Varsity Tutors always has a different ACT Science Question of the Day ready at your disposal! If you’re just looking to get a quick review into your busy day, our ACT Science Question of the Day is the perfect option. Answer enough of our ACT Science Question of the Day problems and you’ll be ready to ace the next test. Check out what today’s ACT Science Question of the Day is below.

Question of the Day: ACT Science

Magnets and electric charges show certain similarities. For example, both magnets and electric charges can exert a force on their surroundings. This force, when produced by a magnet, is called a magnetic field. When it is produced by an electric charge, the force is called an electric field. It has been observed that the strength of both magnetic fields and electric fields is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between a magnet or an electric charge and the objects that they affect.

Below, three scientists debate the relationship between electricity and magnetism.


Scientist 1:

Electricity and magnetism are two different phenomena. Materials such as iron, cobalt, and nickel contain magnetic domains: tiny regions of magnetism, each with two poles. Normally, the domains have a random orientation and are not aligned, so the magnetism of some domains cancels out that of other domains; however, in magnets, domains line up in the same direction, creating the two poles of the magnet and causing magnetic behavior.

In contrast, electricity is a moving electric charge which is caused by the flow of electrons through a material. Electrons flow through a material from a region of higher potential (more negative charge) to a region of lower potential (more positive charge). We can measure this flow of electrons as current, which refers to the amount of charge transferred over a period of time.


Scientist 2:

Electricity and magnetism are similar phenomena; however, one cannot be reduced to the other. Electricity involves two types of charges: positive and negative charge. Though electricity can occur in a moving form (in the form of current, or an electric charge moving through a wire), it can also occur in a static form. Static electricity involves no moving charge. Instead, objects can have a net excess of positive charge or a net excess of negative charge—because of having lost or gained electrons, respectively. When two static positive electric charges or two static negative electric charges are brought close together, they repel each other. However, when a positive and a negative static charge are brought together, they attract each other.

Similarly, all magnets have two poles. Magnetic poles that are alike repel each other, while dissimilar magnetic poles attract each other. Magnets and static electric charges are alike in that they both show attraction and repulsion in similar circumstances. However, while isolated static electric charges occur in nature, there are no single, isolated magnetic poles. All magnets have two poles, which cannot be dissociated from each other.


Scientist 3:

Electricity and magnetism are two aspects of the same phenomenon. A moving flow of electrons creates a magnetic field around it. Thus, wherever an electric current exists, a magnetic field will also exist. The magnetic field created by an electric current is perpendicular to the electric current's direction of flow.

Additionally, a magnetic field can induce an electric current. This can happen when a wire is moved across a magnetic field, or when a magnetic field is moved near a conductive wire. Because magnetic fields can produce electric fields and electric fields can produce magnetic fields, we can understand electricity and magnetism as parts of one phenomenon: electromagnetism.

An iron magnet is hit repeatedly with a hammer. Afterwards, when the iron magnet is examined, it is found to be much less magnetic than it was before. What explanation would Scientist 1 most likely provide for this?

Hitting the magnet with the hammer created an electric field around the magnet, which interfered with the magnet's magnetic field.

Hitting the magnet with the hammer created an opposing magnetic field around the magnet, and this field weakened the magnet's own magnetic field.

Hitting the magnet with the hammer destroyed the magnet's domains, causing the magnet to lose its magnetism.

Hitting the magnet with the hammer caused the magnet's domains to move into alignment, weakening the magnet's magnetism.

Hitting the magnet with the hammer knocked the magnet's domains out of alignment, causing the magnet to lose its magnetism.

Facing the ACT is stressful for even the best students. You know that this test can have a major impact on the success of your college applications. Unlike your GPA, extracurricular activities, or letters of recommendation, the ACT Science test is totally objective. For example you might attend a school that grades students with far more rigor than another. A university needs an objective measure to distinguish your transcript from a student with the same GPA, but from a less rigorous program. The ACT is just that tool. 

You also know that the ACT is not like tests you have taken in classes. Instead, it is testing the development of your critical thinking skills over the past four years. Four years on one exam day! Whether you need ACT Science tutoring in New York, ACT Science tutoring in Chicago, or ACT Science tutoring in Los Angeles, working one-on-one with an expert may be just the boost your studies need.

That’s a lot of material to test. Because of just how much material there is, many students can feel lost about where to start. You may look at the sections included on the test, and panic when you see Science listed . . . especially if you are one of the many students who struggled in some of their high school science courses! Will you have to answer questions about that frog dissection from two years ago? Will you need to identify rocks from your Earth Science class? That might as well have been a lifetime ago.

Hopefully it calms your nerves a little bit to recognize that none of these things will be directly tested. You won’t have to dig up the details of your classes from several years back, nor will you be facing questions about advanced quantum physics or rocket science. 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.

The ACT Science exam tests exactly what the rest of the ACT tests: your ability to think critically, analyze provided material, and draw inferences. It is far more a reading comprehension test, in fact, than a science test. It just so happens that you will be asked to comprehend passages based on science, which makes some students immediately anxious. This anxiety, unfortunately, does not set a good foundation for success on the exam!

Clearly, familiarizing yourself with the ACT Science exam before your actual test day is critical. Appreciating the exam for what it is, is critical. You may want to consider working with tutors, teachers, or in a test-preparation program to help you overcome the anxiety many students feel, and appreciate that your success on this exam is based on the same principles that you would need to succeed on any reading comprehension test.

It’s also important to consider that the time you spend on improving your performance on the ACT Science test doesn’t just pay off on test day. Precisely because the test is asking you to draw inferences, make conclusions, and think critically, you are developing skills that will be demanded in a wide variety of later academic pursuits. The time you spend preparing for the ACT Science exam can be thought of as a broad investment in your future performance across many disciplines.

Without a doubt, proper preparation for the ACT Science exam is essential. Overcoming anxiety is probably the first step. Varsity Tutors’ free ACT Science resources, and specifically our free ACT Science question of the day, can help you take the next step of making studying for your exam a habit. Our daily featured ACT Science problem provides the correct answer and a full explanation when answered; if you get it right, you gain confidence in your abilities, and if you get it wrong, you have the opportunity to fine-tune your understanding. In addition to the ACT Science Question of the Day and ACT Science tutoring, you may also want to consider taking some of our ACT Science practice testsWith practice questions, strategy, and proper perspective, you can achieve a great score and be well on your way to your dream college!

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