Sample Questions

English Section

A Stethoscope in the Dining Room

I grew up with chickens, cows, and pigs living in the barn;(1) dogs roaming in the yard; livestock statistics plastering the refrigerator door; and a stethoscope was sitting (2) on the dining room table. Having studied, my mother is (3) an agricultural veterinarian. Our household might have been described as uncooperative. (4) Our meals weren’t always served in the expected order of breakfast, lunch, and supper.


B. living, in the barn,
C. living in the barn,
D. living in the barn


B. would sit
C. sitting
D. sat

B. As my mother’s interest is animals, she is
C. My mother’s occupation is that of
D. My mother is


B. There seemed to be no explanation for why Mom ran our household the way she did.
C. Our household didn’t run according to a typical schedule
D. Mom ran our household in a most spectacular manner.

Answers: 1.A, 2.C, 3.D, 4.C

Math Section

1. Which of the following is (are) the solution(s) of the equation 6= x-√(3x)? 

A. 0
B. 3
C. 12
D. 3, 12
E. No Answer

2. What is the equation of the circle that is centered at (-1,2) and has a radius of 4

A. (x-1)²+ (x+2)²=4 
B. (x+1)²+ (x-2)²=4
C. (x-1)²+ (x+2)²=16 
D. (x+1)²+ (x-2)²=16 
E. (x-1)²+ (x-2)²=16

3. Which of the following is not equal to the other choices?

A. -1/i
B. i
C. i 5
D. 1/13
C. i 3

4. Which of the following function has an amplitude of 6 and a period of 4π ? 

A. y=6cosθ/2
B. y=-6cosθ
C. y=cosθ/2
D. y=cosθ/4


Which of the following function has an amplitude of 6 and a period of 4π ? 

A. -1
B. 2
C. 3
D. 4
E. 5


Answers: 1.C, 2.D, 3.E, 4.A 5.B

Reading Section

This passage is adapted from the novel, A Princess of Mars (1912) by Edgar Rice Burroughs

On the Arizona Hills

I am a very old man; how old I do not know. Possibly I am a hundred, possibly more; but I cannot tell because I have never aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood. So far as I can recollect I have always been a man, a man of about thirty. I appear today as I did forty years and more ago, and yet I feel that I cannot go on living (5)forever; that some day I shall die the real death from which there is no resurrection. I do not know why I should fear death, I who have died twice and am still alive; but yet I have the same horror of it as you who have never died, and it is because of this terror of death, I believe, that I am so convinced of my mortality. And because of this conviction I have determined to write down the story of the (10)interesting periods of my life and of my death. I cannot explain the phenomena; I can only set down here in the words of an ordinary soldier of fortune a chronicle of the strange events that befell me during the ten years that my dead body lay undiscovered in an Arizona cave. I have never told this story, nor shall mortal man see this manuscript until after I have (15) passed over for eternity. I know that the average human mind will not believe what it cannot grasp, and so I do not purpose being pilloried by the public, the pulpit, and the press, and held up as a colossal liar when I am but telling the simple truths which some day science will substantiate. Possibly the suggestions which I gained upon Mars, and the knowledge which I can set down in this chronicle, will aid in an earlier understanding of (20) the mysteries of our sister planet; mysteries to you, but no longer mysteries to me. My name is John Carter; I am better known as Captain Jack Carter of Virginia. At the close of the Civil War I found myself possessed of several hundred thousand dollars (Confederate) and a captain's commission in the cavalry arm of an army which no longer existed; the servant of a state which had vanished with the hopes of the South. (25)Masterless, penniless, and with my only means of livelihood, fighting, gone, I determined to work my way to the southwest and attempt to retrieve my fallen fortunes in a search for gold. I spent nearly a year prospecting in company with another Confederate officer, Captain James K. Powell of Richmond. We were extremely fortunate, for late in the winter of (30)1865, after many hardships and privations, we located the most remarkable gold-bearing quartz vein that our wildest dreams had ever pictured. Powell, who was a mining engineer by education, stated that we had uncovered over a million dollars worth of ore in a trifle over three months. As our equipment was crude in the extreme we decided that one of us must return to (35) civilization, purchase the necessary machinery and return with a sufficient force of men properly to work the mine. As Powell was familiar with the country, as well as with the mechanical requirements of mining we determined that it would be best for him to make the trip. It was agreed that I was to hold down our claim against the remote possibility of its being jumped by some (40) wandering prospector. On March 3, 1866, Powell and I packed his provisions on two of our burros, and bidding me good-bye he mounted his horse, and started down the mountainside toward the valley, across which led the first stage of his journey. The morning of Powell's departure was, like nearly all Arizona mornings, clear and (45)beautiful; I could see him and his little pack animals picking their way down the mountainside toward the valley, and all during the morning I would catch occasional glimpses of them as they topped a hog back or came out upon a level plateau. My last sight of Powell was about three in the afternoon as he entered the shadows of the range on the opposite side of the valley. (50)Some half hour later I happened to glance casually across the valley and was much surprised to note three little dots in about the same place I had last seen my friend and his two pack animals. I am not given to needless worrying, but the more I tried to convince myself that all was well with Powell, and that the dots I had seen on his trail were antelope or wild horses, the less I was able to assure myself. (55)Since we had entered the territory we had not seen a hostile Indian, and we had, therefore, become careless in the extreme, and were wont to ridicule the stories we had heard of the great numbers of these vicious marauders that were supposed to haunt the trails, taking their toll in lives and torture of every white party which fell into their merciless clutches. (60)Powell, I knew, was well armed and, further, an experienced Indian fighter; but I too had lived and fought for years among the Sioux in the North, and I knew that his chances were small against a party of cunning trailing Apaches. Finally I could endure the suspense no longer, and, arming myself with my two Colt revolvers and a carbine, I strapped two belts of cartridges about me and catching my saddle horse, started down the (65)trail taken by Powell in the morning. As soon as I reached comparatively level ground I urged my mount into a canter and continued this, where the going permitted, until, close upon dusk, I discovered the point where other tracks joined those of Powell. They were the tracks of unshod ponies, three of them, and the ponies had been galloping. (70) I followed rapidly until, darkness shutting down, I was forced to await the rising of the moon, and given an opportunity to speculate on the question of the wisdom of my chase. Possibly I had conjured up impossible dangers, like some nervous old housewife, and when I should catch up with Powell would get a good laugh for my pains. However, I am not prone to sensitiveness, and the following of a sense of duty, wherever it may lead, (75) has always been a kind of fetish with me throughout my life; which may account for the honors bestowed upon me by three republics and the decorations and friendships of an old and powerful emperor and several lesser kings, in whose service my sword has been red many a time.


1) As used in line 16, “pilloried” most closely means:

A. Beaten B. Laughed at C. Castigated D. Dishonored

2) The term “jumped,” as it is used in line 39, most nearly means:

A. Attacked B. Seized C. Evaluated D. Mined

3) Carter’s purpose in the first paragraph (lines 1-8) is to:

A. Explain the unusual circumstances of his life B. Indicate the events leading up to his death C. Clarify his motivation for writing D. Emphasize his mortality

4) Which of the following statements can be best inferred from the passage as a whole?

A Carter fears that Powell may have been ambushed B. Carter is confident that Powell can handle himself in any fight C. Carter is worried about Powell’s safety because he is a less experienced Indian fighter D. Carter and Powell are close friends

5) Which statement best describes the purpose of the final paragraph?

A. To indicate how Carter’s experiences will enable him to rescue his friend B. To suggest Carter’s military prowess C. To hint at past rivalry between Powell and Carter D. To highlight the depth of Carter’s commitment to duty.

Answers: 1. C, 2.B, 3.C, 4. A, 5. A

Science Section

Transpiration refers to the movement of water through a plant and its evaporation primarily from its leaves, but also from its stems and flowers. Plants regulate the rate of transpiration via their stomatal openings, which are composed of special cells called Guard cells. The rate of transpiration is influenced by the evaporative pressures in the atmosphere surrounding the leaf, such as humidity, temperature, wind, and sunlight. The experiment below deals with transpiration.

There are thirty plants—all members of the same species—divided into three equal groups. Each group is placed into the environmental conditions listed below. All other conditions are equal. The amount of water loss per cm2 was measured at 5 minute intervals for every plant in each group. The average values for each group are shown in the graph.


1. Which one of the following was an experimental control? 

A. x
B. y
C. z
D. x and y
E. no control


2. How much water did x lose during the interval between the 40th and 60th minutes? 

A. 20 ml/cm2
B. 15 ml/cm2
C. 10 ml/cm2
D. 5 ml/cm2
E. 0 ml/cm2


3. Which one of the following could have helped prevent group x from losing water during the last twenty minutes? 

A. The light becoming dimmer
B. The light becoming brighter
C. The temperature decreasing
D. The humidity decreasing
E. The closing of the stomata


4. Which one of the following could explain group z's low water loss? 

A. The high osmotic air pressure
B. The lower osmotic air pressure
C. Group z might be of a different plant species
D. Group z may have little water in its soil
E. None of the above


Answers: 1.B, 2.A, 3.E, 4.B

Test Tips for the ACT

Get a full night of sleep. Do not stay up late studying the night before the test. Cramming will do little to improve your overall test score. Do not forget to bring the appropriate photo identification and a printed to the test center on exam day!

Read the test directions carefully. This includes both the directions on the test cover and the directions for each individual section. Reading the directions too hastily may result in needless incorrect answers.

Answer every question. Try to eliminate as many possible answers as possible to increase your odds of finding the correct answer but do not skip a question. There is no penalty for guessing on the ACT.

Answer the easy questions first. If you have time remaining after answering easy questions on each section, return to the more difficult questions afterwards.

Verify your calculator. If you plan to use a calculator on the Mathematics section, make sure you check that the device you plan to use is an approved

The English Section

Pay attention to the writing style employed in each passage: some questions will require you to consider grammar while others will ask you to identify the tone or emphasis of passage. Certain questions will involve reading and analyzing an entire paragraph or more; others entail analyzing underlined passages. Carefully consider the underlined sentence elements in each passage. Check possible answers by re-reading the underlined/highlighted portion with your selected answer.

Math Sections

Pay attention to type of question being asked. Answer the exact question being asked; do not guess that a different question is being asked. As noted above, if you plan to use a calculator, double-check with the test center and on ACT website to make sure you bring an approved device.


Read each passage carefully. Consider all of the possible answers before making your selection, referring back to the passage. Some “trick” answers may seem correct if read hastily but are incorrect. Choose the answer that most suits the question.


Read the question and the passage closely. Be on the lookout for conflicting views within the passage. Refer to the scientific information within the passage when making your selection. Weigh all of the possible answers before making your selection.