Tip #36 to Get a Top ACT English Reading Science Score
One passage per science test has no graphs at all. It is basically a reading passage that should have been in the Reading section. This graphless passage always provides views from two or more scientists or students who debate some theory, like why the ocean is blue. Then the questions always ask you to compare and contrast their opinions.
The key to this passage is to read each theory and then jot down or circle a few words that sum up that person's view. And watch for differences and similarities as you read; we know that we will be asked about these distinctions in the questions.
Two scientists explain why a study found that moose chose winter sites with more coniferous than deciduous trees. Conifers are trees that do not lose their leaves or needles in the winter.
Late winter bedding sites of moose (Alces alces) were surveyed in February and March of 1995 and were further examined in August of 1995 for the purpose of characterizing and comparing the habitat selected. The data was collected from 102 sampling points in February and 65 in March. Snow depth in February exceeded 50 cm. Snow accumulation in March did not reach this height.
Coniferous cover is increasingly important in winter during accumulation of snow. Conifer trees do not lose their leaves in winter and provide some cover from snowfall. Moose seek out conifer tree areas for this shallow snow which allows easier movement as well as greater availability of shrubs for browsing (eating).
If snow accumulation influenced moose habitat then moose would have sought conifer cover during February and moved out into the open during the reduced snowfalls of March. However, the March sites were characterized by a higher conifer component than were the February sites.
Results consistently indicated that conifer canopy became more significant as winter progressed. So, it was not the snow depth that attracted the moose to the conifers in March, but the crust conditions. While snow depth was reduced in March, the snow crust was softer and impeded moose movement.
- Which of the following does scientist 1 suggest draws moose to areas of cover from snowfall?
- Softer snow crust
- Denser forests
- More accessible shrubs
- Deeper snow
- According to the passage, which scientist(s), if either, would predict that moose in June would seek conifer cover?
- Scientist 1
- Scientist 2
- Neither scientist 1 nor scientist 2
- Both scientist 1 and scientist 2
- Scientist 2 would most likely argue that
- mobility in the snow is less important than depth of the snow
- depth of snow is less important than mobility in the snow
- conifer cover impedes moose mobility
- deciduous trees provide more food for moose during winter months
- The views of both scientists are similar because they imply that
- ease of movement is an important consideration in moose habitat
- moose favor conifer trees to deciduous trees
- snow makeup determines ease of browsing for moose
- moose prefer conifer cover more in February than in March
- The hypothesis of scientist 2 could best be tested by
- taking temperature readings in deciduous forests during the next 5 years
- measuring snow depths under conifer cover throughout February and March
- tagging moose and following them throughout the summer
- analyzing data on crust conditions and moose habitats for the past 50 years
- C Scientist 1 states that moose seek out conifer cover for shallow snow and greater availability of shrubs for eating.
- H Both scientists state that moose sought cover because of snow conditions. So in June, when there is no snow, neither scientist would predict that moose would seek conifer cover.
- B At the end of the second paragraph for scientist 2, she or he argued that crust conditions and not snow depth most affected moose mobility.
- F Both scientists refer to ease of movement. The other choices are either not stated by both scientists or not stated at all. For example, choice G is incorrect because the scientists do not imply that moose always prefer conifers, just that they are useful during winter. And choice J is incorrect because the moose preferred conifer cover in March more than February.
- D Scientist 2's hypothesis is expressed in the second paragraph, "So, it was not the snow depth that attracted the moose to the conifers in March, but the crust conditions." Choice D would best test this crust conditions hypothesis. The other choices are interesting but would not directly test the hypothesis.
Go to: Tip #37
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