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David Recine

How to Get a Perfect 36 Score in ACT Science, Part 2

Like any section on the ACT, ACT Science can be mastered for a perfect 36. Today, we’ll look at the skills you need to build for a 36 in ACT Science. (And in my last post, we looked at the kind of practice reading that can help you get a perfect Science score.)

To get a perfect 36 in ACT Science, build your math skills

There is a lot of math in ACT Science. Don’t worry though– the math in the ACT Science section will not be as complicated as the ACT Math section itself.

But you will need to have a a good sense for numbers. To get a perfect 36 on ACT Science, you should be able to comprehend the meaning of complex numbers as they appear in sets of scientific data. You’ll need to understand exactly how each number quantifies a property, characteristic, or scientific variable.

You will also need to make simple calculations based on math formulas that appear in scientific passages. You wont’ need to memorize any formulas, because the formulas will be given and completely explained on the ACT Science test. And you won’t need to make precise calculations of exact numbers like you would in the Math section. Instead, the math of ACT Science requires you to estimate the value of variables using given formulas and instructions.

In your reading practice, notice the times that an article cites scientific measurements and numbers. Really understand how those numbers are used to calculate other numbers. For example, you should be able to understand how two variables such as tree height and tree age could be used to calculate a third variable such as the annual rate of tree growth.

When you see numbers in your ACT Science reading practice, don’t just skip over them– understand what they really mean in the context of the passage. And take the time to play with the variables in a science article. Whenever an article makes a conclusion based on the numbers, double-check the conclusions by making your own calculations.

And try changing the numbers to make new calculations of your own. Returning to the tree growth rate example, a student could practice the math of ACT Science by changing a tree’s age or height, then re-calculating annual growth rate.

To get a perfect 36 in ACT Science, recognize and apply the scientific method

To get a perfect 36 in ACT science, you need to think like a scientist as you go through practice materials. Understand the ways in which scientists use logic to gather data, interpret it, and reach conclusions. Then apply that logic to ACT Science questions. On the exam, you may be asked to identify the best procedure for gathering scientific data, or choose the most valid model for an experiment. To excel at these questions, you need to recognize the logic of the scientific method, as seen in your practice readings.

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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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