and implicit data is the primary purpose of this section.
Skills built in high school biology, chemistry, and physics classes serve as a basis to succeed on the ACT Science section. While the content is not directly related to what was learned in class, critical reading and interpretation skills serve to allow students to interpret the necessary scientific data; however, familiarity with common biology topics such as the cell cycle, ecosystem, and the structure of animal and plant cells will often help in reading passages. The ACT passages base their graphs, figures, and charts on knowledge learned in high school, so understanding some of this base knowledge can further help in easing interpretation of the figures. Varsity Tutors offers resources like a free ACT prep book to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an ACT Science tutor.
However, the primary means of succeeding on the ACT Science section is time to study and do practice passages. Students should review how variables are related in graphs and figures by reviewing old school assignments or using prepared materials available from numerous test preparatory companies. Additionally, tutors who work with students on the science portion of the ACT can often provide additional practice passages for studying and often have extensive test-taking strategies that have proven helpful to previous students. In addition to the ACT Science help section and ACT Science tutoring, you may also want to consider taking some of our ACT Science practice tests. Problems are organized by concept, so you can focus on just the types of problems that you find particularly difficult. This is a great way to make sure you’re studying in an efficient manner by actively supplementing your knowledge instead of just passively reviewing!