ACT reading full-length practice test 25

DIRECTIONS: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.


PROSE FICTION: This passage is adapted from the novel Shipwreck by Adam C. Thomas (© 2005 by Adam Thomas).

1. As it is used in line 32, the word stultifying most nearly means:

A. stifling.
B. strengthening.
C. welcoming.
D. productive.

2. The first seven paragraphs (lines 1-30) establish all of the following about the boy EXCEPT that he:

F. had companions on the walk through the jungle.
G. had often watched fireworks light up the sky.
H. respected the captain.
J. often had his thoughts filled with memories of the storm.

3. The passage states that the boy saw himself as:

A. contented with life in the jungle.
B. afraid of his mother.
C. toughened by farm labor.
D. at home on the sea.

4. The time sequence of the passage indicates that the shipwreck takes place:

F. after the boy leaves the farm.
G. after the boy walks through the jungle.
H. before the boy meets the captain.
J. before his mother tries to protect him.

5. How does the twelfth paragraph (lines 60-70) offer one way to interpret the phrase "let the dead bury their dead," as implied by the passage?

A. The boy remembers the captain's explanation of this phrase.
B. The dead cannot do anything, so one should trust only the living.
C. Death erases the distinctions that make the living unique individuals.
D. Without his experiences, the boy cannot expect to lead a better life.

6. Compared to the captain's ideas, the boy's are:

F. opposing; the captain is uncertain about the meaning of the phrase, "let the dead bury their dead."
G. opposing; the captain understood why the boy's father was worn down.
H. similar; the captain disliked the harsh life of the sea.
J. similar; the captain valued learning and knowledge.

7. It is most reasonable to infer from the passage that the ship's remaining crewmates accompanying the boy on his walk through the jungle would agree with which of the following statements about the boy?

A. The boy's grief over the captain's death made him unwilling to leave the scene of the shipwreck.
B. The boy's grief over the captain's death made him run away from his companions.
C. The boy was constantly startled by loud noises.
D. The boy hated his life on land and had escaped to the sea to find freedom.

8. Which of the following statements best describes the actions taken by the captain on finding the boy stowed away on the ship?

F. He scolds the boy because he did not pay the fare for passage on the ship.
G. He teaches the boy the meaning of the phrase "let the dead bury their dead."
H. He teaches the boy how to navigate using maps and the stars.
J. He ignores the boy, leaving him to fend for himself.

9. According to the passage, the storm features all of the following EXCEPT:

A. loud thunder.
B. huge walls of water.
C. bright lightning.
D. ferocious hail.

10. Which of the following statements about the storm is supported by the passage?

F. It blew up without warning, taking the captain by surprise.
G. It happened in the middle of the night.
H. It was the most violent storm any of the crew had ever seen.
J. It was the storm the boy's father had warned him about.

SOCIAL SCIENCE: This passage is adapted from the article "Slang: Why It's Totally Sweet" by Patrick Tyrrell (© 2008 by Patrick Tyrrell).

11. Based on the passage, Thorne most likely describes some slang as innocent (line 37) to indicate his belief that not all slang is created to be:

A. rebellious.
B. informative.
C. nuanced.
D. accusatory.

12. The author includes the information in the last paragraph primarily to:

F. criticize Thorne for being too subjective with which words he chooses to include in his dictionary.
G. illustrate how a future scholar might be able to use Thorne's dictionary as a resource.
H. identify the ways Thorne uses Shakespearean slang to describe modern terms.
J. argue that Thorne's dictionary should be the primary focus of modern linguistics.

13. All of the following groups are mentioned in the passage as related to the academic study of slang EXCEPT:

A. philologists.
B. college professors.
C. linguists.
D. lexicologists.

14. The quotation marks around the phrase "common man" in line 78 primarily serve to:

F. emphasize the subjective and somewhat derogatory process of categorizing people and the words they use.
G. reveal the author's suspicion that the man in question is not common at all.
H. introduce a demeaning term the author believes is appropriate to describe users of slang.
J. show how an inventive term may enjoy popularity briefly but ultimately does not have the proper usage to survive.

15. As it is used in line 18, the word vulgar most nearly means:

A. sickening.
B. malicious.
C. unsophisticated.
D. profane.

16. The passage indicates that the efforts to compile current dictionaries of slang are viewed by some as essential because these dictionaries:

F. could possibly provide future scholars with a way of deciphering the meaning of today's writings.
G. are the only way that speakers of other languages can decode the subtle meaning of English texts.
H. currently do not exist except for those chronicling Shakepeare's era.
J. will provide modern English speakers with the correct conversational uses of each slang term.

17. According to the passage, Walt Whitman seems to view the use of slang as an attempt to:

A. show civility.
B. conform to traditions.
C. broaden expression.
D. defy authority.

18. The main purpose of the first paragraph in relation to the passage is to:

F. acquaint the reader with some examples of slang.
G. establish that British scholars are the leaders in slang research.
H. introduce slang as a possibly surprising topic of academic study.
J. outline Tony Thorne's problems with managing his email inbox.

19. The author's reference to groups like the military as being hotbeds of slang (line 44) most nearly means that such groups are:

A. prophetic.
B. old-fashioned.
C. innovative.
D. strict.

20. The passage suggests that of the following, which one encapsulates the greatest obstacle for intellectuals who would categorically denounce slang?

F. Their own invention of some slang terms
G. Disagreement on how certain slang terms are used
H. Respect for Thorne's academic interest and tireless determination.
J. Appreciation for the creativity involved in the origination of slang

HUMANITIES: This passage is excerpted from the entry "Antonio Gaudi" in Great Spanish Architects (© 2006 by Teshigahara Press).

21. It can be most reasonably inferred from the passage that the author views the description of Gaudi as a "freakish genius" in line 10 as:

A. an overstatement of Gaudi's skill and contributions to modern architecture.
B. an inadequate explanation of a complex man and his controversial contributions to architecture.
C. a reasonable suggestion for how first-time viewers should explore Gaudi's work.
D. an accurate representation of the view of Gaudi's skill and artistic vision many current critics hold.

22. Based on information in the passage, when were donors LEAST likely to fund construction of the Sagrada Familia?

F. 1880s
G. 1900s
H. 1950s
J. 1980s

23. The passage's author indicates that compared to the world's other great cathedrals, the Sagrada Familia is:

A. more remarkable in terms of appearance and design.
B. less remarkable in terms of size and beauty.
C. more likely to be a part of the ongoing debate about how to construct a building after the original designer has died.
D. less likely to influence future architectural designs by new artists in Europe.

24. The main purpose of the third paragraph (lines 20-28) is to make clear that from a young age, and throughout his childhood, Gaudi:

F. was a controversial figure who caused a stir within traditional artist circles.
G. came from a family of artists and therefore was a natural artist, destined for great success.
H. was a mediocre and uninspired student who disliked learning about architecture, despite the later success he achieved.
J. was just one of many students who found the education of his day boring, unsatisfying, and unrelated to real artistic skill.

25. The word array, as it is used in line 34, could reasonably mean any of the following EXCEPT:

A. arrangement.
B. range.
C. selection.
D. variety.

26. As used in line 74, the word grumblings most nearly means:

F. churnings.
G. criticisms.
H. theories.
J. growling.

27. The passage suggests that in the late 19th century, compared to Gaudi, other contemporary artists were:

A. more reserved when trying new artistic forms and techniques.
B. less inhibited when trying new artistic forms and techniques.
C. more focused on perfecting architectural techniques.
D. less focused on perfecting architectural techniques.

28. According to the passage, one reason that politicians and architects agreed to continue construction of the Sagrada Familia after Gaudi's death was:

F. the survival of Gaudi's original designs to effectively guide ongoing work.
G. they witnessed the stunning design of the cathedral in person.
H. they wished to complete as much as possible before the impending Civil War.
J. the popularity of Gaudi's design inspired the public to demand its construction.

29. It can most reasonably be inferred from the passage that throughout his lifetime, from his schoolboy days to his years as a well-established artist, Gaudi:

A. successfully overcame harsh and damaging criticisms of his work to complete his lifetime dreams.
B. created both excitement and controversy over his non-traditional designs and techniques.
C. blurred the distinction between art and nature, using natural plants and animals as motifs.
D. adjusted a building's design to conform to its location, his patron's vision, and the environmental conditions.

30. It can most reasonably be inferred from the discussion of architecture-as-art's renewed popularity that in previous generations, some architects:

F. were never open to creative and unconventional designs.
G. preferred classic designs inspired by historical architecture.
H. created practical designs that were not necessarily aesthetically pleasing.
J. do not have one single design that they preferred and identified with.

NATURAL SCIENCE: This passage is excerpted from the article "Frank Drake and Project Ozma" by Arnold C. Topton (© 2004 by Crackpot Press).

31. According to the passage, Frank Drake:

A. was one of the first scientists to use radio technology to look for alien life.
B. successfully found signs of extraterrestrial life.
C. ran Project Phoenix from his radio telescope in West Virginia.
D. is a highly esteemed astronomer and physicist.

32. Which of the following would be the most appropriate characterization of Project Ozma, as portrayed by the author of the passage?

F. Its unexpected success took the scientific community by surprise, altering the face of the field.
G. Although it was a failure in one sense, it helped usher in a new era of interstellar research.
H. Drake's goals were unrealistic, given his limited knowledge and resources.
J. Without the financial support of institutions such as NASA, the Project was doomed to failure.

33. As it is used in line 19, the word august most nearly means:

A. summery.
B. elusive.
C. esteemed.
D. antique.

34. As conveyed in the passage, the author's attitude toward the search for life on other planets is:

F. ironic yet sympathetic.
G. scornful and angry.
H. hopeful yet pragmatic.
J. uncertain and fearful.

35. According to the passage, scientists involved in the search for life on other planets are likely to be:

A. trained in scientific disciplines such as physics, astronomy, and engineering.
B. wide-eyed dreamers prone to unrealistic expectations about space.
C. employed at institutions such as universities or NASA.
D. skilled radio mechanics, due to their work with radio telescopes.

36. The primary point of the fourth paragraph (lines 31-41) is that:

F. even today scientists do not understand why life developed on our planet.
G. liquid water is crucial to the evolution of intelligent life on any planet.
H. only planets within a "Goldilocks Zone" are able to sustain life.
J. there appear to be two crucial components in determining whether a planet may be habitable.

37. It can reasonably be inferred that, as it is used in line 46, the term hospitable planets is intended to mean:

A. planets with cultures that are similar to those found on our planet.
B. locations outside of our solar system that are in close proximity to the sun.
C. binary planets with generally stable orbits and moderate temperatures.
D. places with temperatures and masses that fall within the range able to support life.

38. Based on the information in the passage, Saturn is most likely unable to sustain life because:

F. its close proximity to the sun causes a greenhouse effect.
G. the atmosphere is too heavy to allow for liquid water to exist.
H. its distance from the sun is too great for it to contain liquid water.
J. it is an unstable gas giant, due to the chemical combinations present.

39. The passage indicates that any new planet discovered in a location that is comparable to Venus' location, relative to the sun, would most likely be:

A. an overheated gas giant, due to its heavy atmosphere.
B. incapable of supporting life due to its lack of a gravitational field.
C. prone to the development of an unstable orbit.
D. unable to sustain life unless it were small enough not to retain too much heat.

40. According to the passage, Goldilocks Planets are characterized by:

F. temperatures that are moderate enough to allow for the existence of liquid water.
G. heavy atmospheres that retain hydrogen gases, creating a greenhouse effect.
H. either extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures, depending on proximity to the sun.
J. the presence of both liquid water and a high concentration of hydrogen gases.