McGraw-Hill Education ACT 2017 (2016)



35 Minutes – 40 Questions

DIRECTIONS: This test includes four passages, each followed by ten questions. Read the passages and choose the best answer to each question. After you have selected your answer, fill in the corresponding bubble on your answer sheet. You should refer to the passages as often as necessary when answering the questions.


PROSE FICTION: “Assimilating in the Promised Land



1.   One of the points suggested in Paragraph 2 regarding Eui Thi’s longing for Laos was that:

A.  Laos was now more politically stable.

B.  the threat of communism was no longer present in Laos and it was safe to return.

C.  Thailand is plagued by earthquakes, making Laos safer by comparison.

D.  feeling like an outsider in Laos was preferable to the chaos of the refugee camp.

2.   As it is used in the passage (line 44), the word zeal most nearly means:

F.  intensity.

G.  diligence.

H.  understanding.

 J.  enthusiasm.

3.   The passage most strongly suggests that Eui Thi:

A.  never really wanted to go to America.

B.  distrusts her parents for removing her from her home.

C.  always regretted being the oldest child.

D.  feels like she doesn’t belong anywhere.

4.   It can reasonably be inferred from Paragraph 2 that Eui Thi’s parents were whispering about:

F.  the military conflict in Vietnam.

G.  Eui Thi’s lack of close friends.

H.  Eui Thi’s lack of appreciation.

 J.  an anticipated sibling for Eui Thi.

5.   According to the passage, Eui Thi and her family received which of the following upon arriving in America?

A.  A melting pot

B.  A new house

C.  Fancy clothes

D.  Dance lessons

6.   According to the passage, Eui Thi’s “the promised land” would include:

   I.  a sense of belonging

 II.  room to run

III.  the communist enemy

 IV.  adequate food

F.  I and II only

G. II and IV only

H. I, II, and III only

 J.  I, II, and IV only

7.   The main purpose of the statement in lines 42 and 43 is to:

A.  inform the reader of all that America has to offer.

B.  illustrate the apparent fulfillment of Eui Thi’s dreams.

C.  counteract the author’s earlier description of the promised land.

D.  provide proof that Eui Thi would live a carefree life from now on.

8.   According to the passage, Eui Thi was able to mimic her peers in all aspects EXCEPT:

F.  language.

G.  hairstyle.

H.  culture.

 J.  attitude.

9.   The dancing at Eui Thi’s junior high, as compared to traditional Tai-Dam dancing, was judged in this passage to be:

A.  upbeat and celebratory.

B.  a universal style.

C.  an entirely different style.

D.  dark and exciting.

10.   According to the passage, Eui Thi’s American school was:

F.  on a hill.

G.  within driving distance of her home.

H.  within walking distance of her home.

 J.  surrounded by trees.


SOCIAL SCIENCE: Passage A is adapted from an essay about the American judicial system. Passage B is adapted from an essay about the legal system in Western Europe.

Passage A


Passage B


Questions 11 – 13 ask about Passage A.

11.   Passage A indicates that American law is:

A.  not strictly adhered to.

B.  a necessary evil that interferes with daily living.

C.  adaptable to the needs and desires of the populace.

D.  a cursory representation of rules created by dictators.

12.   The author’s claim that “American law is an outward expression of the morals and values of the people” (line 1) most likely refers to:

F.  the notion that law-abiding citizens only reside in America.

G.  the idea that laws are established based on the needs of society.

H.  a legal system that will only work within a group of moral people.

 J.  a desire of the people to show other countries the value of the American judicial system.

13.   As it is used in line 10, “plasticity” most nearly means:

A.  the capacity to be altered.

B.  the ability to remain rigid.

C.  the desires of the citizenry.

D.  the requirement of a signature.

Questions 14 – 16 ask about Passage B.

14.   In the first paragraph of Passage B (lines 1 – 15), the author refers to “frivolous lawsuits” in a manner that:

F.  portrays the Western European legal system as useless.

G.  indicates a positive aspect of the Western European legal system.

H.  defines a legal term prevalent in the Western European legal system.

 J.  suggests an improvement to be made to the Western European legal system.

15.   Passage B explains that, in order to prove a case, an individual must:

A.  remain consistent.

B.  know that the law is in his favor.

C.  allow the judge to flexibly interpret the case.

D.  relinquish all control of the case to the Western European court.

16.   When the author claims that “such jurisprudence is freeing” (lines 24 – 25), he’s most likely referring to the:

F.  idea that people do not have to worry so much about the outcome of a legal case.

G.  notion of citizens remaining innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

H.  argument against providing free legal services in Western Europe.

 J.  predictability of law from one case to another in Western Europe.

Questions 17 – 20 ask about both passages.

17.   Both Passage A and Passage B indicate that legal systems can be:

A.  imperfect.

B.  inflexible.

C.  imposing.

D.  inefficient.

18.   Which of the following questions is central to both passages?

F.  To what extent do flexible legal systems fail citizens?

G.  What types of laws should be avoided in all legal systems?

H.  How have the needs of a society influenced its legal system?

 J.  To what extent have individuals reacted negatively to the legal system in their country?

19.   With which of the following statements would the authors of both passages be most likely to agree?

A.  Laws should be interpreted in the light of a strict constructionist viewpoint.

B.  There is no legal system that will serve the needs of every citizen flawlessly.

C.  There is no legal system that is not a direct result of societal norms and beliefs.

D.  Laws are meant to conform to the will of the people and should therefore be flexible.

20.   Which of the following most accurately describes a way in which the two passages are related to each other?

F.  Passage B expands on details presented in Passage A.

G.  The logic presented in Passage B weakens the claims made in Passage A.

H.  The history suggested in Passage B is proven to be false by the facts in Passage A.

 J.  Passage B suggests an alternate framework for discussing the same broad topic as Passage A.


HUMANITIES: “Teen Heartthrob”




21.   Which of the following descriptions most accurately and completely represents this passage?

A.  A thoughtful and heartfelt reminiscence of the singer Shaun Cassidy

B.  A biographical overview of Shaun Cassidy’s entertainment career from the 1970s to the present

C.  A careful and impartial critique of the singing talent of Shaun Cassidy

D.  A discussion of the author’s own singing career in relation to that of Shaun Cassidy

22.   All of the following aspects of Shaun Cassidy’s life were described EXCEPT:

F.  his childhood.

G.  his singing career.

H.  his acting career.

 J.  his television writing career.

23.   The details in the last paragraph primarily serve to illustrate the:

A.  writer’s ability to overcome youthful fantasies.

B.  compelling nature of child stars like Shaun Cassidy.

C.  many innovations of modern television.

D.  progression of Shaun Cassidy’s career.

24.   As it is used in the last paragraph, the word naive most nearly means:

F.  uncomplicated.

G.  childish.

H.  unsophisticated.

 J.  untested.

25.   It can be inferred from the passage that the writer, in her adolescence, most valued which of the following in a performer?

A.  Physical attractiveness

B.  Strong teeth

C.  Famous siblings

D.  Writing ability

26.   It can be most reasonably concluded from the writer’s reference to Cassidy’s fame being “destined to be short-lived” that:

F.  most teen performers enjoy longer periods of fame and fortune.

G.  Cassidy had no talent.

H.  most teen performers who rise quickly to fame fall out of favor just as quickly.

 J.  teen fans are usually very loyal.

27.   According to the passage, in which order did the following events occur in the writer’s life?

  I. Recovering from her adolescent crush

 II. Casually following Cassidy’s career

III. Reading about Cassidy in Tiger Beat

A.  I, II, III

B.  II, III, I

C.  III, II, I

D.  III, I, II

28.   Which of the following best describes the writer’s immediate reaction to reading about Cassidy for the first time?

F.  Envy of Cassidy’s musical and acting ability

G.  Serious interest in learning about careers in entertainment

H.  Apathy toward entertainers in general

 J.  Awe and admiration of the teen idol

29.   According to the passage, Cassidy’s achievements include all of the following EXCEPT:

A.  operating a camera.

B.  stage acting.

C.  television production.

D.  television writing.

30.   The writer states that Shaun Cassidy was:

F.  naive and shallow.

G.  talented and curious.

H.  challenging and inappropriate.

 J.  youthful and casual.


NATURAL SCIENCE: “The Need to Succeed”




31.   According to the passage, most scientists now believe that Homo sapiens:

A.  evolved from Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.

B.  evolved from Homo neanderthalensis.

C.  killed off the Homo neanderthalensis.

D.  is not the same species as Homo neanderthalensis.

32.   According to the passage, during colder weather, Neanderthals needed:

F.  to move to a warmer climate.

G.  more food than normal.

H.  flint and obsidian.

 J.  less clothing.

33.   According to the passage, DNA testing of Neanderthal remains reveals that:

A.  Neanderthals and modern-day humans share very few of the same genes.

B.  Neanderthals were genetically similar to Cro-Magnons.

C.  Neanderthals and modern-day humans are descended from Cro-Magnons.

D.  Neanderthals’ brains were as large as the modern human brain.

34.   The passage states that Homo neanderthalensis is:

F.  an abbreviated form of the phrase Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.

G.  an extinct species.

H.  a communal hunter.

 J.  a rival of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.

35.   According to the passage, all of the following evidence led to a better understanding of Neanderthals EXCEPT:

A.  comparative femur measurements.

B.  radiometric dating.

C.  sediment cores.

D.  climate models.

36.   According to the passage, the last evidence of Neanderthals is:

F.  about 100,000 years old.

G.  about 30,000 years old.

H.  130,000 years old.

 J.  300,000 years old.

37.   As it is used in line 73, the word technology most nearly refers to:

A.  technical language.

B.  living in organized groups.

C.  applied science.

D.  objects necessary for human survival.

38.   According to the passage, some of the weapons used by Cro-Magnons included all of the following EXCEPT:

F.  bows and arrows.

G.  snares and traps.

H.  gill nets.

 J.  javelins.

39.   According to the passage, all of the following factors led to the extinction of the Neanderthals EXCEPT:

A.  increasingly cold winters.

B.  Cro-Magnons’ slaughter of many Neanderthals.

C.  Neanderthals’ lack of innovation.

D.  superior competitors for scarce resources.

40.   The passage states that Neanderthals differ from anatomically modern humans in that Neanderthals:

F.  lacked critical survival skills.

G.  had a very small brain.

H.  were incapable of speech.

 J.  possessed advanced weaponry.