In this blog ACT Instructor Terri shows you how to excel on the ACT science, drawing parallels to New England Patriots Malcolm Butler’s preparation on the football field.

Today, our focus is on preparing for the ACT science test. You can anticipate what’s covered on the ACT science test, prep for it, and excel.

1. Format/Pacing

Start your preparation by looking at the format and pacing of the ACT science test. First of all, the format never varies; it’s predictable, and that’s very comforting to know. There are seven passages of scientific information, each followed by five to seven multiple-choice questions. You have 35 minutes to answer 40 questions, about five minutes per passage, and accompanying questions that translate to a little less than a minute per question. So, obviously, you can see that you have to work quickly. Pacing is key

2. Strategies to help you execute your gameplan

Next stop or some strategies to help you execute your game plan. Keep in mind that the ACT science test is really an open-book reading test based on science with charts, tables, and graphs. You’ll be better prepared and better served if you take a strategic approach than if you try to study all the science that you’ve learned.

On the ACT science tests, the scientific information is conveyed in three different formats:

1. Data Representation

First are data representations: There are three of them. They are chart-based and the easiest. The passages test your ability to understand and analyze data presented in one or more charts, graphs, and tables.

Here are some strategies for you.

  • Mark up the main points of the passage, circle, key figures, etc.
  • Typical questions begin according to figure or table 1.
  • Only focus on figure or table 1 to find your answer.

2. Research Summaries

The second type of question appears as two to three research summaries or Experiments. For these, you need to consider the experimental design and interpret results in tables and graphs.

3. Conflicting Viewpoints

The third type of format for the science questions is one conflicting viewpoint. This one usually seems the hardest. The questions test your understanding, analysis, and comparison of competing hypotheses or theories.

You can prepare like Butler and perform well on the ACT science test practice under actual test conditions using the strategies we reviewed today. Thirty-five minutes for a whole test, five minutes for one passage, and remember, there’s no penalty for guessing.

Good Luck

Are you taking the ACT in 2016? Any follow up qs about the ACT Science section?

Post your tips/comments below.

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