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Tips for ACT science section?

batfanbatfan Posts: 896Registered User Member
edited January 2011 in ACT Preparation
I'm averaging a 32 on the ACT science, while all the other subjects I'm scoring considerably higher. What are some ways that I can improve?
Post edited by batfan on

Replies to: Tips for ACT science section?

  • billium123billium123 Posts: 13Registered User New Member
    when taking it, do not read the intro paragraphs that accompany graphs, tables, etc. they just explain the experiment and waste about 2 minutes of time. but, when reading the scientists with opposing ideas, read the paragraphs (and the intro because you'll know what they're talking about) . . . when looking at graphs (or the whole test for that matter) and they use big and confusing words, try to simplify them. it's really not that hard -- you just need to get by the tricky "scientific" words.
  • HarvardBoundNYHarvardBoundNY Posts: 322Registered User Member
    as Barrons ACT 36 says, "cut out the extraneous." This means get rid of the irrelevant information and just use your head. Honestly, if you are a good reader and can have an aptitude for graphic and statistical analysis, you will rape science. I got a 36 on it without studying that much. Just practice a little more.
  • OregonSeniorOregonSenior Posts: 273Registered User Junior Member
    I also got a 36 on science, and I always read the passage first (and I finished with about 4 minutes to spare). Apparently skipping the passage works for many people, but I prefer to read it. See which method you prefer.

    I agree that you should learn to identify the extraneous material. The jargon that ACT puts into the science section is likely why many people become so overwhelmed by it. Indeed, they try to stress you out psychologically from the beginning of the test with all the jargon, unconventional graphs, and short time limit. You can overcome these factors easily by taking several subject tests, as they'll help you identify the material.

    I also recommend that you organize the order that you do your passages. The general consensus is to do all of the data representation (5 question) first, then the research summaries (6 questions), and finally the conflicting viewpoints passage (7 questions). Most people believe that this is the most efficient order to do the paragraphs, and that it will leave you the most time for the longest passage - the conflicting viewpoints one. Personally, I do the passages in this order: physics, chemistry, then biology. (I'm terrible at certain biology passages though, so I'd prefer to not get stressed early on by one of those.) In my opinion, if you're aiming for a score in the 30's, then you'll finish all of the passages anyways, so the order isn't terribly critical. Just don't spend too long turning pages and always make sure to check the corresponding bubbles! (20-30 seconds is more than enough to notice that you should skip a passage.)

    Also, if you do choose to do the questions without read the passage, then do the first question rule. If you don't know the first question (as it's often the easiest), then skip the passage until later.
  • jeandevachesjeandevaches Posts: 31Registered User Junior Member
    For the Conflicting Viewpoints questions, most of the questions are on 1 or 2 main points. These main points are always in the first sentence of the first paragraph and the last sentence of the last paragraph (there isn't always a second one, though). Try underlining these two sentences for the first passage and then put them in your own words in 5 or 6 words apiece. Then do the same for the second passage.

    Putting it in your own words does two things: it provides an easy, concise reference while answering the questions, and it also forces you to make sure you understand it (a lot of times people just underline and think "got it" when they really don't).

    As far as reading the passages go, I would go ahead and read them, but it's not mandatory. The questions that deal with the body of the passage generally deal with easy-to-find details, so if you don't want to read it at the beginning, you can still find them pretty easily. But the passages aren't that long anyway so why play mind games with yourself.
  • jeandevachesjeandevaches Posts: 31Registered User Junior Member
    Actually, now that I think about it, a 32 generally means that your method is solid, you're just missing a few questions. Keep in mind that the curve on the Science is very unforgiving. A lot of the questions deal with small details like negative numbers (is -100 bigger or smaller than -500), decimal places, etc. I think that being careful is more important than being smart on the Science section.
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