ACT Science Test: No science required

Many test-takers have told us that they chose the SAT over the ACT because they were uncertain/cautious/leery/petrified of the science part of the test.  But never fear, here I come to save the day! (cue Mighty Mouse theme)

The truth of the matter is that the Science Test is a misnomer – instead it should be called the ACT Science-y Test, the ACT Science-Lite Test, or maybe the ACT Loosely-Related-to-Scientific-Thinking Test.


The ACT Science Test is not what most of us think of as a science test. There are few scientific terms used, there are no experiments to conduct, you don’t need to know the charge of an electron, and there are no reactions to analyze. Instead, the ACT Science Test tests you on your ability t0 evaluate information presented in a scientific context and draw conclusions. You will need to read from charts, graphs, and other graphic representations of scientific information. You will need to be able to connect related written data and visual data. But that’s all you’ll need to be able to do. You won’t need to memorize a bunch of scientific terms and rules. You won’t need to conduct experiments to prove hypotheses.

Let’s check out a “passage” (they even call them passages!)

Let’s check out what the questions ask us to do:

As you can see from the passage this isn’t so much about science as it about reading and drawing conclusions from scientific data sets. This knowledge lets you start to form an action plan that will allow you to maximize your score.  You must also be aware of the format of the Science Test so that you can properly pace yourself and apply the skills you have. Here is the format:

ACT Science Test

Scoring 1 – 36
Number of Passages 7
Number of Questions 40
Questions per Passage 5-7
Total Time 35 minutes


Hopefully this will help you better understand the ACT and decide which college admission test you want to take. And if this isn’t enough, please check this out: SAT vs ACT Fee Waiver Throwdown.

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