It’s Not Really Science – It’s Strategy
When most students first hear about the ACT science section, they are terrified.
“How the heck am I supposed to know all of this science stuff? I don’t even remember the difference between flora and fauna – I’m doomed!”
Well, if you’re one of those students, I have very good news for you: the ACT science section has almost NOTHING to do with science. At all.
In fact, you could know ZERO biology, chemistry, or physics and still get a perfect ACT science grade. If you’re not a strong science student, have no fear! Here’s some more good news: with the proper strategies, the ACT science section is THE easiest section to improve with a little work. Because you don’t need any material or background knowledge, all you need to do is practice the proper tactics and approaches and you’ll be an ACT science rockstar in no time.
At this point, you might be asking a very reasonable question: if this thing has nothing to do with science, then why is it called the “science” section?
The ACT “science” section is actually the ACT “interpreting random information” section – it just uses science as its canvas.
If you’ve never seen an ACT science section before, it goes a little bit like this:
You’re shown a graph of bird populations over time in a certain area of North Dakota.
You’re shown another graph showing methane concentration over time in the same areas of North Dakota.
You’re shown a chart explaining the effects of methane on different species of birds.
You’re asked tons of random questions about how those charts and graphs relate to each other.
To answer these questions, you don’t need to know anything about methane, about birds, or about North Dakota – and there’s no way that the test makers would expect you to. Instead, you just need to know how to read graphs, how to read charts, and how to connect information logically.
For instance, if you see that there were huge methane spikes in 1992 and 1997, and there were huge dips in bird population in 1993 and 1998, and a question asks you “how methane affects bird populations,” you’ll need to figure out that “it has a negative, slightly delayed effect on bird populations.” Not exactly rocket science.
The ACT could just as easily use US history or the plot lines of Kurt Vonnegut novels instead of science – they’ve just decided that science provides more “raw material” with which to create graphs, charts, and stories.
Again, and it’s the last time I’ll say it – you need absolutely zero science knowledge to ace this section. You just need to know how to read graphs, charts, and other random information and process it extremely quickly.
That being said, this section is not “easy” unless you have the proper strategies. If you’re not used to the formatting of this section, and if you don’t know the proper way to approach it, it can still be a total nightmare.
Fortunately for you, that won’t be a problem because that’s what this guide is all about! By the time you finish this ACT science crash course, you’ll have all the most fundamental strategies you need to knock this thing out of the park.
With that in mind, let’s move on to the most fundamental lesson you’ll need to learn if you want to rock this section: avoiding useless information.