The ACT Science Test

Length Question Types
35 Minutes 10 Social Studies Questions
10 Natural Sciences Questions
10 Prose Fiction Questions
10 Humanities Questions

On the ACT Science Test, you'll have 35 minutes to answer 40 questions—that's about 50 seconds per question! The section contains seven passages, each followed by 5-7 questions.

You don't have to be a scientist or know the atomic number of Cadmium to succeed on the ACT Science Test. All that's required is common sense. You'll be given passages containing various kinds of scientific information—drawn from the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, and meteorology—which you'll have to understand and use as a basis for inferences.

ACT Science Question Format

Usually there are six passages that present scientific data, often based on specific experiments. Also, there's usually one passage in which two scientists state opposing views on the same issue. Each passage is followed by 5-7 questions. A warning: some passages will be very difficult to understand, but they'll usually make up for that fact by having many easy questions attached to them. The test makers do show some mercy once in a while.

Top 8 Strategies for the ACT Science Test

  1. Read through the instructions carefully, to orient yourself
  2. Don't worry about details on your initial read-through
  3. Always refer to the passage and the question-stem before selecting an answer
  4. In order to read most graphs and tables, you have to do four things: determine what's being represented, determine what the axes represent, take note of units of measurement, and look for trends in the data
  5. When reading data, you should be on the lookout for the three characteristic patterns or trends: extremes (maximums and minimums), critical points (or points of change), and direct or inverse variation (or proportionality)
  6. If time is a problem, focus on the questions that require analyzing data from just a single table or graph
  7. Don't waste time trying to figure out which scientist is "right." Just worry about understanding their different viewpoints
  8. Don't panic if you don't understand both scientists' positions. Many questions will hinge on just one of the arguments.

Take an ACT Science Quiz

How will you do? Take our ACT Science Quiz and find out.

Kaplan Strategy Session: ACT Science

Kaplan Strategy Session: ACT Science

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