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# Tip #30 to Get a Top ACT English Reading Science Score

By Brian Leaf
McGraw-Hill Professional

ACT Myth: You need to love science to ace the ACT Science section.

ACT Mythbusters: ACT Science is just reading comprehension of tables and graphs. So if you like science, reading, math, or even just checking the stats of your favorite Red Sox pitcher, you can read a table, and you've got it covered.

The most important ACT Science strategy is "Don't Be Intimidated." You won't be balancing chemical equations, converting grams to moles, calculating newtons of force, or classifying spiders into their proper phylum. You will just be reading tables and graphs. This should be no different from checking the stats on your high school bowling team or your favorite Wii high-scorer.

The second most important ACT Science strategy is: "Work quickly." There are seven passages for you to do in 35 minutes—that's 5 minutes per passage. Can you do it? Yes! Here's how. Read the paragraphs quickly. Duh. No seriously, read quickly, not to memorize, and if they are very difficult, not even to understand, just to get the gist of what the whole experiment is generally about. Then glance at the graphs—just glance. Read the words and just note what they are about. This whole process of "reading" the science passage should take 20 to 30 seconds tops. Then go to the questions. Each question will tell you which table or graph to look back at anyway.

### Example Problems

Let's practice reading science passages. Remember to read quickly, just to get the gist of what the experiment is generally about. Then glance at the tables or graphs. See if you can read this entire science passage in under 30 seconds, and then answer the question, What is the passage generally about?

### Passage I

The total mechanical energy (TME) of an object equals the sum of its potential energy (PE) and its kinetic energy (KE). An object's potential energy is given by the equation PE = mgh, where m is its mass, h is its height above a reference point, and g is the acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s2). The object's kinetic energy is given by the equation KE = mv2/2, where v is its velocity.

Velocity is defined as "the speed of an object in a given direction."

A student performed 2 experiments to investigate TME.

Experiment 1

Starting from rest at point A, Natalia pushed a 2.2 kg ball down a frictionless track in an airless vacuum chamber.

At various points along the incline, Natalia determined the ball's KE and PE in joules.

Experiment 2

Natalia repeated the experiment on a nonfrictionless track in a non-vacuum, that is, in air of ordinary atmospheric pressure. In all other ways, as much as possible, the track was identical to the track in Experiment 1.

At the same points along the incline, Natalia determined the ball's speed.

What is the passage generally about?

1. The passage explores TME (total mechanical energy). The two experiments differ because one involves a frictionless track and the other is non-frictionless. You'll see in Posttest II, when we ask questions based on this passage, that almost every question asks you not about the general theme, but just to read the tables anyway.

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