Improving Your ACT Science Score (and SAT Reading Score on the Passages with Science Content)

I was happy last week when one of my students—I’ll call her “Emma”—contacted me to report she had improved her ACT science score by 4 points, from 26 on a previous test to 30 on the recent July test.  As I worked with Emma prior to the test, I initiated a new approach to my science instruction. The resulting 4-point boost to her score is the first indication that my new approach could help other students improve their science scores, too.

New ACT Science Format

Because the new ACT science format tends to focus more on prior knowledge than previous tests have, I’ve begun to encourage students to focus on strengthening the basic science foundation they’ve already accumulated in their high school classwork. I did this by giving students an OGT study guide  (click here to access a copy or contact me if you have any problems accessing), and instructing them to study a portion of the guide each week.

Emma and I worked together for 4 weeks, so she studied about 15 pages of the 60-page guide each week. (The content is illustrated and written in a large font, so it’s not difficult for students to cover 10-15 pages a week).

I encouraged Emma to note, as she reviewed the study guide, any topics that she felt she needed to brush up on, research those topics on the Kahn Academy web site, and then study the content and take the quizzes on the Kahn site.

For instance, say Emma didn’t feel confident about the meiosis content on the OGT science handout as she was preparing for the ACT. She would have googled “meiosis” and “Kahn Academy,” and then chosen from the many links that populated from her search about cell division, meiosis, and mitosis (click here for sample content and here for quiz work).

Or, say another student is struggling with the concept of independent variables. He could google “independent variables” and “Kahn Academy” to find helpful content (click here) reviewing this important concept.

More ACT Science Tips

The Kaplan site offers some helpful general guidance for taking the science test (click here), and if you tend to finish the science portion of the test within the 35-minute time constraints, you can’t go wrong following these tips. However, if you tend to run out of time, you might need a more effective strategy streamlined to your needs. Watch for a future blog post about different strategies that have helped my students finish the science portion of the ACT on time, or contact me at to lean more.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s