Every Concept on the ACT Science Section

Below is a list of every concept that you can possibly see on the science section of the ACT. Even though these concepts appear, there are only about 2-3 questions on the entire ACT science section that you need to have prior knowledge for and you cannot just rely on the information in the graphs, charts, and passages.

With that being said, it is still beneficial to be knowledgeable about these concepts because it will help you understand the passages better. For instance, if there is a passage that explains how the genes of a certain species mutate, then understanding the definition of words such as "genes", "mutation", "DNA", "allele", "chromosome", etc. will help you understand the passage better.

If any of these topics are unfamiliar to you, I encourage you to type the word into google, review the definition, and understand some of the basic concepts associated with the word. There is no need to do in depth research and study endlessly about one topic.


  • classifications: genus, species (e.g. knowing that lizards are mammals, reptiles or amphibians)

  • human anatomical systems (circulatory, digestive, respiratory)

  • eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms

  • photosynthesis

  • pollination

  • metamorphosis

  • genetics (allele, genes, chromosomes, X and Y chromosomes)

  • proteins

  • DNA

  • RNA

  • ribosomes

  • mitochondria

  • chromosome

  • genotype

  • osmosis

  • phenotype

  • dominant and recessive traits

  • crossing over of dominant and recessive alleles

  • mitosis

  • meiosis

  • cellular division phases (interphase, etc.)


  • understanding (and balancing) chemical equations and reactions

  • atom

  • nucleus

  • ion

  • molecule

  • solute

  • solution

  • solvent

  • reactant

  • product

  • solubility

  • atomic mass

  • solid, liquid, gas

  • pH

  • acid

  • base

  • viscosity

  • condensation

  • evaporation

  • electrons

  • protons

  • neutrons

  • atomic number

  • atomic mass

  • molar mass

  • isotopes

  • solid, liquid, gas and melting, boiling, freezing points (very generally speaking; not specific to any particular substance, except maybe water)

  • important elements (e.g. water is H20)


  • velocity

  • acceleration

  • polarity

  • buoyancy

  • waves

  • amplitude

  • frequency

  • wavelength

  • charges (like charges attract; opposite charges repel)

  • circuits (capacitor, resistor)

  • amperes

  • volts

  • convection

  • conduction

  • radiation

  • kinetic energy

  • potential energy

  • gravitational potential energy

  • mechanical energy

  • density

Earth and Space

  • metamorphism (state change)

  • layers of earth

  • erosion

  • altitude

  • air resistance

  • orbit

  • terrestrial planet/gas giants

Other Science Terms

  • independent variable

  • dependent variable

  • control

  • hypothesis

  • endothermic

  • exothermic

  • ectothermic

  • matter

  • mass

Additionally, if you are in search of any guidance in reference to the SAT or ACT, don't hesitate to reach out to Prep For Success. Our team is happy to help guide you through studying for the SAT and ACT.

You can reach out at PrepForSuccessTutors@gmail.com or (732) 485.1539 or (201) 566.5943.

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