ACT Preparation

The ACT Test is not a content knowledge test; it does NOT assess what you know. The answers to the questions on the ACT test are not in your head when you walk into the test room. The answers to the ACT test are on the test. You have to find them. In this sense, the ACT test does not test what you know. It tests your ability to read, interpret and reason. You will have to read, analyze, think and reason. And for the ACT Corporation, the presence of these skills are the indicators of college readiness. Those students who possess the skills of reading, analyzing, thinking and reasoning are ready to learn in college.

So you might be asking: How do I prepare for a test that doesn't test what I know? Answer: You've been preparing for this test since you've started taking science courses (hopefully). Your science teachers have emphasized various processes of science. These processes typically include the following:

  • reading and interpreting charts and graphs and diagrams
  • analyzing the design of experiments
  • analyzing the assumptions that underlie experimental procedures
  • analyzing information such as lab results and diagrams
  • thinking about the logical conclusions that emerge from experimental results
  • thinking about models that can be constructed to summarize experimental conclusions
  • reasoning scientifically about data, experiments, models, theories and conflicting viewpoints
  • and a bunch of other teacher stuff that might not be very interesting to you at this point

The point is that the foundation to preparing for the ACT test is to take a good science class … or several good science classes. Here the adjective good refers to a science class that is saturated with processes - processes that build the skills of reading, analyzing, thinking and reasoning.

So the good news is that you have already been preparing for the ACT. The even better news is that you can do even more to prepare and even catch up on whatever lack of preparation that there has been in your past. And that's what the ACT Test Center at The Physics Classroom website is all about. Take some time to use the practice passages provided in this section. And spend some time checking your answers and reading the suggestions in the Answer Guides. The Answer Guides are intended to describe the reasoning that is required to answer the questions.

In addition to using the practice passages, The Physics Classroom offers a collection of tips. The Physics Classroom has also collected links to a variety of resources that should prove useful in preparing for your big day.

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