The ACT Science Test contains six or seven short passages with accompanying graphics. These passages fall into three main categories that can help you plan your attack. Go in prepared!
- 2-4 per test.
- Each passage presents 2-4 graphics from a study or experiment.
- Questions focus heavily on reading graphics and accurately reporting data.
- May include anatomical diagrams, maps, or complex graphics that measure many variables at once.
- Best strategy: Skim the passage, then move right to the questions. They will tell you what to do with the graphics. Double-check your reading of the graphics!
- 2-4 per test.
- 2-6 graphics per passage – charts, graphs, diagrams of an experiment’s set-up.
- Track multiple experiments that typically test a concept in different circumstances – for instance, testing one spring’s recoil force at different compressions, then repeating the experiment with a stiffer spring.
- Questions ask you to report and extrapolate data. If a solution is tested at 1, 2, and 3 atmospheres of pressure, you might be asked for the most likely result at 2.5.
- May ask the purpose of experiment procedures or the relationship between properties tested.
- Best strategy: Carefully check the set-up and jot down what changes in each experiment. Don’t read the charts until asked to, and be very careful to consult the right graphic / experiment for each question.
- One per test.
- 1 or zero graphics.
- Offer two or three competing explanations of a scientific phenomena.
- Questions ask you to identify key differences and similarities between the theories and to apply the theories to hypothetical situations – for instance, “Suppose Neptune’s core was found to be denser than Jupiter’s. Which hypothesis would this discovery most support?”
- Best strategy: Read each hypothesis carefully, but don’t assume than any of them are correct. Mark key differences between the hypotheses and check back carefully as you answer.