ACT Science Test Tips

The ACT® Science test measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. The test presents several scientific scenarios, each followed by a number of multiple-choice test questions.   

Content includes biology, chemistry, Earth/space sciences, and physics. You don’t need to have advanced knowledge in these areas, but background knowledge learned in your school science courses may be needed to correctly answer some questions. Scientific information is presented in one of three formats: data representation (tables and graphs), research summaries (descriptions of one or more related experiments), and conflicting viewpoints (two or more differing explanations for the same scientific occurrences).   

Scores are based on specific knowledge and skills including: interpretation of data, scientific investigation, and evaluation of models, inferences, and experimental results.  

Test-Taking Tips:

  • Read each passage carefully. Before you begin answering a question, read the scientific material provided. It’s important to read the entire text and examine any tables, graphs, or figures associated with the question. You may want to make notes about important ideas in your test booklet.  
  • Consider the experimental design. Some of the information sets will describe experiments. You should consider the experimental design, including the controls and variables, because questions are likely to address this component of scientific research. 
  • Note the different viewpoints in passages. Some material will present conflicting viewpoints, and the questions will ask you to distinguish among them. It may be helpful for you to make notes summarizing each viewpoint next to that section in the test booklet. 

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