COllege Admissions News and ACT / SAT Strategy

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ACT Science: Sifting Out What Matters (and what doesn’t)

The ACT Science section has a rather misleading name. Perhaps a better name would be the ACT Reading Section Part 2: Science Concepts. The exam requires no prior knowledge of scientific content or concepts. Instead, students are required to interpret data graphs, what the scientific method is and how scientific theories disagree from each other. These are concepts taught in every high school in the country. The ACT is a standardized exam that must provide a level playing field for all applicants, from all demographics across the United States. As such, it may be comforting to know that advanced science concepts such as DNA transcription and translation or the Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium won’t be tested. To succeed on this portion of the exam, exposure to ACT Science questions and practice solving them is critical. The following is an important tip to succeeding on the ACT science section:

ACT Math: A Lesson on Logarithms

What are logs in math? Do you use them to develop a foundation and build like beavers do? No, you don’t. Instead, in math, logs are the “opposite” of exponentials, just as subtraction is the opposite of addition. If I asked you what number (x) to the third power equals 8 (x3 = 8), then you would take the cube root of both sides and tell me the cube root of 8 equals 2.

Now consider this: if I asked you 2 raised to what power (x) gets you 8, how would you solve it? Well, we know that x=3 because 23 = 8, as we saw from the previous problem. But what steps would you take to solve this problem, or any others like it? As I mentioned before, logs are the “opposite”, or the inverse, of exponentials. Thus, one operation can undo the other. Let’s take a look at the relationship between them.