No Contents. 376 Test Prep Practice Questions
Tips for Taking the ACT English Test
The ACT English test contains 75 questions to be completed in 45 minutes. If you spend 11⁄2 minutes skimming through each passage before responding to the questions, then you will have 30 seconds to answer each question. If possible, spend less time on each question and use the remaining time allowed for this test to review your work and return to the questions on this test that were most difficult for you.
Be aware of the writing style used in each passage.
The five passages cover a variety of topics and are written in a variety of styles. It is important that you take into account the writing style used in each passage when you respond
to the questions. In responding to a question, be sure to understand the context of the question. Consider how the sentence containing an underlined portion fits in with the surrounding sentences and into the passage as a whole.
Examine the underlined portions of the passage.
Before responding to a question with an underlined portion, carefully examine what is underlined in the text. Consider the elements of writing that are included in each underlined portion. Some questions will ask you to base your decision on some specific element of writing, such as the tone or emphasis the text should convey. Some questions will ask you to choose the alternative to the underlined portion
that is NOT or LEAST acceptable. The answer choices for each question will contain changes in one or more of those elements of writing.
Be aware of questions with no underlined portions.
You will be asked some questions about a section of the passage or about the passage as a whole, in light of a given rhetorical situation. Questions of this type are often identified by a question number in a box located at the appropriate point in the passage. Questions about the entire passage are placed at the end of the passage and introduced by a horizontal box enclosing the following instruction: “Questions ___ and ___ ask about the preceding passage as a whole.”
Note the differences in the answer choices.
Many of the questions in the test will involve more than one aspect of writing. Examine each answer choice and how it differs from the others. Be careful not to select an answer that corrects one error but causes a different error.
Determine the best answer.
Two approaches can be taken to determine the best answer to a question in which you are to choose the best alternative to an underlined portion. In the first approach, you can reread the sentence or sentences, substituting each of
the possible answer choices for the underlined portion to determine the best choice. In the second approach, you can decide how the underlined portion might best be phrased in standard written English or in terms of the particular question posed. If you think the underlined portion is the best answer, you should select “NO CHANGE.” If not, you should check to see whether your phrasing is one of the other answer choices. If you do not find your phrasing, you should choose the best of the answers presented. For questions cued by a number in a box, you must decide which choice is most appropriate in terms of the question posed or the stated rhetorical situation.
Reread the sentence, using your selected answer.
Once you have selected the answer you feel is best, reread the corresponding sentence(s) of the passage, inserting your selected answer at the appropriate place in the text to make sure it is the best answer within the context of the passage.
Content Covered by the ACT English Test
Six elements of effective writing are included in the English test: punctuation, grammar and usage, sentence structure, strategy, organization, and style. The questions covering punctuation, grammar and usage, and sentence structure make up the Usage/Mechanics subscore. The questions covering strategy, organization, and style make up the Rhetorical Skills subscore. A brief description and the approximate percentage of the test devoted to each element of effective writing are given below.
Punctuation (10–15%). Questions in this category test your knowledge of the conventions of internal and end-of- sentence punctuation, with emphasis on the relationship of punctuation to meaning (for example, avoiding ambiguity, indicating appositives).
Grammar and Usage (15–20%). Questions in this category test your understanding of agreement between subject and verb, between pronoun and antecedent, and between modifiers and the word modified; verb formation; pronoun case; formation of comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs; and idiomatic usage.
Sentence Structure (20–25%). Questions in this category test your understanding of relationships between
and among clauses, placement of modifiers, and shifts in construction.
Strategy (15–20%). Questions in this category test how well you develop a given topic by choosing expressions appropriate to an essay’s audience and purpose; judging the effect of adding, revising, or deleting supporting material; and judging the relevancy of statements in context.
Organization (10–15%). Questions in this category test how well you organize ideas and choose effective opening, transitional, and closing sentences.
Style (15–20%). Questions in this category test how well you choose precise and appropriate words and images, maintain the level of style and tone in an essay, manage sentence elements for rhetorical effectiveness, and avoid ambiguous pronoun references, wordiness, and redundancy.
In the five 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 pas- sage, 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.