Educators and psychologists have evidence that students’ conceptions of learning have a profound influence on the learning process, and thus are related to learning outcomes. The purpose of this paper was to explore the conceptions of learning science held by 120 Taiwanese high school students. The interview data gathered from these students, analysed by a phenomenographic method, revealed seven categories of conceptions of learning science, including: learning science as memorizing, preparing for tests, calculating and practising tutorial problems, the increase of knowledge, applying, understanding, and seeing in a new way. The educational contexts or curricular programmes in which these high school students enrolled also played a role in their conceptions of learning science. This study finally proposed a framework to describe the variations of the conceptions of learning science, consisting of the following features: the forms of knowledge acquisition, motivational orientations, and standards of evaluating learning outcomes. How to change students’ unfruitful conceptions of learning science was also discussed.