What's on the TASC: Science

The TASC Science Test assesses your ability to understand, interpret, and apply scientific information. You will have 85 minutes to answer approximately 47 multiple-choice questions. Most questions on the TASC Science Test will be multiple-choice, but you may also see multiple-response, drag-and-drop, and constructed-response items.
Each question on the TASC Science Test will assess both your familiarity with a content area and your ability to perform a skill related to understanding and interpreting scientific information.

TASC Science Content Areas

Life Science (34%) topics include cell structures and processes, human body systems, health and nutrition, heredity and reproduction, genetics and DNA, evolution and natural selection, and the organization of ecosystems.
Earth and Space Science (33%) topics include the structure of Earth, plate tectonics, geological cycles and processes, renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, weather and climate, the solar system, and the universe.
Physical Science (33%) topics include atoms and molecules, properties and states of matter, chemical reactions, energy and work, motion and forces, waves, electricity, and magnetism.

Science Skills

In addition to testing your understanding of science passages and graphics, the TASC Science Test questions are based on your understanding of skills that are used in scientific study and investigation. After you study these skills, you will reinforce them as you work through the unit. The science skills include:

  • Comprehending scientific presentations to interpret passages and graphics
  • Using the scientific method to design investigations, reason from data, and work with findings
  • Reasoning with scientific information to evaluate conclusions with evidence
  • Applying concepts and formulas to express scientific information and apply scientific theories
  • Using statistics and probability in a science context

You will have to perform some calculations on the TASC Science Test. For those questions, you will be able to use a scientific calculator just as you may on the Mathematics Test.
Once you’re familiar with the TASC Science Test, try out a few practice questions!

Question 1
Which statement correctly describes the process depicted in the graphic below?
what's on the tasc
A. As moist, flowing air encounters rising elevations, it cools, which causes condensation, a stage that precedes precipitation and cloud development.
B. Once above the tree line, flowing air is likely to slow down and stop moving, and then collect in the form of snow.
C. Clouds dissipate before encountering mountain peaks.
D. Moist air flows from the west, while drier air usually flows from the east.

A: The diagram depicts air flowing toward hills or mountains. As it does so, the air cools and condensation happens. Based on the arrows, that stage happens before the stages of precipitation and cloud formation. Choice (B) suggests that the air becomes static at the highest elevations, which is not supported by the diagram. Choice (C) contradicts the diagram. Choice (D) is unsupported because the diagram does not have an east-west orientation: just because the air is depicted flowing from the left-hand side of the picture does not mean that it’s flowing from the west.

Question 2
Read the following passage. What is the researchers’ hypothesis?
A majority of teenagers develop acne, but scientists still struggle to explain its cause. It has long been thought that bacteria play a role, although until recently it was assumed that role was purely detrimental—contributing to acne. However, a team of researchers began to wonder whether different strains of bacteria might impact acne in different ways.
The research team studied 49 individuals with acne and 52 individuals without acne, and the researchers collected samples of bacteria from the nasal pores of all those individuals. The researchers found that some combinations of bacterial strains were highly likely to be found in clear-skinned individuals, while other combinations were highly likely to be found in individuals with acne.
After carefully analyzing their data, the scientists concluded that, while some bacterial combinations likely contribute to acne, other bacterial combinations may actually help to ward it off. The researchers suggested that, if further studies confirm these findings, we may want to treat acne by encouraging the growth of helpful bacteria.
A. Combinations of bacteria are a major cause of acne.
B. Different kinds of bacteria may impact acne differently.
C. We may want to change the way we treat acne, treating it by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria.
D. Some combinations of bacteria may actually help ward off acne.

B: The last sentence of the first paragraph provides this answer as well. The researchers “began to wonder whether different strains of bacteria might impact acne in different ways”: that statement represents the idea they sought to test—that is, their hypothesis. Choice (A) describes an assumption that was widely held before the researchers began their study. Choice (C) is a suggestion the researchers made after concluding their study, and choice (D) is their conclusion—not their starting hypothesis.

Question 3
Read the following passage. Which one of the following, if true, makes the scientist’s conclusion more likely?
In the last several decades, the spider population has exploded on the island of Guam: parts of the island have as many as 40 times more spiders than nearby islands do. One scientist has concluded that the explosion in the Guam spider population is due to an increase in the population of an invasive species of brown tree snake. The snake was introduced into Guam in the 1940s but was not introduced into the neighboring islands. The brown tree snake preys on birds.
A. The birds that the brown tree snake eats are the primary predators of spiders on Guam.
B. The brown tree snake is typically introduced into islands via ships carrying tourists. Guam and the islands nearby have long been popular tourist spots.
C. Brown tree snakes eat spiders as well as birds.
D. In the rainy season, the island of Guam can have more than 40 times as many spiders as it did ten years ago.

A: The scientist’s conclusion is that the brown tree snake is the reason there are so many spiders on Guam. The question asks for a piece of information that makes that conclusion more likely—that is, a choice that makes the scientist’s conclusion more reasonable or believable. Choice (A) explains why more brown tree snakes would lead to more spiders. Choices (B) and (D) don’t link the spiders and snakes at all. Choice (C) describes a relationship between them, but it suggests that more brown tree snakes would lead to fewer spiders.

Question 4
Adult elephants weigh more than adult horses. Based on the graph below, what would you predict would be true of elephants?
what's on the tasc
A. Their metabolic rate would resemble that of cactus mice, which, like elephants, live in warm climates.
B. Their metabolic rate would be equivalent to that of horses.
C. Their metabolic rate would be slightly lower than that of horses.
D. Their metabolic rate would be significantly higher than that of horses.

C: The question states that elephants weigh more than horses. Thus, elephants would be to the right of horses on the line graph. Based on the curve of the line, you can guess that elephants would have a slightly lower metabolism than that of horses. Because the line continues to decrease slightly, choice (B) is unsupported.

Need some more TASC practice? Check out Kaplan’s TASC study resources.