Preparing For The ACT Test


2015l2016FREE Preparing for the ACT TestWhat’s Inside Full-Length Practice Tests, including a Writing Test Information about the Optional Writing Test Strategies to Prepare for the Tests What to Expect on Test DayEsta publicación también se puede ver o descargaren español en

Contentsmay notice subtle differences between this practice testand the test you actually take on test day. Preparation for the ACT Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Strategies for Taking the ACT Tests. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4What to Expect on Test Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Taking the Practice Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10Practice Multiple-Choice Tests. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Practice Writing Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 535. Scoring Your Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56How to Score the Multiple-Choice Tests . . . . . . . 56How to Score the Writing Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616. Sample Answer Document. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 631General Preparationfor the ACT TestsGeneral Test-TakingStrategies for the ACTThe ACT contains multiple-choice tests in four areas:English, mathematics, reading, and science. Each of thesetests contains questions that offer either four or five answerchoices from which you are to choose the correct, or best,answer. The following suggestions apply to all four tests:A Message to StudentsPace yourself.The time limits set for each test give nearly everyone enoughtime to finish all the questions. However, because theEnglish, reading, and science tests contain a considerableamount of text, it is important to pace yourself so you will notspend too much time on one passage. Similarly, try not tospend too much time puzzling over an answer to a specificproblem in the mathematics test. Go on to the otherquestions and come back if there is time. Your supervisorwill announce when you have five minutes remaining oneach test.This booklet, which is provided free of charge, is intendedto help you do your best on the ACT test. Included inthis booklet are complete practice tests—“retired” ACTquestions that were administered to students on a Nationaltest date—including a writing prompt, a sample answerdocument, answer keys, and self-scoring instructions.Read this booklet carefully and take the practice tests wellbefore test day so you will be familiar with the tests, whatthey measure, and the strategies you can use to do yourbest on test day.Go to for additional ACT testpreparation materials, including ACT Online Prep , TheReal ACT Prep Guide, sample questions, and the Questionof the Day.Read the directions for each test carefully.Before you begin taking one of the tests, read thedirections carefully. The English, reading, and sciencetests ask for the “best” answer. Do not respond as soon asyou identify a correct answer. Read and consider all of theanswer choices and choose the answer that best respondsto the question.The ACT is administered nationally and internationallyto examinees in English, including all instructions andquestions. Select states testing as part of the State andDistrict testing program permit the use of translatedinstructions, but such testing does not result in a collegereportable score.The mathematics test asks for the “correct” answer. Readeach question carefully to make sure you understand thetype of answer required. Then, you may want to work outthe answer you feel is correct and look for it among thechoices given. If your answer is not among the choicesprovided, reread the question and consider all of theanswer choices.ACT is committed to representing the diversity of societyin all its aspects, including race, ethnicity, and gender.Thus, test passages, questions, and writing prompts aredeliberately chosen to reflect a range of cultures.ACT is also committed to ensuring that test questions andwriting prompts are fair—that they do not disadvantageany particular group of examinees. Extensive reviews ofthe fairness of test materials are rigorously conducted byboth ACT staff and external consultants. ACT also employsstatistical procedures to help ensure that test materials donot unfairly affect the performance of any group.Read each question carefully.It is important that you understand what each questionasks. Some questions will require you to go through severalsteps to find the correct or best answer, while others canbe answered more quickly.Answer the easy questions irst.The best strategy for taking the tests is to answer the easyquestions and skip the questions you find difficult. Afteranswering all of the easy questions, go back and answerthe more difficult questions if you have time.Note: Since the ACT is a curriculum-based achievementtest, research is periodically conducted and tests areupdated accordingly to ensure test content continuesto reflect classroom instruction and remains a relevantpredictor of college and career readiness. As a result, youACT endorses the Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education and the Code ofProfessional Responsibilities in Educational Measurement, guides to the conductof those involved in educational testing. ACT is committed to ensuring that eachof its testing programs upholds the guidelines in each Code. A copy of eachCode may be obtained free of charge from ACT Customer Services (70), PO Box1008, Iowa City, IA 52243-1008, 319.337.1429. 2015 by ACT, Inc. All rights reserved.NOTE: This booklet is covered by federal copyright laws that prohibit thereproduction of the test questions without the prior express, written permission of ACT, Inc. No portion of this booklet may be copied or distributed without written permission of ACT.2

Read the directions carefully.In writing your essay, you will be expected to engagemeaningfully with the issue and perspectives presented bythe prompt. Before you begin to plan and write, read andconsider all prompt material carefully.Use logic on more difficult questions.When you return to the more difficult questions, try touse logic to eliminate incorrect answers to a question.Compare the answer choices to each other and note howthey differ. Such differences may provide clues as to whatthe question requires. Eliminate as many incorrect answersas you can, then make an educated guess from theremaining answers.Read the writing prompt carefully.It is important that you understand exactly what thewriting prompt asks you to do. Be sure you have a clearunderstanding of the issue in the writing prompt and of thequestion you must respond to before you start to plan andwrite your essay.Answer every question.Your score on the tests will be based only on the numberof questions that you answer correctly; there is no penaltyfor guessing. Thus, you should answer every questionwithin the time allowed for each test.Write (or print) legibly in the answer folder.If your readers cannot read what you have written, they willnot be able to score your essay. You must write your essayusing a soft lead No. 2 pencil (not a mechanical pencilor ink pen) on the lined pages in the answer folder. Youmay not need all the lined pages, but to ensure you haveenough room to finish, do not skip lines.Review your work.If there is time left after you have answered every question ina test, go back and check your work on that test. You will notbe allowed to go back to any other test or mark responses toa test after time has been called on that test.Be precise in marking your answer document.Be sure that you properly fill in the correct ovals on youranswer document. Check to be sure that the number ofthe line of ovals on your answer document is the same asthe number of the question you are answering and that youmark only one response for each question.Make corrections clear.If you make corrections, do so thoroughly and legibly. Youmay write corrections or additions neatly between the linesof your essay, but do not write in the margins.Erase completely.If you want to change a multiple-choice answer, be sureto use a soft eraser that will not leave smudges and erasethe unintended mark completely. Do not cross out answersor use correction fluid or tape; you must erase. Correctionfluid/tape, smudges, or unintended marks may causeerrors in scoring. Preparing for Test DayPrepare well in advance for the tests.Know what to expect on test day. Familiarize yourselfwith the information in this booklet, and Most procedures in this booklet refer to testing on aNational or International test date at an ACT test center.Procedures may differ slightly if you test at anotherlocation. Take the practice tests in order and review yourresponses. Get plenty of rest the night before the tests. Carefully review the “Test Day Checklist” Bring the following items with you to the test center:1. Your paper ticket (if you test on a National orInternational ACT test date). You will not beadmitted to test without it.2. Acceptable photo identification. See details onyour ticket or at If you donot present acceptable photo identification withyour ticket at check-in, you will not be admitted totest.3. Sharpened soft lead No. 2 pencils and gooderasers (no mechanical pencils or ink pens). Donot bring any other writing instruments; you willnot be allowed to use them.To students approved to test at National test centerswith extended time:You will be allowed up to 5 hours total to work on themultiple-choice tests at your own pace, including breaksbetween tests. If you are taking the ACT with writing, youwill be allowed up to 6 hours total to work on all five tests.General Test-Taking Strategiesfor the ACT Writing TestThe ACT writing test lets you show your skill in composingan essay. It measures writing proficiencies that are taughtin high school and are important for readiness to succeedin entry-level college composition courses.The following general strategies will help if you take theACT writing test.Pace yourself.You will have 40 minutes to write your essay. It is importantto pace yourself in the way that best suits your personalwriting strategy. Many writers do best when they spendpart of their time planning the essay, most of their timewriting the essay, and the last part of their time reviewingthe essay to make corrections and revisions. Budget yourtime based on your experience in taking essay tests inschool and in other circumstances when you’ve donewriting within a time limit. Your supervisor will announcewhen you have five minutes remaining on the writing test.3

4.5.2Some questions refer to underlined portions of the passageand offer several alternatives to the underlined portion.You must decide which choice is most appropriate inthe context of the passage. Some questions ask aboutan underlined portion, a section of the passage, or thepassage as a whole. You must decide which choice bestanswers the question posed. Many questions offer “NOCHANGE” to the passage as one of the choices. Thequestions are numbered consecutively. Each questionnumber refers to a correspondingly numbered portionunderlined in the passage or to a corresponding numeral ina box located at the appropriate point in the passage.A watch to pace yourself. Do not bring a watchwith an alarm, because it will disturb otherstudents. If your alarm sounds during testing, youwill be dismissed and your answer document willnot be scored. Your supervisor will announce whenyou have five minutes remaining on each test.A permitted calculator may be used on themathematics test only. It is your responsibilityto know whether your calculator is permitted.For the most current information on the ACTcalculator policy, visit or call800.498.6481 for a recorded message.Three scores are reported for the ACT English test: a totaltest score based on all 75 questions, a subscore in Usage/Mechanics based on 40 questions, and a subscore inRhetorical Skills based on 35 questions.Strategies for Takingthe ACT TestsTips for Taking the ACT English TestThe ACT measures the knowledge, understanding, andskills that you have acquired throughout your education.Although the sum total of what a person has learned cannotbe changed, your performance in a specific area can beaffected by adequate preparation, especially if it has beensome time since you have taken a course in that area.Pace yourself.The ACT English test contains 75 questions to be completedin 45 minutes. If you spend 11 2 minutes skimming througheach passage before responding to the questions, then youwill have 30 seconds to answer each question. If possible,spend less time on each question and use the remainingtime allowed for this test to review your work and return to thequestions on this test that were most difficult for you.There are three strategies that can help you to prepareyourself for the content included in the ACT:Familiarize yourself with the content of the ACT tests.Review the information about the tests that is provided onthe following pages. Note which content areas make up alarge proportion of the tests and which do not. The specifictopics included in each content area are examples ofpossible topics; they do not include all of the possibilities.Be aware of the writing style used in each passage.The five passages cover a variety of topics and are writtenin a variety of styles. It is important that you take into accountthe writing style used in each passage when you respondto the questions. In responding to a question, be sure tounderstand the context of the question. Consider how thesentence containing an underlined portion fits in with thesurrounding sentences and into the passage as a whole.Refresh your knowledge and skills in the content areas.Review those content areas you have studied but arenot fresh in your mind. Spend your time refreshing yourknowledge and skills in the content areas that make uplarge portions of the tests.Examine the underlined portions of the passage.Before responding to a question with an underlined portion,carefully examine what is underlined in the text. Considerthe elements of writing that are included in each underlinedportion. Some questions will ask you to base your decisionon some specific element of writing, such as the tone oremphasis the text should convey. Some questions will askyou to choose the alternative to the underlined portionthat is NOT or LEAST acceptable. The answer choices foreach question will contain changes in one or more of thoseelements of writing.Identify the content areas you have not studied.If unfamiliar content areas make up major portions ofthe tests, consider taking coursework to help you gainknowledge and skills in these areas before you take theACT. Because the ACT measures knowledge and skillsacquired over a period of time, it is unlikely that a “cram”course covering material that is unfamiliar to you will helpyou improve your scores. Longer-term survey courses willbe most helpful to you, because they aim to improve yourknowledge through sustained learning and practice.Be aware of questions with no underlined portions.You will be asked some questions about a section of thepassage or about the passage as a whole, in light of agiven rhetorical situation. Questions of this type are oftenidentified by a question number in a box located at theappropriate point in the passage. Questions about theentire passage are placed at the end of the passage andintroduced by a horizontal box enclosing the followinginstruction: “Questions and ask about thepreceding passage as a whole.”ACT English TestThe ACT English test is a 75-question, 45-minute testthat measures your understanding of the conventions ofstandard written English (punctuation, grammar and usage,and sentence structure) and of rhetorical skills (strategy,organization, and style). Spelling, vocabulary, and roterecall of rules of grammar are not tested. The test consistsof five essays, or passages, each of which is accompaniedby a sequence of multiple-choice test questions. Differentpassage types are employed to provide a variety ofrhetorical situations. Passages are chosen not only fortheir appropriateness in assessing writing skills but also toreflect students’ interests and experiences.Note the differences in the answer choices.Many of the questions in the test will involve more than oneaspect of writing. Examine each answer choice and how itdiffers from the others. Be careful not to select an answerthat corrects one error but causes a different error.4

Organization (10–15%). Questions in this category test howwell you organize ideas and choose effective opening,transitional, and closing sentences.Determine the best answer.Two approaches can be taken to determine the best answerto a question in which you are to choose the best alternativeto an underlined portion. In the first approach, you canreread the sentence or sentences, substituting each ofthe possible answer choices for the underlined portion todetermine the best choice. In the second approach, you candecide how the underlined portion might best be phrased instandard written English or in terms of the particular questionposed. If you think the underlined portion is the best answer,you should select “NO CHANGE.” If not, you should checkto see whether your phrasing is one of the other answerchoices. If you do not find your phrasing, you should choosethe best of the answers presented. For questions cued bya number in a box, you must decide which choice is mostappropriate in terms of the question posed or the statedrhetorical situation.Style (15–20%). Questions in this category test how wellyou choose precise and appropriate words and images,maintain the level of style and tone in an essay, managesentence elements for rhetorical effectiveness, andavoid ambiguous pronoun references, wordiness, andredundancy.ACT Mathematics TestYou may use a calculator on the mathematics test.See for details about prohibitedmodels and features.The ACT mathematics test is a 60-question, 60-minute testdesigned to assess the mathematical skills students havetypically acquired in courses taken up to the beginningof grade 12. The test presents multiple-choice questionsthat require you to use reasoning skills to solve practicalproblems in mathematics. Most questions are selfcontained. Some questions may belong to a set of severalquestions (e.g., several questions about the same graphor chart). Knowledge of basic formulas and computationalskills are assumed as background for the problems, butrecall of complex formulas and extensive computation isnot required. The material covered on the test emphasizesthe major content areas that are prerequisites to successfulperformance in entry-level courses in college mathematics.Reread the sentence, using your selected answer.Once you have selected the answer you feel is best, rereadthe corresponding sentence(s) of the passage, insertingyour selected answer at the appropriate place in the textto make sure it is the best answer within the context of thepassage.Content Covered by the ACT English TestSix elements of effective writing are included in theEnglish test: punctuation, grammar and usage, sentencestructure, strategy, organization, and style. The questionscovering punctuation, grammar and usage, and sentencestructure make up the Usage/Mechanics subscore. Thequestions covering strategy, organization, and style makeup the Rhetorical Skills subscore. A brief description andthe approximate percentage of the test devoted to eachelement of effective writing are given below.Four scores are reported for the ACT mathematics test:a total test score based on all 60 questions, a subscorein Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra, a subscore inIntermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry, and asubscore in Plane Geometry/Trigonometry.USAGE/MECHANICSTips for Taking the ACT Mathematics TestPunctuation (10–15%). Questions in this category testyour knowledge of the conventions of internal and end-ofsentence punctuation, with emphasis on the relationship ofpunctuation to meaning (for example, avoiding ambiguity,indicating appositives).Pace yourself.The ACT mathematics test contains 60 questions to becompleted in 60 minutes. You have an average of 1 minuteper question. If possible, spend less time on each questionand use the remaining time allowed for this test to reviewyour work and return to the questions on this test that weremost difficult for you.Grammar and Usage (15–20%). Questions in this categorytest your understanding of agreement between subjectand verb, between pronoun and antecedent, and betweenmodifiers and the word modified; verb formation; pronouncase; formation of comparative and superlative adjectivesand adverbs; and idiomatic usage.If you use a calculator, use it wisely.All of the mathematics problems can be solved withoutusing a calculator. Many of the problems are best donewithout a calculator. Use good judgment in decidingwhen, and when not, to use a calculator. For example, forsome problems you may wish to do scratch work to clarifyyour thoughts on the question before you begin using acalculator to do computations.Sentence Structure (20–25%). Questions in this categorytest your understanding of relationships betweenand among clauses, placement of modifiers, and shifts inconstruction.Solve the problem.For working out the solutions to the problems, you willusually do scratch work in the space provided in the testbooklet. You may wish to glance over the answer choicesafter reading the questions. However, working backwardsfrom the answer choices provided can take a lot of timeand may not be effective.RHETORICAL SKILLSStrategy (15–20%). Questions in this category test howwell you develop a given topic by choosing expressionsappropriate to an essay’s audience and purpose; judgingthe effect of adding, revising, or deleting supportingmaterial; and judging the relevancy of statements incontext.5

INTERMEDIATE ALGEBRA/COORDINATE GEOMETRYLocate your solution among the answer choices.Once you have solved the problem, look for your answeramong the choices. If your answer is not included amongthe choices, carefully reread the problem to see whetheryou missed important information. Pay careful attention tothe question being asked. If an equation is to be selected,check to see whether the equation you think is best can betransformed into one of the answer choices provided.Intermediate Algebra (15–20%). Questions in this contentarea are based on an understanding of the quadraticformula, rational and radical expressions, absolute valueequations and inequalities, sequences and patterns, systemsof equations, quadratic inequalities, functions, modeling,matrices, roots of polynomials, and complex numbers.Coordinate Geometry (15–20%). Questions in this contentarea are based on graphing and the relations betweenequations and graphs, including points, lines, polynomials,circles, and other curves; graphing inequalities; slope;parallel and perpendicular lines; distance; midpoints; andconics.Make sure you answer the question.The solutions to many questions on the test will involveseveral steps. Make sure your answer accounts for all thenecessary steps. Frequently, questions include answerchoices that are based on incomplete solutions.Make sure your answer is reasonable.Sometimes an error in computation will result in an answerthat is not practically possible for the situation described.Always think about your answer to determine whether it isreasonable.PLANE GEOMETRY/TRIGONOMETRYPlane Geometry (20–25%). Questions in this content areaare based on the properties and relations of plane figures,including angles and relations among perpendicular andparallel lines; properties of circles, triangles, rectangles,parallelograms, and trapezoids; transformations; theconcept of proof and proof techniques; volume; andapplications of geometry to three dimensions.Check your work.You may arrive at an incorrect solution by making commonerrors in the problem-solving process. Thus, if there istime remaining before the end of the mathematics test, itis important that you reread the questions and check youranswers to make sure they are correct.Trigonometry (5–10%). Questions in this content areaare based on understanding trigonometric relations inright triangles; values and properties of trigonometricfunctions; graphing trigonometric functions; modeling usingtrigonometric functions; use of trigonometric identities; andsolving trigonometric equations.Content Covered by the ACT Mathematics TestSix content areas are included in the mathematics test:pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra,coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and trigonometry.The questions covering pre-algebra and elementary algebramake up the Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra subscore. Thequestions covering intermediate algebra and coordinategeometry make up the Intermediate Algebra/CoordinateGeometry subscore. The questions covering plane geometryand trigonometry make up the Plane Geometry/Trigonometrysubscore. A brief description and the approximatepercentage of the test devoted to each content area aregiven below.ACT Reading TestThe ACT reading test is a 40-question, 35-minute testthat measures your reading comprehension. The testquestions ask you to derive meaning from several texts by(1) referring to what is explicitly stated and (2) reasoning todetermine implicit meanings. Specifically, questions will askyou to use referring and reasoning skills to determine mainideas; locate and interpret significant details; understandsequences of events; make comparisons; comprehendcause-effect relationships; determine the meaning ofcontext-dependent words, phrases, and statements; drawgeneralizations; and analyze the author’s or narrator’svoice and method. The test comprises four sections, eachcontaining one long or two shorter prose passages thatare representative of the level and kinds of text commonlyencountered in first-year college curricula. Each passage ispreceded by a heading that identifies what type of passageit is (for example, “Literary Narrative”), names the author,and may include a brief note that helps in understandingthe passage. Each section contains a set of multiple-choicetest questions. These questions do not test the rote recallof facts from outside the passage, isolated vocabularyitems, or rules of formal logic. In sections that contain twoshort passages, some of the questions involve both of thepassages in the section.PRE-ALGEBRA/ELEMENTARY ALGEBRAPre-Algebra (20–25%). Questions in this content area arebased on basic operations using whole numbers, decimals,fractions, and integers; place value; square roots andapproximations; the concept of exponents; scientific notation;factors; ratio, proportion, and percent; linear equationsin one variable; absolute value and ordering numbers byvalue; elementary counting techniques and simple probability; data collection, representation, and interpretation;and understanding simple descriptive statistics.Elementary Algebra (15–20%). Questions in this content areaare based on properties of exponents and square roots,evaluation of algebraic expressions through substitution,using variables to express functional relationships,understanding algebraic operations, and the solution ofquadratic equations by factoring.6

ACT Science TestThree scores are reported for the ACT reading test: a totaltest score based on all 40 questions, a subscore in SocialStudies/Sciences reading skills (based on the 20 questionson the social studies and natural sciences passages), anda subscore in Arts/Literature reading skills (based on the 20questions on the literary narrative and humanities passages).The ACT science test is a 40-question, 35-minute test thatmeasures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning,and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences.The test presents several sets of scientific information, eachfollowed by a number of multiple-choice test questions. Thescientific information is conveyed in one of three differentformats: data representation (graphs, tables, and otherschematic forms), research summaries (descriptions ofseveral related experiments), or conflicting viewpoints(expressions of several related hypotheses or views thatare inconsistent with one another). The questions requireyou to recognize and understand the basic features of, andconcepts related to, the provided information; to examinecritically the relationship between the information providedand the conclusions drawn or hypotheses developed;and to generalize from given information to gain newinformation, draw conclusions, or make predictions.Tips for Taking the ACT Reading TestPace yourself.The ACT reading test contains 40 questions to becompleted in 35 minutes. If you spend 2–3 minutes readingthe passage(s) in each section, then you will have about35 seconds to answer each question. If possible, spendless time on the passages and the questions and use theremaining time allowed for this test to review your work andreturn to the questions on this test that were most difficultfor you.Read each passage carefully.Before you begin answering a question, read the entirepassage (or two short passages) carefully. Be consciousof relationships between or among ideas. You maymake notes in the test booklet about important ideas in thepassages.You are not permitted to use a calculator on the ACTscience test.One score is reported for the ACT science test: a total testscore based on all 40 questions.Tips for Taking the ACT Science TestRefer to the passages when answering the questions.Answers to some of the questions will be found by referringto what is explicitly stated in the text. Other questions willrequire you to determine implicit meanings and to drawconclusions, comparisons, and generalizations. Considerthe text before you answer any question.Pace yourself.The ACT

Go to for additional ACT test preparation materials, including ACT Online Prep , The Real ACT Prep Guide, sample questions, and the Question of the Day. The ACT is administered nationally and internationally to examinees in English, including all instructions and