ACT Science: Interpreting Conflicting Viewpoints

The ACT Science section is designed to evaluate your ability to understand, analyze, and interpret scientific information. One challenging aspect of this section is the Conflicting Viewpoints passage. In this type of passage, you'll encounter different viewpoints or hypotheses related to a scientific issue or experiment. To excel in interpreting conflicting viewpoints on the ACT Science test, consider the following strategies:

 1. Read Actively and Take Notes

- As you read the passage, actively underline or highlight key information. Pay attention to the main viewpoints and the evidence or reasoning provided by each scientist or researcher.

- Take brief notes to summarize each scientist's viewpoint and their reasoning. This will help you organize the information and remember the key details.

 2. Identify Key Elements

- Determine the main point or perspective of each scientist or researcher. Are they supporting a particular hypothesis or theory? What evidence do they provide to support their claims?

- Look for commonalities and differences in the viewpoints. Are there areas of agreement or disagreement among the scientists? Understanding the relationships between the viewpoints is crucial.

 3. Pay Attention to Graphs and Data

- Conflicting Viewpoints passages often include data or graphs that relate to the scientists' research. Analyze the data and consider how it supports or contradicts the scientists' claims.

- Don't forget to read the labels, scales, and legends on graphs and figures. Understanding these elements is essential for interpreting the data accurately.

 4. Consider the Source

- Pay attention to the source of each scientist's viewpoint. Is it based on experimental evidence, theoretical reasoning, or observations? Understanding the source of the information can help you assess its credibility.

- Consider whether the scientist has a bias or conflict of interest that may influence their viewpoint. Scientists with vested interests may not be entirely objective.

 5. Understand the Purpose of the Experiment

- Consider the overall purpose or objective of the experiment or study described in the passage. Why are the scientists conducting this research, and what are they trying to discover or prove?

- Understanding the experiment's purpose can help you assess whether the scientists' viewpoints are aligned with the research's goals.

 6. Predict and Answer

- Before looking at the answer choices, try to predict what kind of information or evidence would help resolve the conflicts or disagreements between the viewpoints.

- Once you've made a prediction, carefully review the answer choices and select the one that best aligns with your prediction. Avoid answer choices that introduce new information not present in the passage.

 7. Practice with Timed Passages

- Practicing with timed Conflicting Viewpoints passages will help you get comfortable with the format and the pace required on the ACT Science section.

- Set a timer when practicing to simulate test conditions. This will help you manage your time effectively during the actual test.

 8. Review Your Mistakes

- After completing practice passages, review your mistakes and understand why you missed certain questions. Learn from your errors to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.


Interpreting Conflicting Viewpoints passages on the ACT Science section may seem daunting, but with practice and the right strategies, you can become proficient at analyzing multiple scientific perspectives. Remember to actively read and take notes, identify key elements, consider the source, and predict answers. By mastering these skills, you'll be well-prepared to tackle this challenging portion of the ACT Science test and improve your overall performance.