Free ACT Practice Questions
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ENGLISH DIRECTIONS: In the passage that follows, certain words and phrases are underlined and numbered. In the right-hand column, you will find alternatives for the underlined part. In most cases, you are to choose the one that best expresses the idea, makes the statement appropriate for standard written English, or is worded most consistently with the style and tone of the passage as a whole. If you think the original version is best, choose “NO CHANGE.” In some cases, you will find in the right-hand column a question about the underlined part. You are to choose the best answer to the question.
PASSAGE I Dragonfly The nature trail is six feet wide and seven miles long. It slithers through the forest like a snake curving, and bending along the banks of the river. 1 The county cleared this path and paved it with packed 2 gravel, so they would have a peaceful place to hike and You will also find questions about a section of the pas- sage, or about the passage as a whole. These questions do not refer to an underlined portion of the passage, but rather are identified by a number or numbers in a box.
For each question, choose the alternative you consider best and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. Read each passage through once before you begin to answer the questions that accompany it. For many of the questions, you must read several sentences beyond the question to determine the answer. Be sure that you have read far enough ahead each time you choose an alternative.
Dragonfly The nature trail is six feet wide and seven miles long. It slithers through the forest like a (1) snake curving, and bending along the banks of the river. The county cleared this (2) path and paved it with packed gravel, so (3) they would have a peaceful place to hike and bike. I ride this trail nearly every (4) day-not on a bike, but on “Luigi.” That’s the nickname I gave my motorized wheelchair. Today, Luigi’s battery is fully (6) charged, I know I can go all the way to the end 6 of the trail and back. But I always carry a cell phone on me just in case. Luigi’s motor (7) moves slowly as we venture along the trail. I can hear the gravel quietly crunching beneath Luigi’s rubber wheels. (8) I hear the songs of cardinals in the trees and the clamor of crickets in the grasses. I hear the murmur of water slipping over time-smoothed rocks. (9) It is September, and some of the trees are starting to blush red and orange at their tips. The wind ruffles my hair and chills my face as I bounce (10) gently, along in my padded chair.
- NO CHANGE
- snake, curving and bending
- snake curving and bending,
- snake, curving, and bending,
Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable?
- path, paving
- path and then paved
- path before paving
- path paved
- NO CHANGE
- knowing they
- that they
- NO CHANGE
- day; not on a bike
- day not on a bike
- day, not on a bike
If the writer were to delete the preceding sentence, the essay would primarily lose:
- a reason why the narrator is in the forest.
- a detail important for understanding the essay.
- a contrast to the lighthearted tone of the essay.
- nothing at all; this information is irrelevant to the essay
- NO CHANGE
- charged, because of that
- charged, this means that
- charged, so
Which choice would most logically and effectively emphasize the positive, friendly attitude the narrator has toward Luigi?
- NO CHANGE
- travels safely
- proceeds carefully
- purrs softly
- NO CHANGE
- You can hear
- One can even hear
- While hearing
- NO CHANGE
- Due to the fact that it is
- It turns into the month of
- Because it has turned into
- NO CHANGE
- gentle, along
- gently along
- gentle along,
ANSWERS = 2,4,4,2,2,4,4,2,1,3
MATH DIRECTIONS: Solve each problem, choose the correct answer, and then fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document.
Do not linger over problems that take too much time. Solve as many as you can; then return to the others in the time you have left for this test.
You are permitted to use a calculator on this test. You may use your calculator for any problems you choose, but some of the problems may best be done without using a calculator.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all of the following should be assumed.
- Illustrative figures are NOT necessarily drawn to scale.
- Geometric figures lie in a plane.
- The word line indicates a straight line.
- The word average indicates arithmetic mean
The weekly fee for staying at the Pleasant Lake Campground is $20 per vehicle and $10 per person. Last year, weekly fees were paid for v vehicles and p persons. Which of the following expressions gives the total amount, in dollars, collected for weekly fees last year?
- 20v + 10p
- 20p + 10v
- 10(v + p)
- 30(v + p)
- 10(v + p) + 20p
If r = 9, b = 5, and g = −6, what does (r + b − g)(b + g) equal?
A copy machine makes 60 copies per minute. A second copy machine makes 80 copies per minute. The second machine starts making copies 2 minutes after the first machine starts. Both machines stop making copies 8 minutes after the first machine started. Together, the 2 machines made how many copies?
Marlon is bowling in a tournament and has the highest average after 5 games, with scores of 210, 225, 254, 231, and 280. In order to maintain this exact average, what must be Marlon’s score for his 6th game?
Joelle earns her regular pay of $7.50 per hour for up to 40 hours of work in a week. For each hour over 40 hours of work in a week, Joelle is paid 1 times her regular pay. How much does Joelle earn for a week in which she works 42 hours?
Discount tickets to a basketball tournament sell for $4.00 each. Enrico spent $60.00 on discount tickets, $37.50 less than if he had bought the tickets at the regular price. What was the regular ticket price?
A rectangle has an area of 32 square feet and a perimeter of 24 feet. What is the shortest of the side lengths, in feet, of the rectangle?
In the school cafeteria, students choose their lunch from 3 sandwiches, 3 soups, 4 salads, and 2 drinks. How many different lunches are possible for a student who chooses exactly 1 sandwich, 1 soup, 1 salad, and 1 drink?
For 2 consecutive integers, the result of adding the smaller integer and triple the larger integer is 79. What are the 2 integers?
- 18, 19
- 19, 20
- 20, 21
- 26, 27
- 39, 40
What is the least common multiple of 70, 60, and 50?
ANSWERS = 1,1,5,4,3,3,4,5,2,4
READING DIRECTIONS: There are several passages in this test. Each passage is accompanied by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary. LITERARY NARRATIVE:
This passage is adapted from the short story “From Aboard the Night Train” by Kimberly M. Blaeser (©1993 by Kimberly M. Blaeser), which appeared in Earth Song, Sky Spirit: Short Stories of the Contemporary Native American Experience. The passage begins with a female narrator traveling to her hometown.a
The moon gives some light and I can make out the contours of the land, see the faint reflection in the lakes and ponds we pass. Several times I see or imagine I see glowing eyes staring back at me from a patch of woods (5) beside the track. When we pass through the tiny towns, I try to read their signs, catch their names from their water towers or grain elevators. Occasionally the train stops at . . . Portage . . . Winona . . . Red Wing. In my sleeping compartment, watching the night (10) countryside, so much world rolls by my window. Like a voyeur I watch the various reunion scenes. I feel these scenes add up to something, some meaning or lesson about all life, and I try to put it into words for myself but find I can’t. I finally give up, roll over, go to sleep, (15) and dream. But now I am awake, keeping my vigil over the Midwest’s pastoral kingdom. Chicago, even Minneapolis seems a long way away. A few hours later, still in the deep night hours, the train arrives at my stop, (20) Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, the closest I can get to my destination. Suddenly, as I descend the two steps from the train, the porter hands me into one of the reunion scenes. “Hi, honey, how was the trip?
Did you get any (25) sleep?” “A little. Been waiting long?” “Long enough to beat your dad in two games of cribbage . . . ” Glancing back at the train windows, I imagine I am looking into eyes hidden behind mirrored sunglasses. *** (30) I think about progress a lot in the next few days and about what passes for progress. Nightly we walk about town, talk marriages and funerals, then sit on the newly installed benches on Main Street. Together we assemble from our memories the town as it was twenty (35) or twenty-five years ago. We remember the little Model Meat Market and the old Pioneer office. We rebuild the Landmark Hotel, take down the vinyl fronts from the grocery store, change the light posts, the awnings, the names of the current businesses. I put back the old depot (4), you the corner funeral home. But soon we are distracted and leave things half constructed when we begin to add the people, what’s-his-name, the square dance caller; Ed, the fire chief; and Lydia, the town’s best gossip. On the walk back home, we have begun to (45) list very specific things, which is the closest we get to the intangibles: the rental meat lockers, the four-digit telephone numbers, the free ice cream during dairy month.
Late at night in my old bed, I listen to the night (50) sounds of the house and fall asleep counting the changes that have come to my little hometown: The park is off limits after dark now, the football field is fenced in, one-hour photo has come to town along with a tanning salon and a pizza parlor. The dry goods store (55) is gone, the dairy, long gone. People lock their houses now more than once a year when the carnival comes to town. But all of these changes pale in comparison to what has replaced the bait shop, the used car lot, and Mr. Morton’s small farm, what has sprung up on High- way (60) 59 at the edge of town: Las Vegas–style gambling. *** Taking the train back, I decide to put on pajamas and crawl under the sheets, hoping to trick myself into a good night’s sleep.
It seems to work. I have slept (65) soundly for several hours, but then the dreams start. I fall in and out of them. But they are not the usual nightmares. I am in a place where folks know you ten, fifteen, twenty years after you’ve left and still see in your face that of your grandfather or aunt or cousin. I know I (70) am home and I feel safe. I have an early breakfast with a would-be journalist and some ski vacationers who want to talk about election prospects. I merely feign attention. I nod or laugh on cue, while I try to read upside-down a story in the (75) would-be journalist’s newspaper that has caught my eye. It is about the Russian space station and the cosmonaut who had been up in orbit during the takeover attempt and ultimate dissolution of the Soviet Union.
After sixteen long months, they are bringing the (80) cap- sule back. While the train carries me back to my current home and away from my former, I keep thinking about ￼that poor cosmonaut coming back to find his whole world changed, to find himself a man without a country—at least without the country he left behind. (85) I watch the ten o’clock national news broadcast. I see him emerge from the capsule.
I see him try to stand and have his knees buckle. I know they said it was because he hadn’t been able to exercise for such a long time, but I wonder if his weak-kneed feeling might not (90) have more to do with what he saw out the window of the space station and with how the world was happening around without him.y
The point of view from which the passage is told is best described as that of:
- a young adult riding a train through the small towns of the Upper Midwest.
- a young adult preparing to move away from her hometown.
- an adult missing the new home she has established.
- an adult reflecting on the past and pondering the present.
The passage contains recurring references to all of the following EXCEPT:
- reunion scenes.
- train trips.
The first three paragraphs (lines 1–21) establish all of the following about the narrator EXCEPT that she is:
- passing through a number of towns.
- originally from Chicago.
- traveling by train.
- observant of the landscape.
It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that the narrator thinks her hometown has:
- improved significantly over the years.
- made little genuine progress.
- remained about the same as it was years ago.
- a chance of being rebuilt as it used to be.
Based on the narrator’s account, all of the following were part of the past, rather than the present, in her hometown EXCEPT:
- four-digit phone numbers.
- the fenced-in football field.
- free ice cream during dairy month.
- the depot.
According to the narrator, which of the following businesses is relatively new to her hometown?
- The tanning salon
- The bait shop
- The dry goods store
- The used-car lot
When the narrator refers to the cosmonaut as “a man without a country” (lines 83–84), she is most likely directly referring to the:
- cosmonaut’s feeling that he is now a citizen of space, not the former Soviet Union.
- cosmonaut’s unrealized expectation that he will be treated like a hero.
- political transformation that occurred while the cosmonaut was in space.
- sixteen months that the cosmonaut spent in orbit around Earth.
Details in the passage most strongly suggest that the people meeting the narrator at the train station include:
- her father.
- her sister.
- a neighbor.
- a journalist.
The narrator indicates that the most significant change to her hometown has been the addition of:
- square dancing.
- vinyl storefronts.
- benches on Main Street.
- Las Vegas–style gambling.
According to the passage, news reports attributed the cosmonaut’s knees buckling to:
- his gratitude at being back on Earth.
- political changes in the world.
- a lack of exercise.
- his dismay at what he had seen from the space station.
ANSWERS = 4,3,2,2,2,1,3,1,4,3
SCIENCE DIRECTIONS: There are several passages in this test. Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary. You are NOT permitted to use a calculator on this test.
An astronomy class is given the following facts about stellar evolution.
- A star’s evolution can be divided into 3 stages: pre- main sequence (pre-MS), main sequence (MS), and post-main sequence (post-MS).
- Gravity causes part of a cloud of gas and dust to collapse and heat up, creating a pre-MS star. The star’s hot dust and gas emit its energy.
- A pre-MS star becomes an MS star when the star produces the majority of its energy by fusing hydrogen nuclei (protons) at its center to make helium nuclei.
- An MS star becomes a post-MS star when the star expands in volume and produces the majority of its energy by fusing hydrogen to make helium in a shell surrounding its center.
- The more massive a star, the more rapidly the star passes through each of the 3 stages of its evolution.
Two students discuss the evolution of the Algol system—Algol A, a 3.6-solar-mass MS star; Algol B, a 0.8-solar-mass post-MS star; and Algol C, a 1.7-solar-mass MS star. (One solar mass = the Sun’s mass.) The 3 stars orbit a mutual center of mass, with Algol A and Algol B much closer to each other and to the center of mass than to Algol C.
The 3 stars of the Algol system formed at the same time from the same cloud of gas and dust. Algol B, originally the most massive of the 3 stars, became a post-MS star and expanded in volume while Algol A remained an MS star. Because the matter in the outer parts of Algol B was more strongly attracted to Algol A than to the matter in the inner parts of Algol B, this matter flowed from Algol B to Algol A, and, over time, Algol A became more massive than Algol B.
Algol B was not part of the original Algol system (Algol A and Algol C). Algol B and the original Algol system formed in different clouds of gas and dust at differ- ent times and moved in 2 different but intersecting orbits around the center of the galaxy. During a particular orbit, Algol B encountered the original Algol system at the inter- section of the 2 orbits and became part of the Algol system. Algol B became a post-MS star while Algol A and Algol C remained MS stars. Algol B never lost mass to Algol A. Algol B was always less massive than Algol A
Based on Student 2’s discussion, Algol B is part of the present Algol system because of which of the following forces exerted on Algol B by the original Algol system?
- Electric force
- Magnetic force
- Gravitational force
- Nuclear force
Based on Student 1’s discussion and Fact 4, while matter flowed between Algol A and Algol B, Algol B produced the majority of its energy by fusing:
- hydrogen nuclei to make helium nuclei at its center.
- hydrogen nuclei to make helium nuclei in a shell surrounding its center.
- helium nuclei to make hydrogen nuclei at its center.
- helium nuclei to make hydrogen nuclei in a shell surrounding its center.
Suppose that chemical composition is uniform among stars formed from the same cloud of gas and dust, but that chemical composition varies among stars formed from different clouds of gas and dust. Student 2 would most likely agree with which of the following statements comparing the chemical compositions of the stars in the present-day Algol system at the time they formed?
- Algol A and Algol B had the most similar compositions.
- Algol A and Algol C had the most similar compositions.
- Algol B and Algol C had the most similar compositions.
- Algol A, Algol B, and Algol C had the same composition.
Which of the following statements best explains why the reaction described in Fact 3 requires a high temperature and pressure?
- All protons are positively charged, and like charges attract each other.
- All protons are positively charged, and like charges repel each other.
- All electrons are negatively charged, and like charges attract each other.
- All electrons are negatively charged, and like charges repel each other.
Based on Fact 5 and Student 1’s discussion, which of the 3 stars in the Algol system, if any, was most likely the first to become an MS star?
- Algol A
- Algol B
- Algol C
- The 3 stars became MS stars at the same time.
Based on Fact 5, would Student 2 agree that by the time Algol A stops being an MS star, Algol A will have spent as much time being an MS star as Algol B spent being an MS star?
- Yes, because according to Student 2, Algol A has always been more massive than Algol.
- Yes, because according to Student 2, Algol A has always been less massive than Algol B.
- No, because according to Student 2, Algol A has always been more massive than Algol B.
- No, because according to Student 2, Algol A has always been less massive than Algol B.