How To Navigate The ACT Science Section

Knowing what to expect and understanding how the questions are structured in the ACT science section can help to make this test less stressful.

The first thing you should know is that the science section of the ACT is unlike any other science test you’ve taken in high school. The ACT science section tests your ability to synthesize information from graphs, tables, passages, and illustrations—not scientific facts.

Types Of Questions In This Section

The ACT science section consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. You have 35 minutes to complete this section.

Each question in the science section focuses on one of these subject areas—physics, chemistry, biology, and earth/space sciences such as geology, meteorology, and astronomy.

The science passages fall within 3 distinct categories:

  1. Charts, tables, and graphs
  2. Experiments
  3. Opposing Viewpoints.

Answering each of the questions requires that you know how to read, analyze and evaluate the information presented in the different formats.

Strategies For Answering The Questions In The ACT Science Section

The passages are not presented in order of difficulty. You may find that the first question is the most difficult of all and the second-last question is the easiest. Because of the time restrictions, it is always advisable to answer the easiest questions first.

The best way to find those easy questions is to start by scanning the passages quickly and answering those that looks easiest first and then get on with answering the other questions. If you find that the question is trickier than you first thought, keep it aside to answer later and move on to the other easy questions. If you are stuck and are running out of time, guess the answer and move on.

Decided to guess? First, use the process of elimination to cross out answers that are definitely not right. Then guess from the options that are remaining. That lowers the odds of your answer being wrong.

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