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Challenge with ACT Science is NOT Science

“I am no good at ACT Science,” my students tell me frequently. Too frequently, in fact, to be a coincidence.   The first problem with this statement is the fixed mindset. Someone with a growth mindset would offer, “I am no good at the ACT Science yet.”  The second problem with this statement may have less to do about Science and more to do about stamina.  Stamina may be the main challenge on the ACT since the Science section is the last section of the test. After hours of testing, tackling another section of critical and logical thinking may just be too much for students to handle. 

However, every challenge offers an opportunity. The opportunity here is to improve test-taking stamina.  Yes, the key strategies to ACT Science–like annotating passages, covering up answer choices to state your own answer first and eliminating answer choices based on themes–are all valid and helpful.  Also, students will improve their scores by building stamina and concentration over long periods of time. The best way to do this is with lots of full-length practice tests. Prepare for the marathon by practicing marathons.  Another method, and much less taxing, is the Hocus Pocus Super Focus method: 1) Remove all distractions.  2) Hunker down for thirty minutes on an assignment, academic activity or critical thinking task.  3) At the end of the period, take a five-minute break.  4) Repeat this until your focus is sustained easily for thirty minutes.  5) Now go for longer periods or more consecutive periods.  If you cannot make it thirty minutes, try a shorter period until that is comfortable and build from there.  The stamina needed for the ACT or SAT is sustained focus for about four or five periods of fifty minutes with five-minute breaks.  As you build your stamina, remind yourself that you will be more fatigued later the process. Use this knowledge to your advantage and fine tune your focus toward the end.  ACT Science may not be so bad after all. My students who claim ACT Science is too hard soon learn that focused stamina makes a major difference.  Build your stamina, build your confidence and watch your score improve. For more test-taking tips and academic support, contact CROSSWALK today. 

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