Five ACT Science Section Tips

Science may be easy to some, but it’s not every student’s strong suit. Even those excellent students who might perform well on other portions of the ACT can sometimes get tripped up when it comes to the science section. That’s why we’ve put together five critical ACT science section tips to help bolster your performance on this important exam.

Tip #1: Read First

Try reading through the science passages and get a sense of the topic before moving on. One bad habit to avoid is going through all the science questions first to get a sense of what lies ahead. While that can help you understand what you’re looking for, it’s far better to at least get a sense of the topic before you browse through the questions.

Tip #2: Don’t Waste Time On Passages & Figures

It will be tempting to read every sentence of the science passages to get a full sense of what you’ll be asked in the questions. Avoid this temptation. To score well on the ACT science section, you need the right answers—there’s no room here for extra credit. But you’re also facing a time limit. Try to get a sense of only the information you’ll need to answer the questions.

This can be a bit tricky, however. The risk is that you don’t spend enough time getting a full sense of the passage and you can’t answer the question at all. When you do ACT practice tests, try to strike the right balance to get an overall feeling of how much reading you’ll need to do to answer each question.

Tip #3: Keep Moving

Getting tripped up on one question can reduce your score on the science section because you won’t allow yourself adequate preparation for the other questions. When you study, try using a stopwatch to get a feel for how much time you’ll have to work with on a per-question basis. As you practice, this will give you a good “internal chronometer.” The key is not to feel pressured, but to have a good internal sense of how much budget you can spend on any question.

If you get stuck on a question, move on and make a note to come back to it. If you’re still stuck at the end, take a guess, as you will not be penalized for incorrect answers.

Tip #4: Focus On Action Words

When you read a scientific passage on the ACT, there will be certain keywords that will help direct you to what you need to answer in the questions. We can’t tell you what these will be—but it’s essential that you learn to identify them as soon as possible. You can accomplish this by trying practice tests that create questions in a similar style to what you’ll see on the ACT science section.

Tip #5: Take An ACT Prep Course, Or Try Tutoring

The ACT is a skill. Doing well on it means developing that skill. That’s why we recommend taking an ACT prep course. These courses are specifically designed to help prepare you for the questions you’ll encounter in the exam. By taking a prep course or signing up for ACT tutoring, you can learn what you need to succeed on the exam, improve your confidence and increase your scores.

Register for ACT Prep Tutoring today!