ACT Science Test Strategies

ACT Science Test Strategies: How To Ace The Exam At First Attempt

Taking the ACT provides an opportunity for all students to get into a good college. The test examines the English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science reasoning skills of the students.

While the preparation requires regular study and revision of all the subjects, science generates some fear in students.

Because of the time constraint, the required pace during the test is high and students may feel stressed in the subject. 

Let us first understand the ACT Science test to develop strategies to help you perform well in the test.

ACT science test

ACT Science Test is a 35 minutes test comprising 40 questions. The questions cover 4 subjects as mentioned below.
Do you know who is known as the father of science.

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology

The questions are in the form of multiple-choice questions. The test comes with 6-7 passages which are followed by 5-6 questions each. The passages covered are categorized under 3 disciplines.

#1 Data interpretation

It covers about 14 questions on 2-3 passages. The passages in this section require you to analyze the given data and draw conclusions based on them.

You may also be asked to make predictions about the data that might be given in the form of tables, columns, charts, graphs, etc.

The questions may include the use of a few mathematical operations like drawing relationships, correlations, interpolation, and extrapolation. 

#2 Research summaries 

It covers about 20 questions on 3-4 passages. This section tests your knowledge of science.

The questions followed by passages in this section assess your proficiency with scientific methods and theories that may include making observations, formulating hypotheses, etc.

The questions in this section may ask you to look at the trends and make observations about the experiment and to understand the changes that may occur by introducing changes in the experiments.

#3 Conflicting viewpoints 

It covers about 6 questions based on 1 passage. This is considered one of the most difficult sections in the ACT. The passage in this section presents two sets of arguments by different scientists.

The arguments presented are conflicted ones and you will be asked to compare and make notes about their hypotheses.

You will also be asked to mention the evidence to justify your statements about supporting or contradicting the hypotheses.

Sometimes, you may be asked to make inferences about the arguments presented by both the scientists. 

Now that we have covered the format of the test, we can strategize tips that can help us prepare and perform well during the test.

Tips for the ACT science test

#1 Attempting the test

It is very important that you first understand your strengths and weaknesses before you take the test. Decide which section you are most comfortable with and attempt that first.

Leave the most confusing one or the difficult one for the last. In this case, we suggest you leave conflicting viewpoints for the last.

This section requires brainstorming and thus takes up a lot of time. Thus, save it for the last so that it doesn’t kill your pace and doesn’t decrease your confidence as well. 

#2 Study visuals effectively

Just as we know that conflicting viewpoints take up a lot of time, visuals save a lot of time as well. It is suggested that while attempting the section of data interpretation, you pay a lot more attention to the graphs and charts.

They help you solve most of the questions and take up very little time, saving time for the difficult questions. Sometimes the questions can be answered just by looking at the visuals.

Thus, your strategy should be to look at the visuals, jump to the questions, and answer as many as you can. 

#3 Using elimination 

The process of elimination has many applications and many benefits. It saves time, improves speed, and lessens the odds of choosing an incorrect answer.

Since ACT does not offer you a lot of time and sometimes questions can be very confusing, hence you should first look at the options and eliminate the impossible choices.

This leaves you with fewer options and sometimes in one or two steps, you can see which answer is the most suited one. Once you cross out the improbable choices, the remaining one is the correct one. 

#3 Paying attention

Nothing is more dangerous than wrong information. Make sure you read the questions carefully before answering them.

Sometimes due to lack of time, you may misread the information. This leads you nowhere but takes up your precious time.

In a hurry, misreading graphs or charts, misreading data or figures can lead you to incorrect answers. To save such an error, mark the information, and then proceed to solve it. 

#4 Scientific terms

Do not get confused while seeing big scientific terms and definitions in the questions. Choices are there in the questions to confuse you. Hence look for the data and facts that you will need to answer the question instead of getting stuck to big scientific words.

Anything that may be important for the question will be given and explained in the passage. So, you do not have to worry about not understanding the terms. Keep your focus on answering the questions. 

#5 Familiarising calculations

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that calculators are not allowed in the ACT Science Test. Hence, you are required to be familiar with basic mathematical manipulations and operations.

You must be comfortable with operations like basic calculations, scientific conversions and notations, arithmetic operations, and comparisons of numbers.


ACT Science Test assesses you for your knowledge, speed, and grasp of the concepts. You must start early and be consistent with your studies to score well. 

You can look for tutoring if you need help with your studies. Miles Smart Tutoring provides private tutoring services in all the subjects that a student needs.

You can also get career guidance and an online chemistry tutor to help you achieve your goal and assess your abilities. You can visit our website for more information.

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I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you can drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.


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