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David Recine

How to Get a Perfect 36 Score in ACT Science, Part 1

In ACT Science, you don’t need to be a scientific genius to get a perfect 36. With good skills building and practice, you can master this part of the exam.

As you aim for a perfect score in ACT Science, bear in mind that this part of the exam does not test your scientific knowledge. Instead, it tests your ability to read and understand science texts and data. To excel, you don’t need to memorize scientific facts– you just need to be comfortable with university-level science passages.

To get a perfect 36 in ACT Science, practice reading academic science texts

Certain popular scientific websites match ACT Science texts in terms of tone and sophistication. Popular Science and the Public Library of Science website both have good reading practice, comparable to the style and complexity of science readings on the ACT. Scientific American is pretty good too.

You should also read actual university science textbooks if possible, because the ACT Science section really is designed to test your ability to handle undergraduate science course materials. Aim for first and second year texts, but don’t shy way from more advanced college science, if the difficulty level is similar to what you see in official ACT test preparation materials.

If you’re not sure where to find college science readings, ask someone at the reference desk of your local public library… or check with some university faculty. Many university faculty members will be more than happy to show some science texts to an ambitious aspiring college student.

To get a perfect 36 in ACT Science, practice reading visual information

Make sure you do some reading practice that helps you prepare for the many ACT Science graphs and tables you’ll see on the exam. Again, the idea here is to practice reading for skill, not for content. This means you don’t necessarily need to look just at science graphs and tables. Any practice you do reading visually organized data will help.

For infographic reading practice, a number of popular websites can provide you with some ACT-like visuals. News websites are full of graphs and tables related to economics, politics, and other topics. And of course, Popular Science, Scientific American and the Public Library of Science, mentioned and linked above, also have plenty of articles with informational visuals.

There will always be a few science visuals on the ACT that are unusually complicated, moreso than the visuals you’ll find on informational websites meant for the general public. To practice for more complex ACT visuals, I suggest looking at the data on Information is Beautiful, a site devoted to graphic data.

Practice ACT Science skills while you read

The right combination of reading practice can really help you get that perfect score. The other half of the “perfect 36” equation is skills-building. In my next post, we’ll look at the skills you can develop during your reading practice, so that you’ll be truly ready to hit the 36 mark by test day.

About David Recine

David is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007 and has worked with students from every continent. Currently, David lives in a small town in the American Upper Midwest. When he’s not teaching or writing, David studies Korean, plays with his son, and takes road trips to Minneapolis to get a taste of city life. Follow David on Google+ and Twitter!

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