Navigating ACT Science Passage Types: From Bar Graphs to Content Graphs

By Steven Darby - March 7, 2024

ACT Science passages come in various forms, and understanding the different passage types is crucial for your child's success. Let's explore each passage type and learn how to tackle them effectively.

In the ACT Science section, passages can take on different forms, each requiring a slightly different approach. To excel, your child needs to understand the nuances of these passage types. Let's take a closer look at each one:

  • Bar Graphs: These are common in ACT Science. They display data using bars of varying lengths. Your child should pay close attention to the axes, mark trends, and look for any patterns.

  • Charts: Charts provide information through various visual elements, such as pie charts or scatterplots. Your child needs to decipher the information presented and extract what's relevant to the questions.

  • Line Graphs: Line graphs show data points connected by lines. Your child should annotate the axes, identify trends, and note the "shape" of each line.

  • Dueling Scientists: These passages present conflicting viewpoints from two or more scientists. Your child should read carefully, annotate for similarities and differences, and identify conclusions.

  • Experiential Design: These passages typically include images of lab equipment or procedures. Your child needs to interpret the images and understand the experimental setup.

  • Content Graphs: These passages may not have traditional graphs but can include visual representations of concepts. Your child should analyze the visuals and their relevance to the questions.

Knowing how to approach each passage type is essential for efficient and accurate navigation of the ACT Science section. Encourage your child to practice with different passage types to build confidence and familiarity.

33. Deciphering Bar Graphs: Axis Annotations and Trend Identification

Bar graphs are a common sight in ACT Science passages. To excel in this section, your child needs to know how to annotate the axes, identify trends, and recognize when there are no trends present. Let's dive into the specifics of handling bar graphs with confidence.

Bar graphs are a frequently encountered passage type in the ACT Science section. They provide data in the form of bars of varying lengths, making it essential for your child to decipher the information accurately. Here's how your child can excel in handling bar graphs:

  • Annotate the Axes: The first step is to annotate the axes of the bar graph. Your child should label the x-axis and y-axis to understand what's being measured and in what units.

  • Mark Noticeable Trends: Look for trends in the data. If the bars show an increase or decrease, your child should mark it with an arrow or highlighter. This makes it easier to refer back to when answering questions.

  • Have a Mark for No Trend: Sometimes, bar graphs may not exhibit a clear trend. In such cases, your child should mark the absence of a trend. This is just as important as identifying trends.

  • Pay Attention to Labels: Ensure your child annotates the labels on the bars. These labels often contain key information relevant to the questions.

By following these steps and practicing with bar graphs, your child can effectively tackle this passage type in the ACT Science section. Remember that practice and familiarity are key to success.

Unlock your child's full potential with Peak Learning Solutions DTC. From algebra to calculus, statistics to chemistry, biology to history, and AP courses, we offer comprehensive teaching and tutoring services. Our certified teachers focus on enhancing metacognition and executive functioning skills. Stay organized with our expert advice on planner use and binders. For SAT and ACT preparation, look no further. Reach out to us at 720-737-9221 or visit We're your trusted local resource, located in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
Go Back