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

ACT Practice Test 3


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.


Roast Done Right

Just like being the artist1 sculpting the Venus de Milo or painting the Sistine Chapel, preparing a delicious meal is an art. Even the seemingly mundane pot roast can be a true masterpiece. Nothing can be more rewarding to a cook than the sign2 of a roast done right.

Cooking a delicious roast with vegetables require3 three things: the freshest ingredients, a slow-cooker, and good timing. My friend Eric goes to the butcher shop just after4 its 5 a.m. delivery to snatch up the best cuts of meat, then heads to the local farmer’s market. He fills his canvas shopping bag with ripe red tomatoes, crisp yellow onions, and thick russet potatoes. The tastiest vegetables are the results of natural sunshine and of a farmer’s5 careful tending.

With supplies in tote, Eric heads to the kitchen. While the beef marinates in garlic and spices, he chops the colorful array of fresh vegetables. Eric slowly places the vegetables6 around the meat in the slow-cooker’s pot, he alternates7 rings of bright orange carrots and chunks of red potatoes. He sprinkles in sliced onions and herbs until the ingredients nearly spill over the top. Like with many8 cooks, Eric has a secret, final ingredient: a splash of red wine for flavor.

At this point,9 it’s time to cram the lid onto the heaping potful of ingredients and turn on the cooker. The temperature inside the pot rises slowly as the contents stew10 in their natural juices. The roast will take six to eight hours to cook, but after an hour or two, the first spicy scents start wafting through the kitchen11. A few hours later, the rich, juicy smell of beef begins to escape. Every half hour, using a long, meat thermometer12 Eric reads the temperature of the roast and carefully examines the stewing contents. He doesn’t want it overcooked or undercooked, but “just right.” 

Lift the finished roast14 out of the pot to serve, the tender meat plops juicily onto our plates in generous servings. He tops it off with zesty, steaming vegetables. Eric is obviously proud to share his work of art, and his friends are more than willing to eat it, this masterpiece of his.15

  1.  A. NO CHANGE

     B.  the artist

     C.  one

     D.  DELETE the underlined portion.

  2. The writer would like to convey the distinct scent of a properly cooked roast. Given that all the choices are true, which best accomplishes the writer’s goal?

     F.  NO CHANGE

     G.  the swirling rush of robust aromas

     H.  the fine textures of vegetables and meats

     J.  the diners’ eager expectation

  3.  A. NO CHANGE

     B.  has the requirements of

     C.  requiring

     D.  requires

  4. Which of the following would be the LEAST acceptable alternative for the underlined portion?

     F.  out to the butcher shop right before

     G.  into the butcher shop just around

     H.  at the butcher shop right after

     J.  to the butcher shop close to

  5.  A. NO CHANGE

     B.  sunshine, of which a farmer is

     C.  sunshine, and a farmer is

     D.  sunshine, which is a farmer’s

  6. The writer wishes to emphasize Eric’s attention to detail in making his pot roast. Given that all the choices are true, which one best accomplishes the writer’s goal?

     F.  NO CHANGE

     G.  is very careful when pouring the vegetables

     H.  meticulously layers the finely cut vegetables

     J.  arranges the vegetables in a kind of order

  7.  A. NO CHANGE

     B.  he has alternated

     C.  alternates

     D.  alternating

  8.  F. NO CHANGE

     G.  Like many

     H.  As most

     J.  As many do

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

     A.  Next,

     B.  After that,

     C.  Now,

     D.  At least,

10. Given that all the choices are true, which one provides the most specific sensory detail and maintains the style and tone of the essay?

     F.  NO CHANGE

     G.  rises slowly but surely, stewing

     H.  rises slowly to a lazy, bubbling boil, stewing the savory contents

     J.  increases to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit to stew the contents


     B.  drifting through the air to make the whole kitchen smell.

     C.  wafting and floating through the whole kitchen.

     D.  wafting through the air of the kitchen.


     G.  half hour, using a long meat thermometer,

     H.  half hour using a long meat thermometer

     J.  half hour, using a long meat thermometer;

13. The writer is considering deleting the preceding sentence. Should it be kept or deleted?

     A.  Kept, because it provides a reason for Eric’s diligent attention to the temperature.

     B.  Kept, because it reinforces that roasts are typically done cooking after 8 hours.

     C.  Deleted, because it puts the focus on Eric and his cooking, rather than the roast.

     D.  Deleted, because it doesn’t provide enough information about temperature’s effects on the roast.


     G.  As he lifts the finished roast

     H.  When you lift the finished roast

     J.  Lifting the finished roast


     B.  ready for us to eat.

     C.  a masterpiece.

     D.  DELETE the underlined portion, replacing the comma with a period after “it.”


Growing Up On a Farm

Back in middle school, I went to live with my mother for two years on her farm. Whenever people hear that I lived on a farm, they immediately conjure up an image visualized in their minds16 of dairy cows, tractors, hay, and overalls. Nothing could be further from the truth.

To start,17 I wasn’t on the kind of farm everyone imagines. I didn’t feed cows or pigs;18 I didn’t grow corn or wheat. I helped my mother breed llamas.

[1] It is odd that such non-traditional livestock should be raised on a long-established farm such as ours, which has been in the family for generations.  [2] Our family did indeed grow field crops, harvest orchards, and raise traditional livestock for many decades. [3] He must of learned that20 wool from llamas was more profitable than wool from sheep. [4] The llama wool business turned out to be so successful in fact, that21 my great-grandfather converted the family business to a full-fledged llama farm. 

Before I began to live23 on the farm, I had held naive illusions of rural life. What could possibly be easier than feeding and grooming some animals? After I24 had settled into my new home, however, I realized that farm work was much more involved than I had expected.25 Collecting manure, for example, doesn’t seem so bad when someone else does it on TV, but I had to get up before dawn every day to finish that chore before catching the bus to school.

School in the country was also not what I had expected.26 The school I attended had twenty students total: that’s from first to twelfth grade, and I was the only student in my grade. We had one teacher who would occasionally educate us on a specific academic study and methods of learning,27 but most of my learning came from studying textbooks on my own.28

I don’t mean to say that my life on the farm was a bad experience. I learned a lot about myself: for example, I’m not a morning person. I also learned about llama’s habits,29 such as spitting when they are unhappy. Most importantly, my mother and I got to spend a lot of time together during those years, for which I’m so grateful. Although I doubt I’ll pursue a career as30 farming, I look forward to returning to the family farm for short visits.


     G.  assuming that they know what it was like

     H.  of my life on the farm that consists

     J.  DELETE the underlined portion.

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

     A.  First of all,

     B.  To begin,

     C.  For start,

     D.  Firstly,


     G.  or, pigs

     H.  or pigs,

     J.  or pigs

19. The writer is considering deleting the phrase “which has been in the family for generations” (and ending the sentence with a period) from the preceding sentence. If the writer were to make this change, the essay would primarily lose:

     A.  evidence of a broken relationship between the narrator and his mother.

     B.  a transition into the discussion of traditional farm practices.

     C.  a detail that reinforces the longevity of the family farm.

     D.  an indication of what will eventually happen to the narrator.


     G.  of learned of

     H.  have learned that

     J.  have learned about


     B.  successful, in fact, that

     C.  successful, in fact that

     D.  successful in fact that

22. Upon reviewing this paragraph and realizing that some information has been left out, the writer composes the following sentence:

Then, fifty years ago, my great-grandfather decided to buy a llama.

This sentence should most logically be placed after Sentence:

     F.  1.

     G.  2.

     H.  3.

     J.  4.

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

     A.  started to live

     B.  began living

     C.  went to live

     D.  begun to live

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

     F.  As soon as I

     G.  When I

     H.  Once I

     J.  I


     B.  would expect.

     C.  would be expecting.

     D.  have expected.

26. Given that all the choices are true, which one most effectively introduces the information that follows in this paragraph?

     F.  NO CHANGE

     G.  Farming is a full-time job, taking up your entire day.

     H.  Llamas can grow to be six feet tall.

     J.  Life on the farm was tough but worthwhile.


     B.  verbally acknowledge how well the class was working for us,

     C.  tell us how to learn about a specific academic study,

     D.  lecture about a specific topic,

28. Which choice provides the most specific and precise information?

     F.  NO CHANGE

     G.  studying.

     H.  other things.

     J.  reading by myself.


     B.  llamas’ habits,

     C.  llamas habits

     D.  llamas habits,


     G.  career of

     H.  career in

     J.  careers of

Passage III

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 2 should most logically be placed.

Conjuring a Prophetic Literary Career


Born in Ohio in 1858, Charles W. Chesnutt was an author and essayist whom,31 during the Reconstruction era, spent much of his youth in North Carolina. Though his parents were free African-Americans, Chesnutt felt intensely the struggles of African-Americans in the United States in the period directly after the Civil War.   Amid all the turmoil of the South of his boyhood, Chesnutt took solace in literature, and he33 had already decided, in his teens, that he would become a writer.


Although Chesnutt continues34 to write until his death in 1932, it had become as clear as day35 that the work he completed after The House Behind the Cedars and The Marrow of Tradition (1901) had become too inflammatory to a society ever uneasy about the topic of race relations in the United States, particularly when authors had brought these problems as close to the surface as Chesnutt had. In recent years, however, Chesnutt’s reputation has been restored and he has been treated as the pioneer that he most certainly was. Today as much as in the late nineteenth century, Chesnutt’s works provide us with a number of literary masterpieces and a powerful and prophetic vision of race relations in the United States.


“The Goophered Grapevine,” published in 1887 in The Atlantic, was Chesnutt’s first major literary success, and this success encouraged Chesnutt to publish additional tales, which were eventually collected in The Conjure Woman 
(1899). The Conjure Woman was written in the tradition of earlier folklorists from a previous era36 Joel Chandler Harris and Thomas Nelson Page. However,37 it presented a much more frank treatment of race relations in the South during slavery and Reconstruction.  The Conjure Womanand it’s39 narrator, Uncle Julius McAdoo, were clearly written in response to the immensely popular Uncle Remus of Harris’s tales, but the similarities between the two authors’ works ended there. While Harris’s tales used mostly animals and not voodoo, conjure, and the injustices of slavery, which The Conjure Woman did, also incorporating human characters instead of Brer Rabbit and animals.40


Chesnutt’s true masterpiece, however, is The House Behind the Cedars. The novel details the lives of an African-American familys41 children who have chosen to “pass” as white, making The House Behind the Cedars one of the first novels to talk about racial passing.42 Chesnutt uses his characters’ divided status to travel back and forth between the black and white worlds of the South, and in the process, Chesnutt manages to show both the shocking disparity between the two worlds and the insurmountable difficulties his characters, and those who “pass” in real life, face. From the moment it was published in 1900,43 the novel was a sensation in American letters, garnering the respect and admiration of such prominent white literary critics as William Dean Howells and black intellectuals such as W.E.B. Dubois.


Author and essayist, Charles W. Chesnutt published two books, The Conjure Woman and The House Behind the Cedars, that were widely appreciated in his own time.44


     B.  who,

     C.  which,

     D.  DELETE the underlined portion.

32. If the writer were to delete the last part of the preceding sentence (ending the sentence with a period after the word States), the paragraph would primarily lose:

     F.  a direct link to the following paragraph.

     G.  an unnecessary digression into historical details.

     H.  an important detail about the period of Chesnutt’s youth.

     J.  a fact suggesting the extent of Chesnutt’s historical writing.

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

     A.  literature; he

     B.  literature, and he consequently

     C.  literature, he

     D.  literature. He


     G.  has continued

     H.  still continues

     J.  continued


     B.  so extremely clear

     C.  clear

     D.  clear to an incredible degree


     G.  from a previous time

     H.  from the years before

     J.  DELETE the underlined portion.


     B.  Page, however,

     C.  Page. Consequently,

     D.  Page, consequently,

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

The slaves were freed with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, but many conditions like those under slavery resurfaced after the collapse of Reconstruction efforts in 1877.

Should the writer add the sentence here?

     F.  Yes, because it shows how many of the gains made by ex-slaves were later taken away.

     G.  Yes, because it is necessary to understand Chestnutt’s motivation.

     H.  No, because it provides information that is detailed later in this essay.

     J.  No, because it would distract readers from the essay’s main focus.


     B.  their

     C.  its

     D.  its’

40. Which choice provides the most logical arrangement of the parts of this sentence?

     F.  NO CHANGE

     G.  Humans were used as characters by The Conjure Woman and participated in tales relating to conjure, and the injustice of slavery and voodoo, which was different from Brer Rabbit and the animals from Harris’s tales.

     H.  Conjure, voodoo, and the injustices of slavery and others were used by The Conjure Woman, along with real human characters instead of animals and Brer Rabbit from Harris’s tales.

     J.  In the place of Brer Rabbit and the animals from Harris’s tales, The Conjure Woman used human characters in stories that incorporated conjure, voodoo, and the injustices of slavery.


     B.  families

     C.  family’s

     D.  families’s


     G.  it.

     H.  them.

     J.  its topics.

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

     A.  From the moment of its publication in 1900,

     B.  Having been first published in 1900,

     C.  Publishing it first in 1900,

     D.  In 1900, the year of its initial publication,

44. Given that all the choices are true, which one most effectively concludes and summarizes this essay?

     F.  NO CHANGE

     G.  Both author and essayist, Charles W. Chesnutt was a pioneer in African-American literature whose novels and tales are as meaningful today as they were when first published.

     H.  Author of The House Behind the Cedars, Charles W. Chesnutt already knew he wanted to be a writer in his teens during the era of Reconstruction in the history of the United States.

     J.  Author of The Conjure Woman, Charles W. Chesnutt succeeded where earlier writers Joel Chandler Harris and Thomas Nelson Page had failed in representing the characters in their stories as people.

Question 45 asks about the preceding passage as a whole.

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

     A.  where it is now.

     B.  before Paragraph 1.

     C.  after Paragraph 3.

     D.  after Paragraph 4.


Jackie Robinson: More Than a Ballplayer

When baseball resumes in America every spring, one April day is always reserved to honor Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier of America’s national pastime. While his accomplishments on the baseball field was46 numerous and impressive, his civil rights activism was according47 to his widow Rachel Robinson, equally important and often overlooked without being noticed.48

The tenacious and spirited way for the Brooklyn Dodgers49 Jackie Robinson played baseball was a reflection of his focus on civil rights. From the outset of the “Great Experiment” of having African-Americans in baseball; he50 knew that his performance on the field would be a determining factor in sports segregation. Jackie gradually converted jeers and harassment into cheers and acceptance because white spectators51 could see his immense talent from any seat in the stadium. Jackie became a highly respected figure by continually succeeding on and off the field, all the while displaying stoic restraint in the face of initial prejudice. 

[1] The vast amount of energy Jackie expended avoiding a myriad of potential pitfalls could have caused an ordinary man to wilt; for example,53 Jackie instinctively and relentlessly increased his efforts for positive civil rights changes, both in his sport and in the African-American community at large. [2] While many athletes today use their54 status to garner endorsements and live as celebrities, Jackie constantly utilized his status to stimulate civil rights advancements.  [3] He often used his baseball travels as opportunities to speak publicly to blacks in U.S. cities about ending segregation and vigilantly defending their rights. [4] Post-baseball, Jackie became an entrepreneur, but56 his focus did not stray as he found time to write impassioned letters and telegrams to various U.S. presidents during the civil rights movement. [5] He had the status to demand that they too remain firmly focused on civil rights measures. 

Though Jackie Robinson’s baseball exploits may be most widely known58 than his tireless efforts in the civil rights movement his59 astonishing courage on the baseball field was itself a resounding stance against segregation and inequality. His numerous detractors consistently found that not only was Jackie undeterred, but he was excelling in his efforts. As a result,60 the spark of positive change was ignited. Jackie turned that spark for civil rights into a torch and carried it his entire life.


     G.  is

     H.  will be

     J.  were


     B.  was, according,

     C.  was, according

     D.  was—according


     G.  while not being noticed.

     H.  as no one notices.

     J.  DELETE the underlined portion and end the sentence with a period.

49. The best placement for the underlined portion would be:

     A.  where it is now.

     B.  after the word baseball.

     C.  after the word focus.

     D.  after the word rights.


     G.  baseball, and he

     H.  baseball. He

     J.  baseball, he

51. Which choice fits most specifically with the information at the end of this sentence?

     A.  NO CHANGE

     B.  people

     C.  popcorn vendors

     D.  pitchers

52. If the writer were to delete this paragraph from the essay, which of the following would be lost?

     F.  A scientific explanation of the “Great Experiment”

     G.  A description of the way Jackie influenced society’s outlook on segregation in baseball

     H.  A passionate plea to end prejudice around the world

     J.  A comment on why the Brooklyn Dodgers were the best team in baseball


     B.  as a result,

     C.  rather,

     D.  therefore,


     G.  his

     H.  its

     J.  theirs

55. The writer is considering deleting the preceding sentence. Should this sentence be kept or deleted?

     A.  Kept, because it describes important information about Jackie Robinson’s endorsement deals.

     B.  Kept, because it helps the reader understand how Jackie Robinson sacrificed personal advancement in favor of civil rights work.

     C.  Deleted, because it doesn’t provide exact details about the civil rights laws that Jackie Robinson enacted.

     D.  Deleted, because it draws focus toward other athletes and away from Jackie Robinson.


     G.  entrepreneur,

     H.  entrepreneur

     J.  entrepreneur; and

57. If the writer were to divide the preceding paragraph into two shorter paragraphs in order to differentiate between Jackie’s civil rights activism during and after his baseball career, the new paragraph should begin with Sentence:

     A.  2.

     B.  3.

     C.  4.

     D.  5.


     G.  very widely known

     H.  more widely known

     J.  widelier known


     B.  movement. His

     C.  movement; his

     D.  movement, his

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

     F.  Consequently,

     G.  Instead,

     H.  Thus,

     J.  Therefore,


Antarctica’s Adaptable Survivors

Many inhabit sporadic green patches of moss;61 fertilized by excrement from migrating birds and sheltered by the rocky mountainsides. Some hibernate in the winter, frozen in ice under rocks and stones, becoming active62 again when the climate warms and the ice is melting.63 Extreme cold and wind are all good to go for survival;64 indeed, some species are able to endure temperatures as low as −30 degrees Celsius. These adaptable invertebrates classified as arthropods;65 are able to survive on a continent once thought to arctic, to windy, and to icy,66 to maintain any permanent land animals. The coldest place on earth, Antarctica is home to great quantities of life that don’t simply tolerate the lower temperatures; they67 flourish in them.

Microscopic mites, springtails, and wingless midges accompanied68 lice and ticks as the most prevalent permanent land fauna on Antarctica. The tiny midges and mites tolerate the cold due to the antifreeze liquid they carry in their bodies. Parasitic lice and ticks seek shelter from the harsh climate in the warm fur of seals, the waters of Antarctica teeming with marine life,69 and the feathers of sea birds and penguins.

In the Dry Valleys located on the western coast of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica, nematode worms feed on bacteria, algae, and tiny organisms known as rotifers and tardigrades.  Here, ice-covered land is not as abundant.71 Beneath the moss-covered polar rock, nematodes thrive, coping ingeniously by dehydrating themselves in the winter with the low temperatures72 and coming back to life with the summer and increasing moisture.

Algae are another resilient life form of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica.73 In an effort to adjust to the strong winds and icy temperatures, some algae live inside the rocks as opposed to on top of them. Phytoplankton, the most common of Antarctica’s algae, is an important food resource within Antarctica’s ecosystem. These tiny free-floating plants are preyed upon by copepods and krill, which then provide food for fish, seals, whales, and penguins. 

Excluding its aquatic life, Antarctica has a lower species diversity than any other place on earth. Nevertheless,75 Antarctica is a haven for 67 documented species of insects and 350 species of flora, proof that life persists in the most dramatic of conditions.


     B.  patches, of moss

     C.  patches, of moss,

     D.  patches of moss

62. Which of the following options to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable?

     F.  stones, only to become active

     G.  stones. Becoming active

     H.  stones. Then they become active

     J.  stones and then become active


     B.  melting.

     C.  melts.

     D.  to melt.


     G.  cool for survival;

     H.  all right for survival;

     J.  suitable for survival;


     B.  invertebrates, classified as arthropods

     C.  invertebrates, classified as arthropods,

     D.  invertebrates classified as arthropods,


     G.  to arctic, to windy, and to icy

     H.  too arctic, too windy, and too icy

     J.  too, arctic, too windy, and too icy,

67. Which of the following options to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable?

     A.  temperatures they

     B.  temperatures; in fact, they

     C.  temperatures. They

     D.  temperatures—they


     G.  accompany

     H.  had accompanied

     J.  were accompanying


     B.  seals, who return to land to breed,

     C.  seals, six different types in all,

     D.  seals

70. The writer is considering deleting the following phrase from the previous sentence (and adjusting the capitalization accordingly):

In the Dry Valleys located on the western coast of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica,

Should this phrase be kept or deleted?

     F.  Deleted, because this fact is presented later in this paragraph.

     G.  Deleted, because it negates the preceding paragraph, which makes it clear that only insects live in Antarctica.

     H.  Kept, because it clarifies that nematodes live both in Antarctica and McMurdo Sound.

     J.  Kept, because it gives specific details about the “Here” mentioned in the subsequent sentence.

71. Given that all the choices are true, which one most explicitly and vividly describes the terrain of McMurdo Sound?

     A.  NO CHANGE

     B.  rocky land is colored vibrantly by green, yellow, and orange lichen, algae, and moss.

     C.  there are signs that this is a place with extremely low humidity and no snow cover.

     D.  the effects of low humidity are apparent in the presence of flora and orange lichen.

72. The best place for the underlined portion would be:

     F.  where it is now.

     G.  after the word thrive.

     H.  after the word coping.

     J.  after the word moisture.

73. Given that all the choices are true, which one would LEAST effectively introduce the subject of this paragraph?

     A.  NO CHANGE

     B.  Algae lack the various structures that characterize land plants, such as the moss and lichen that inhabit Antarctica, which is why algae are most prominent in bodies of water.

     C.  Algae are typically autotrophic organisms whose adaptive qualities enable them to live successfully in the Dry McMurdo Valleys.

     D.  Although most often found in water, algae also inhabit terrestrial environments such as the Dry Valleys of Antarctica.

74. The writer is considering deleting the following phrase from the preceding sentence:

which then provide food for fish, seals, whales, and penguins.

Should this clause be kept or deleted?

     F.  Kept, because it clarifies how phytoplankton support Antarctica’s ecosystem.

     G.  Kept, because it addresses the most important life forms in Antarctica’s waters: seals, penguins, and whales.

     H.  Deleted, because it is irrelevant to the passage as a whole, which addresses the smaller life forms living on Antarctica.

     J.  Deleted, because it misleads the reader into thinking that penguins, seals, and whales are among the permanent land dwelling life forms of Antarctica.


     B.  Indeed,

     C.  Consequently,

     D.  Therefore,