There is nothing like a good story. Granted, sitting in an uncomfortable chair for 3 long hours in a stuffy room is not conducive to relaxing, fun story-telling. Yet, if students want to ace the Science section of the ACT then they must learn to turn the science charts and graphs into a compelling story. The ACT Science section is a misnomer. As you might have heard me say before, all you need to know about science for this section is that water is wet*. The science section is really just another reading section – reading charts and graphs. The charts and graphs tell a story. If you can figure out the story, the questions will be a breeze. In the science story, though, you do not want to get bogged down with words. Therefore, for many of the science passages, students should skip the introductory blurbs and jump directly to the charts/graphs for the story. Yet, sometimes just looking at the charts/graphs creates an incomplete story. It is then and only then that you should go back and focus on the blurbs.
Below are 5 Key Science Reading Tips :
Not in the Graph: When you see a question that refers to a graph, but you don’t see the terms from the question in the graph, look at the blurb. Also, when you see “in the passage” or “based on description” in a question, it means that you must read the blurb.
Find the Main Idea: In experiment passages, the main idea is often the last sentence of the experiment. In “Fighting Scientist” passages (Conflicting Viewpoints), focusing on thought-reversers and the first and last sentences will help you find the main idea.
Zone In: When writing your story, focus on an asterisk or anything in parentheses (like a formula). Often the definition of the word in parentheses comes directly after the parentheses, and this definition leads you to the correct answer.
Mark it Up: Draw lines on your graphs, circle numbers in your charts, underline key words, and highlight BIRTHDAY words – but, instead, rather, though, however, despite, although, yet.
Focus on the Italics: If a term is italicized and defined in the passage, use that definition instead of your own definition.
Yes, time is a crunch within this section, but spending 30 seconds creating the “story” will enable you to speed through the questions.
▪ There are sometimes one or two questions in which having a science background will help in answering the question/s.