ACT science practice test 67

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.

You are NOT permitted to use a calculator on this test.


More than 5 percent of Americans have asthma, a chronic disease that affects the airways and lungs, causing shortness of breath, wheezing, and sometimes death. In the United States, rates for asthma have steadily increased, nearly doubling during the past 20 years. There is no cure for asthma. Two researchers discuss factors that cause individuals to develop asthma.

Researcher 1

There has long been an association between the allergen Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (dust mites) and asthma. Evidence for a causal relationship has been supported by bronchial challenge studies and avoidance experiments. Studies have shown that exposure in the child’s own house was the primary determinant of sensitization. Research from around the world has provided evidence about other indoor allergens, specifically cats, dogs, and the German cockroach. These studies showed that perennial exposure to allergens was an important cause of inflammation in the lungs and associated nonspecific bronchial hyperreactivity. Children are being exposed to more perennial allergens now than ever before. Houses are built more tightly and are better insulated and have more furnishings and fitted carpets. In addition, children are spending more time indoors. This increased exposure to allergens, including dust mites, has led to increased sensitization, and more cases of asthma.

Since assays for total serum IgE (immunoglobulin E) became available, it has been clear that patients with asthma have, on average, higher total IgE than patients with hay fever or no allergy. Recent work on patients hospitalized for asthma has suggested that the interaction between rhinovirus and allergy occurs predominantly among patients with total IgE > 200 IU/ml. Thus, the different properties of allergens could influence both the prevalence and severity of asthma.

Researcher 2

It is widely accepted that air pollution exacerbates asthma. For example, when traffic controls were put in place during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, morning peak traffic counts declined by 23 percent. This in turn lowered ozone (O3) concentrations by 13 percent, carbon monoxide (CO) by 19 percent, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) by 7 percent. Associated with these declines in ambient air pollution were drops in Medicaid-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations for asthma (down 42 percent), asthma-related care for health maintenance organizations (down 44 percent), and citywide hospitalizations for asthma (down 19 percent). Despite such striking relationships between exposure to air pollution and asthma aggravation, air pollution has not been regarded as a cause of the disease. Increasingly, however, recent studies have been suggesting that air pollution may, indeed, be a cause of asthma.

The Children’s Health Study (CHS) followed 3,535 children with no lifetime history of asthma for five years. During that period 265 reported a new physician diagnosis of asthma. Analysis of CHS data has shown that children living in communities with high ozone levels developed asthma more often than those in less polluted areas. The hypothesis that ozone might cause asthma is reinforced by a study of 3,091 nonsmoking adults aged 27 to 87 years who were followed for 15 years. The results of this study showed that 3.2 percent of the men and 4.3 percent of the women reported new doctor-diagnosed asthma. The researchers concluded that there was a connection between ozone concentration and development of asthma.

1. If ozone levels decrease nationwide, Researcher 2 would expect to see what change in asthma rates?

A. An increase in the prevalence of asthma
B. A decrease in the prevalence of asthma
C. No change in the prevalence of asthma
D. First a decrease and then an increase in the prevalence of asthma

2. Which of the following statements would Researcher 1 agree with?

F. Asthma rates are lower in rural areas.
G. Men are more likely to have asthma than women.
H. People who have pets are more likely to have asthma.
J. Asthma rates are related to the quality of air.

3. Researcher 1 would most likely agree with which of the following statements about IgE?

A. People who have IgE levels of 400 IU/ml have a high chance of having severe asthma.
B. People who have IgE levels of 100 IU/ml have a high chance of having severe asthma.
C. Most people who have asthma have low levels of IgE; less than 200 IU/ml.
D. There has been no connection made between IgE levels and the prevalence of asthma.

4. If the prevalence of asthma in the United States continues to increase, Researcher 1 would likely cite which of the following as a solution to the problem?

F. People need to spend less time outside.
G. Houses need to be better insulated.
H. People need to be given supplements to increase their IgE levels.
J. Fans need to be added to houses to allow more circulation and to bring more outside air into the house.

5. Researchers 1 and 2 would both agree with which of the following statements?

A. Asthma rates are likely to decline over the next 20 years.
B. Air pollution and high IgE levels are the two leading causes of asthma.
C. Women are more likely to develop asthma than men.
D. Measures can be taken to lower a person’s risk of developing asthma.

6. If Researcher 2 is correct, which of the following graphs would best represent the relationship between CO concentrations and cases of asthma?

F. image
G. image
H. image
J. image

7. Researcher 2 would most likely agree with which of the following statements regarding the prevalence of asthma 20 years ago?

A. There was a higher prevalence of asthma 20 years ago because there was less pollution.
B. There was a lower prevalence of asthma 20 years ago because there were higher ozone levels and less pollution.
C. There was a lower prevalence of asthma 20 years ago because there was less pollution and lower ozone levels.
D. There was a lower prevalence of asthma 20 years ago because people spent more time outside.

The Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) has conducted lakewide surveys of the fish community in Lake Michigan each fall since 1973 using standard 12 m bottom trawls along contour at depths of 9 to 110 m at each of seven to nine index transects. The resulting data on relative abundance, size structure, and condition of individual fishes are used to estimate various population parameters that are in turn used by state and tribal agencies in managing Lake Michigan fish stocks.

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Figure 1

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Figure 2

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Figure 3

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Figure 4

8. According to Figure 1, which species of fish was most prevalent in 1954?

F. Alewife
G. Smelt
H. Bloater
J. Smelt and bloater

9. Based on the information in Figure 4, which of the following statements is true?

A. There were more smelt than sculpin in 2004.
B. There were more bloater than sculpin in 2004.
C. There were more alewife than bloater in 2004.
D. There were more slimy sculpin than alewife in 2004.

10. According to Figure 2 and Figure 3, which of the following is NOT true about the size of alewives?

F. There were more 175-mm alewives in 2004 than in 2002.
G. There were fewer 75-mm alewives in 2004 than in 2002.
H. There were fewer 115-mm alewives in 2002 than in 2004.
J. There were more 155-mm alewives in 2004 than in 2002.

11. Considering the fact that the older an alewife fish, the longer it is, and using the data in Figures 2 and 3, which of the following can be deduced about alewife fish populations in 2002 and 2004?

A. In 2004 there were more young alewives than in 2002.
B. In 2004 there were more adult alewives than in 2002.
C. In 2004 the fish were, on average, younger than in 2002.
D. In 2004 the greatest percentages of fish were young.

12. Scientists at the GLSC have hypothesized that the bloater population may be cycling in abundance, with a period of about 30 years. Does the data in Figure 1 support this hypothesis?

F. No. The population of bloater fish has decreased since 1973.
G. No. In 2004 there were more bloater fish than any other species.
H. Yes. The density of bloater fish steadily increased before 1973 and then decreased from 1973 to 2003.
J. Yes. In 2004 there were more bloater fish than any other species.