1,296 ACT Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (2013)

ACT Practice Test 1


45 Minutes—75 Questions

DIRECTIONS: In the five passages that follow, certain words and phrases are underlined and numbered. In the right-hand column, you will find alternatives for each 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.

You will also find questions about a section of the passage or 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 blacken 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.


The Record

The moment I had been anticipating finally came on a seemingly routine Monday. I arrived home to find a flat package; left by the delivery man1 casually leaning against the front screen door. Reading the words Caution! Do not bend! scrawled on2 the top of the box, I immediately recognized my uncle’s sloppy handwriting. I quickly ushered the box inside, and3 my heart skipping a beat (or two). I knew what the box contained but still felt as anxious as a child on Christmas morning. Could this really be the old vinyl record?

My hands trembled as I opened the box, of which4 I was thrilled to see that it did indeed contain the record I had been seeking for years. To an outsider, this dusty disc with its faded hand-written label would seem inconsequential. To others, on the other hand, it was worth something far greater.5 The record was a compilation from the greatest musician I had ever known—my grandfather.

Several years before he married my grandmother, Papa would make6 his living as a folk singer in a band. Performing7 in music halls and local festivals. He recorded a single album produced by Great Sounds Records8 before giving up his professional music career to pursue business. This record was all that remained of his life’s passion—in fact9, there had been10 only one surviving copy since Papa’s death 10 years earlier. It took many years of earlier. It took many years of begging and pleading11 to convince my uncle to pass the record down to me.

I brought out my old record player from the attic and gently placed the disc on the turntable. As soft, twanging notes filled the room, I was transported to my grandfather’s cabin, located at the foot the mountains.12 My cousins and I would gather around the campfire every night to roast marshmallows, cook hotdogs, and listen to my grandfather’s old stories. Of the many familiar favorites, Papa would pick up his guitar and play all of our familiar tunes.13

When the record started playing one of my favorite songs, I struggled to hold back my tears. It was a bittersweet reminder of the man I loved and missed,14 Papa’s gentle voice on the record, however, assured me,15 that he was still with me, both in spirit and in song.

  1.  A. NO CHANGE

     B. package, left by the delivery man

     C. package; left by the delivery man,

     D. package, left by the delivery man,

  2.  F. NO CHANGE

     G.  were scrawled on

     H.  scrawl on

     J.  scrawled

  3.  A. NO CHANGE

     B.  inside,

     C.  inside and

     D.  inside, when

  4.  F. NO CHANGE

     G.  box that

     H.  box, and

     J.  box

  5. Given that all the choices are true, which one would most effectively illustrate the difference between outsiders’ perception of the record and its actual significance to the writer’s family?

     A.  NO CHANGE

     B.  In fact, the recording was not heard by many people outside my family.

     C. To my family, however, it was a precious heirloom.

     D. The disc would be in better condition had my uncle stored it in a sleeve.

  6.  F. NO CHANGE

     G. would have made

     H. would have been making

     J. had made

  7.  A. NO CHANGE

     B. band; performing

     C. band, which he had performed

     D. band, performing

  8.  F. NO CHANGE

     G. album, produced by Great Sounds Records,

     H. Great Sounds Records album

     J. album

  9.  A. NO CHANGE

     B. even so,

     C. since,

     D. for example,


     G. had been about

     H. is

     J. was to be


     B. begging

     C. pleadingly begging

     D. begging the plea

12. At this point in the essay, the writer wants to suggest the significance of his grandfather’s cabin to the writer’s upbringing. Given that all the choices are true, which one would best accomplish that purpose?


     G. where I had spent many childhood summers.

     H. which I still remembered well.

     J. a family property for many generations.


     B. Playing all of our favorite songs, the many familiar tunes and guitar would be picked up by Papa.

     C. Papa would also pick up his guitar and strum familiar tunes, playing all of our favorite songs, of which there were many.

     D. Picking up his guitar, Papa would also play strumming familiar tunes all of our favorite, of which there were many, songs.


     G. missed for

     H. missed.

     J. missed


     B. me

     C. me—

     D. me;


Road Trips Back Home

During my junior year of college, it became a kind of ritual for a group of us to hop in a car and “discover” a new suburb every month. At first, we all agreed, we had come to college in this major city to escape what we thought were our boring lives in our various places of origin, but after a time, we realized that it would be impossible for us to turn our backs on our old lives16 completely. I grew up in Pennsylvania, many parts of which look like the ones we drove to.17

The first stop was typically some old diner, which reminded each of us of one from our various hometowns. There we’d usually sit, chat with the restaurant’s owners18 drink a cup of coffee, and figure out which new and exciting place we’d be driving to next. Even now I can remember one diner in Maryland, whose sign we could see flickering from the highway as we turned off looking forward to it in anticipation19. Although we had all agreed that it had to be a new town each time, we tacitly agreed a few times to break the rules and come back to this place. 

After we had taken nourishment (usually a grilled cheese sandwich, a patty melt, or something similarly nutritious that could be ordered from21 the menu) for our “big night out,” we would then drive on. We got to know the lay of the land so well that we could usually just follow our noses to the kinds of places we liked to visit in these towns, typically stopping by the biggest retailer we could find. There we’d buy industrial-sized packs from childhood22 of instant noodles, huge packs of soda, and other types of foods we all remembered but which we were either too embarrassed to buy in front of other people at the University market, or which were too expensive in the city, where there is a lot more variety.23 Going24 to as many places like this as we could, we were always sure to happen upon something strangely familiar to us. The place—whether it was one of a million grocery stores, movie theaters, or fast-food restaurants—were25 unimportant; it seemed that everywhere had something special for at least one of us, and even now, many years on, I still think of these trips fondly.26

Looking back, I’m still not sure why we took these trips. Nevertheless,27 I have been living in an urban environment now for almost eight years, and should I ever have to move back to the suburbs, I will certainly go reluctantly. Sometimes, though, even now that I live in a different city, I’ll still sneak out to those kinds of places once in a while and just drive about the town28. I guess, in a way, many of those early memories are like that diner sign we could see from the highway; most people would never notice that old sign, but to those of us who cherish it in our hearts29 and what it represents, we all harbored a great hope that it would still be burning the same as we remembered every time we drove by or came back30.


     G. lives,

     H. live’s

     J. lives’

17. Given that all the choices are true, which one best supports the point that the narrator and his friends all shared a common background?


     B. Many suburbs have become as populous as the cities they surround.

     C. The first major migration of families from the city to the suburbs occurred in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

     D. Our hometowns were all over the map, but they all shared a palpable likeness.


     G. owners;

     H. owners’

     J. owners,


     B. in anticipation.

     C. excited and looking forward to it.

     D. in anticipation and expectation.

20. At this point, the writer is considering adding the following true statement:

Many diners have been forced to shut down to make way for larger, national chain restaurants.

Should the writer make the addition here?

     F. Yes, because it provides important contextual information relevant to the passage.

     G. Yes, because it helps readers to see why the narrator was drawn to this particular diner.

     H. No, because it interrupts the flow of the paragraph, which is primarily a personal reflection.

     J. No, because it alters the focus of the paragraph from a discussion of driving to a discussion of specific places.


     B. whom could be ordered from

     C. whom could order

     D. that were ordering

22. The best placement for the underlined phrase would be:

     F. where it is now

     G. after the word noodles.

     H. after the word soda.

     J. after the word remembered

23. Which choice most effectively supports and elaborates on the description in an earlier part of this sentence?


     B. where prices for such basic foods were steep.

     C. where we didn’t like to drive the car.

     D. where most of us had only small refrigerators.

24. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable?

     F. As we went

     G. While going

     H. While we went

     J. We went


     B. was

     C. have been

     D. are

26. Given that all the choices are true, which one most effectively signals the shift in focus that occurs when moving from this paragraph to the next?


     G. we all remained friends until we graduated.

     H. I regret not having spent more time in the city when I had the chance.

     J. I haven’t been back to any of those places since I graduated.


     B. Therefore,

     C. Nonetheless,

     D. DELETE the underlined portion.

28. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable?

     F. among the town.

     G. about.

     H. around.

     J. around the town.


     B. have a great fondness for it

     C. have strong feelings of adoration for it

     D. cherish it


     G. we were coming back.

     H. were returning.

     J. there was a return by us.


The following paragraphs may or may not be in the most logical order. Each paragraph is numbered in brackets, and question 45 will ask you to choose where Paragraph 3 should most logically be placed.

The Palio of Siena


Siena is an old, picturesque city located in the hills of Tuscany. Even though31 its inhabitants live modern lives, many historical markers from as far back as medieval Italy still remain throughout the city.  Another remnant from Siena’s rich history that still plays a very prominent role today is the tradition of Il Palio.


Il Palio di Siena is a biannual horse race that is held twice a year,33 once in July and once in August. A field of ten bareback horses races three laps around a dangerously steep track circling the city’s central plaza, the Piazza del Campoeach with two dreaded right-angle turns.34 Even though Il Palio lasted35 only about 90 seconds, its importance in Siena goes far beyond the race itself.


Members are fiercely committed emotionally, socially, and financially to their own contradaBecause the members36 voluntarily tax themselves to support their own contrada and to invest in a good horse and jockey for the biannual race. Jockey salaries for a single race often exceed 250,000 euros! This is, however,37 a small price to pay to achieve victory at Il Palio. Seeing the colors and arms of their contrada in the winner’s circle is the most glorious event—even more so than getting married for38 many Sienese citizens. Old men weep openly out of sheer joy, and elated adults and children parade. Throughout39 the city with their newly won silk banner, also called the palio.


The brief race is a spectacular culmination of an entire way of life in Siena. Every citizen belongs to one of seventeen city districts, collectively known as the Contrade.40 Contrada is the term for a single district that has its own color and arms, such as the Aquila (the eagle) or Bruco (the caterpillar). A contrada is the source of so much local patriotism that every important event; from41 baptisms to food festivals, is celebrated only within one’s own contrada and fellow members, who42 become more like family.


After the actual race day, the Palio festivities continue for a minimum of two weeks. Thousands of visitors from around the world travel to Siena during the summer; not43 only to witness the exciting race but also to attend the after-parties were thrown44 by the locals. While the Palio is not as important to outsiders who do not live in Siena as it is to the Sienese, the race and the festivities that follow are a spectacular experience.

31. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would be LEAST acceptable?

     A. Although

     B. While

     C. Though

     D. When

32. Which of the following true statements, if inserted here, would best connect the first part of Paragraph 1 with the last part while illustrating the main idea of this paragraph?

     F. Like most Italian cities, Siena is very serious about soccer, a modern sport codified in England in the 1800s.

     G. Cobblestone streets and Gothic architecture are blended with modern sidewalk cafes and trendy designer stores.

     H. The city of Siena is certainly a mixture of ancient and contemporary practices.

     J. Siena is a major cultural center that offers numerous examples of art and architecture by Renaissance masters.


     B. a biannual race that is held two times a year,

     C. a horse race that is held twice a year,

     D. a biannual horse race, held

34. Assuming that a period will always be placed at the end of the sentence, the best placement for the underlined phrase would be:

     F. where it is now.

     G. after the words horses race (setting the phrase off with commas).

     H. after the word laps (setting the phrase off with commas).

      J. after the word plaza (setting the phrase off with commas).


     B. will last

     C. lasts

     D. had lasted


     G. Though this

     H. In addition, they

     J. They


     B. moreover,

     C. for instance,

     D. therefore,


     G. married—for

     H. married, for

     J. married; for


     B. parade; throughout

     C. parade throughout

     D. parade throughout,


     G. Contrade

     H. Contrade,

     J. Contrade yet


     B. event, from

     C. event: from

     D. event—from


     G. for whose

     H. whose

     J. whom


     B. summer. Not

     C. summer not

     D. summer, not


     G. thrown

     H. were threw

     J. threw

Question 45 asks about the preceding passage as a whole.

45. For the sake of the logic and coherence of this essay, the best placement for Paragraph 3 would be:

     A. where it is now.

     B. before Paragraph 1.

     C. before Paragraph 2.

     D. before Paragraph 5.


The following paragraphs may or may not be in the most logical order. Each paragraph is numbered in brackets, and question 59 will ask you to choose where Paragraph 2 should most logically be placed.

Sherwood Anderson the Pioneer


Sherwood Anderson saw his first novel, Windy McPherson’s Son, published in 1916, but it was not until 1919 with the publication of his masterpiece Winesburg, Ohio that Anderson was pushed to the forefront of it46 in American literature. The latter book, something between a short-story collection and a novel, helping47 to inaugurate an age of a truly homespun American Modernism.


As other writers began to supplant him in the popular imagination, Anderson tireless48 continued his literary experimentation until his death in 1941. In the contemporary popular imagination, Anderson’s influence often appears to be49 diminishing. But it takes only a few pages of Winesburg, Ohio or many of his other short stories, articles, and novels to see that Anderson is still very much with us today and that much of what we understand about ourselves as Americans was made clear to us only by the pen of the advertising man from Ohio.


Sherwood Anderson would be seen by a new generation of American writers as the first author to take a real step until50 creating a type of literature that was in tune with something previously only associated with Europe. Anderson was able to fuse51 his sense of the passing of the Industrial Age in America with a type of uniquely American expression that sought to replace previous literary conventions with more local expressions of fragmentation and alienation.


With Winesburg, Ohio, Anderson inspired52 a younger group of writers, among whose ranks were Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner, to embrace their American experiences and to express them in ways separate from those being expressed by European writers or American expatriates, as American writers living abroad were known.53 When Winesburg, Ohio finally appeared in 1919, its general reception was positive, but limited54 to those who were able to find copies of the book. Anderson’s later books, such as Dark Laughter, would go on to sell many more copies.55


In the 1920s, Anderson wrote some direct responses to the more explicit examples of literary Modernism in Europe. In the 1930s, Anderson wrote Beyond Desire  But Anderson’s most important contributions in the 1920s and 1930s are best felt indirectly through the works of the various writers57 he inspired. Anderson was among the first to explore the troubled relationship between the city and the rural town, the direct style to which we so often apply the name, “American,”58 and the idea that deeply intellectual concerns can be relevant to everyday people as much as they can to academics. Even today, Anderson’s initial treatment of these themes remains an important starting point for anyone interested in American culture.


     G. this

     H. a new movement

     J. a thing


     B. which helped

     C. helped

     D. was helped

48. The best placement for the underlined word would be:

     F. where it is now.

     G. before the word death.

     H. after the word experimentation.

     J. before the word literary.

49. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable?

     A. can seem to be

     B. appeared to be

     C. seems to be

     D. can appear to be


     G. at

     H. toward

     J. DELETE the underlined portion.


     B. fuse;

     C. fuse:

     D. fuse,

52. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would be LEAST acceptable?

     F. encouraged

     G. motivated

     H. forced

     J. emboldened


     B. expatriates, as American writers living abroad, were known.

     C. expatriates as American writers living abroad were known.

     D. expatriates as American writers living abroad, were known.


     G. positive but limited,

     H. positive; but limited

     J. positive but limited

55. Given that all the choices are true, which one best supports the point that although Anderson’s book was difficult to find, those who read it were very impressed?


     B. Many critics still preferred the older European models of writing.

     C. Winesburg, Ohio remains one of Anderson’s best-loved books.

     D. Those who did secure a copy of Winesburg, Ohio felt that it inaugurated a new age in American literature.

56. Given that all the following are true, which one, if added here, would provide the clearest and most effective indication that Anderson was doing things that had not been done before in American literature?

     F. , which addressed social questions that only social scientists and propagandists dared touch.

     G. , which was heavily influenced by the literature of the Southern Populist movement.

     H. , which has been named by many literary critics as a highlight from Anderson’s later work.

     J. , which was not as highly revered as Winesburg, Ohio.

57. The best placement for the underlined phrase would be:

     A. where it is now.

     B. after the word contributions.

     C. after the word 1930s.

     D. after the word inspired (ending the sentence with a period).


     G. name “American,”

     H. name “American”

     J. name, “American”

Questions 59 and 60 ask about the preceding passage as a whole.

59. For the sake of the logic and coherence of this essay, Paragraph 2 should be placed:

     A. where it is now.

     B. after Paragraph 3.

     C. after Paragraph 4.

     D. after Paragraph 5.

60. Suppose the writer’s goal was to draft an essay that would show the influence of one American author on the work of future authors. Does this essay successfully accomplish this goal?

     F. Yes, because it describes an interesting group of authors and focuses on the literature of a particular country.

     G. Yes, because it gives a brief description of Sherwood Anderson’s writing career and discusses his influence on writers whom his work inspired.

     H. No, because it limits the focus to the contrasts between American writing and European writing.

     J. No, because it refers only to events that took place in the twenties and thirties.


Women at Work

World War II offered numerous employment opportunities for women in the United States. As the men headed to the war front, the work force retracted and diminished61 on the home front, and women begun62 to take over responsibilities traditionally assigned to men. These63responsibilities included work previously deemed inappropriate for women.

The government realized that participation in the war but64 required the use of all national resources. American industrial facilities were turned into war production factories, and the government targeted the female population as an essential source of labor. Women worked in factories and shipyards as riveters, welders, and machinists making65 everything from uniforms to munitions to airplanes, they directly contributed to the war effort. The number of women in the workforce66 increased from 12 million in 1940 to 18 million in 1944. By 1945, 36% of the laborers were women.

Women’s increased presence in wartime workforces were67 not limited to factories and shipyards.  Thousands moved to Washington D.C. to fill government jobs exclusively held by men before the war. Some women engaged in farm labor, and others joined the military as field nurses. The shortage of men also led to openings in non-traditional fields, such as day-care.69 Since many players had been drafted into the armed services, Major League Baseball parks around the country were on the verge of collapse when a group of Midwestern businessmen devised a brilliant solution to the player shortage.

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was created in 1943 and offered a unique blend of baseball and softball suitable for female players. Founder, Philip K. Wrigley and League president,70 Ken Sells promoted the new league with aggressive advertising campaigns that promoted the physical attractiveness of female athletes. Photographs displayed women players with pretty smiles on their faces and baseball mitts in their hands.71 Their silk shorts, fashionable knee-high socks, red lipstick, having72 flowing hair directly contrasted with the competitive, masculine nature of the game. These photographs are indicative of the delicate balance between feminine appeal and masculine labor that was expected of all women throughout World War II.  Although its’74 success lasted only a decade, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League’s role in expanding opportunities for women during World War II and thereafter is everlasting. 


     B. retracted diminishingly

     C. diminished

     D. DELETE the underlined portion.


     G. has began

     H. would of begun

     J. began


     B. The traditionally male

     C. Which

     D. That


     G. and it

     H. although it

     J. DELETE the underlined portion.


     B. machinists, making

     C. machinists. Making

     D. machinists, who made


     G. workforce, for example in factories and shipyards,

     H. workforce, such as factories and shipyards,

     J. factory and shipyard workforce


     B. are

     C. was

     D. have been

68. At this point, the writer is considering adding the following true statement:

The marriage rate increased significantly during the war, as did the rate of babies born to unmarried women.

Should the writer add this sentence here?

     F. No, because it does not echo the style and tone that has already been established in the essay.

     G. No, because it is not relevant to the essay’s focus on the changing roles of women during World War II.

     H. Yes, because it contributes to the essay’s focus on women’s roles in the home during World War II.

     J. Yes, because it provides a contrast between women in the home and women in the workplace.

69. Given that all the choices are true, which one provides the most logical transition to the information presented in the rest of this essay?


     B. the most notable of which was baseball.

     C. which many women had to give up after the war.

     D. shaking American society to the core.


     G. Founder Philip K. Wrigley and League president

     H. Founder Philip K. Wrigley, and, League president

     J. Founder, Philip K. Wrigley, and League president,

71. Given that all the choices are true, which one most effectively helps the writer’s purpose of helping readers visualize the players in the photographs?


     B. at the plate during a live game.

     C. clearly focused on playing well.

     D. showing close camaraderie.


     G. their

     H. with

     J. and

73. If the writer were to delete the words silkfashionable, and red from the preceding sentence, it would primarily lose:

     A. details that have already been presented in the vivid imagery of the previous sentence.

     B. a digression from the focus of this paragraph on the athletic talent of the players.

     C. description of what was written in the captions accompanying the photographs.

     D. details that highlight the femininity of the players in contrast to the masculinity of the game.


     G. it’s

     H. their

     J. its

Question 75 asks about the preceding passage as a whole.

75. Suppose the writer’s goals were to write an essay that would illustrate the range of non-traditional activities women pursued during wartime. Does this essay achieve that goal?

     A. Yes, because it explains the impact of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball Team on public perception of women.

     B. Yes, because it gives several examples of women performing jobs during World War II that were typically filled by men.

     C. No, because it limits its focus to the type of work women engaged in during World War II.

     D. No, because it explains that women’s importance in the workforce, especially in baseball, lasted only several years.