Tip #37 to Get a Top ACT English Reading Science Score (page 3)
You've now learned all the skills that you need for the ACT Science section. The Mantras remind you what to do when, what that girl who got a 36 does automatically. In Skill 37, let's make sure you've integrated the Mantras. Drill them until you are ready to teach them. Then do that. Once you're sure you've got'em, check off the box next to each Mantra. Learning Mantras is like learning martial arts. Practice until they become part of you, until you follow them naturally: when you see a Science question, you know which type it is, you confidently find the appropriate graph, and you find the answer. Your ACT score and probably even your science class grades will go way up.
- Skill 30. Read ACT passages quickly, just to get the gist of what the experiment is generally about. Then glance at the graphs and go to the questions.
- Skill 31. The most common ACT Science question asks you to find a value or a fact from the tables or graphs. And usually the question tells you exactly which table or graph to look back at!
- Skill 32. The second most common type of ACT Science question asks you to look at a chart or graph and decide what happens to one thing as another changes.
- Skill 33. The third type of ACT Science question asks you to use the graph or table to determine the value for a data point that is not shown, but is above, below, or between points that are shown.
- Skill 34. When you see a question that refers to a graph and you don't see the terms from the question in the graph, look at the paragraphs.
- Skill 35. Don't get intimidated. If the wording of a question is confusing, reread it a few times and then do the thing that seems most obvious. That's usually correct for ACT Science questions!
- Skill 36. For a "fight" passage, read the first scientist/student opinion and circle or jot down the main idea and then read the second scientist/student opinion and circle or jot down the main idea. Then consider for a moment the similarities and differences. That will answer the questions of the passage.
- Skill 37. If a question does not tell you which table or graph to use, scan the figures for the one that has the terms from the question.
A mercury thermometer, at an initial temperature of 15°C, was placed in a 25°C solution, and the temperature shown on the thermometer was recorded over time. This procedure was repeated using solutions at 30°C and 35°C. Table 1 shows the recorded temperatures in °C over time for the thermometer placed in each solution.
Next, the same thermometer, at an initial temperature of 45°C, was placed into a beaker of helium at 15°C, and the temperature was recorded over time. This was repeated for 30°C and 45°C beakers of helium (see Figure 1).
Choose the best answer for each question. Watch for the six types of ACT Science questions.
- Based on Figure 1, at 25 s, the thermometer reading in the 30°C helium most likely was closest to which of the following?
- When the thermometer was in the 25°C solution, in the time interval between 3 s and 4 s, approximately how rapidly, in °C/s, was the temperature registered by the thermometer changing?
- According to Table 1, for a solution temperature of 35°C, over which of the following time intervals was the thermometer reading changing most rapidly?
- 0 to 1 s
- 1 to 2 s
- 2 to 3 s
- 3 to 4 s
- Based on Figure 1, for the thermometer placed in 30°C helium, the mercury atoms in the thermometer were moving most slowly at which of the following times?
- 0 s
- 20 s
- 30 s
- 40 s
- Based on Figure 1, if the thermometer, at an initial temperature of 45°C, had been placed in a helium sample at 5°C, how long would it most likely have taken the thermometer reading to reach 40°C?
- Less than 20 s
- Between 20 s and 25 s
- Between 25 s and 30 s
- Greater than 30 s
- In Experiment 2, placing the thermometer into which of the following beakers of helium was used to test if the helium temperature was held constant?
- The 15°C beaker of helium
- The 30°C beaker of helium
- The 45°C beaker of helium
- The 25°C solution
- The kinetic energy of mercury decreases as temperature decreases. Based on this information, over all samples in Table 1, as time passes, the kinetic energy of the mercury
- increases only
- decreases only
- increases, then decreases
- decreases, then increases
- B Notice that Table 1 is the table in Experiment 1 and Figure 1 is the graph in Experiment 2. The thermometer placed into the 30°C helium is shown on the graph by the solid line. Go to 25 s and look straight up until you reach the solid line. The solid line passes 25 seconds at around 40°C, so choice B is closest.
- H Don't be intimidated. Lots of students get scared off by this one. But it's just asking you how many degrees the temperature changed per second, that's what °C /s means. Remember our Mantra, if you are stuck, just do whatever seems most obvious. The temperature changed 4 degrees (from 21 to 25°\C) during that 1 second. So it changed 4/1 (which is just 4) °C/s.
- B Look at Table 1. Look at the 35_C solution column. Look down the column for the biggest jump between numbers. The biggest jump was from the first to second rows, which represents 1 second to 2 seconds. (Remember that the thermometer started at 15°, so the jump from 0 to 1 s was only 4°.)
- J This is another great example of "do what seems obvious." It would be pretty easy to convince yourself that this is some specific concept that you were supposed to have memorized from chemistry class. But remember, you need nothing memorized. Just use common sense. When would atoms move most slowly? When they are least hot. Hot atoms jump all over and cold ones chill out. That's where the phrase "chill out" comes from! So the coldest atoms would move most slowly. Look at the graph to find the coldest that the temperature in the 30°C helium (solid line) gets. Choice J is correct since the solid line gets lowest at 40 s.
- A Figure 1 shows that the thermometer in the 30°C helium took about 18 s to get to 40°C. And it shows that the thermometer in the 15°C helium took about 10 s. So the thermometer in 5°C helium would cool even faster, less than 20s.
- H The paragraph tells us that thermometer had an initial temperature of 45°C. So the thermometer will not be heated or cooled in the 45°C beaker of helium. This is the one used to test if the temperature remained constant. If the thermometer changed in this beaker, it would show that the helium was cooling over time, which would affect the results of the experiment. This element of the experiment that is unchanged is called the "control."
- A In Table 1, as time passes, all samples increase in temperature. Thus, since kinetic energy increases as temperature increases, as time passes and temperature increases, kinetic energy must also increase.
The ACT Essay is graded by two readers, who each give a score from 1 to 6, yielding a total essay score from 2 to 12. Like the English section, the Essay is not testing to see if you are the next William Shakespeare. It tests whether you can write an organized essay with intro, body, and conclusion paragraphs. The ACT Essay seems a mystery to many kids. But it turns out that graders are trained to look for very specific things. If you give graders what they look for, you ace the essay. In the next 11 Skills, I'll show you exactly what they look for.
Go to: Tip #38
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