Everything You Need to Know About ACT Science Section


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Feb 28, 2022 09:06 PM IST

ACT Science consists of 40 questions, which you will need to answer within a clock limit of 35 minutes. Scroll through the article to know every-inch detail about ACT Science Section.

Everything You Need to Know About ACT Science Section

The Science section of the ACT is often considered to be the final stroke. Other sections of the test are familiar to most students, including Mathematics, Reading, and English.

But, what about science? What does it entail? 

There is one science section on the ACT, which is the fourth. And yes, the basics of science play an important role in it, as it comes right before the optional ACT essay.

But I'm going to let you in on a little secret - the ACT Science section is merely about analyzing data and interpreting figures. If you prepare properly and use the correct equipment, you will feel confident about your performance in this section.

It's all about that in this post! Let us go over the ACT Science format, types of passages, and scoring. Additionally, we'll cover how to score better on the ACT Science section, as well as exactly what science you need to know.

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About PTE Listening Section

Our Study Abroad Consultants' have trained a great number of students on a one-to-one basis to score excellent results, particularly in the ACT Science Section. We are glad to see so many of our students are attending the colleges to which they aspire. Know More.

Do You Need Assistance Completing the ACT Science Section? 

Format for ACT Science Section

As we know, there are 40 questions on the ACT Science, which you must answer within 35 minutes. The 40 questions have been attached to 6 document sections. Each section contains text and/or graphics in the form of graphs, charts, tables, and so on. Depending upon the length of the passage, there may be more or less text and/or graphics.

The topics of these passages will always pertain to science in some way: biology, earth sciences, physics, chemistry, space sciences, and so on!

The format, passage question types, and scoring of this section are largely predictable, regardless of whether you're studying bark beetles or pendulum physics.

Passage Types in the ACT Science Section

ACT Science passages consist of three types:

  • Conflicting Viewpoints (1)

  • Data Representation (2)

  • Research Summaries (3)

Note: Students need to compare or analyze scientific experiments and studies for a Research Summary. Small headings often accompany these passages that specify what each experiment was like, such as "Experiment 1" and "Experiment 2." Seven questions are usually asked or included.

Question Types in the ACT Science Section

It's interesting to note, however, that the ACT Science sections are primarily concerned with these topics:

  • Analyzing experiments (called the scientific investigation by ACT and evaluation of models, hypotheses, and experimental results by ACT).

  • Analyzing the data (what ACT refers to as “interpretation of data”)

  • Scientific understanding

Note: A little over a quarter of the questions in the ACT Science section require out of the box knowledge. These are foundational skills that high school students will most likely have learned during science classes in high school. 

Also Read: 

Everything You Need to Know About ACT Mathematics

Everything You Need to Know About ACT Writing

Everything You Need to Know About ACT English

Everything You Need to Know About ACT Reading

Scoring of the ACT Science Section

ACT Science is scored in what way? ACT sections are scored between 1 and 36 on a scale of 1 to 36. In other words, this section has a maximum score of 36 and a minimum score of 1. 

The ACT does not impose penalties for wrong answers. For example, if you answer a question incorrectly on ACT Science, you will simply not receive any credit for it. Here, students can hit a six on a no-ball meaning, by never leaving a question unattempted!

Despite the ACT's being a standardized test, it has varying levels of difficulty and content in each science section. The score of 30 on one science section of the ACT may not be the same as that on another. 

A composite score of 1-36 is derived by averaging the scores of all sections of the ACT. Our scoring guide explains more how it works in detail below:

ACT Science Section

ACT Science Scale Scoring















































 Note: A competitive score for the ACT Science section relies on maximizing your raw score - the more questions you answer correctly, the better your chances of earning it.

Need Help With the Preparation of the ACT Science Section? 

As we mentioned earlier, all of the "sections" on ACT Science will discuss all science-centric concepts, studies, or themes. However, students will only be asked 2-4 questions on ACT Science that directly test their educational background in science.

Nevertheless, you need not worry - much of the scientific content that appears in these questions are foundational and likely to have been taught in basic science classes already. You can also answer most of them using logic and/or common sense. The ACT practise tests have featured the following questions concerning scientific knowledge:

  • Equilibrium in chemistry

  • Acids and bases (pH)

  • The phases of matter (liquid, solid, gas)

  • Recessive and dominant genotypes 

  • Scientific notation

  • Force, speed, and drag

  • Energy

  • Exothermic vs. endothermic reactions

  • Freezing and boiling points

  • Osmosis

  • Identify the basic chemical formula (e.g., H20 or CO2).

This type of question is so broad that preparing for it is virtually impossible. Students should not worry about them in the long run, as this will cause them more harm than good in the end. 

In the event you come across a question you're not sure how to answer, do your best to work your way through the elimination process, and if necessary even guess. Since the ACT doesn't penalize wrong answers, you should answer every question on every section to your advantage.

Also Read: TOEFL or IELTS? Which Exam Should You Take to Study Abroad?

Tips to Improve Your ACT Science Score

There is no doubt that the ACT Science test is a serious pain for students. Data analysis and figure interpretation are daunting aspects of the test that intimidate many students. Moreover, the test is often the fourth section, so students are often exhausted along with the complexity of sections (or passages)! Since the ACT is a standardized (and thus predictable) test, it is extremely essential to establish a strategic approach for each section. If you want to know how the exact shape of the tool will be, follow these tips:

TIP  #01: Play Hide-And-Go-Seek

It's always implicit in the passage; it's always there. Everything is there, awaiting discovery. The universal principle of 'seek and ye shall find' is at work here.

TIP #02: Know Your Pace

It's not science you'll need to master on the ACT; it's how well you can read and analyze information. Time management is key. It's a game of knowing when to spend time on each question and when to skip around, and that might help you improve your ACT Reading score.

TIP #03: Annotate

There is a tremendous amount of extraneous information in the science passages. Feel free to draw diagrams or underline important information in the margins of your referenced section. Adapt all tricks of the trade to break down the content into bite-sized chunks or in a way that is more understandable to you.

TIP #04: Relive 3rd Grade Science Class

There is very little need for knowledge of science in order to take the test, despite using scientific terminology. There will be only one or two questions (out of a possible 40) that require scientific knowledge. Examples include opposite charges attracted to each other and like charges repelling. 

TIP #05: Don’t Forget: It's just a disguised reading section

There are answers to every question: there are answers in the passage; there are answers in the figure; there are answers in the table. It is just a matter of digging into the passage and finding them. The science section can be daunting because of the time constraints. To avoid getting astoundingly surprised, practice and become comfortable with the material.

TIP #06: Identify the types of passages

Charts, graphs, and tables provide information that you need to interpret or analyze. Passages describing experiments ask questions about the design, implementation, and results of experiments. 

TIP #07: Embrace Your Inner Scientist

As again, you are not being tested on specific scientific content, but rather how good you are at recognizing pattern recognition. A scientist and another debate the causes of dinosaur extinction. How do scientists differ or are they in agreement? If yes, how do their opinions differ? Tap into your inner scientist and watch for patterns or differences in opinion.

TIP #08: Love Relationships

Relationships in direct and indirect forms are tested most regularly. The direction of direct relationships consists of the same variables. For instance, a rise in one will lead to a fall in the other. Similarly, a variable that goes up can lead to a variable that goes down in an indirect relationship. See, it's as simple as that.

TIP #09: Examine Similarities and Differences

A simple experiment could be conducted at 20°, then 30°, and finally at 50°. What are the effects of increasing temperature? What outcomes remained the same? These are the type of main questions you will be trying to answer.

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About GRE General Test at Home

Do you like what you have read? Or, do you carry any queries about ACT Science Section so far? Feel free to get in touch with us at abroad@collegedekho.com. Our Study Abroad Consultants' have prepared a great number of students to take the ACT Science Section with excellent results. As many of our students as possible are pursuing their dreams by attending the colleges to which they hunted for. Know More.

Need FREE Professional Advice for ACT Science Preparation? Get in Touch With Us! 

You can share this post!

Admission Open 2024

Related Articles

Aug 18, 2023 04:28 PM IST

How to Apply for Masters in USA?

Aug 03, 2023 01:18 PM IST

Documents Required for TOEFL

Our Study Abroad Offerings

Popular Universities to StudyAbroad

Planning to study abroad?

Interested in Studying Overseas?

Connect with us and kickstart your learning journey for a rewarding experience!

By proceeding ahead you expressly agree to the CollegeDekhoAbroad Terms of Use & Privacy Policy.