ACT Strategies: Science

By Talynn Walker

ACT Science Strategies

By: Talynn Walker

The Science portion of the ACT is 35 minutes long with 6-7 passages, and 40 questions. You don’t have to be a science genius to get a good score, you just need to be able to read scientific information and infographics. Here are a few strategies to help you with this portion:

Don’t get caught up in fancy scientific jargon:

*Put the questions and answers in your own words to make it a little easier than the fancy-pants

science-y terms.

Get comfortable reading scientific passages:

*Don’t limit yourself to practice test.

*Science is in magazines, newspapers, TV, and the web.

*The more you expose yourself to science the more comfortable you will be reading science

passages on the test.

Conquer what you know first, and skip or guess if necessary:

*Questions are mostly in order of increasing difficulty.

*If you’re stuck on the last two questions of a passage and still haven't gotten to the final

passage, it might be best to put those two questions aside and move on.

*You can mark the questions and come back, or you can make an educated guess.

*Pace yourself, spend around 5 minutes total on each passage.

Devote extra time to interpreting data:

*Half the science test requires you to manipulate and analyze scientific data in all of its

glorious forms.

*Recognize data trends, reason mathematically, and otherwise interpret the information hidden


Perform rough calculations:

*There are no calculators on the science portion

*Any math you need to do will be fairly simple

*Don’t be afraid to estimate if it will cut down on time

*You don’t need to be exact with mathematical answer, a rough idea of the number should be

enough for you to answer the question correctly.

Mark up your test:

*Come up with a method of circling important facts and information

*Here are a few specific tips:

-Circle the words you don’t know the meaning of

-Underline statements that you don’t really understand

-Draw lines on graphs to mark important data points or trends

-Write the trends you spot right on the plots and tables

-Circle numbers in tables and plotted points that are out of whack with the rest of the


Stay calm and focused:

A lot will be thrown at you and it makes it easy to be overwhelmed.

Take your time and pay attention to the passages.