ACT or SAT preparation at school is possible without having an overload of stress. But you’ve got to begin right.
The ACT is an entrance exam that several colleges and universities in the US use to make admissions decisions. The key aim of the test is to evaluate the readiness of a student for college while also providing educational institutions with a common data point that helps them to compare diverse applications. The science section of the ACT is meant to measure the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning and problem-solving skills of a student regarding the natural sciences.
How to prepare for the science section of the ACT?
ACT Science section, among other things, tests a variety of inherent skills that students develop in due course of their scientific education at schools. Your ability to do the following things determine your readiness for the ACT Science section:
- Understand basic scientific terminology
- Find basic information in the text that describes a complex data presentation
- Understand the methods or tools used in simple and complex experiments
- Select two or more pieces of data from a simple data presentation (e.g., a simple food web diagram)
- Find basic conceptual information in a model
- Compare or combine data from a simple data presentation (e.g., order or sum of data from a table)
- Translate information into a table, graph, or diagram
- Perform a simple interpolation or simple extrapolation using data in a table or graph
- Determine which simple hypothesis, prediction, or conclusion is, or is not, consistent with a data presentation, model, or piece of information in text
- Identify key assumptions in a model
- Determine and/or use a complex (e.g., nonlinear) mathematical relationship that exists between data
Understandably all this might seem scary, but ACT science section, rather than being a test of how much you know about diverse scientific facts, is more about how well you look up, identify and synthesize the correct information from various passages, illustrations, graphs and tables.
How can I improve my ACT Science score?
Here are a few tips that can help you systematically prepare for the science section of ACT:
- Understand what to expect: The first step to prepare for any exam, including this science test, would be to properly understand what it actually entails. ACT Science test would have 40 multiple-choice questions related to 6-7 science passages. The major topics to be assessed in the science sections are physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy, and meteorology. The majority of the questions involved can be answered with the help of the information provided in the figures and passages. But you must be prepared to answer three to four questions that require a bit of outside knowledge. Looking up trends and data, making predictions, and synthesizing information are three focal points of acing ACT science test.
- Study with official materials: To prepare properly for the exam, you must study from the ACT Science-specific materials. This science exam is not like the other science tests you might have taken. Hence, the IB or AP science material won’t be able to help you in this exam. You should take the official ACT practice tests while preparing for the exam to detect your weakness and try to improve on those aspects.
- Practice answering within the time limit: The time crunch is among the greatest difficulties of the ACT science section. You shall have to go through seven passages and answer forty questions within thirty-five minutes. Hence, you won’t even get to spend one whole minute on each question. Moreover, you will have to limit yourself to spending just five minutes attempting each passage. In case you don’t practice doing so beforehand, there is a good chance you will run out of time on the day of the test. To nail this timing, you should take multiple practice tests of the ACT Science sections.
- Order the passages: ACT does not present the passages as per the level of difficulty. However, in each and every exam, some passages are easier than the others, while certain ones are extremely tough. Ideally, you should skim the passages briefly and tackle the ones that look to be the easiest at first. It won’t be wise to spend too much time on the most difficult ones, only to run out of time before answering the easier questions.
- Decide if you would do a question later, never, or right now: Your aim with all the science passages presented in the test would be to find its core point. It shall be easier to find this point when the conclusions are given in figures rather than in text. Hence, the easier the figures are to comprehend, the faster shall you crack their core point. The ideal passages you must attempt at once would be ones that have the most obvious patterns. Keep an eye out for short answers, easy-to-spot trends, and easy graphs to identify the passages you must check out first.
- Be flexible: Flexibility is the key to preparing for the science section of the ACT. No matter whether you are giving a practice exam or the actual test, you must always be prepared to adapt your approach based on the questions and passages present in front of you. If you find a passage that looked easy initially but is more complex on further examination, you should come back to it after attempting simpler ones or be really mindful about the time you spend on that passage. The first instinct of any person would be to stare at the figure or re-read the passage when they are stumped, hoping for a flash of inspirational genius that makes everything clear but this is not the way to go in the ACT science test.
Lots of practice tests and keeping in mind the above factors will definitely help you in acing the science section of the ACT. Want more personalized ACT and undergrad admissions tips? Take the first step in your study abroad journey and connect with our expert counsellor for a 15-minute free session.