ACT english full-length practice test 31

DIRECTIONS: In the passages that follow, certain words and phrases are underlined and numbered. In the right-hand column, you will find alternatives for the 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 about 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 fill in 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.

The following paragraphs may or may not be in the most logical order. Each paragraph is numbered in brackets, and question 14 will ask you to choose where Paragraph 5 should most logically be placed.

A Window into History


One very long summer during high school, my mom volunteered me to help Grandpa research our family tree. Great, I thought, imagining hours spent pawing through dusty, rotting boxes and listening to boring stories about people I didn't know.1 "You'll be surprised," my mom promised. "Family histories can be very interesting."


In truth, Grandpa didn't want to limit my work to just research. Hoping to also preserve2 our family memories. He'd discovered a computer program that helps digitally scan old pictures, and letters3 to preserve their contents before they crumble from old age. Grandpa wanted me to help him connect the scanner and set up the computer program. He could type documents and send emails, but he had4 never used a scanner.


[1] Instead of sorting through dusty boxes as I had imagined, we spent a lot of time in my grandpa's bright, tidy computer room. [2] The scanner hummed happily, turning my relatives precious memories5 into permanent digital images. [3]?A scanner is a device which makes electronic copies of actual items. [4] I worked happily while Grandpa shared stories that turned out not to be boring at all.


Perusing through her7 belongings, I felt I was opening a window into the world of my relatives, a world long since gone. Grandpa showed me a bundle of yellowed letters he had send8 to Grandma from the front lines of World War II, and I could almost smell the gunpowder. I turned the brittle pages of my great-grandmother's recipe book and could envision her sitting in her immaculate kitchen penning9 meticulously every entry. All of the people who had been merely names to me now had faces to match and lives lived.


I asked Grandpa to tell the story behind every picture and letter we scanned. Besides, the10 stories helped me not only understand but also relate to my relatives. Like me, they had celebrated achievements, overcome failures, pulled silly pranks, played sports, and,11 attended concerts. I became so hungry for more information that Grandpa needed additional props to keep me satisfied. He showed me a chest filled with random stuff, all covered in dust.


As the new school year approached, Grandpa admitted, "I probably could have done this project myself. I just wanted someone to share it with." I can't thank him enough for sharing the experience and making me appreciate the family members who have made me the person I am. I will cherish family memories and mementoes and hope that someday, I will be able to pass them down to my own grandchildren.13

1. Given that all the choices are true, which one best conveys the author's initial expectations and effectively leads into her mother's comments?

B. bonding with the grandfather I barely knew.
C. remembering fun times I had with relatives.
D. trying to operate an unfamiliar machine.


G. research. Hope to also preserve
H. research, that hope to also preserve
J. research, hoping to also preserve


B. pictures, and, letters
C. pictures and letters,
D. pictures and letters

4. Which of the following choices is NOT an acceptable substitute for the underlined portion?

F. emails but having
G. emails, yet he had
H. emails; however, he had
J. emails but had


B. relatives precious memory's
C. relatives' precious memories
D. relatives' precious memory's

6. Which of the following sentences in this paragraph is LEAST relevant to the progression of the narrative and therefore could be deleted?

F. Sentence 1
G. Sentence 2
H. Sentence 3
J. Sentence 4


B. their
C. one's
D. there


G. send
H. has sent
J. had sent


B. kitchen, penning
C. kitchen, which penned
D. kitchen that penned


G. Because the
H. Therefore, the
J. The


B. sports, and
C. sports and,
D. sports and

12. Which of the following true statements, if added at the beginning of this paragraph, would most successfully introduce readers to the information relayed in the paragraph?

F. My family has been around for generations, so there were a lot of names to remember.
G. My grandfather inundated me with items to catalogue on the computer.
H. As I learned more about some relatives, I forgot about others.
J. As the summer progressed, I became fascinated with my relatives' lives.

13. Which of the following provides the best conclusion to the paragraph and the essay as a whole?

B. My grandpa will teach me something new next summer.
C. I never have to tell my mother she was right that family history isn't tedious and boring.
D. I can figure out other ways to use my computer.

14. This question ask about the preceding passage as a whole.

Where should the author place Paragraph 5 in order to have a logical, coherent essay?

F. Where it is now
G. Before Paragraph 2
H. Before Paragraph 3
J. Before Paragraph 4

15. This question ask about the preceding passage as a whole.

Suppose the writer's purpose had been to write an essay about some of the benefits of genealogical research. Does this essay succeed in achieving that purpose?

A. Yes, because it describes the technological skills gained in the process of researching one's relatives.
B. Yes, because it provides an example of how one person gained personal insights from her family history.
C. No, because it provides only one person's research, which is susceptible to bias and cannot be reliable.
D. No, because genealogical research require statistics in order to prove there were benefits.

Moving to a New Life

I stand on the corner of Elm Avenue and Main Street by me, watching16 my parents walk away and feeling nothing but apprehension about adjusting to this new town. I try not to show the passersby just how scared I really am, but it's not possible. My tears start to flow, and I quickly run to my new, cold,17 bedroom.

I know I am making a complete spectacle of18 myself, but I can't help it. I am an only child whom has19 never been more than 30 minutes away from her parents, yet here I am, on the other side of the country, moving in to my new college dorm. We all want to take responsibility for one's own lives.20 I just never realized that in order to do so, I would have to leave my family. No longer will I wake up to Mom's Sunday breakfast of non-pasteurized milk, and fresh orange juice, fluffy21 scrambled eggs and crisp bacon. I'll have to tackle the daily crossword puzzle on my own, without Dad's carefully veiled hints. Everything is gone. Can anyone understand what I'm going through?

As I lie crying into my pillow, hearing23 the door to the dorm suite open. It must be one of my two roommates. I quickly stop crying-I couldn't stand the embarrassment if she knew her new roommate was an emotional wreck! Being full of surprise,25 I hear her crying as she runs to her room. Curiosity overwhelming me and I26 tiptoe through the common room to her still-open door.

I stand in the doorway for merely a second before she reacts. Slowly,27 her face jolts up, and her sudden shock at my appearance is clearly written on her face. "Are you okay?" I quietly ask. "I'm sorry," she stammers.28 "I thought I was alone. I know this must seem very childish to you. I'm just very close to my younger sister, and saying goodbye to her just now.…" Her sentence trails off as she turns her face away from me. "I remember when she was born."29

"I completely understand," I say, and I really do. "Maybe we can help each other get used to this new college life."


G. me watching
H. myself, watching
J. myself. Watching


B. new, cold
C. new cold
D. new cold,


G. completely spectacle about
H. completely spectacle of
J. complete spectacle about


B. whom have
C. who has
D. who have


G. their own life.
H. our own lives.
J. your own life.


B. milk, and fresh orange juice, fluffy,
C. milk and fresh orange juice fluffy
D. milk and fresh orange juice, fluffy

22. The writer is considering revising the sentence "Everything is gone" in the preceding sentence to read:

"It feels like everything I have ever loved is being ripped away from me."

Should the writer make this change, or keep the sentence as it is?

F. Make the revision, because it conveys more vividly the type of emotions felt by the writer.
G. Make the revision, because it describes the stages of emotion the writer faces as she mourns.
H. Keep the sentence as it is, because it is already specific and does not need to be changed.
J. Keep the sentence as it is, because it's short and more concise than the proposed revision.


B. I was hearing
C. I hear
D. having heard

24. If the writer were to delete the phrase "-I couldn't stand the embarrassment if she knew her new roommate was an emotional wreck!" from the preceding sentence, the passage would primarily lose:

F. a description of the uneasy relationship between the roommates.
G. an insight into the reasons the writer stopped crying.
H. a justification for her dissatisfaction with college.
J. nothing at all, since the writer has already expressed her sadness.


B. Since I was surprised,
C. Being surprised,
D. Much to my surprise,


G. me, and I
H. me, I
J. me. I

27. Given that all the choices are true, which one provides the best transition by illustrating how quickly the roommate responded to the writer's presence?

B. Abruptly,
C. After several moments,
D. Sluggishly,


G. asserts.
H. quotes.
J. screams.

29. Given that all the choices are true, which conclusion to this paragraph is most consistent with the writer's subsequent response?

B. My sister has always been so fun to live with.
C. I wish that they would have left sooner.
D. It's going to be hard to adjust, that's all.

30. This question ask about the preceding passage as a whole.

Suppose the writer's goal was to describe personal hardships first-time college students may experience. Does this essay successfully accomplish that goal?

F. Yes, because it gives an anecdotal account of separation anxiety experienced by the writer and her roommate.
G. Yes, because it focuses on the initial awkwardness between roommates who don't know each other.
H. No, because it focuses on the emotions of only one person instead of the experiences of many students.
J. No, because it fails to provide enough background information on the narrator's mental state before college.

The following paragraphs may or may not be in the most logical order. Each paragraph is numbered in brackets, and question 45 will ask you to choose where Paragraph 2 should most logically be placed.

Thrill Seekers Wanted


Like Indiana Jones, the staid college professor who undertakes daring adventures in his spare time, my father is a businessman by day and a thrill-seeking adrenaline fanatic by night. His enthusiasm rubbed off on me, and I have been lucky to be his sidekick on many an adventure. We started out small by conquering America's fastest, most twisted rollercoasters. After that, a whitewater rafting excursion through the Grand Canyon on the majestic, if murky32 Colorado River jumpstarted our search for other extreme thrills across the globe.


Anyone who loves a challenging thrill should try canyoning. Our adventure began with a 90-foot rappel down a canyon wall into a rushing, ice-cold river, and without34 wetsuits we surely would have become popsicles! Intrepidly, we traversed the bone-chilling water toward the mouth of the river, our final destination, where the reward for the journey would be a panoramic view of the natural wonder35 of the lush Interlaken basin.


Spectacular thrills awaited us at every corner of the world. A remarkable activity in its own right, like skydiving was36 especially momentous when performed from a helicopter over the breathtaking Swiss Alps. We have gone spelunking in damp and ominous Peruvian caves. We have traveled to New Zealand for Zorb, a strange activity in which participants enter a giant, inflatable ball and roll down steep, grassy hills. Most recently, in Interlaken, Switzerland, we attempted "canyoning," because of which was38 our most exhilarating adventure yet!


We had to navigate both the flowing river and the canyon walls we39 became amphibious, moving seamlessly between land and water. We slid over slick rocks at one moment, leapt and descended40 from waterfalls and swam through underwater tunnels the next. Back and forth we alternated, scaling rope ladders before zooming down zip lines back into the fresh mountain water. Certainly, danger from possible miscalculations were lurking41 in each of these activities, but that very danger provided the rush. Canyoning was indeed one thrill after another, from beginning to end.42


While canyoning is possible only in certain locales, thrills and adventure can be found anywhere. Our humble beginnings in the U.S. showed us just that. We continue to seek the big thrills, but43 in doing so, we have learned to seek lesser forms of excitement in daily life as well. After all, we can't go canyoning every day, and small thrills are better than none for us thrill seekers.44

31. The writer is considering deleting the phrase "Like Indiana Jones, the staid college professor who undertakes daring adventures in his spare time," from the preceding sentence (and capitalizing the word my). Should the phrase be kept or deleted?

A. Kept, because it clarifies that the writer's father is also named Indiana.
B. Kept, because it adds a descriptive detail that heightens the thrill of the adventures described later in the passage.
C. Deleted, because it draws attention from the paragraph's focus on the father and places it on movies.
D. Deleted, because the information fails to specify if the writer's father is interested in archaeology.


G. majestic if murky
H. majestic; if murky,
J. majestic, if murky,

33. The writer is considering deleting the phrase "who loves a challenging thrill" from the preceding sentence. Should the phrase be kept or deleted?

A. Kept, because it clarifies the term anyone and contributes to the logic of the paragraph.
B. Kept, because it indicates the paragraph's focus on people who love challenges.
C. Deleted, because the term anyone describes all people and does not need clarification.
D. Deleted, because the phrase is too long and confuses the focus of the sentence.


G. river, without
H. river without
J. river and without


B. view naturally of the wonder
C. viewing of the wonderful nature
D. view


G. skydiving was
H. skydiving,
J. like skydiving

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

We have bungee jumped from the world's highest platform, Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa.

Should the writer make this addition here?

A. Yes, because it is an additional detail consistent with the main point of this paragraph.
B. Yes, because it helps establish the main idea that Africa has the most exciting thrills in the world.
C. No, because its focus is on a location and activity different than those in the rest of the paragraph.
D. No, because the other activities in this paragraph do not involve the use of a bungee cord.


G. and which was
H. which was
J. in which was


B. walls, we
C. walls so we
D. walls, so we


G. leapt
H. leapt in the air and descended down
J. leapt to descend


B. miscalculations will be lurking
C. miscalculations was lurking
D. miscalculations lurking

42. Given that all the choices are true, which one best clarifies the distinction between the two types of activities mentioned in this paragraph?

G. both on rocky surfaces and in the chilly water.
H. adventure after adventure.
J. long after the waterfalls.


B. and
C. moreover,
D. furthermore,

44. Given that all the choices are true, which one concludes the paragraph with a phrase that relates to the main topic of the essay?

G. and that's a shame.
H. because we don't live near any canyons.
J. but it's the last thrill I'll ever need!

45. This question ask about the preceding passage as a whole.

For the sake of the logic and coherence of this essay, the best placement for Paragraph 2 would be:

A. where it is now.
B. before Paragraph 1.
C. before Paragraph 4.
D. before Paragraph 5.

Enriching the American Tradition

The Mexican-American War, with its many conflicts and compromises, represent46 a largely overlooked part of the history of the United States, but its importance in the current shape and culture of the United States cannot be overstated. Certainly, it is difficult to imagine the present-day United States without the list of former Mexican territories, which includes47 Texas, Arizona, California, and others, but it is equally difficult to imagine America's vibrant multicultural society without the influence of Mexican-Americans.

But despite the obvious richness that Mexican-Americans have brought to American culture, one aspect of their48 contributions, to American arts48 is often overlooked: literature. Although the names of many famous Mexican-Americans are identifiable in film and music, many Americans are at a loss to name even a single Mexican-American author. Carlos Santana, a musician born and raised in Mexico, has achieved widespread popularity in the United States.49

A major landmark in early Mexican-American literature came in 1885, when author, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton,50 published her second novel, The Squatter and the Don. In addition to being the first major novel written in English by an author of Mexican descent, The Squatter and the Don was also noteworthy for its revolutionary perspective. María Amparo Ruiz de Burton helped to acquaint American readers52 with and introduce them to52 an as yet unfamiliar group through her fictional family, the Alamars. A family of landed gentry living in San Diego, nearly all is lost to the Alamars53 after the American annexation of California during54 the Mexican-American War. As a result of the lopsided Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico lost nearly forty percent of its previous territories and many, like Ruiz de Burton and her creations the Alamars, were uprooted from their previous comfort and made citizens of a new nation. Ruiz de Burton's wish that55 her works would speak for the many Mexican-Americans who felt the same concerns. The Squatter and the Don marked an early and important exploration of many themes that Mexican-American authors continue to explore57, including themes of personal integrity, identity, and the relationships between individuals and collective history.

[1] Poet Ana Castillo has been publishing well-received novels and volumes of poetry prolifically since 1977, and her work has been essential in bringing issues of Mexican-American women, particularly those living in urban places such as Castillo's hometown of Chicago, to a larger audience. [2] Sandra Cisneros is the author of The House on Mango Street, which has sold over two million copies since its original publication in 1984, and her work, including the novel Caramelo, published in 2002, has helped give voice to the often difficult position of living between two cultures that Mexican-Americans face. [3] Ruiz de Burton's writings and that of58 other authors remain important parts of American literature today. [4] Along with many others, these authors60 continue to expand the boundaries of American literature, just as Mexican-Americans all over the country continue to enrich and challenge accepted notions of what we call "American culture."


G. represents
H. have represented
J. representing


B. includes:
C. included,
D. included:


G. their contributions, to American arts,
H. their contributions to American arts,
J. their contributions to American arts


B. A musician who has achieved popularity in the United States is Carlos Santana, who was born and raised in Mexico.
C. However, many Americans can easily identify Carlos Santana, a popular musician born and raised in Mexico.
D. DELETE the underlined portion.


G. author María Amparo Ruiz de Burton
H. author, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton
J. author María Amparo Ruiz de Burton,

51. If the writer were to delete the phrase "In addition to being the first major novel written in English by an author of Mexican descent," from the preceding sentence, the essay would primarily lose:

A. an indication of Ruiz de Burton's command of the English language.
B. a fact that reveals that the novel was the first by a Mexican author to be read in the United States.
C. information that helps to strengthen the sense of the novel's historical importance.
D. a suggestion that María Amparo Ruiz de Burton considered writing the novel in her native Spanish.


G. give American readers a glimpse at
H. introduce American readers unacquainted with Mexican-American literature to
J. introduce American readers to


B. the Alamars lose nearly all that they own
C. losing all that they own
D. Ruiz de Burton describes a family that loses all that they own


G. within
H. throughout
J. through


B. being that
C. was that
D. being

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

After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, many people of French descent living in the United States felt displaced as well.

Should the writer make the addition here?

F. Yes, because it provides historical information about another group that deepens the reader's understanding of the difficulties faced by Mexican-Americans.
G. Yes, because it links those with French descent with the characters in The Squatter and the Don.
H. No, because it does not provide a direct connection between the work of María Amparo Ruiz de Burton and the work of later Mexican-American authors.
J. No, because it is clear from the essay that the Louisiana Purchase had no importance to the Mexican-American authors discussed.

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

A. investigate
B. examine
C. look into
D. solve


G. by
H. those of
J. with

59. For the sake of the logic and coherence of this paragraph, Sentence 3 should be placed:

A. where it is now.
B. before Sentence 1.
C. before Sentence 2.
D. after Sentence 4.


G. the writers Ana Castillo and Sandra Cisneros and many other Mexican-American authors
H. the Mexican-American authors being published today
J. the many Mexican-American authors whose work as a whole represents them

A Simple but Complex Modern Vision

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, typically cited alongside Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier as a pioneer of modern architecture. Was61 integral to the founding and proliferation of the "modern style" in architecture. Van der Rohe felt the design of a building should be reflective of its age, as the Gothic and Classical masterpieces surely were. Van der Rohe, called Mies by friends and students, found many architects' attitudes toward architectural design problematic, particularly these architects' reliance on older, outdated architectural styles.

Van der Rohe, instead, sought to express through his buildings what he feels62 to be the core tenets of modern existence. The buildings based on van der Rohe's designs,63 were primarily constructed with64 industrial steel and plate glass-that is,65 only the materials of modern, twentieth-century life and industry. By using only the bare minimum materials produced from American and German factories, Mies sought to cast off what he found to be one of the main problems with contemporary architecture, and66 overly decorative and ornamental structures with no "function" were wasteful uses of space and material. Through steel and plate glass, van der Rohe felt that he could better practice the idea of "efficiency" that he had pulled from his earlier readings of Russian Constructivism, and using these materials as he did to create simple, planar, rectilinear designs, Mies invested his buildings with a strange intensity that conveyed at once the simplicity of design and many of the buildings have been named National Historic Landmarks.67

Van der Rohe's architectural education was unique, and many describe the architect as largely self-taught. From 1908 to 1912, under teacher Peter Behrens's guidance,68 Mies became a proponent of many modern and avant-garde ideas in architecture in Germany. From Behrens, van der Rohe began to see the potential of developing an architecture of ideas, and indeed, he was a "self-taught" expert in many ancient and modern philosophical concepts. This69 helped him to understand the character of the modern world, and with his maturing ideas of this character, van der Rohe set out to create a style truly of the twentieth century. While70 van der Rohe was committed to creating a philosophical, theoretical basis for his works, he helped to create a new vocabulary for the creation and study of architecture.

[1] In order to escape the oppressive Nazi regime, van der Rohe who left71 Germany for the United States in 1937. [2]?Mies was originally invited to become head of the school and to contribute designs for the school's growing campus (which, as the Illinois Institute of Technology, continues to grow today). [3] He had two commissions waiting for him there-one in Wyoming and another72 at the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago. [4] Pupils learning73 his new method and architectural vocabulary, van der Rohe worked tirelessly as an educator, with only limited success. [5] While many students were initially enthusiastic74, Mies van der Rohe's influence was eventually eclipsed by the rise of Postmodern Architecture in the early 1980s.

There can be no doubt, though, that van der Rohe has left a huge mark on the look of the North American city. Not only do his buildings help to create the skylines of Chicago, New York, and Toronto, but van der Rohe also gave architects from all over the world a new vocabulary and set of materials with which to create spaces for living and working, and he helped to make architecture one of the great arts of the twentieth century.


B. architecture. Being
C. architecture, being
D. architecture, was


G. is feeling
H. felt
J. who felt


B. buildings based on van der Rohe's designs
C. buildings, based on van der Rohe's designs
D. buildings based on van der Rohe's designs;

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

F. from
G. using
H. out of
J. into


B. that is
C. this is,
D. this is


G. architecture that
H. architecture, which
J. architecture: that

67. Given that all the choices are true, which one would add the most effective detail to the description of the visual appeal of the buildings mentioned in the first part of the sentence?

B. the structure that had taken months, even years, to build.
C. the complex beauty of the free-flowing structures inside.
D. the buildings on display in many American and European cities.


G. teacher, Peter Behrens's guidance,
H. teacher Peter Behrens's guidance;
J. teacher, Peter Behrens's guidance


B. Studying philosophy
C. Something
D. This thing


G. Even though
H. Moreover
J. Because


B. left
C. leaves
D. leaving

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

F. the other
G. one
H. this one
J. the other one


B. While pupils learn
C. To teach pupils
D. Pupils being taught


G. enthusiastic and extremely excited,
H. enthusiastic, overwhelmed with excitement,
J. enthusiastic, thrilled,

75. For the sake of the logic and coherence of this paragraph, Sentence 3 should be placed:

A. where it is now.
B. after Sentence 1.
C. after Sentence 4.
D. after Sentence 5.