What to Know About the ACT Science Section

"THE ACT SCIENCE SECTION is the difference-maker for many high school students when they choose between the ACT and the SAT, since the latter has no dedicated science section. Unlike the SAT, the ACT prompts students to answer 40 science questions in 35 minutes.

But there is good news for test-takers who feel nervous about it: You do not need to be a strong science student to do well on this section of the ACT. In fact, the science portion primarily asks test-takers to inventory and use the information given in its passages.

To best prepare for this portion of the exam, students should first understand its composition. Here are four key facts to know that can help you master the science section of the ACT.

ACT Science Involves Multiple Science Subjects

The ACT science section includes content in biology, chemistry, Earth/space sciences such as astronomy, and physics. Students should have some familiarity with each of these areas before taking the ACT.

However, only a basic understanding is necessary for success. This portion of the exam is most concerned with your ability to understand science practices and skills, not with whether you have advanced knowledge of each of the science subjects." …


The ACT science section is not about science. It’s about interpreting data, presented in various different forms . As such, the best (and I suspect only) way to prepare for it is to just do many science sections as practice tests, from the multitude of retired ACT tests that are legally, intentionally, and legitimately in the public domain. These can be easily found with an online search. This is the best way to get acquainted with the ways in which data can be presented.

Seconding @parentologist 's comment----the ACT Science is just a reading section that has science articles. There’s probably 2 or 3 questions in the entire section that ACTUALLY cover science concepts like the SAT Subject Tests, not just understanding how to read a graph or understand an argument.