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ACT Tips: Science

idkiwiidkiwi Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited October 2012 in ACT Preparation
I love this forum and it has been my biggest tool to get a better score on the ACT. I want to write down some things I learned along the way so that future ACT takers will benefit. However, before I get to the tips, I would appreciate it if you helped my out and clicked the link below. I'm about to go to college next year and my parents need to save money so I'm trying to get some money for myself online anyway possible.

Please visit my site: ACT Tips: Science | Quazen

Here is the same information you will find on the site above:

ACT: Science

This started out the hardest section for me. When I started studying, I had a 24 and when I took the ACT, I got a 33. Here are some very useful lessons I learned along the way:

*Timing is the key to getting a good score on this test and many of these tips are to increase efficiency to save time.

*Not all these tips will be useful to all people so if something isn’t working for you, don’t follow it. However, please give this advice a fair shot.

*USE A TIMER. When I took the SAT, the timer was not really necessary because there was no real time crunch. However, on the ACT, the time crunch is everything so using a timer is very helpful to see how long you have beeen working on a passage. If you have been working on one passage for more minutes than there are questions for that passage, go to the next passage.

*Answer the questions first. When you fllip to passage, read the questions first EVERY TIME.

*If the question refers to a graph or table, go to that figure and study only what the question is asking for. For example, if the question asks for the general trends for water level and plant growth as time increases, look at only those on the graph even if there are lines representing other results.

*If the question refers to the passage, skim the passage for keywords. You DO NOT have to read the passage because reading will slow you down as you try to understand all the technical terms.

*Read a question once. If you do not understand it, read it again slower. If you don’t understand it the second time, skip the question and come back to it after you finish the section/passage.

*The order that you answer the passages doesn’t matter as long as you are concious of your time.

*When practicing, time yourself by type of passage:
-On the ACT, there are three kinds of passages: short(4-5 questions), medium(6 questions), and long(7-8 questions). These passages have different content and types of questions.
-Regardless of the types of questions and the content, time yourself passage by passage and give yourself as many minutes as there are questions minus one. For example, I would give myself 5 minutes to do the medium sized passage.
-Once you are able to meet that standard, take the science section together and if all goes as practiced, you should finish the science section with 2 minutes left to check over answers you skipped.

*Knowing science helps. By that, I mean that taking physics, chemistry, biology, enviornmental science, geology, etc. at your school helps but it not a prerequisite. This will mostly help because much of the material is easier to understand if you have taken a similar course already.

*Use the knowledge you learned in class. Many of the scientific experiments that are given in the ACT science section are labs done in class and ,usually, the data and other information that you learned in class can be used to solve the questions for those experiments. This saves tremendous time because you don’t even have to look at the graph or the background information.

*Recommended Study Materials:
-Barron’s ACT 36 (about at level of actual ACT)
-Peterson’s Real ACT Book (these are actual ACT tests)
-Princeton’s 1,296 Practice Questions (more time consuming that actual ACT)
Post edited by idkiwi on

Replies to: ACT Tips: Science

  • sparklesandspunksparklesandspunk Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    "*Answer the questions first. When you fllip to passage, read the questions first EVERY TIME."
    I have to disagree on this one. I ended up getting a 32 on my Science section (34 overall) from reading the passages before answering the questions. I think this all depends on what works better for you.
    The first time I took the ACTs, I ended up with a 26 on the Science (and a 32 overall) because I answered the questions first. However, I ended up being rushed for time because I never really knew the context of the questions and it was a pain in the ass to go back and pinpoint where the passage would help me with that.
    Reading the passages THEN answering the questions helped me more because I understood everything the passage was talking about so there was minimal time needed to go back and search for the answer.
    Also, it may have been because many of the topics covered in the science passages were not things that I've learned in school. If you have familiar background in those areas, then it may be easier for you to skip the passage first, but for me, I read the passage first each time. It may seem like a time skew, but it made me also answer the questions more easily.
  • sparklesandspunksparklesandspunk Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Additionally, my mom found these videos that went through one whole practice section of science by reading passage/answering questions. It was IMMENSELY helpful.
    Type in the search engine, "youtube ACT science" and the video with the man in the green backdrop goes through it extremely well.

    I watched this video and changed my approach to the science section the day before the ACTs second time around -brought me up 8 points.
  • 2wister2wister Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    I was thinking about bringing a timer when I took the ACT, but I wasn't sure if it was allowed or not
  • MikeWozowskiMikeWozowski Registered User Posts: 3,240 Senior Member
    a ticking timer would be obnoxious, but a watch would work.

    i thought he was talking about using a timer during practice tests.
This discussion has been closed.