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Looking for a free series of sample questions from the ACT? Check out the questions below! These are just a sample of ACT test questions. You’ll find questions for the English section, Mathematics section, Reading section, Science section, and Writing section. If you’re interested in buying an ACT practice test, you can visit Petersons.com.

English Section
Mathematics Section
Reading Section
Science Section
Writing Section


Directions: In this section, each question corresponds with the underlined word or phrase bearing the same number (i.e., Question 1 refers to the underlined phrase labeled “1”). From the answer choices at right, pick the best alternative. If no change is needed, choose NO CHANGE. Questions 1–15 refer to the following passage.

Passage I

Ask people if they have ever heard, of vaudeville, and [1] most of them will have no idea what the word even means. However, around 100 years ago, vaudeville was the most popular form of entertainment in the United States. Between the years 1875 and 1932, it was vaudeville bringing laughter and joy throughout the country to millions of people. [2]

The fact that vaudeville had something for everyone led to its wonderful [3] appeal. The variety of the acts was [4] impressive. Each show featured jugglers, horseback riders, musicians, and puppeteers to entertain the crowd. The audience would laugh at the clowns and comedians, joining the singers in song, and in amazement of the magic tricks and acrobats. [5] Since acts like magic, mime, and dancing required little to no verbal communication or speaking, [6] many of the new immigrants to this country did not need to speak English to join in the fun. In addition, tickets to vaudeville shows were relatively inexpensive. Making [7] it possible for people with limited means to purchase them. Another reason for vaudeville’s popularity was the family-oriented nature of the acts. [8] Vulgarity was not allowed, so when parents took their children, we could [9] enjoy the show without worrying about exposing them to improper language or behavior.

[10] The word vaudeville comes from the French phrase voix de ville, or “voices of the town.” In France, people would gather in the valleys to amuse each other with song and dance. Gradually, vaudeville spread to America, into the saloons of the wild west. There, performers delighted the audience with acts like singing and rope spinning. As the acts became mostly creative [11] and diverse, they attracted a wider audience. Rapidly growing in popularity, businesspeople began opening theatres all over the country. [12] When vaudeville reached its peak in the 1920s, there were over 600 theatres showcasing 60,000 acts.

Question [1]
b. heard of vaudeville, and
c. heard, of vaudeville and
d. heard of vaudeville and

Question [2]
g. vaudeville brought laughter and joy to millions of people throughout the country.
h. it was vaudeville that brought laughter and joy throughout the country to millions of people.
j. vaudeville was bringing laughter and joy to people throughout the country in the millions.

Question [3]
b. great deal of
c. large
d. mass

Question [4]
g. acts, were
h. acts were
j. acts was,

Question [5]
b. The audience would laugh at the clowns and comedians, join the singers in song, and watch the magic tricks and acrobats in amazement.
c. The audience would laugh at the clowns and comedians, join the singers in song, and being amazed by the magic tricks and acrobats.
d. The audience would have laughed at the clowns and comedians, joining the singers in song, and be amazed by the magic tricks and acrobats.


Question 1
On the final project in Juan’s art class, 14 students earned a grade of B. Those 14 students were exactly 20% of the total number of students in the class. How many students were in the class?
a. 28
b. 34
c. 56
d. 64
e. 70

Question 2
What is the sixth term of the arithmetic sequence 3, 6, 9, 12, … ?
f. 13
g. 15
h. 18
j. 21
k. 24

Question 3
In order to set up the Internet connection in a computer lab, the following amounts of cable are needed for each computer in the lab:

2 cables, each measuring 3 feet

3 cables, each measuring 9 inches

1 wire, measuring 5 feet

If the room requires 25 computers and cable costs $0.15 per inch, approximately how much will it cost to set up the computers for the lab?

a. $23.85
b. $72.00
c. $159.00
d. $596.25
e. $3,975.00

Question 4

A 95-foot cable attached to the top of a telephone pole is anchored to the ground. If the wire rises at a 64° angle with the ground, how tall is the telephone pole (in feet)?

a. 95 tan 64°

b. 64 cos 95°

c. 95 cos 64°

d. 95 sin 64°

e. 64 sin 95°

Question 5
At a certain construction site, there is a pile containing 55 tons of sand. Four trucks, each of which holds 11.4 tons of sand, are filled from this pile. How many tons of sand remain in the pile?

f. 9.4
g. 16.2
h. 20.8
j. 32.2
k. 43.6


Questions 1 – 5 refer to the following passage.

PROSE FICTION: This is an excerpt from a collection of short stories.

I pushed the lumpy mashed potatoes aside and stared gloomily at the suspicious entity that the school cafeteria was passing off as chicken. Once again, I silently berated myself for leaving my lunch at home that morning. I envisioned the brown paper bag sitting on the kitchen table. My mind savored the thin slices of smoked turkey and American cheese layered on a fresh sesame-seed roll. I could virtually taste the slice of apple pie my mother had packed for dessert. She had baked the pie the night before, and the delectable scent of apples and cinnamon had permeated the house and made our mouths water. I sighed and shoved the tray aside. As my stomach grumbled in protest, I resigned myself to skipping lunch.

Across the table, my best friend, Melinda, looked up at me in sympathy. And then she asked me for my chicken. The girl would eat anything. I shrugged and sipped on the only item I had been able to salvage from the SS Nausea—a carton of fruit juice. Suddenly, a roar of laughter erupted from a table on the other side of the lunchroom. Pretending to be only casually interested, I followed everyone else’s gaze. As customary, Carlos was holding court. Sitting with several of his soccer teammates and friends, he was his usual animated, self-confident, funny, and naturally charming self—and absolutely gorgeous.

“He has a girlfriend, Clarissa,” Melinda teased, as she reached for my mashed potatoes. Ah, yes, the girlfriend. Despite my best efforts, I could not entirely block her out of my field of vision. It was especially difficult since Carlos had his arm around her–as he always did: in the cafeteria, walking down the halls, strolling home after school. I was beginning to think that his arm was permanently attached to Denise’s shoulder.

I turned to give Melinda an icy look. “Yes, I know. Thanks for pointing that out, though.”

“Sorry,” Melinda said hastily.

I finished my drink and placed the carton on the table. “No, I’m sorry. I’m just cranky and hungry.”

Another burst of laughter from the table. This time I didn’t turn to look. What was the point, except the needless self-infliction of pain? I knew what I would see: Carlos and Denise, the perfect couple. For the last two years of high school, she and Carlos had been inseparable. She was at every soccer match to welcome him off the field. He was there to cheer her on at her gymnastic meets.

Like her boyfriend, Denise was athletic, smart, and attractive. I could not observe her without feeling an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. The full, shiny hair, the sparkly eyes, the mesmerizing smile—she was a source of both envy and adoration. And in two weeks, she would reign supreme as the newly elected prom queen. By her side, would be the newly elected prom king—who else, but Carlos? And I, as always, would stare from the shadows, wrapped in a cloak of invisibility and self-pity.

Sometimes I found solace in a recurring fantasy. On prom night, I would bump into Carlos over the punchbowl. Our eyes would meet and hold as the melody of my favorite love song filled the glittering hall. Then in an epiphanous moment worthy of a Hollywood movie, Carlos would suddenly recognize the inescapable, inalterable truth. It was me he loved. He would take my hand and lead me to the dance floor, as Denise, immobilized by shock, watched in helplessness. There would be nothing unscrupulous about my actions, for as cinematic justice demands, I was truly deserving of Carlos while Denise was mean and conniving.

But life was rarely like a Hollywood movie, I reminded myself as Melinda and I rose from the table. Denise was genuinely nice—one of the reasons for her immense popularity. She was unassuming and self-effacing, and seemed almost oblivious to her beauty. As we headed towards the swinging doors, I cast one last look in their direction. Carlos’s arm was draped over Denise’s shoulder, and they were laughing. We left the cafeteria and headed for our next class.

Prom night arrived on a rainy Friday, and it seemed to me as if the sky was crying in empathy. I had no date, but I was going to the prom anyway with a handful of friends who were dateless as well. We had persuaded ourselves that this was a cool, fun thing to do. The pangs in my stomach suggested otherwise. As the time for departure arrived, I put the final touches on my hair and steeled myself for the worst.

We arrived at the prom, enthused and nervous, and with renewed determination to enjoy the evening. The hall had been splendidly decorated and the music was loud and bouncy. It took me only a moment to spot Carlos and Denise on the dance floor. I pasted a smile on my face and headed for the punch bowl.

After thirty minutes of dancing and drinking, I felt the beginnings of a headache and left the main hall in search of a quieter spot. I sat on a bench behind a giant potted plant and closed my eyes. Moments passed and then I heard footsteps approaching. They stopped on the other side of the plant. I heard hushed, angry voices that I soon determined to be Carlos’s and Denise’s.

“Didn’t I tell you not to dance with Pete?” he demanded.

“When are you going to stop being so jealous? It was only a dance.” There were silent tears in Denise’s voice.

“When I tell you not to do something, I mean it. You should know that by now.”

“Let go my arm.” Her voice was low and urgent. “Someone’s coming.”

“Let’s go,” Carlos said, his voice an irritated snarl. They hurried away.

As I took a moment to gather myself, I reinterpreted the perennial arm across Denise’s shoulder. I returned to the hall, devastated, but no longer tormented by self-pity.

Question 1
What is the main idea of the first paragraph?
a. Clarissa’s mother is a first-rate cook.
b. A homemade sandwich is better than cafeteria food.
c. Clarissa has an excellent memory for sensory details.
d. Forgetting her lunch has left Clarissa hungry and miserable.

Question 2
Considering how Melinda is portrayed in the passage, she would most accurately be described as:
f. easy to please.
g. unreasonable.
h. envious.
j. a fussy eater.

Question 3
Clarissa first notices Carlos in the lunchroom when:
a. she bumps into him unexpectedly.
b. she rises to leave the lunchroom.
c. Melinda points him out.
d. there is loud laughter from his table.

Question 4
Clarissa reacts to Melinda’s comment about the girlfriend with:
f. disinterest and impatience.
g. humor and approval.
h. hostility and sarcasm.
j. surprise and dismay.

Question 5
It is reasonable to infer from the passage that Clarissa is “wrapped in a cloak of invisibility and self-pity”  because:
a. Carlos does not notice her.
b. it is a way to avoid dealing with her problems.
c. she is insecure about her appearance.
d. she is not as popular as Denise.

Passage I:

Two students became involved in a debate of nature versus nurture, arguing whether human behavior is influenced more by one’s genes or by one’s upbringing. The students focus on academic success, the ability to do well in school. Each student did some research and wrote a brief argument in favor of either nature or nurture as the predominant force in academic success.

Student 1:

One’s genes are far more important for academic success than one’s upbringing, A study compared identical twins and non-identical twins in their 20s, a reflection on the effect of genetics versus environment because identical twins share 100% of their genes, while non-identical twins share only 50% of their genes. The study found that identical twins performed similarly in tests of English, science, and math, but showed more variation in personality, behavior and health, indicating that genes are more closely linked with academic performance.

In addition, there are a number of single-gene genetic disorders, including dyslexia, and neural disorders, like autism and Down syndrome, that affect cognitive ability, which demonstrates another effect of genes on academic performance. Also, researchers have recently found that genetic variation affects expression of the NPTN gene, which encodes an NPTN protein that affects how brain cells communicate and results in a thinner brain cortex in the left cerebral hemisphere. Teenagers with this gene also performed worse on intelligence tests. Similar effects were seen for the same gene in mice. However, this gene only seems to affect 0.5% of total variation in intelligence.

Student 2:

A person’s environmental upbringing is more important for his or her academic success than genetics. A recent study, based on a pool of over 100,000 people, picked out 69 gene variants linked to educational achievement and cross-checked the list with gene variants found to be related to higher IQ based on cognitive tests taken by 24,000 people. Three gene variants were found to be linked to both educational achievement and high IQ. However, the researchers calculated that each variant contributed to an average of 0.3 points on an IQ test, in which two-thirds of the population normally scores between 85 and 115. This means that a person with all three variants would only score 1.8 points higher on an intelligence test than a person with none of them, which is hardly any effect at all. Furthermore, there are a dozen different single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DNA that correlate with IQ scores in certain humans, but with a statistically significant sample size, none are really linked to intelligence.

Genes aside, however, there are many environmental influences that can affect intelligence and academic performance. Nutrition, stress, and exposure to violence have all been associated with lower school grades and lower IQs. Even a child’s position in birth order was found to influence intelligence, with firstborn children generally scoring higher, though these studies did not control for age or family size. Access to education and socioeconomic status can also influence one’s performance in school.

Question 1
Based on Student 1’s viewpoint, increased expression of the NPNT gene would result in:

f. lower levels of NPNT protein.

g. a thicker brain cortex in the left cerebral hemisphere.

h. a decreased effect of stress on academic performance.

j. lower scores on intelligence tests.

Question 2
Based on Student 2’s viewpoint, which of the following factors would have the most significant negative impact on a teenager’s academic performance?

a. Readily available educational resources

b. The expression of the NPNT gene

c. A demanding and stressful part-time job

d. The presence of SNPs in the teenager’s DNA

Question 3

Students 1 and 2 might agree that:

f. individual genes will not have a significant effect on intelligence across a population.

g. genetic and neural disorders have no effect on academic performance.

h. a child’s home life will be the most important determinant of academic success.

j. the effect of hormones outweighs the effects of genes or environment in a student’s academic success.

Question 4

A common strategy used by both students to support their arguments is:

a. surveying small samples of people for information on environmental backgrounds.

b. focusing twin studies in their approach.

c. finding genetic studies that support their respective views.

d. connecting brain and neuronal development to the academic success of individuals.

Question 5

What is a major weakness of Student 1’s argument compared to Student 2’s argument?

f. Student 1 fails to focus on environmental effects, while Student 2 uses both environmental and genetic evidence.

g. Student 1 fails to focus on genetic effects, while Student 2 uses both environmental and genetic evidence.

h. Student 1 uses a wide variety of genetic evidence to support his viewpoint.

j. Student 1 uses a wide variety of environmental evidence to support his viewpoint.


Essay Topic: Requiring School Uniforms

Directions: Think carefully about the statement and assignment below. Outline a response that develops and supports your own ideas. You have twenty-five minutes to write an essay on the given topic in the space provided.

Statement: Your school is considering requiring all students to wear uniforms during school. Do you feel it is a good idea to require students to wear uniforms? Why or why not?

Assignment: Write an essay persuading your principal to accept your recommendation on whether or not your school should require students to wear uniforms. Remember to present your ideas in a clear and logical order and to support your response with specific facts, details, examples, and reasons. Be sure to use well-constructed sentences and make sure your response conforms to the conventions of written American English.



1. B
2. G
3. D
4. F
5. B


1. E
2. H
3. D
4. D
5. F


1. D
2. F
3. D
4. H
5. A


1. J
2. C
3. F
4. C
5. F