McGraw-Hill Education ACT 2017 (2016)



45 Minutes – 75 Questions

DIRECTIONS: In the passages that follow, some words and phrases are underlined and numbered. In the answer column, you will find alternatives for the words and phrases that are underlined. Choose the alternative that you think is best and fill in the corresponding bubble on your answer sheet. If you think that the original version is best, choose “NO CHANGE,” which will always be either answer choice A or F. You will also find questions about a particular section of the passage, or about the entire passage. These questions will be identified by either an underlined portion or by a number in a box. Look for the answer that clearly expresses the idea, is consistent with the style and tone of the passage, and makes the correct use of standard written English. Read the passage through once before answering the questions. For some questions, you should read beyond the indicated portion before you answer.


Helen Keller’s Light in the Darkness

Helen Keller was born in 1880. Her life Image normally. She was Image like her toddler peers. It was not until a high fever robbed her of sight and hearing just before her second birthday that her life began its remarkable journey. Although the exact cause of Helen’s fever was never determined, modern doctors believed Helen suffered from meningitis. The illness plunged Helen into a dark silence that most people cannot even imagine Image The Kellers’ beloved first-born child was blind and deaf.

1.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  had began

C.  begins

D.  began

2.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  happy and healthy, learning to walk and talk

H.  happy, and healthy, learning to walk, and talk,

 J.  happy, and healthy learning to walk, and talk

3.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  to think about

C.  about the thinking of

D.  DELETE the underlined portion.

Image Helen wandered around the family’s property, anxious to Image but unable to understand anything that she experienced. Her resulting tantrums became more violent as she continued to grow. Feeling sorry for their Image allowed the tantrums to occur with no consequences. In a last-ditch effort to keep the increasingly unmanageable Helen from being Image the State Insane Asylum, the Kellers contacted the Perkins Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Image its staff had once helped a child who was both blind and deaf.

4.   Which of the following sentences, if added here, would best introduce the new subject of Paragraph 2?

F.  Helen didn’t obey her parents.

G.  The next few years were frustrating for Helen and physically and emotionally draining for her family.

H.  Annie Sullivan came to teach Helen.

 J.  Helen loved plants and animals, and many different kinds could be found near her home.

5.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  discover sensations that felt new

C.  feel new sensations about making discoveries

D.  make discoveries and sense new feelings

6.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  impaired daughter, Helen’s parents

H.  impaired daughter Helens’ parents

 J.  impaired daughter Helen’s, parents

7.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  sent to

C.  sent with

D.  sent for

8.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  Primarily a blind school,

H.  For the blind, primarily, a school,

 J.  Just a school for the blind, primarily,

Enter Annie Sullivan, who truly became the “miracle worker” in Helen’s life. Image be able to overcome her tremendous challenges. Unfortunately, Helen’s parents’ constant coddling of their daughter was undermining Annie’s efforts. Image exhausting, but Annie knew that, if Image would be Helen’s salvation. In order to work her “miracle,” Annie needed to get Helen away from her parents’ pampering. Annie Image permission to take Helen to live in a little house on the opposite side of the Kellers’ garden. Initially, Helen continued to fight Image but gradually the girl began to behave. ImageHelen’s submission became trust in Annie. Helen began to comprehend that everything she touched had a name. Her constant darkness was suddenly illuminated by this new-found understanding, and her hunger for knowledge became insatiable.

9.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  Helen, only with her self-discipline, would

C.  Only by including self-discipline, would Helen

D.  Only Helen, with self-discipline, would

10.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  One’s stubbornness was

H.  Her stubbornness being

 J.  Helen’s stubbornness was

11.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  channeled it

C.  channeled: it

D.  channeled, it

12.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  been giving

H.  was giving

 J.  gave

13.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  Annies’ efforts

C.  Annies efforts

D.  Annie’s efforts,

14.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  However,

H.  Soon,

 J.  On the other hand,

For the remainder of her life, Annie Sullivan continued to feed Helen’s appetite for learning, providing a constant light in Helen’s otherwise impenetrable darkness.

Question 15 asks about the preceding passage as a whole.

15.   Suppose the writer was asked to write a brief essay about Helen Keller’s professional accomplishments. Would this essay successfully fulfill this goal?

A.  Yes, because the essay focuses on the skill of Annie Sullivan in communicating with Helen.

B.  Yes, because the essay indicates that Helen eventually stopped having tantrums and could begin learning from Annie Sullivan.

C.  No, because this essay addresses Annie Sullivan’s accomplishments concerning Helen.

D.  No, because Helen’s disabilities prevented her from having a successful career.


The following paragraphs may or may not be in the most logical order. You may be asked questions about the logical order of the paragraphs, as well as where to place sentences logically within any given paragraph.

Holiday Joy (and Chaos)


Why do the holidays make you feel like a kid again? I’m not talking about the wide-eyed wonder of seeing the tree at Rockefeller Center Image No, I mean the tantrum-filled, “I want to do it all” attitude of a two-year-old. You begin the season with enthusiasm. You begin thinking about the Christmas season soon after Labor Day, Image anticipating the many joys sure to unfold.

16.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  illuminated by the initial time.

H.  illuminated for the first time.

 J.  firstly illuminated.

17.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  enthusiastic

C.  enthusiastically

D.  enthusiasm


A critical part of the holiday Image Not wanting to be rushed with last-minute Image begin your holiday shopping early. In September, you buy the perfect gift for Aunt Susie. You compliment yourself for thinking ahead. In October, you Image just the right gift for Uncle John (who collects ghost figurines). Image holiday shopping is going to be a snap!

18.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  being shopping for gifts.

H.  is shopping for gifts.

 J.  shopped for gifts.

19.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  purchases, you

C.  purchases you

D.  purchases; you

20.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  found

H.  will find

 J.  have found

21.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  This year, your

C.  This year: your

D.  This year you’re,


Suddenly, it’s Thanksgiving. The holiday invitations begin to arrive. As you mark the dates on the calendar, you vow that Image from those in the past. You notice a Image but you’re not concerned. You are determined to enjoy every holiday occasion.

22.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  this holiday will be different

H.  the differences this holiday would have

 J.  a different holiday it would be

23.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  scheduled, overlapping set of events on the schedule,

C.  few overlapping events,

D.  few overlapping events scheduled to occur at the same time,


You calmly begin writing a list that includes names of family and Image checkmarks next to those whose gifts you’ve purchased. What’s this? You’ve purchased only two gifts out of fifteen relatives and twelve friends? Suddenly, the holiday season Image a nightmare. You begin making frantic phone calls to obtain wish lists, but to no avail.

24.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  friends. Placing

H.  friends; placing

 J.  friends, placing

25.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  has become

C.  becoming

D.  will become


Now it’s November, and the radio stations are playing Christmas carols. How silly—we have six weeks until Christmas! There is still plenty of time to find gifts for everyone on your shopping list.


Image You rush from store to store. Your eyes dart among the displays for the perfect gift. Finally, you give up and purchase 25 generic gift certificates at a department store. They are not the most inspired gifts, but you’re done shopping! You Image begin baking cookies. Immediately, your son Image “What did you get Miss Jones?” You burst into tears, realizing you forgot not only his teacher but seven other people who somehow didn’t make your list. Your son cautiously approaches and gives you a gentle hug. You feel a glimmer of joy return. You decide to skip the cookies and get some sleep. As you turn out the lights, you silently vow to start earlier next year!

26.   Which of the following sentences offers the best introduction to Paragraph 6?

F.  Deciding that you must come up with your own gift ideas, you head to the mall.

G.  Christmas should not be stressful.

H.  Malls have a diverse selection of stores within steps of each other.

 J.  Most stores offer gift options for last-minute shoppers.

27.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  trudging home, exhausted, to

C.  exhausted trudge home to

D.  trudge home, exhausted, to

28.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  had asked

H.  asks

 J.  ask

Questions 29 and 30 ask about the preceding passage as a whole.

29.   What function does Paragraph 6 serve in relation to the rest of the essay?

A.  It refers back to the opening sentences of the essay, suggesting that all adults act like toddlers.

B.  It indicates that the narrator will likely succeed in next year’s goal of completing her holiday responsibilities early.

C.  It summarizes the essay’s main point that Christmas is the most relaxed holiday of the year.

D.  It indicates that, despite the narrator’s feelings of being overwhelmed, she may eventually be able to enjoy the holiday.

30.   For the sake of unity and coherence of the essay, Paragraph 5 should be placed:

F.  where it is now.

G.  after Paragraph 1.

H.  after Paragraph 2.

 J.  after Paragraph 3.


Have You No Shame?

Popular opinion teaches us that guilt is a wasted emotion. Ironically, this same Image teaches us “No pain, no gain.” Although we recognize that physical fitness may involve occasional discomfort, we are unwilling to accept that Image may as well. Despite what we have learned about pain, studies show that if an exercise hurts, you’re probably doing it wrong. Similarly, if a course of action (or inaction) causes pangs of guilt, Image Nature provides our bodies with pain receptors to limit injury to ourselves—if you place your hand on a hot stove, pain prompts you to remove your hand. Likewise, guilt helps to Image

31.   Which choice would most precisely sharpen the focus of this paragraph, in keeping with the way the writer develops the argument in the rest of the essay?


B.  emotion

C.  specimen

D.  DELETE the underlined portion.

32.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  societal fitness

H.  societal’s fitness

 J.  societies fitness

33.   Which choice best supports the argument that guilt serves a purpose?


B.  you should call a psychiatrist.

C.  you should ignore it.

D.  you should change your course of action.

34.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  stop us from causing unnecessary and grievous pain to other people.

H.  limit emotional injury to others.

 J.  limit unnecessary and emotionally grievous injury to others.

Imagine driving through your local business district. A car is Image left into your lane. Although you could safely allow the car to merge, you instead accelerate so as not to delay your trip another second. Image As you drive by, you recognize your neighbor behind the wheel—the one who watched your dog during your vacation. You feel an uncomfortable twinge of guilt, and you Image more courteously for the rest of your trip.

35.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  trying to attempt a turn

C.  trying to attempt to turn

D.  attempting to turn

36.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  The faster you are traveling, the longer it will take you to stop.

H.  Vehicles today can stop faster than in the past.

 J.  DELETE the underlined portion.

37.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  find yourself, driving,

C.  find yourself driving

D.  find, yourselves, driving

Discounting guilt is akin to turning off conscience. Imagine a society in which no one Image a manner that benefits another unless failure to cooperate will result in Image Although you may joke that I’ve just described rush-hour traffic, Image in fact, described sociopathic behavior.

38.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  acts in

H.  acts as if he is in

 J.  performs of and for

39.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  penalties of a legal nature, which may include fines and/or imprisonment.

C.  fines, imprisonment, or other legal penalties.

D.  penalties of a legal nature.

40.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  I, myself, just

H.  by just having,

 J.  I have,

By definition, guilt is “a feeling of being blame-worthy.” Shame is a “feeling of strong regret” or “painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt.” Not surprisingly, an insanity plea Image is usually sought when a criminal feels no regret for his actions. So how did guilt get its bad reputation? First, we hate pain, and if we can avoid it, we do. In the case of Image it is difficult to escape the negativity. Image we decide the guilt itself—not the action that prompted the guilt—is wrong. Second, guilt, if improperly Image can lead to devastation. Guilt should not be ignored, but it should be examined (What caused me to feel guilty?), analyzed (How can I avoid that mistake in the future?), and then released (I move on with new wisdom). Unfortunately, some people spend so much time on the examination Image never move on to the analysis and release. They become crippled by the guilt. The purpose of guilt is not to cause people to withdraw from society but to become better members of it.

41.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  that he is criminally insane

C.  that he is not of sound mind

D.  DELETE the underlined portion.

42.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  guilt, so,

H.  guilt, then,

 J.  guilt, thereby,

43.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  Conversely,

C.  However,

D.  Moreover,

44.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  managed, which

H.  managed,

 J.  managed, it

45.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  that they,

C.  that they

D.  that; they


A Picture of Health

President John F. Kennedy’s public image Image and trim, he embodied the tanned, athletic image other men sought. In reality, his “tan” was a symptom of Addison’s disease. Image forced to watch as healthier children played outside.

46.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  was enviable health, tall

H.  was one of enviable health, tall

 J.  of enviable health. Tall

47.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  He had been bedridden for much of his life. He was genuinely athletic. He was

C.  Although genuinely athletic, he had been bedridden for much of his childhood,

D.  He was a childhood athlete bedridden

Kennedy’s ailments Image a two-month hospitalization for scarlet fever at age two. At age thirteen, he developed colitis. By 1940, he had osteoporosis and compression fractures in his lower back, and in 1944 he had his first back surgery. In 1947, Kennedy was officially diagnosed with Addison’s disease, Image He underwent two more unsuccessful back surgeries in 1954 and 1955, and took chronic pain medication from that point until his death in 1963.

48.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  began by

H.  began for

 J.  began with

49.   The writer would like to add more detail to help the reader to understand the symptoms of Addison’s disease. Assuming all are true, which of the following completions of this sentence best achieves this effect?

A.  an auto-immune disorder that has numerous symptoms.

B.  which is rare.

C.  a rare auto-immune disorder characterized by weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and darkening of the skin.

D.  which causes a variety of unpleasant symptoms and can result in death, often at a very early age.

By the time Kennedy became president, he was taking ten to twelve pills every day, including anti-spasmodics, muscle relaxants, various steroids, pain medications, and sleeping pills. In addition, Image

50.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  in his back he received anesthetic injections up to six times a day.

H.  in his back, up to six times a day, he received anesthetic injections.

 J.  up to six times a day in his back, he received anesthetic injections.

How did Kennedy hide such significant health problems from the American people Image His best alibi was his appearance: He looked healthy. His well-being was clear to Imageon television. In addition, he was well-practiced at acting Image was able to hide his Image and closest relatives. Finally, he was prepared with answers to any Image for example, he Image his back problems to old football and war injuries.

51.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  without their knowledge or noticing it?

C.  without noticing them?

D.  DELETE the underlined portion.

52.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  anyone who saw him—in person, or

H.  anyone who saw him; in person or

 J.  anyone who saw him in person or

53.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  healthy, and

C.  healthy. As he

D.  healthy; by showing he

54.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  crippling pain from his doctors, except

H.  pain, which was crippling, from all except his doctors

 J.  doctors from his crippling pain

55.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  related questions about his health;

C.  health-related questions about his well-being;

D.  health-related questions;

56.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  attributed

H.  is attributing

 J.  was attributed

Image The answer is a testimony to Kennedy’s incredible strength and perseverance. A detailed time-line comparison of his illnesses and treatments with his official decisions and actions resulted in the following discovery: Neither his illness Image seemed to have affected his performance as president.

57.   Which of the choices provides the most effective introductory sentence for Paragraph 5?


B.  Perhaps a better question would be whether Kennedy played football.

C.  Perhaps a better question would be whether such an ill man was competent to be president.

D.  Perhaps a better question would be why Kennedy had Addison’s disease.

58.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  and not the drugs

H.  nor the drugs

 J.  and either the drugs

By today’s standards, Kennedy had medical problems severe enough to qualify him for federal disability or retirement. Nevertheless, he not only survived but Image

59.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  at the highest level, performed.

C.  highly performed at his level.

D.  achieved high performance above his expected level.

Question 60 asks about the preceding passage as a whole.

60.   Suppose the writer had been assigned to write a brief essay about Addison’s disease and treatment of the disease. Would this essay successfully fulfill the assignment?

F.  Yes, because the essay describes the symptoms of Addison’s disease.

G.  Yes, because the essay explains that Addison’s disease is treated with steroids.

H.  No, because the essay focuses on President Kennedy’s health.

 J.  No, because the essay does not describe any symptoms of the disease.


Warmth in the Arctic

“We’re going where?” “To the gateway to the Arctic—the Land of the Midnight Sun! We’re Image to Tromso, Norway!” As the school year ended, I was looking forward to going home to Southern California, Image to lifeguard and use my spare time to surf. Now my friend was proposing that we spend the summer 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Was he nuts? As I look back, it was the best crazy decision I ever made.

61.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  going and traveling

C.  traveling

D.  traveling on a trip

62.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  where I planned

H.  which I planned

 J.  in which I planned

Although the weather in Tromso wasn’t hot, it wasn’t particularly cold, either. I occasionally needed a sweater, but seldom a coat. And, though I didn’t develop my usual summer tan, the warmth of the people of Tromso more than made up for what the climate did not provide. Image (1) That summer, my days weren’t spent sitting in a lifeguard chair, Image a whistle around my finger. (2) Image (3) Although I feared that the time would drag, the opposite was true. (4) I know I slept less that summer than I ever have; yet, I didn’t feel tired. (5) In fact, my days weren’t spent working—or sitting—Image (6) Whether that was the result of the midnight sun or the potently rich coffee, I’m not sure. Image

63.   Given that all are true, which of the choices best illustrates the “warmth” described in the previous sentence?


B.  The food in Tromso was delicious.

C.  Most of the people wore fur hats.

D.  Tromso gets very cold in the winter.

64.   The writer wishes to include an example of the Tromso residents’ treatment of foreigners. Which of the following true sentences, inserted here, would best fulfill that goal?

F.  When we asked for directions, the residents usually provided them.

G.  We had only to glance up from a map to find someone offering (in nearly perfect English) to help us find our way.

H.  My mother is Norwegian, and she is very helpful.

 J.  Tromso has more night-time attractions per capita than any other city in Norway, which makes the people very friendly.

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

A.  twirling

B.  flipping

C.  encircling

D.  twisting

66.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  Residents may boast that they never sleep, but in Tromso, it seems to be true.

H.  In other towns, people may boast that it never sleeps, but in Tromso it seems they’re true.

 J.  Towns other than Tromso may boast, but it isn’t true that they don’t sleep except there.

67.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  besides

C.  regardless

D.  indeed

68.   Which of the following sequences of sentences makes the preceding paragraph most logical?


G.  2, 3, 1, 5, 4, 6

H.  1, 6, 5, 3, 2, 4

 J.  1, 6, 2, 4, 3, 5

Much of our free time was spent hiking. Image Hiking is so popular in Norway that the government has passed regulations such as the Friluftsleven (Outdoor Recreation Act) that allows anyone to hike or ski across wilderness areas, Image One of our favorite places to hike was on Mount Storsteinen, which is accessible from Tromso by cable car. From the top, we would hike one of the many trails. The views were amazing. I took photos of Image

69.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  Good boots are essential to preventing blisters, especially on a long hike.

C.  My favorite boots are tough and dependable.

D.  DELETE the underlined portion.

70.   The writer wishes to add a detail to the end of this sentence that will explain how the Act continues to expand hikers’ rights. Given that all are true, which of the following statements would most directly accomplish this?

F.  adding designated areas as demand increases.

G.  even if the areas can’t be reached by cable car.

H.  despite the difficulties of hiking.

 J.  including those people who don’t enjoy hiking.

71.   Which of the descriptions of the photos best creates a vivid image for the reader?


B.  clear mountain lakes, thick birch forests, deep fjords, and the midnight sun.

C.  lakes, forests, fjords, and the sun.

D.  people and places I had never photographed before.

Now that I’m Image I look forward to returning to Tromso soon. However, next time I am determined to see Image sights in the winter. As much as I enjoyed the midnight Image whose vista has been described as world class—exactly as I would describe Image inhabitants.

72.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  home, therefore,

H.  home, for example,

 J.  home, on the other hand,

73.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  Tromsos

C.  Tromsos,

D.  Tromso’s

74.   F.  NO CHANGE

G.  sun from Tromso and Mount Storsteinen, I am anxious to see the northern lights from there too,

H.  sun, the northern lights from Mount Storsteinen I am anxious to see,

 J.  view of the sun, the northern lights from Mount Storsteinen are something I am anxious to see:

75.   A.  NO CHANGE

B.  the region’s

C.  their

D.  its