Four Tips To Overcome The ACT's Science Reasoning Exam

Students preparing for the ACT often live in particular dread of the Science Reasoning section, fearing that it will demand obscure answers to complicated questions and sink their whole test score. But while the scientific portion of the test can be intimidating, it isn't designed to ruin your chances of getting into college. In fact, cramming scientific facts and figures may be the worst possible way to study for this exam. Instead, follow these four tips to prepare for what the ACT Science Reasoning section is really testing. 

Emphasizing Logic Over Knowledge

As its name suggests, the Science Reasoning test is more interested in determining your reasoning abilities than your bank of scientific knowledge. You don't need to be able to solve chemical equations or identify a rock by its grain, but you do need to be able to take information that you are given and draw rational conclusions from it. Although it helps to begin with a fundamental understanding of the concepts in play, you can also simply think of the Science Reasoning exam as an advanced reading comprehension test. 

Interpreting Charts and Data

Unlike other reading comprehension exams, however, the scientific portion of the ACT expects you to understand how to read charts and graphs and perform basic math on given data. It also expects you to know when data is and is not needed; you may encounter some facts and numbers that are red herrings within the context of the question. If you struggle to read charts or find the right information on a graph, this may be a valuable area to go over again with a trained ACT tutor. 

Demonstrating an Understanding of the Scientific Method

The scientific method is the structure through which all scientific inquiry is conducted, providing a standardized set of rules for the pursuit of knowledge. It follows the familiar pattern of hypothesis, testing, conclusion and then a new hypothesis, repeated continually until a meaningful conclusion is reached. In order to do well on this section of the ACT, you will need to understand this process, including how to design your own experiment based on a hypothesis you have formulated. 

Practicing Ahead of Time

The most important step you can take to prepare for the ACT or any other standardized test is to take as many practice exams as you can and then focus on your consistently weak areas. This will provide you with some insight into what you can expect on the real test and show you where you need to improve. When paired with a professional ACT tutor to guide you in the right direction, this study method should propel you to the scores you need to get into the right college and begin your burgeoning career on the right foot.