ACT Science: Guide to Evaluation of Models & Experimental Results
tl;dr: In the ACT Science section, there is an Evaluation of Models & Experimental Results section. This section tests your ability to judge the validity of scientific information and formulate conclusions and predictions. To ace this section, make sure to skim the question before diving into the passage and read every detail of the passage. With some practice, you'll be able to ace this section in no time!
Welcome to the last (and arguably most misunderstood 🤔) section of the ACT: the science section. Now don’t let that “most misunderstood” bit in the previous sentence scare you–in this article, we’ll be clarifying common misconceptions about the last part of the ACT Science section, Evaluation of Models & Experimental Results, and cover some example problems. If you're new to the ACT, make sure to check out this article overviewing the ACT First, Let’s jump in!
What Should I Know to Ace the ACT Science?
According to the ACT website, the Evaluation of Models & Experimental Results part of the ACT Science section is worth 25–35% of your score and tests students’ ability to “judge 🧑⚖️ the validity of scientific information and formulate conclusions and predictions based on that information (e.g., determine which explanation for a scientific phenomenon is supported by new findings).” In simpler terms, the test will ask you to determine if scientific claims, conclusions, and other forms of information are correct ✅.
After reading that description, your first inclination may be to go on a scavenger hunt for your untouched science notes and review them for hours on end until your exam comes up. Do NOT do this 😱! Unlike other exams you may have taken before, the ACT Science section asks questions based on information provided to you in a piece of writing, graph, or model. This means that studying only content will not help you as much as you think since the ACT Science section tests your ability to apply and interpret 🔎 given information using skills you’ve already developed throughout your schooling.
While refreshing on high school-level topics like cell biology and pH can be helpful to some extent, it shouldn’t be your main form of studying. Instead, practice reading passages, analyzing graphs, and answering questions 🧠! We’ll be focusing on what types of questions related to Evaluation of Models & Experimental Results you may come across on the exam and how to answer them. Be sure to take notes as we start to review!
At first glance, this question may seem overwhelming since it is packed with writing, tables, and numbers GALORE 😳. But once you read the actual question, you’ll notice that it only directly references Studies 1 and 2, and the answers only mention Groups 1 and 5. Just by skimming the question and the answer choices, you’ve saved time spent on this question because you’ll know to only look at Groups 1 and 5 of Tables 2 and 3.
Now, let’s start answering the actual question. It asks us to see if the results of Studies 1 and 2, shown in their respective tables, prove that rats who ate less food had lower leptin concentrations. Table 2 shows that the rats in Group 1 ate 9 grams of solid food per day, while those in Group 5 had 23 grams daily. Table 3 says that rats in Group 1 had a leptin concentration of 804 picomoles per sample, and those in Group 5 had a concentration equal to 251 picomoles, which is much smaller. This proves that the original claim in the question is incorrect–the rats in Group 1 ate less food than those in Group 5 but had greater concentrations of leptin than their counterparts. Therefore, C would be the correct answer 👏.
This question is different from the last one in that it is word-based 📖. When dealing with these types of questions, be sure to pay attention to each and every detail because you don’t know which can aid you in answering.
Now that you’ve read both the facts at the beginning of the passage and the paragraphs below them, let’s get into answering the question. It asks us to pick the response that best explains why a pre-MS star needs high temperature and pressure to become an MS star. Fact 3, which describes this process in greater detail, says this process occurs because the star fuses protons to make helium nuclei, forming energy.
Using your science knowledge, you can eliminate Options F and H since opposite charges (+ and -) are attracted to each other, not like charges. That leaves us with Options G and J. Since Fact 3 mentions that the star “produces the majority by fusing hydrogen nuclei (protons) at its center,” G is the only viable answer. Even though Option J is correct in saying that all electrons are negatively charged and that like charges repel, it doesn’t fit the context of the question 🙅.
Congrats 🎉, that’s the entire Evaluation of Models & Experimental Results part of the ACT Science section! Before we bring this article to a close, let’s review some of the tips and tricks mentioned:
- Skim through each question before reading the passage or analyzing the graphs, charts, models, etc., to see if they only mention using one.
- Read every detail you see, including keys, intro paragraphs, comments, and descriptions. There is usually more to each passage than its main component!
- Eliminate answer choices that are correct but have no support from the passage.
Give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far 🎉 The best way to practice for the ACT Science section is to do lots of practice 📋 So what are you waiting for? If you need extra ACT help, check out this list of awesome resources to help you strive for that 36! Get studying! Good luck 👏
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