3 Time Management Tips for Taking the ACT Science Test

Undeniably, one of the keys to success on standardized tests is proper time management. This is especially the case with ACT Science, a section that puts to use a variety of skills and affords little time to do so.

This advice will help you breeze through ACT Science and move closer to achieving the score of your dreams.

Calculate an ACT Science pace that reflects your personal weaknesses. The ACT Science section includes 40 questions that must be answered in 35 minutes. This suggests students should spend just under a minute on each question.

However, this pace is a suggestion. Unsurprisingly, most students spend more time on questions that are harder for them and less time on easier items. Determine which question types are most problematic for you. You may find Conflicting Viewpoints items trickiest, for example.

[Read: How to Tackle ACT Science Conflicting Viewpoint Questions.]

Allot yourself a bit of extra time for your hardest question types. For instance, you might give yourself one minute and five seconds to complete Conflicting Viewpoints items, but in exchange, you must reduce the time you take to complete easier question types. The key is to avoid running out of time because you spend a few more seconds on the more difficult questions.

Since it is not practical to constantly glance at the clock on test day, students should familiarize themselves with timing before they sit for the ACT. This can be achieved by completing practice questions, according to question type, while using a timer. Eventually, students should develop an internal clock so they know how to pace themselves when they take the real ACT.

Skip the instructions. The directions for ACT Science questions do not vary between test sessions, so save yourself time and skip over them. The ACT Science section is multiple-choice, each question only has one correct answer and you may not use a calculator on this portion. If you are already familiar with what is expected of you on the ACT Science section, there is no need to read the instructions on test day.

[Read: Juniors: Use the Holidays to Make an SAT, ACT Prep Plan.]

Annotate the answer choices. The ACT is largely a paper-based test, which means that students can take the liberty to underline, star, note and mark up their exam booklet in any way they see fit. In fact, annotating the answer choices on the ACT Science section is a highly recommended test-taking technique.

Suppose you reach an ACT Science question that requires you to examine a graph. The question asks about the mass of food remaining in a box of insects after 28 hours pass. You must determine if the mass of food remaining: A. Increased only; B. decreased only; C. increased and then decreased or D. decreased and then increased.

A smart technique for this question is to draw lines next to the answer choices. Choice A would show a rising line; Choice B, a falling line; Choice C, a line that rises and then falls; and Choice D, a line that falls and then rises. Visualizing the answer choices can make it easier for you to apply this information to the graph and arrive more quickly at the right option.

By following these tips and effectively saving time, you will hopefully watch your ACT Science score creep up.

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