All ACT Science Resources
Free ACT Science Diagnostic Tests
All ACT Science Resources
The ACT Science Section
The ACT Science section consists of 40 questions administered over 35 minutes. An ACT Science section will include questions from most typical high-school science courses, including earth sciences, biology, chemistry, and physics. While the test is science-based, all of the questions will be about specific information provided on the test. In other words, students are provided with specific data, charts, graphs, experiments and hypotheses. They are then asked to answer questions based on this information. 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.
Breakdown of the ACT Science Section
The ACT Science section is broken into seven passages. Between four and eight questions are asked about each passage. The passages are all science related, and will be laid out in one of three general ways (number of sections in parentheses):
1. Reading Charts & Graphs (3): Students will be asked questions based on one or more graphs or charts. These sections generally take the least amount of time. There is usually very little text-based reading outside of the data presented.
2. Research Summaries (3): These passages contain a good deal of text-based reading. The text presents a particular hypothesis, and then several experiments (usually two or three) that are conducted. Research summaries will include charts and graphs, as well as explanations and illustrations. On average, Research Summaries take more time than Reading Charts & Graphs due to the larger quantity of information that they present.
3. Conflicting Hypotheses (1): One part of the ACT Science test is the Conflicting Hypotheses section. This section is the most like an ACT Reading section. The text presents a scientific phenomenon along with the opinions of two people (usually scientists), who have mostly different views on why the phenomenon occurs. Students are then asked questions about the beliefs of each of the scientists. Questions will focus on what the scientists would agree on, what they would disagree on, and what each one might think about the other’s opinion.
This section is the most time-consuming portion of the ACT Science test. This is due to the amount of reading involved and the amount of time required to answer the questions successfully. Many strategies for the ACT Science section focus on identifying this section and then attempting it last. 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.
Timing of the ACT Science Section
Most students cite the ACT Science section as the most difficult section to finish in time. You are given 35 minutes to answer 40 questions, which is the same time structure as the ACT Reading section.
Basic Strategies for the ACT Science Section
1. There is no substitute for careful reading. Did the question ask about Graph 1 or Table 1? Did the question ask about Experiment 1 or Experiment 2? Most of the questions on the ACT Science section require you to carefully pay attention to details. Many of the “easy” questions on the test only require you to properly locate a piece of data.
2. Pass on the hardest questions. You can safely expect 1 or 2 really hard questions per passage. The questions are not in order of difficulty, so there is no way to know that you are dealing with a difficult question until you try it out; however, if you have spent more than one minute on a specific question, it is probably a good idea to make a guess and move on. Keep in mind ALL of the ACT Science questions are worth the same number of points. If you spend too much time on a difficult question, you may lose out on a chance to see one (or more) easy questions near the end of the test.
3.Read the passage before answering the questions. This is a mistake some students make on the ACT English and ACT Reading sections as well. For a variety of reasons (mostly time constraints) students barely skim—or even bypass—the passages altogether before reading the questions. Don’t do this! Read the passage carefully before reading the questions. Do not feel as though you have to understand every detail for every experiment—you probably won’t. But DO pay particular attention to what is being measured and tested. A good way to do this is to read the x- and y-axis of graphs, the columns and rows of graphs, and all of the units of measurement contained in the data. This will allow you to spot keywords and phrases in the questions and match them back up to the information in the passages, even if you don’t understand what they mean. For example, you may not need to know what an angstrom is, but you will need to know if Table 2 contains data that was measured in angstroms.
How to Study for the ACT Science Section
Use the ACT Science free Practice Tests, provided by Varsity Tutors, to get a sense of how you might do on the ACT’s Science section. Questions on these practice tests are formatted in the same way as on the ACT, so they can help you become familiar with the test’s format. You can use this tool to help identify specific subjects for review, allowing you to focus your studying and improve your score on the ACT Science section.
Varsity Tutors’ Learning Tools also include Full-Length ACT Science Practice Tests. The complete practice test results can also help you build a personalized ACT Science study plan and help you to gain experience seeing what the actual exam is like. The feedback provided includes the same kind of detailed explanations and links to more information as on the shorter practice tests. The results of these full practice tests can help you target your review plan by showing you which concepts you should spend more time reviewing. You can put your new study plan into action by using any of the other Learning Tools available. To gauge your progress, simply take another ACT Science Full-Length Practice Test. In addition to the ACT Science Practice Tests and ACT Science tutoring, you may also want to consider using some of our ACT Science flashcards.
Varsity Tutors also offers other free ACT Science resources for you to use in preparing for the ACT’s Science section, including free ACT Science Flashcards, and free ACT Science Questions of the Day. Our free ACT Science resources are written by teachers, professors, content specialists, and tutors. Explanations are given for each question, so if you miss a question, you can find out where you went wrong.
Free ACT Science Practice Tests