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March 6, 2013
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May 28, 2013

The ACT Science Section: The Good News!

One of our tutors demystifies the ACT science section.

Not as Hard as It Seems

After working with many students to help them prepare for the ACT, I’ve found that students have a lot of anxiety concerning the ACT science section. When students hear the term “science section,” they instantly start recalling all of the science classes they’ve taken and what they may need to remember. It’s a never-ending list: all of the elements of the periodic table, valance electron placement, balancing chemical equations, mitosis v. meiosis, physics formulas!

As students rack their brains for all of the possible science questions they might be asked, they begin to dread the exam. They may fear that there’s no way to succeed because there’s no way to prepare for that many possibilities. If the science section of the ACT were actually a “science” test, they would be right: it would be very difficult to prepare for such a test. However, the good news is that the “science” section of the ACT is not a science test at all. It’s a reasoning test!

Hiding in Plain Site

Whenever I first explain this to students, they have a hard time believing me. Most will point out that this section does include scientific concepts and is filled with various scientific terms.  Although this is true, I share one of the test makers’ secrets: most, if not all, of the answers to the questions can be found within the passages alone. The passages employ scientific words and complex theories to disguise simple concepts. The key to success on this section is to ignore all of the scientific jargon and actively use the test to take the test.

Breaking It Down

We break down the science section into three different passage types: graphs, experiments, and scientists. Our tutors teach students strategies specific to each passage type. After working with all of my students for a few weeks and teaching them proactive strategies to use while working on this section, they begin to buy into the theory that this is not a science test. They learn how to correctly find answers, draw conclusions and interpret data – regardless of whether or not they understand the scientific concept covered in the passage. They realize it doesn’t matter if they don’t know how to pronounce various terms in the passages (not to mention what those terms mean).

Students who work with Nurturing Wisdom build confidence in their ability to successfully complete this section. They learn strategies to overcome those tricky concepts and terms, and they learn how not to let all the “science” drag down their science score. Contact us to learn more!