Advanced Strategies for ACT Science Conflicting Viewpoints

The ACT Science section often includes a Conflicting Viewpoints passage, where two or more scientific hypotheses or viewpoints are presented. To excel in these passages, consider the following advanced strategies:

 1. Identify Key Differences:

- Read the Introduction Carefully: The introduction usually explains the main hypotheses or viewpoints and provides a context for understanding the conflicting viewpoints.

- Underline key Differences: As you read, underline or highlight the main differences between the viewpoints. These could be differences in interpretations, conclusions, or underlying assumptions.

- Note Supporting Evidence: Pay attention to the evidence provided for each viewpoint and how it supports or challenges the main hypothesis.

 2. Focus on the Hypotheses or Claims:

- Identify the Main Hypotheses: Each viewpoint typically presents one or more main hypotheses. Identify these hypotheses and understand what each viewpoint is trying to explain.

- Identify the Claims: Look for specific claims made by each viewpoint. These are often statements that can be tested or supported by evidence.

- Evaluate the Evidence: Consider the evidence presented for each hypothesis and how it supports or challenges the claims.

 3. Consider the Sources of Evidence:

- Understand the Nature of the Evidence: Pay attention to the types of evidence presented, such as experiments, observations, or theoretical models.

- Evaluate the Reliability: Consider the reliability and validity of the evidence. Is it based on sound scientific methods, or are there potential biases or limitations?

- Consider the Context: Think about the context in which the evidence was gathered. Is it based on real-world observations, or is it hypothetical?

 4. Evaluate the Authors' Perspectives:

- Consider the Authors' Backgrounds: Think about the authors' backgrounds and expertise. Are they experts in the field, or are they presenting a layperson's perspective?

- Consider Potential Biases: Be aware of potential biases that may influence the authors' viewpoints, such as financial interests, personal beliefs, or affiliations with specific organizations.

- Consider the Authors' Intentions: Consider what the authors are trying to achieve with their viewpoints. Are they trying to persuade, inform, or challenge existing theories?

 5. Synthesize the Information:

- Look for Common Ground: Consider whether there are areas of agreement or common ground between the conflicting viewpoints.

- Consider the Implications: Think about the implications of each viewpoint. What are the potential consequences if one viewpoint is true and the other is false?

- Formulate Your Own Conclusion: Based on your analysis, formulate your own conclusion or opinion about the conflicting viewpoints. Which viewpoint do you find most compelling, and why?


By following these advanced strategies, you can effectively analyze and evaluate conflicting viewpoints in the ACT Science Conflicting Viewpoints passages. This will not only help you answer specific questions about these passages but also develop your critical thinking skills and ability to evaluate scientific arguments.