ACT Science Tips

Before test day

  • As with the Reading portion, reading and understanding what you have read is an important skill. Reading scientific articles and taking ACT practice tests will help you be able to think scientifically about the questions being asked and will also help you to do all of this as quickly as possible.
  • Practice interpreting data presented in different types of graphs, charts and drawings. You can find this information online, in science textbooks, and on practice ACT tests. You can also ask your science teacher to give you practice worksheets or articles which will help you practice how to interpret and apply knowledge of data. Watching online videos made by science and/or math teachers will also help you to gain a better understanding of how to interpret data.
  • Review the Scientific Method and how each step works within an experiment. This knowledge may not be explicitly stated on this exam, but understanding how an experiment is set up and executed is knowledge that you will need to have in order to do well on this test.
  • Taking an ACT prep course would help you gain the tools you need to be an effective reader and to apply your knowledge of the readings in a scientific and logical way. It will also help you gain an understanding of the scientific jargon that may be on the test. If you understand it, you won’t be afraid of it!

On test day

  • You have less than one minute to answer each question, so be sure to manage your time wisely. Take advantage of the fact that you can bring your own watch and monitor your time carefully. Skim the questions first, then skim the passage to find the answer to the questions as opposed to taking the time to do a deep and through reading of portions that may not be of any importance to the questions asked.
  • Focus closely on the charts and graphs on the test. One or more of the questions will likely be focused on the data presented within them.
  • Some students prefer to do the first few questions of each passage and to save the more difficult questions near the end of each passage for the end. If you decide to do this, be careful not to get the answers mixed up on your answer sheet!
  • You are permitted to write inside of your test booklet, so take advantage of that to make markings and notes in order to help you keep track of important points and to answer the questions effectively.
  • Don’t take too much time on any one question or even any one passage. Skip over questions that have you stumped and complete the test. Go back to the skipped questions if you have time.
  • Don’t be afraid to make an educated guess! There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT. Try to eliminate answers that are obviously incorrect and guess the one you think might have the best chance of being the right answer. Try not to leave any question blank!