ACT Science Section: Tips and Tricks

The ACT Science section can be challenging, but with the right strategies and techniques, you can improve your performance. This section assesses your ability to interpret and analyze scientific data, charts, graphs, and experiments. Here are some tips and tricks to help you excel on the ACT Science section:

 1. Understand the Format

Familiarize yourself with the structure of the ACT Science section. It consists of 40 multiple-choice questions divided into six or seven passages. You'll have 35 minutes to complete this section.

 2. Skim the Questions First

Before diving into the passage, quickly skim through the questions. This will give you an idea of what to look for as you read the passage and save you time by focusing on the most relevant information.

 3. Focus on Graphs and Tables

Many questions in the Science section are based on charts, graphs, tables, and diagrams. Pay close attention to these visuals as they often contain essential information. Look for trends, patterns, and relationships in the data.

 4. Read Actively

As you read the passage, underline or make brief notes of key information, variables, hypotheses, and conclusions. Actively engaging with the text can help you retain information more effectively.

 5. Practice Time Management

Time management is crucial on the ACT Science section. Since there are several passages to complete, try to spend no more than 5-6 minutes on each passage. If you're stuck on a particular question, move on and come back to it later if time allows.

 6. Identify Trends and Patterns

Look for trends or patterns that emerge from the data. Pay attention to variables that change together, and use this information to answer questions about how one variable affects another.

 7. Don't Worry About Prior Knowledge

The ACT Science section does not require prior knowledge of specific scientific topics. The information needed to answer questions is provided within the passages. Focus on your ability to interpret and analyze data rather than your knowledge of specific scientific concepts.

 8. Use Process of Elimination

If you're unsure about an answer, use the process of elimination to narrow down your options. Eliminate obviously incorrect choices, and then make an educated guess if necessary.

 9. Practice with Official Materials

Use official ACT Science practice tests and questions available from the ACT website or in official ACT prep books. These materials closely mimic the actual test and are the most accurate representation of the question types you'll encounter.

 10. Review Scientific Method

Understand the scientific method, which is a common theme in the Science section. Familiarize yourself with the steps: observation, hypothesis, experiment, data analysis, and conclusion. This knowledge can help you answer questions related to experimental design.

 11. Pay Attention to Units and Labels

Be mindful of units and labels in graphs and tables. The ACT may ask questions that require you to convert units or understand the significance of different measurement units.

 12. Don't Get Bogged Down in Details

The Science section is more about your ability to extract key information and draw conclusions than memorizing details. Don't spend too much time trying to understand every small detail in the passage.

 13. Practice Speed Reading

Work on your speed reading skills to quickly extract essential information from the passages. Practice reading scientific texts with a focus on comprehension and efficiency.

 14. Stay Calm and Focused

Maintain your composure during the test. If you encounter a challenging passage or question, don't let it fluster you. Move on to the next one and return to it later if needed.

 15. Learn from Your Mistakes

After taking practice tests or working through practice questions, review your mistakes. Understand why you got certain questions wrong and learn from those errors.


By implementing these strategies and practicing regularly, you can improve your performance on the ACT Science section. Remember that practice is key, so dedicate time to working through practice questions and full-length practice tests to build your confidence and efficiency in tackling this section. Good luck!