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

English Practice Section 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.


Hats: On My Head, On My Mind

I do not remember how I came to like wearing a hat. Friends view it as an odd habit of mine, since so few people wear hats today. I think my fondness for hats comes down to the desire to proclaim1 what type of person I am. Telling the world what kind of person resides directly below its brim is one of the principal jobs of any hat worth the name.

Even if we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, we very often judge a person by his or her hat.  In a narrow sense, a top hat indicates to all that you are a magician, just as a mortarboard and tassel tells the world you just graduated. More generally,3 a cowboy hat may say you are the strong, silent type, while a beret suggests, you are artistic and creative.4 We even use hats as a kind of code for moral character, letting “white hats” and “black hats” serve as metaphors for “good guys” and “bad guys.” Hats show way up5 in our figures of speech as well. Home is where you hang your hat, while declaring your desire to win a position is throwing your hat into the ring. How could anyone not want to wear a hat, especially because it makes your hair messy?6

A hat can do even more things in everyday life. Deserving7 congratulations, I say that my hat is off to them—and then I can literally do exactly that. When someone has exciting news for me, he can tell me to hold on to my hat, if the news8 has to be kept secret, I can promise to keep it under my hat. He could even tell me to remain calm and not be a mad hatter. 

Maybe the real reason I like wearing a hat, however, has to do with getting away from everyday life. What I find so interesting is the possibility of using a hat,10 to make myself more like someone very different from my everyday self. A fedora helps me to think of me11 as more of a street-smart tough-guy private eye. Another hat, appropriately battered, helps me feel like a daring adventurer his12 search for fabulous treasures will succeed against all odds.

On my last birthday, my family that13 gave me a Napoleon hat. I wonder, what are they trying to tell me? 

  1. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined word would NOT be acceptable?

     A. announce

     B. declare

     C. compare

     D. advertise

  2. The writer is considering deleting the preceding sentence from the essay. Should the sentence be kept or deleted?

     F. Kept, because it establishes the theme of this paragraph, the ways in which hats symbolize things about people and their actions.

     G. Kept, because it establishes the narrator’s love of hats.

     H. Deleted, because the information it contains is contradicted in the previous sentence.

     J. Deleted, because the narrative is more interesting if readers are left to draw their own conclusions about the ways in which they personally interpret hats.

  3.  A. NO CHANGE

     B. (Do NOT begin new paragraph) Thus, as a general rule

     C. (Begin new paragraph) Generally,

     D. (Begin new paragraph) For example,

  4.  F. NO CHANGE

     G. suggests you are artistic, and creative.

     H. suggests, you are artistic, and creative.

     J. suggests you are artistic and creative.

  5.  A. NO CHANGE

     B. up

     C. features

     D. DELETE the underlined portion.

  6. Given that all the choices are true, which one most strongly reinforces the author’s attitude toward hats as it has been conveyed up to this point in the essay?


     G. when it may cost a substantial amount?

     H. although you may forget one in a restaurant?

     J. when it can do so much?

  7.  A. NO CHANGE

     B. As they are deserving

     C. When people deserve

     D. To deserve

  8.  F. NO CHANGE

     G. my hat, although the event

     H. my hat. If the news

     J. my hat, especially when it

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

“Mad hatter” properly refers to the many nineteenth-century hat makers who suffered extensive neurological damage after they were exposed to the toxic mercury fumes then utilized in hat construction.

Should the writer make this addition here?

     A. Yes, because it helps support the idea that the author has affection for hats.

     B. Yes, because it provides a striking parallel between the author’s interest in hats and Lewis Carroll’s.

     C. No, because many individuals in the nineteenth century besides hat-makers were exposed to poisonous fumes.

     D. No, because its historical explanation of the scientific origins of the image of mad hatters does not fit with the essay to this point.


     G. possibility of using a hat

     H. possibility, of using a hat

     J. possibility, of using a hat,


     B. myself

     C. my own self

     D. I


     G. whose

     H. pursuing a

     J. making a


     B. are those who

     C. were among who

     D. DELETE the underlined portion.

14. The writer is considering concluding the essay with the following statement:

Ultimately, a hat on your head guarantees a song in your heart.

Should the writer end the essay with this statement?

     F. Yes, because it restates the central idea of the essay in a memorable way.

     G. Yes, because hats have many uses.

     H. No, because the preceding sentence expressed the same idea using different words.

     J. No, because it does not have a meaningful connection to the central theme of this essay.

Question 15 asks about the preceding passage as a whole.

15. Suppose one of the writer’s goals had been to indicate that items of clothing can be used to communicate things, literally and figuratively, about their wearers. Would this essay have fulfilled that goal?

     A. Yes, because the essay reveals that the narrator uses hats to express his feelings and present himself as different kinds of people.

     B. Yes, because the essay reveals that hats have been symbols of royalty and power for centuries.

     C. No, because the essay indicates that the narrator prefers to wear hats from popular culture instead of history.

     D. No, because the essay establishes that the narrator’s attitude toward hats may not be shared by his family and friends.


A Diamond in the Rough

Beginning around 1963, when people became able to buy cassette recorders with built-in microphones, amateur songwriters were able to record songs that had been formerly16 undocumented. One guitarist and saxophonist, Bruce Diamond, recorded nearly a hundred songs from his home in Lexington, Kentucky. Recently, hundreds of these rough recordings have been re-mastered. They have captured the attention of musicologists for a number of reasons.

First, it is seemingly apparent that Diamond’s songs were17 influenced by many different popular artists of the day. One song sounds very similar to a complicated jazz song by Charlie Parker. However, another song is the opposite of the song sounds18 like the straightforward rock of Buddy Holly. The lyrics are very similar as well, and one is led to wonder what inspired them.19 One music critic observed that Diamond found it completely effortless20 to switch back and forth between very different musical genres.

Diamond’s recordings are noteworthy for their unique artistic voice—an interesting combination of jazz, bluegrass, and gospel styles. In one piece, Diamond starts with a long soulful intro leading into an upbeat verse. The verse’s21 tempo and tone provide an interesting contrast to the mournful opening. The chorus combines elements of both in an unexpected but balanced way. Diamond seems to express in this song that he has overcome some emotional wounds but that one remains conflicted.22

While24 sources of music from major music towns like New Orleans, Detroit, and Nashville are abundant, little is known about Lexington’s music scene because the town lacked a real recording studio. Therefore, since they were recorded on two-inch tape,25 Diamond’s songs in a city like Lexington26 offer music historians a rare taste of the musical culture in the 1960s.

No one knows how much Diamond was effected by27 other musicians in Lexington, but he did perform regularly at a local blues bar and less frequently at a jazz dance hall.28 One thing, though, is for sure: he records29 an interesting portfolio of songs, and he may soon be a famous saxophonist.30


     G. have been formerly

     H. are now being

     J. are formerly

17. Which of the following choices provides the most stylistically effective and concise wording here?


     B. there is the impression given by Diamond’s songs that he was

     C. Diamond’s songs suggest that he was

     D. it is the impression Diamond’s songs give that he was


     G. opposite of the song is sounding

     H. opposite; the song sounds

     J. opposite the song sounds

19. Given that all the choices are true, which of the following would best provide further detail about the lyrical subject matter?


     B. dealing mostly with dating and automobiles.

     C. and he mostly uses rhymed couplets and alliteration.

     D. which are easy to understand because of Diamond’s enunciation.


     G. without any strain or effort

     H. relatively simple and free of struggle

     J. totally free of complication


     B. verse,

     C. verses’

     D. verses


     G. he remains conflicted.

     H. they were conflicted.

     J. he is conflicting.

23. At this point, the writer is thinking of adding the following sentence:

We have all experienced sad events and know very well what it is like to feel conflicted.

Should the writer make this addition here?

     A. Yes, because it shows the writer’s compassionate feelings toward Diamond’s difficult situation.

     B. Yes, because it adds extra emphasis to the subject matter of one of Diamond’s most well known songs.

     C. No, because it strays from the paragraph’s main focus on Diamond’s unique songwriting voice.

     D. No, because it encourages readers to think about sad events in their own lives.

24. Which of the following choices would NOT be an acceptable alternative to the underlined portion?

     F. Despite the fact that

     G. Although

     H. Since

     J. Whereas


     B. because a built-in microphone recorded them,

     C. being that he played the songs into the recorder,

     D. DELETE the underlined portion.

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

     F. where it is now.

     G. after the word historians.

     H. after the word taste.

     J. after the word culture.


     B. affected by

     C. affected with

     D. effected with


     G. at a dance hall where jazz was played.

     H. as a musician at a jazz dance hall.

     J. playing jazz music at a dance hall.


     B. recorded

     C. is recording

     D. has recorded

30. Given that all the choices are true, which of the following would provide the best conclusion to this essay in relation to one of its main points?


     G. and now they provide scholars with an example of Lexington music.

     H. and he probably never had to buy another cassette recorder.

     J. and he may have performed in other cities besides Lexington.


Going Underground

[1] When I left my home in rural Missouri to attend college in New York City, I didn’t consider myself a veteran subway rider.31 [2] Luckily, I was able to overcome this fear by having my first trip by subway guided by a neighbor, named32 Sasha. [3] He had grown up in Manhattan, so he was familiar with the dense, intricacy33 subway routes. [4] During his childhood, he had taken34 the subway almost every day as a child with his family, and so I was encouraged to set off with him to learn the ins and outs of the New York subways. [5] Because of my family’s warnings,35 I was afraid to take the subway at first. 

Sasha showed me to the stop nearest our building and led me down the steps from the busy street, steering me skillfully through the fast-moving crowd. I couldn’t decide whether to buy my token from the imposing-looking woman on the left or from the imposing-looking woman on the right, but Sasha confidently tugged me right up to them.37 I managed to squeak out, “Canal Street, please,” and the woman silently scooped up my change and slipped a token through the slot in the window.

I couldn’t tell to which platform to descend, if38 I had always used landmarks to find my way around my hometown. After a little searching, though,39 I saw the sign that read “Canal St.” suspended above the escalator, so Sasha and I climbed aboard and rode down to our platform.

I felt very conspicuous standing on the platform, waiting40 for our train to arrive.40 Sasha distracted me by pointing out a performer across the tracks on the other platform. At first, I was confused like a whirlwind in my mind41 about what the man was doing. Then I saw that he was juggling all kinds of objects: milk crates, thick books, and even bowling balls. I wondered if he would of been42 there when we returned.

When we were seated on the train, Sasha looked at me with a pleased expression, I suppose,43 he was proud of how well he had served as a guide. “You look like you belong here in the big city,” he said, nudging me playfully in the side, which I44 shrugged and elbowed him back. I gazed at my reflection in the window and wondered if I had already changed.

We arrived at the Canal Street station, and we rode up the escalator toward the street, taking care to stand well to one side to let more impatient passengers by. I might just as well have been exploring an undiscovered continent and was emerging, with treasures and new wonders, from fantastic caverns.45 I’ll always remember my first subway ride, when “going underground” took on an entirely new meaning.


     B. a person who knew the ins and outs of public underground trains.

     C. a master of all the skills necessary to travel by public transport.

     D. a veteran rider.


     G. neighbor; named

     H. neighbor named

     J. neighbor named,

33.  A.   NO CHANGE

     B. dense, intricate

     C. intricately, dense

     D. dense intricacy


     G. He had been starting to take

     H. His childhood was spent taking

     J. He had taken


     B. my familys’ warnings,

     C. my families’ warnings

     D. my families warnings,

36. For the sake of the logic and coherence of this paragraph, Sentence 5 should be placed:

     F. where it is now.

     G. after Sentence 1.

     H. before Sentence 3.

     J. before Sentence 4.


     B. the one on the left.

     C. her.

     D. the women.


     G. descend, which

     H. descend;

     J. descend, even though,


     B. searching though:

     C. searching, though

     D. searching, though:

40. Given that all of the choices are true, which one most effectively introduces the action in this paragraph while suggesting the narrator’s discomfort in her new surroundings?


     G. Sasha’s stylish boots clicked on the floor as he walked ahead of me.

     H. Although it wasn’t rush hour yet, quite a few people stood waiting on the platform.

     J. Sasha explained that the first subway line in New York City opened in 1904.


     B. confused with uncertainty and curiosity

     C. confused by the initial lack of understanding

     D. confused


     G. would be

     H. should be

     J. could of been


     B. expression I suppose

     C. expression. I suppose

     D. expression, however, I suppose


     G. side, which he

     H. side. I

     J. side, where I


     B. I might just as well have been exploring fantastic caverns filled with the treasures and new wonders of an undiscovered continent.

     C. I might, filled with treasures and new wonders emerging from fantastic caverns, just as well have been exploring an undiscovered continent.

     D. Emerging from fantastic caverns, I might just as well, filled with treasures and new wonders, have been exploring a new continent.


Black Holes—Astronomy’s Great Mystery

Black holes are likely and possibly46 the most fascinating topic facing contemporary astronomy. The concept of a black hole—a region of space with such intense gravitational pull that nothing can escape—is truly the stuff of science fiction. That is what Albert Einstein believed, at least. His general theory of relativity predicted their existence, but he thought47 of his prediction as an error to be corrected, not a predictor of one of the strangest astronomical phenomena yet discovered.

Because48 Einstein didn’t live to see it, the universe proved the accuracy of his calculations in 1970, when Cygnus X-1 was discovered about 7,000 light-years from Earth. It is about 8.7 times as massive as our Sun yet has a small49 diameter of only about 50 km. When you consider that the diameter of the Sun could accommodate over 100 Earths, it becomes clear that fitting a mass almost nine times greater than that into a space of about 31 miles is truly remarkable. 

How do these singularities come into existence?51 There are52 several theories to explain the process. The most popular hypothesis suggests that black holes are fairly common and involving53 the disintegration of a massive star near54 the end of its lifecycle. At that stage, the star has nearly exhausted its hydrogen supply, consequently55 losing its ability to burn at a sufficiently high temperature to prevent its collapse. The stars exterior,56 layers are blown away in a supernova, while the interior layers collapse into a highly dense core, which ultimately becomes the black hole.

Other theorists suggesting57 that black holes are the result of a galactic game of bumper cars. The universe is teeming with neutron stars. These are highly compact, very hot stars formed during the supernova of smaller stars that are not sufficiently massive to create black holes. Likewise,58on occasion these stars will actually collide with each other and together become massive enough to form a black hole.

Perhaps the most bizarre observation made about these phenomena involves the existence of “micro” or “mini” black holes. These peculiar items are very small, astronomically speaking. They have a mass far less than that of our Sun, and, frankly, the scientific community cannot explain and articulate fully59 how stars with so little mass could have formed black holes at all. That is a question for future generations of scientists to explore.


     G. very probably to be

     H. possibly

     J. a possible likeness of being


     B. thinks

     C. have thought

     D. has thought


     G. Although

     H. Since

     J. DELETE the underlined portion.


     B. less

     C. fewer

     D. too little

50. If the writer were to delete the preceding sentence, the paragraph would primarily lose:

     F. a description that explains the purpose of studying black holes.

     G. information that helps the reader grasp the size of black holes by presenting it in understandable terms.

     H. a reference that explains how the black hole is compressed into such a small size.

     J. an unnecessary detail, because this information is repeated later in the passage.

51. Which choice provides the most effective transition from the previous paragraph to the new paragraph?


     B. Why should we study black holes at all?

     C. Is the Sun going to collapse and become a black hole?

     D. What are the effects of such massive gravitational pull?


     G. Their are

     H. Their is

     J. They’re are


     B. is involving

     C. will involve

     D. involve

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

     F. close to

     G. close

     H. toward

     J. around


     B. supply; consequently

     C. supply, and consequently

     D. supply. Consequently


     G. stars exterior

     H. star’s exterior

     J. star’s exterior,


     B. has been suggesting

     C. will suggest

     D. suggest


     G. Similarly,

     H. However,

     J. In addition,


     B. cannot explain or describe in any detail

     C. cannot explain

     D. not only cannot explain but also can’t describe

Question 60 asks about the preceding passage as a whole.

60. Suppose the writer’s goal had been to write a brief essay about how Einstein’s skepticism stopped scientific inquiry into the existence of black holes. Would this essay successfully fulfill that goal?

     F. Yes, because black holes were not discovered until after Einstein’s death.

     G. Yes, because no other scientists were mentioned by name as doing research into the subject.

     H. No, because Einstein later decided that black holes did exist and encouraged the scientific community to search for them.

     J. No, because no discussion is made of how Einstein’s doubt affected the inquiries of other scientists.


An Argument for E-Waste Recycling

Drive through any suburb in the U.S. today, and it’s hard to miss the bins, that have become companions61 to America’s trashcans. Recycling has become62 commonplace, as people recognize the need to care for the environment. Yet most people’s recycling consciousness is extending63only as far as paper, bottles, and cans. People seldom find themselves confronted with64 the growing phenomenon of e-waste.

E-waste proliferates as the techno-fashionable constantly upgrade to the most cutting-edge devices, which65 the majority of them end up in landfills. Activists who track such waste66 estimate that users discarded nearly 2 million tons of TVs, VCRs, computers, cell phones, and other electronics in 2005. Unless we can find a safe alternative, this e-waste may leak into the ground and poison the water with dangerous toxins.  Burning the waste also dangerous68 contaminates the air.

Consequently,69 e-waste often contains reusable silver, gold, and other electrical conductors. Recycling these materials reduces environmental impact by70 reducing both landfill waste and the need to mine such metals, which can destroy ecosystems.

A growing number of states have adopted71 laws to prohibit dumping e-waste. Still, less than a quarter of this refuse will reach legitimate recycling programs.  Some companies advertising safe disposal in fact merely ship the waste to third-world countries, where it still ends up in landfills. 

Nevertheless, the small but growing number of cities and corporations that do handle e-waste responsibly represent progress and a real step forward74 toward making the world a cleaner, better place for us all. 


     B. bins that have become companions,

     C. bins, which have become companions,

     D. bins that have become companions


     G. became

     H. becoming

     J. becomes


     B. extended

     C. had extended

     D. extends

64. Which choice would most effectively begin this sentence so that it emphasizes a lack of awareness of this problem?


     G. Many in our communities simply don’t realize the dangers of

     H. A majority of local governments are assiduously studying

     J. Little attention is paid by the people in our neighborhoods to


     B. devices that

     C. devices, and

     D. devices after


     G. Activists who track such waste,

     H. Activists which track such waste

     J. Activists, who track such waste,

67. At this point, the writer is considering adding the following phrase to the end of the preceding sentence:

such as lead, mercury, and arsenic

Should the writer add the phrase here?

     A. Yes, because it adds specific details clarifying which toxins are leaking.

     B. Yes, because it supports the idea that landfills have too much waste.

     C. No, because it doesn’t specify how dangerous these toxins are.

     D. No, because it would be redundant in a paragraph that has already mentioned which toxins e-waste contains.


     G. more dangerous

     H. most dangerous

     J. dangerously


     B. Particularly,

     C. Moreover,

     D. However,


     G. impact;

     H. impact so,

     J. impact of


     B. Adoptions are growing in state

     C. States have growingly adopted

     D. Growing states have adopted numbers

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

     F. Kept, because it provides a logical transition between the first and last sentences of the paragraph.

     G. Kept, because it provides meaningful statistics.

     H. Deleted, because it adds no new information to the paragraph.

     J. Deleted, because it would be redundant, given that the next sentence explains that some companies don’t recycle.

73. At this point, the author is considering adding the following sentence:

These organizations hamper progress by unsafely disposing of waste in an out-of-sight, out-of-mind location.

Would this be a relevant addition to make here?

     A. Yes, because it completes the idea expressed in the preceding sentence.

     B. Yes, because it paints such organizations in a negative light.

     C. No, because it contradicts the following sentence.

     D. No, because it introduces a tangential point.


     G. a real step forward in the progress moving

     H. progress

     J. real forward-stepping progress

75. At this point, the writer is considering adding the following sentence:

Today, pollution is one of the most dangerous forces threatening our environment, and the government must work to regulate its effects.

Should the writer add this sentence here?

     A. Yes, because it adds important details that suggest recycling is not the only concern of environmentalists.

     B. Yes, because it provides additional information discussing the impact of recycling programs in urban areas.

     C. No, because it digresses from the article’s main point about e-waste and related recycling issues.

     D. No, because government regulation is a complicated and controversial topic addressed elsewhere in the passage.

English Practice
Section 1
Answers and Explanations


  1. C

  2. F

  3. A

  4. J

  5. B

  6. J

  7. C

  8. H

  9. D

10. G

11. B

12. G

13. D

14. J

15. A

16. F

17. C

18. H

19. B

20. F

21. A

22. G

23. C

24. H

25. D

26. J

27. B

28. F

29. B

30. G

31. A

32. H

33. B

34. J

35. A

36. G

37. B

38. H

39. A

40. F

41. D

42. G

43. C

44. H

45. B

46. H

47. A

48. G

49. A

50. G

51. A

52. F

53. D

54. G

55. A

56. H

57. D

58. H

59. C

60. J

61. D

62. F

63. D

64. G

65. C

66. F

67. A

68. J

69. D

70. F

71. A

72. F

73. A

74. H

75. C


Passage I

  1.  C  In EXCEPT/LEAST/NOT questions, the underlined portion of the sentence is correct. The original word was proclaim. Which answer choice would NOT have roughly the same meaning as proclaim? Choice (A), announce, and choice (B), declare, have the same meaning. Choice (D), advertise, is a little different, but still quite close. Choice (C), compare, suggests making a statement about similarities between two things rather than simply expressing something.

  2.  F  The sentence in question signals the main idea of the paragraph, so it should be kept, choice (F). It does not, however, establish the narrator’s love for hats, which eliminates choice (G). It does not contradict information in the preceding sentence, which eliminates choice (H). Finally, a primary theme of the essay is to explain the author’s personal interpretation of hats, which eliminates choice (J).

  3.  A  The sentence follows after, and expands on, the point made more narrowly by the preceding sentence, so it should not be separated into a new paragraph. This eliminates choices (C) and (D). The sentence contrasts the narrow and specific meaning of top hats and mortarboards with the more general symbolism of cowboy hats and berets, but does not propose a general rule or system, which eliminates choice (B).

  4.  J  The beret suggests something directly about the wearer, so there should be no comma between suggests and you. This eliminates choices (F) and (H). And joins the two adjectives on its own, so there should be no comma in the list. This eliminates choice (G).

  5.  B  The correct idiom is “show up,” choice (B). Things do not show way up which eliminates choice (A). The phrase show features in is idiomatically incorrect and changes the meaning of the sentence, which eliminates choice (C). Finally, omitting way up leaves only show in, which is also incorrect usage, eliminating choice (D).

  6.  J  The author’s attitude toward hats is highly positive, stressing their versatility and many symbolic uses and applications. Choice (J) captures this best. Choice (F) would stress hats’ negative effects on hair style, something not introduced to date and counter to the author’s positive attitude toward hats. Choice (G) stresses the high price of hats, something not previously discussed and that would be a negative aspect of hats, not a positive one. Choice (H) discusses losing hats in restaurants, a new topic and one that would not be positive.

  7.  C  As written, the sentence makes it sound as though the author was deserving congratulations rather than the people to whom he takes off his hat. The underlined portion needs to be changed to include clear identification of the individuals who should be congratulated. Only choice (C) does this.

  8.  H  The underlined portion as written, choice (F), creates a run-on sentence: There are two separate thoughts expressed, each with its own subject and verb. This needs to be corrected by separating the text into two distinct sentences. Only choice (H) does this.

  9.  D  The proposed addition is a sudden and unsignaled shift from the approach of the essay up until this point, away from metaphoric and symbolic meanings of hats; instead, the author would abruptly insert a detailed historical and scientific basis for hat-related figures of speech. Only choice (D) accurately conveys this. Choice (A) claims that it shows the author’s affection for hats, but the statement reflects the author’s knowledge of hat history, not his personal fondness for them. Choice (B) claims that the addition usefully demonstrates Lewis Carroll’s interest in hats, but there is no evidence he had any such interest, and the essay is not about Lewis Carroll. Choice (C) claims that the problem is that many people in the nineteenth-century other than hat-makers were exposed to toxic fumes, but that is not relevant to the question of whether the proposed added text is consistent with the central ideas of the essay.

10.  G  The text as written uses a comma to separate the possibility of using a hat from what the hat would actually be used to do—to make myself more like someone very different. Because this is vital information that directly concludes a thought, it should not be split off. The comma after hat should therefore be removed. Only choices (G) and (H) do so. However, choice (H) inserts another comma after possibility, separating that word from its own direct conclusion, of using a hat. This introduces a new error, eliminating choice (H).

11.  B  In the original sentence, who is doing the thinking? The author. The topic of the author’s thoughts is also the author. For this reason, since he both originates and receives the action, the author would need to use the reflexive pronoun myself, rather than me. This is choice (B).

12.  G  In the text, the daring adventurer is the one who is launching a search for treasure. Thus, that would make him a daring adventurer whose search for fabulous treasure is sure to succeed. This corresponds with choice (G). Choices (H) and (J) would turn the sentence into a garbled statement that would require ending the sentence with that will succeed against all odds, rather than simply will succeed against all odds.

13.  D  As written, the that after my family indicates that the author has more than one family, and the sentence would also require another verb. This eliminates choice (A). Omitting that reduces the sentence to its clearest form, making choice (D) the preferred option. Choices (B) and (C) can be eliminated on the basis that family is a collective noun and should take a singular verb, not the plural verbs are and were.

14.  J  The proposed conclusion does indeed praise hats, consistent with the author’s attitude, but it does so on the basis that hats make the wearer personally happy. This was not a central theme of the essay, which stressed the symbolism and communication uses of hats. Because the concluding sentence should restate or comment on the central themes of the essay, and because this does not, it should not be used as a concluding sentence. Choice (J) accurately depicts this recommendation and reasoning. Choice (F) incorrectly claims the proposed conclusion restates the central idea. Choice (G)’s claim that hats have many uses is irrelevant to the question of whether to use the sentence as a conclusion. Choice (H)’s claim that the prior sentence expressed the same ideas is incorrect.

15.  A  The author talks about the ways in which he uses hats to express his feelings and convey to others what kind of person he sometimes wishes to be. Counting hats as items of clothing, this would seem to be enough to judge that the essay succeeded in demonstrating that clothing can be used to communicate things about the wearer. This corresponds to choice (A). Choice (B) claims incorrectly that the essay establishes that hats (crowns) have been symbols of royalty. Choice (C) states mistakenly that the essay failed to establish this key idea, giving as its reason the unsupported assertion that the author prefers modern-day to historical hats. Choice (D) incorrectly claims the essay does not support the proposed idea and cites the irrelevant fact that the author’s family and friends think his interest in hats is odd.

Passage II

16.  F  This is correct use of the past perfect tense (the had tense). It refers to an event in the past that precedes another event in the past. Some songs had been undocumented until the cassette recorder became available. Choice (G) changes the verb tense to present perfect (the has/have tense), which is used to talk about a currently ongoing phenomenon or an unspecified time period. Choices (H) and (J) incorrectly change this sentence to present tense.

17.  C  Since the question specifically asks that you choose the most stylistically effective and concise wording, you should start by checking the shortest answer choice. Choice (C) works well and therefore becomes a better choice than choices (B) and (D). Choice (A) is incorrect because it is more appropriate to say that Diamond the songwriter was influenced by other artists than to say that his songs were influenced.

18.  H  There are two complete ideas in this sentence: another song is the opposite and the song sounds like the straightforward rock of Buddy Holly. Choice (H) uses a semicolon to separate the two complete ideas. Choices (F) and (G) incorrectly and awkwardly connect the two ideas with the word of. Choice (J) uses nothing to connect the ideas, which results in a run-on sentence.

19.  B  Choice (B) is the only option that conveys any detail about lyrical subject matter, telling you that the lyrics to these songs involved subjects like dating and automobiles. Choice (A) is just speculation about what inspired the lyrics. Choices (C) and (D) refer to the way Diamond wrote or performed the lyrics, but they do not tell you anything about the subject matter of the lyrics.

20.  F  There is nothing incorrect about choice (F), so there can only be a better answer if it is more concise than choice (F). However, choices (G), (H), and (J) are all more lengthy, awkward, and redundant, making choice (F) the best pick.

21.  A  Based on the context of the previous sentence’s mention of an upbeat verse, this sentence is using the possessive form of the singular noun verse. Choice (A) indicates the correct ’s to use. Choice (B) would change the original intended meaning. Choice (C) is the possessive form of the plural noun verses. Choice (D) is just the plural noun verses.

22.  G  Since conflicted is being used to describe Diamond, make sure the pronoun you use agrees with this singular, masculine noun. This is choice (G). Choices (F) and (H) are not specific, and choice (J) changes the meaning of the sentence.

23.  C  Content should only be added if it seems to flow well with the purpose and tone of the paragraph. In this case, this sentence does not contribute anything new to a paragraph that has as its main theme a discussion of Diamond’s unique songwriting voice. Only choice (C) correctly states that the sentence should not be included in the paragraph and gives the correct reason.

24.  H  The two clauses of the sentence provide a contrast: there is abundant music knowledge about New Orleans, Detroit, and Nashville but little known about Lexington. The use of while indicates a contrast, as do choices (F), (G), and (J). Choice (H) makes the first clause of the sentence sound as if it is the cause of the second clause, which is incorrect.

25.  D  The previous sentence is a transition to begin discussing what interests musicologists about Diamond’s songs. This sentence explains that there were very few other recordings from Lexington artists. Choices (A), (B), and (C) offer details about the cassette recording process that are irrelevant to the point of the sentence. If a question offers you the choice of deleting or omitting something, it is asking you if there is any reason that something NEEDS to stay in order for the sentence to make sense. If not, omit!

26.  J  The intended meaning of the sentence is that there was little known about the music culture of Lexington, Kentucky in the 1960s. The rest of the paragraph provides context to clarify that idea. Choice (J) correctly identifies the music culture in a city like Lexington as the topic. Choice (F) incorrectly makes the songs belong to Lexington, choice (G) incorrectly makes the historians belong to Lexington, and choice (H) incorrectly makes the taste belong to Lexington.

27.  B  When you are describing the action of one thing influencing another, the correct verb is to affect. The convention is to say you are affected by something, not that you are affected with something, which makes choice (C) incorrect. Choices (A) and (D) incorrectly use the noun effect, which is used to discuss a specific influence or reaction. For example, cat hair affects me negatively; one of the effects I feel is an itchy nose.

28.  F  Choice (F) is the best answer because it is the most concise, correctly written option. The parallelism of the sentence is naming two places Diamond performed: at a local blues bar and at a jazz dance hall. Choices (G) and (H) add extra wording to say the same thing as choice (F). Choice (J) adds an -ing that breaks the parallelism of the sentence.

29.  B  The beginning of the passage establishes the setting of Bruce Diamond’s recording as occurring during the 1960s. The correct verb tense for this sentence is the past tense, which choice (B) uses. Choices (A) and (C) are present tense forms, and choice (D) is the present perfect.

30.  G  The essay’s focus was the interest that musicologists have taken in Diamond’s recordings. Choice (G) effectively ties the conclusion back to the intro. Since the passage deals with present study of Diamond’s work, it is not consistent to make a prediction about Diamond’s future popularity as choice (F) does. Choices (H) and (J) offer useless speculation about whether Diamond ever bought another recorder or performed in another city, neither of which were topics of discussion in the passage.

Passage III

31.  A  The underlined portion as it stands gives an appropriate amount of information without becoming redundant or long-winded. Both choice (B) and choice (C) convey similar information but with more unnecessary words. Choice (D) leaves out the crucial point that the narrator is talking about riding the subway, as opposed to a horse or a motorcycle, for example.

32.  H  The underlined portion adds an unnecessary comma between neighbor and named; the comma interrupts the phrase a neighbor named Sasha. If named Sasha were to be omitted from the sentence, the meaning of the sentence would be unclear, so it is incorrect to set it off with commas. For similar reasons, you can eliminate choice (J), which also contains an unnecessary comma. In choice (G), the semicolon is an even more pronounced division of this phrase, so that answer is also incorrect.

33.  B  The sentence is incorrect in its original form because intricacy is a noun serving as an adjective (modifying subway routes). Intricate is the adjective form of the word, so choice (B) is the best one. Choice (C) uses the adverb form intricately in place of the adjective, so you can get rid of that answer, and choice (D) doesn’t address the part-of-speech problem merely by omitting the comma.

34.  J  This sentence contains a redundant phrase in the underlined portion; During his childhood becomes unnecessary when as a child appears later in the sentence. The best answer choice will eliminate any reference to childhood early in the sentence, which gets rid of choices (F) and (H). Choice (G) uses an incorrect verb tense.

35.  A  When you have a singular noun, like family here, use an apostrophe followed by an s. In choice (B), the apostrophe appears in the wrong place, and choices (C) and (D) both change the word to its plural form, so you can eliminate them.

36.  G  The most important clue for this question is the phrase overcome this fear in Sentence 2. Note that in the passage as it stands, Sentence 1 doesn’t contain a clear reference to the narrator’s fear, so the phrase this fear doesn’t make sense. If you move Sentence 5 to the spot following Sentence 1, you’ll place the direct allusion to the narrator’s fear BEFORE the reiteration of this fear, a move that lends more logical coherence to the paragraph as a whole. Placing Sentence 5 anywhere AFTER Sentence 2 makes the reference to this fear confusing, so you can eliminate choices (F), (J), and (H).

37.  B  Check for pronoun agreement; the noun that “them” refers to is either the woman on the left or the woman on the right. The either/or rule makes the noun singular, so because choices (A) and (D) are both plural, you can eliminate those. Choice (C) offers the singular her, but that pronoun doesn’t unambiguously refer to one woman or the other, so you wouldn’t choose that option. Choice (B) provides the phrase the one on the left, which avoids both number and ambiguity problems.

38.  H  The two thoughts the narrator conveys are different enough to require a more definite stop between them; consequently, if is not an appropriate connector, so get rid of choice (F). Even though could work in this position, but that word would need a form of punctuation that separates two independent clauses such as a period or semicolon, so eliminate choice (J). Which needs to refer back to some other noun, and this sentence doesn’t have one that makes sense, so choice (G) is wrong. Choice (H) has the proper punctuation to shift from one thought to the other in the same sentence.

39.  A  To use a colon, you need to have a complete idea in front of it, which After a little searching though is not, so eliminate both choice (B) and choice (D). To decide whether a word or phrase needs to be set off with commas both before and after that word, try removing it entirely from the sentence. If the sentence still makes sense, you’ll want to set that word or phrase off with commas. In this case, though is an adverb meant to emphasize the contrast this sentence makes with the previous sentence, but though is not a word essential to preserving the meaning of this sentence.

40.  F  Since you need to select an answer that expresses the narrator’s discomfort, you should rule out choices (G) and (J), which don’t relate to that perspective. Choice (H) is fairly neutral in describing what the narrator sees, so choice (F), which describes how the narrator feels conspicuous, is the best answer.

41.  D  As in question 31, this question hinges on how much information is truly necessary and how much is repetitious. Once the narrator says he is confused, other indications of this confusion become redundant. Thus, choices (B) and (C), which talk about uncertainty and lack of understanding, both contain unnecessary language and should be ruled out. As for choice (A), the phrase in my mind is also redundant, and like a whirlwind sets up a faulty comparison.

42.  G  This question involves verb tense. You can get rid of choice (F) and choice (J) because they use the incorrect of instead of the correct have in their verb forms. Choice (H) changes the meaning of the sentence, leaving choice (G) as the best answer.

43.  C  This sentence is actually two complete sentences: When we were seated on the train, Sasha looked at me with a pleased expression and I suppose he was proud of how well he had served as a guide. A comma between these two sentences creates a comma splice, so you’ll need something stronger to separate them. That leaves out choices (A), (B), and (D). Only choice (C), with the period after expression, contains the proper punctuation.

44.  H  Which is a relative pronoun, so the noun to which it refers (here, the noun is side) should be the main subject of the second part of the sentence. Because the side doesn’t have anything to do with the second part of the sentence, eliminate choices (F) and (G). Where would fit if the narrator somehow shrugged his side, but that doesn’t make sense either, so leave out choice (J). Only choice (H) sets the two complete ideas in the appropriate relation to one another.

45.  B  The narrator is employing a metaphor to describe how it felt to complete her first subway experience, but in the form of the original sentence it sounds as though the experience is literally about coming out of the fantastic caverns. Choices (C) and (D) move parts of the sentence around, but both place them in an order that is choppy and perhaps even misleading. Because choice (B) begins with the phrase I might just as well, it clarifies that the entire description is clearly metaphorical, and this choice is also the best answer in grammatical terms.

Passage IV

46.  H  Likely means “something reasonable to be believed,” as does possibly. Therefore, it would be redundant to include both in the same sentence. Only choice (H) offers a concise choice that is idiomatically correct.

47.  A  The sentence is discussing events that occurred in the past, so choices (B) and (D) can be eliminated since they use present tense and present perfect tense, respectively. Choice (C) is also incorrect because have is the plural form of the verb, but the subject he is singular.

48.  G  The first part of the sentence highlights information that is true in spite of the second part of the sentence. Therefore, choices (F) and (H) are both wrong, since they both feature conjunctions that connect the two clauses as if they agree. Choice (J) is incorrect, because if the underlined section were deleted, the remaining sentence would be a run-on.

49.  A  This underlined portion of the sentence is modifying diameter, so it is appropriate to use small as it is written. Choices (B) and (C) are incorrect because no direct comparison is being made in this sentence. Choice (D) changes the meaning of the sentence to imply the diameter is too small.

50.  G  The primary purpose of the reference sentence is to demonstrate in understandable terms the extremely small size of the black hole in comparison to items of similar mass. Only choice (G) articulates this purpose. The sentence explains nothing about why black holes are studied or how they are formed, nor is the information reiterated later in the passage. Therefore, choices (F), (H), and (J) are all incorrect.

51.  A  The underlined portion is correct, because it is the only answer that correctly introduces the topic of how black holes are formed, which will be the focus of the rest of the passage. All the other answer choices raise interesting questions; however, none of them are actually answered.

52.  F  Their is the possessive pronoun, which shows ownership. As there is no case of ownership in the underlined portion of the sentence, both choices (G) and (H) are incorrect. They’re is the contraction they are, which does not fit the context of the sentence. Therefore, choice (J) is also incorrect.

53.  D  As written, the sentence is a fragment, so choice (A) is incorrect. Choice (C) is incorrect because it is written in the future tense. Choice (B) is also incorrect because the sentence needs simple present tense, not present progressive. Choice (D) is the only option written in the correct tense and parallel to the other verb in this sentence, suggests.

54.  G  In EXCEPT/LEAST/NOT questions, the underlined portion of the sentence is correct. Choices (F), (H), and (J) are all reasonable substitutes for the underlined portion in that they are grammatically correct and preserve the meaning of the original sentence. Choice (G) can’t work because, while close and near are synonyms, the correct idiom in this situation requires the word to, as in close to the end. Consequently, choice (G) is NOT acceptable.

55.  A  As written, the sentence is correct. Choices (B) and (D) are incorrect because you can connect only two complete thoughts with periods or semicolons. The comma and coordinating conjunction and in choice (C) function in the same way—this combination can separate only two complete thoughts. Only choice (A) can separate the first part of the sentence, an independent clause or complete thought, from the last part, a dependent clause or incomplete thought.

56.  H  Choices (F) and (G) are incorrect because the underlined portion is using star as a possessive form, not as a plural. Choice (J) is incorrect because no comma is necessary after exterior.

57.  D  As written, the sentence is a fragment, so choice (A) is incorrect. Choice (C) is incorrect because it is written in the future tense. Choice (B) is also incorrect because has is the singular form of the verb, but the subject theorists is plural.

58.  H  This sentence needs a transition which shows a contrast from the previous sentence. Choices (F), (G), and (J) are incorrect because they all indicate that a new concept is being introduced.

59.  C  Choice (C) is the only answer choice that succinctly states that the scientific community cannot explain the formation of mini black holes. Choices (A), (B), and (D) all introduce redundancies into the underlined portion.

60.  J  If the author’s goal were to show that Einstein’s skepticism slowed or stopped scientific inquiry into black holes, specific examples would have to be provided showing that to be the case. Nothing of the sort is provided; in fact, clearly research did continue or black holes would not have been discovered at all. Only choice (J) correctly explains this point of view. Choices (F) and (G) are factually correct, but have no bearing on whether the passage successfully fulfilled the intended goal. Choice (H) includes information not mentioned in the passage.

Passage V

61.  D  The clause that have become companions to America’s trashcans is necessary information insofar as its omission would change the meaning of the sentence, so eliminate choice (C), because which is for unnecessary information. You can also eliminate choices (A) and (B) because necessary information should not be set off by commas. Only choice (D) has the proper omission of punctuation and, with the word that, the recognition that this part of the sentence is essential to the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

62.  F  Only choice (F) provides a form of the verb with a tense consistent with the preceding sentence. Since the word has is not underlined, you know that the underlined verb must be in the present perfect tense, as in has become. The word became is not compatible with the word has.

63.  D  The first sentence indicates that the passage is talking about the way things are today (and how they’ve progressed to this point from the way things were in the past). The most direct way to talk about what people think today would be to use present tense here: extends.

64.  G  The question asked for an answer that emphasizes lack of awareness. Choices (F) and (J) say people don’t often encounter or pay attention to the problem, not that they aren’t aware of it. It’s a small difference, but it’s a difference that means you can cross these two choices out because choice (G) is better. Choice (H) refers to governments’ attempts to study it, which means they are aware, so cross that one out, too. Only choice (G), which matches realize in the answer choice with awareness in the question, is consistent with what you are asked to emphasize.

65.  C  The first half of the sentence (E-waste … devices) is a complete idea or independent clause, as is the second half of the sentence (the majority … landfills). Only choice (C) correctly joins two complete ideas with a comma and coordinating conjunction. Choices (A), (B), and (D) are all punctuation marks and relative pronouns used to join only an incomplete idea with a complete one, so cross them all out.

66.  F  When you are using a relative pronoun, people—such as Activists—should nearly always be referred to using who (rather than which or that), so eliminate choice (H). You need the phrase who track such waste to specify which activists are doing the estimating, and information essential to the meaning of the sentence such as this should not be separated out from the rest of the sentence with commas (only do that with information not essential to the meaning of the sentence), so eliminate choices (G) and (J).

67.  A  The phrase such as indicates that these are examples of toxins being released. Choice (A) is consistent with that description. Choice (B) is never touched on by any information in the passage, nor does it accurately describe the phrase the author is considering adding, so eliminate it. Choice (C) is not something this phrase needs to accomplish and can therefore be eliminated as well. Choice (D) is simply false. The passage has not already mentioned these things.

68.  J  Because the underlined word modifies the verb contaminates, you need to choose an answer that provides an adverb, rather than an adjective. Adjectives modify nouns and pronouns; adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Choices (F), (G), and (H) provide adjectives and can therefore be eliminated. The proper adverb is dangerously, which choice (J) provides.

69.  D  Consequently would indicate that the reusable silver, gold, and other electrical conductors in the motherboards were a consequence of how burning contaminates the air. Cross out (A) because nothing indicates that this is true; instead, the positive sentiment expressed in the first sentence of this paragraph is a marked shift from the negative sentiment at the end of the previous paragraph. Choices (B) and (C) would reflect a consistent flow—so eliminate those. Choice (D), on the other hand, accurately signals the shift occurring between these two paragraphs.

70.  F  You can cross off choice (G) because the second half of the sentence (by reducing … destroy ecosystems) is not a complete idea, meaning a semicolon is not an acceptable way to join it with the first half of the sentence, which is a complete idea. In choice (H), so creates a cause-and-effect relationship between the two halves of the sentence that is not consistent with what the paragraph describes, so eliminate it, too. Choice (J) creates a sentence that means the opposite of what the author is actually trying to convey, so leave the sentence as is and select choice (F).

71.  A  Leave the sentence as is and pick choice (A). Each of the other options changes the meaning of the sentence.

72.  F  Choice (F) accurately describes the flow of this paragraph. While choice (G) is true—though, to be fair, it’s a single statistic, not statistics as the answer choice says—choice (F) is more comprehensive and attuned to the big picture, making it a better answer than choice (G). Choice (H) simply isn’t true (it provides the statistic), and choice (J) isn’t much better: Redundant would mean that it provided the same information, and you know it provides more than that (the statistic), so knock out both of these.

73.  A  Eliminate choice (D) first, as there’s nothing tangential about this point. It addresses disposal of e-waste, the same thing the author’s been talking about all along. Next, cross out choice (C), because the word Nevertheless in the following sentence acknowledges the change in flow choice (C) describes—which means you should get rid of the answer choice, not the proposed addition. Choice (A) is preferable to choice (B) because you need to be concerned more about the specifics of why these organizations are bad—not the mere fact that they are bad.

74.  H  Since progress and a step forward mean the same thing in this context, it is redundant to use them both, so you can eliminate choices (F), (G), and (J), some of which change the meaning of the sentence in addition to being redundant. Only choice (H) provides a concise substitute for the underlined portion that preserves the meaning.

75.  C  The passage discusses e-waste and its effect on the environment when it isn’t properly recycled. The new information about government regulations on pollution isn’t wholly unrelated, but it is off-topic in this essay, as choice (C) suggests. Neither choice (A) nor (B) correctly describes what this sentence accomplishes, so eliminate both of those choices. Cross out choice (D), since the subject of government regulation as complicated and complexis not addressed anywhere else in the passage.