What Does the ACT Science Test Measure?

The ACT Science test is designed to measure the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. This test section involves six or seven passages, each followed by a variable number of multiple-choice test questions. Passages draw from topics and research in biology, chemistry, Earth/space sciences, and physics and include combinations of text, graphs, charts, tables, and figures.

While ACT Science passages cover the full range of natural science topics, Very little subject-specific knowledge is never tested. This is primarily a test of graphical literacy. ACT Science Reporting Categories detail what students are tested on in this section:

Interpretation of Data questions measure the ability to manipulate and analyze scientific data presented in tables, graphs, and diagrams.

Evaluation of Models, Inferences, and Experimental Results questions measure the ability to judge the validity of scientific information, draw inferences, and formulate conclusions based on provided data.

Scientific Investigation questions measure the understanding of experimental tools, procedures, and design. Students should able to identify variables and controls as well as compare, extend, and modify experiments.

The timed nature of this section also rewards reading speed and comprehension along with critical test taking skills like focus, endurance, and answer awareness.


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