The ACT Science test is the last section of the ACT—and the one that makes students the most anxious. After all, “science” covers a lot of ground! But the ACT Science section focuses primarily on logic and scientific reasoning, rather than testing you on facts and equations. Here’s what you need to know to master this section for test day!

Format of the Science Section

The ACT Science section assesses your ability to interpret and analyse scientific data and concepts. It does not test specific scientific knowledge but rather your ability to understand and interpret information presented in graphs, tables, charts, and experiments. The ACT science section consists of 40 questions with a time limit of 35 minutes. Students have to answer a series of questions after reading the science passage given. In the ACT science section, you will be given seven science-related passages and you will be asked to answer seven questions after every passage. The passages contain graphs, charts, experiment summaries or even conflicting viewpoints of different scientists.

Here’s what’s typically covered in the ACT Science section:

Types of Questions

  1. Data Representation– This part of the test includes questions based on graphs, tables, and other representations of scientific data and requires students to evaluate, understand, and interpret information presented in graphs, tables, or charts. 30-40% of questions in this section are data representation type questions i.e. approximately 15 questions.


  1. Research Summaries– You’ll encounter passages describing one or more experiments or studies. You’ll need to understand the purpose of the study, the methods used, and the results obtained. Questions may ask you to draw conclusions or make inferences based on the information provided.45-55% of questions in this section are research summary-type questions i.e. approximately 18 questions. 
  2. Conflicting Viewpoints – In this section, you’ll be presented with two or more hypotheses or viewpoints on a particular scientific issue. You’ll need to understand each viewpoint and compare them to answer questions accurately. 15-20% of questions in this section are conflicting viewpoints type questions i.e. approximately 7 questions.

How to Study ACT Science

  1. Understand the format: Familiarize yourself with the structure and timing of the ACT Science section. Understand the types of questions you’ll encounter, including data representation, research summaries, and conflicting viewpoints.
  2. Review basic science concepts: While the ACT Science section doesn’t test specific scientific knowledge, having a strong understanding of basic science concepts in biology, chemistry, physics, and Earth/space sciences can be helpful. Review key concepts from your science courses or use review books to brush up on fundamentals.
  3. Practice interpreting data: Since a significant portion of the ACT Science section involves interpreting graphs, tables, charts, and diagrams, practice analysing and interpreting different types of scientific data. Look for practice materials that include data representation questions and work on improving your ability to extract information from visual representations.
  4. Work on scientific reasoning skills: Focus on developing your ability to reason scientifically and draw logical conclusions from the information provided. Practice identifying trends, relationships, and patterns in data. Pay attention to cause-and-effect relationships and how changes in one variable affect another.
  5. Practice time management: The ACT Science section is timed, so practicing under timed conditions is essential. Work on pacing yourself to ensure you can complete all the questions within the allotted time. Practice skipping difficult questions and coming back to them if you have time remaining.
  6. Use official ACT practice materials: Utilize official ACT practice tests and questions to get a sense of the types of questions you’ll encounter on the exam. The ACT Real Study guide has practice questions as well as practice test. Take those tests. To get deep analysis of the test performance grade these in some online test grading tool and get the diagnostic report. You can also use Socrato online Practice test scoring too.  
  7. Review your mistakes: After completing practice questions or tests, take the time to review your answers and understand any mistakes you made. Identify areas where you need improvement and focus your studying on those areas.
  8. Consider additional resources: In addition to official ACT materials, you may also find it helpful to use review books, online resources, or tutoring services to supplement your studying.

By following these tips and dedicating time to study and practice, you can improve your performance on the ACT Science section and feel more confident on test day.