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Unwrapping ACT Science. 3.25.2014. Objectives. Outline the general nature of the science section of the ACT. Analyze varying question types. State and use strategies which can be helpful on the exam. Practice your science skills!. Overall Objective.

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  • Outline the general nature of the science section of the ACT.
  • Analyze varying question types.
  • State and use strategies which can be helpful on the exam.
  • Practice your science skills!
overall objective
Overall Objective
  • Prepare for the ACT so that you can confidently take the exam in order to perform your best.
  • Being prepared eliminates fears and misconceptions about the science section of the ACT.
  • PPPPP!!!
general information
General Information
  • 40 questions
  • 35 minutes
  • 7 passages of information (4-7 questions per passage)
  • 0.875 minutes/question
  • No calculators.
  • Geology
  • Meteorology
  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
so what do i study
So……what do I study?
  • Good news: The ACT is not content driven, unlike the NESA test. It is a skills based exam. You will have to do only simple mathematic computations.
  • Bad news: Many students feel unsure of their science skills or are unaware of the ones they have!
  • Today one of our main purposes is to review your science skills so that you are confident on April 23rd.
3 different passage formats
3 Different Passage Formats
  • Data Representation—3 passages (38% of questions)
  • Research Summaries– 3 passages (45% of questions)
  • Conflicting Viewpoints—1 passage (17% of questions)
data representation 38
Data Representation (38%)
  • Graphs
  • Tables
  • Other Schematic Forms
  • Different types of graphs have specific uses.
  • In order to glean the information necessary it is important to discern the purpose of each type of graph.
  • Primary graph types include: x-y scatter (line), bar, and pie.
x y scatter graphs
X-Y scatter graphs
  • Very useful when comparing two quantitative variables.
  • Often used to portray trends over time.
  • Make sure to read all axes and discern the meaning of the slope!
  • When have you seen these in your science classes?
bar graphs
Bar graphs
  • Useful when comparing one quantitative variable to a qualitative one.
  • When have you seen these in your science classes?
pie graphs
Pie Graphs
  • Used when diplaying the parts of a whole.
  • When have you seen these in your science classes?
research summaries 45
Research Summaries (45%)
  • What is a research summary?
  • Findings of a research project.
  • How are two variables linked?
essential components of a research project
Essential components of a research project
  • Variable identification
  • Independent variable—the researcher changes purposefully.
  • Dependent variable—changes as a result.
  • Controlled variables—kept constant by researcher.
research summary hints
Research summary hints
  • Identify the relevant variables
  • Pay close attention to the graphs provided!
conflicting viewpoints 17
Conflicting viewpoints (17%)
  • Two different viewpoints, each with their own justification.
  • In order to answer correctly, you must know the justification of each!
  • Make sure to distinguish between the viewpoints of each scientist and the evidence each scientist has.
helpful strategies
Helpful Strategies!
  • Prioritize
  • Apply logic and common sense.
  • Spot trends in graphs given.
  • Don’t let “sciency” language intimidate you.
  • Read carefully.
  • Predict answers.
  • Get out the practice passage you were handed last week.
  • If you don’t have one raise your hand, there are extras!
  • 1 table, 2 graphs!


  • Answers, with justification.
need more practice
Need more practice?
  • http://www.actstudent.org/sampletest/
  • Pamphlets in the media center!
formative assessment
  • What are the three types of passages on the science ACT?
  • Data Representation
  • Research Summaries
  • Conflicting viewpoints

How long do you have to complete the science section?

35 minutes

How many questions are within the science section?

40 questions

Quotes from LHS seniorsWhen asked the question, “What do you wish someone would have told you about the ACT?”
  • “I wish I someone would have told me its all about analyzing graphs. It’s less stressful knowing all the information is given to you. You just have to know how to interpret it.”

“I wish someone would have told me that it’s all story problems with a lot of graphs.”

  • “Read the charts/graphs/pictures carefully. If you understand them the answer will be easier to find.”
true or false
True or False?
  • The science section of the ACT will require me to remember every piece of information I have learned in science class the last 3 years.

FALSE!! Your scientific skills will be tested, not how much information you have memorized.

true or false1
True or False?
  • I should make sure to answer every question on the science portion of the ACT.

TRUE!! As you are finishing your exam, make sure every question is answered!

want to review this powerpoint
Want to review this powerpoint?
  • Google “Will Smith Physics.”
  • The powerpoint can be downloaded on my homepage!