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ACT Science Syllabus 2023: Everything About ACT Syllabus Science and Preparation

Yocket Editorial Team

The ACT exam is a multiple-choice-based test conducted across the USA for admissions in graduate courses in universities and colleges. The ACT exam has four sections: Science, Mathematics, English, and Reading. The fifth one is Writing, which is optional. Appearing for the ACT exam is essential if one plans to pursue a bachelor's degree from any American university. Other than your high school GPA, the ACT exam is a standardised way of measuring each student's aptitude, much like an entrance exam in universities.

In this blog, we dwell on ACT science syllabus, including the important ACT science topics, requirements, preparation tips, etc. to have a comprehensive overview of ACT syllabus Science. This ACT science guide will surely help you to have an in-depth understanding of how to prepare for the ACT science section.

 Table of Contents

  1.  What is ACT Science Section?
  2. ACT Science Syllabus
  3. ACT Science Question Types
  4. How to Prepare for ACT Science?

What is the ACT Science Section?

Before we dig deeper into the ACT science section or its question type, let us familiarize ourselves with the structure or the layout of this section:

  • Firstly, ACT science is the last section of the ACT exam.
  • Its weightage is 1/4th of the total score. Just like all the other sections, this section is also 36 points.
  • The format of this section is more like reading comprehension. There are passages regarding scientific research, graphs, charts, etc. There are around 6 to 7 passages.
  • There are 40 questions in this section.
  • The time limit for this section is 35 minutes. This means that one has approximately 52 seconds.

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ACT Science Content

The ACT science section focuses more on scientific skills than cramming scientific facts. If you can understand the research topics and analyze graphs, you can pretty much ace this section. This section isn’t about how much conceptual knowledge one has but about how you can use that knowledge when faced with evaluating a hypothesis, analyzing data, and coming up with reasoning for the hypothesis.

The ACT science topics include physics, chemistry, biology, earth sciences, and space sciences.

Now, let’s look at the types of passages in-depth: 

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Types of Passages in ACT Science

There are around 6 to 7 passages in the science section based on research topics.

  1.     Research summaries: they are summaries of different scientific experiments and research. There are times when you are asked to draw a comparison between two scientific research experiments. There are generally graphical representations in such passages. There are around 2 to 3 passages based on research summaries.
  2.     Data representation: in these kinds of passages, you are provided with the data related to a scientific subject. Although having some knowledge about the subject will be helpful, it’s not necessary. One needn’t be an expert on the topic but be able to read and understand the data, analyze the data provided and conclude the solution from the findings. There are around 2 to 3 passages based on data representation.
  3.     Conflicting viewpoints: just as the name suggests, this passage deals with comparing two different viewpoints or hypotheses on the same subject. You have to analyze the similarities and differences in the viewpoints of two different researchers or scientists doing scientific research on the same subject. There is only one passage based on conflicting viewpoints.

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Now that we have covered the types of passages asked in the ACT science section let us focus on the ACT science syllabus and the subjects from which questions are asked:

ACT Science Syllabus

ACT Science Syllabus

The ACT science Syllabus can be broken down into ACT science topics that are covered in different subjects: physics, chemistry, biology, earth sciences, and astronomy.

The topics covered in the subjects are as follows:


  • Energy and Matter
  • Laws
  • Interaction
  • Conservation
  • Radiations
  • Optics
  • Forces
  • Electrostatics
  • Magnetism, and more.


  • Structural Organisation in Living Beings
  • Cell Structure and Functions
  • Evolution and Genetics
  • Reproduction
  • Biotechnology, and more.


  • Chemical Bonding
  •  Atomic and Molecular Structures
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Coordination Compounds
  • Electrochemistry
  • Redox Reactions
  • Thermodynamics, and more.

Earth sciences

  • Geology
  • Environmental science

Space sciences

  • Meteorology
  • Astronomy

The ACT science syllabus is based on the topics that have been covered in the above-mentioned subjects in high school. Even if you are not familiar with the subject knowledge, if you have a good command of logical skills, you can easily score well in this section.

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ACT Science Question Types

Let’s take a look at how many science questions are on the ACT exam before we get into the types of questions asked. There are a total of 40 questions to answer in the allotted period of 35 minutes.

The following is a breakdown of questions:

Passage Type

No. of Passages

No. of questions

Research Summaries


5-6 (Per passage)

Data Representation


5-6 (per passage)

Conflicting Viewpoints



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The ACT science question types can be classified into three categories.

  1.     Data interpretation: In these types of questions, one will need to analyze the data provided in the passage or through graphics and interpret the results or the information asked in the question. One can expect around 16 to 20 questions of this kind.
  2.     Scientific analysis: In these types of questions, one will be asked to identify the process, how the research was conducted, the pros and cons of the research, and other issues related to the scientific methods. One can expect around 8 to 12 questions of this kind.
  3.     Evaluating the results of the experiments, models, and inferences: In these types of questions, one will be asked to validate the results of the research and make conclusions about the experiments. One can expect around 10 to 14 questions of this kind.

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How to Prepare for ACT science?

Preparation forACT science is crucial. One of the most important aspects is to have an in-depth knowledge of the subject. So that the techniques and scientific vocabulary utilized in the questions are familiar to you.

There are numerous tips and methods to prepare for ACT science. Some of the important ones are mentioned below:

  • Use the right ACT books to assist you in preparing for different sections and improve your reading comprehension skills.
  • Practice the science section questions from previous years. This provides an example of what kinds of questions are asked in the official exam and how the question trends have changed over the years.
  • There are a lot of data-related questions in the ACT science section. Learn how to interpret data and analyze it to draw conclusions. It will help if you improve your ability to comprehend graphs, charts, and tables.
  • Try finding study materials on the internet too. Be reading books, practicing questions, or polishing data-analyzing skills, all of this can be done through the internet.
  • There are tons of offline and online classes available to help prepare for the ACT exams. You may also hire private tutors to help prepare for the exam.
  • Practice! Practice! Practice! Practice till the last minute and you will surely be successful. The more you practice the faster you become. 

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So this was all about ACT science section. A good ACT science score is the ticket to the college of your choice. So, analyse the information discussed above and get started with your ACT preparation today! For any guidance and assistance, get in touch with our counselors at Yocket now!


Frequently Asked Questions About ACT Science 

Do I need to know about every single topic in ACT science syllabus?

How do I improve data interpretation skills for ACT science?

How hard is the act science section?

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