An Instructional ACT

Directions…………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………….…………………… 2 Answer Sheet……………………………………………………………………………….…………….………………………………… 15 English Test……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………19 Math Test…………………………………………………………………………….……………………………………….……………….31 Reading Test………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………….39 Science Test……………………………………………………………………………………………………...……………………………47 Writing Test…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………….63 Answer Key………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………….65 Question Analysis/Hints/Tips/Advice………………………………………………………………………………..…………86 ACT Strategy………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..……..157 English Content Review……………………………………………………………………………………………………..……….190 Math Content Review…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………263 Reading Section Review…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….381 Science Reasoning Review…………………………………………………………………………….………………………….405 Essay Advice……………………………………….……………………………………………………..………………………………447 Math Basics…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..487 Algebra I…………………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………………493 Algebra II………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………….497 Geometry………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………………501 The Elements of Style…………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………….507 English Grammar……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………594 My info……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………598 ACT Flashcards

This is an ACT that is meant to teach you as you take it. There are bookmarks to help you navigate, and there are also a few attachments.

This a pdf file. Though it is compatible with many software/hardware configurations, I would recommend using Adobe Reader. Colored items contain links to the web or to other parts of this document. Alt/Left Arrow will take you back to your previous view. If you have any questions or comments, or would like more practice tests like this, contact me in one of the ways below.

Email: daniel.henrickson3@gmail.com

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Effective through the 2011—2012 testing year.

PREPARING
for the ACT
What’s Inside:
■ ■ ■ ■

Full-Length Practice Tests, including a Writing Test Information about the Optional Writing Test Strategies to Prepare for the Tests What to Expect on Test Day

This booklet is provided free of charge.
Esta publicación también se puede ver o descargar en español en www.actstudent.org/testprep/index.html.

Contents
1. 2. 3. 4. General Preparation for the ACT Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Strategies for Taking the ACT Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 What to Expect on Test Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Taking the Practice Tests. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Practice Multiple-Choice Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Practice Writing Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 5. Scoring Your Tests. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 How to Score the Multiple-Choice Tests . . . . . . . . 59 How to Score the Writing Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 6. Sample Answer Document . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Multiple-Choice Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Writing Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
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Additional ACT Preparation Materials
• ACT Online Prep™: The only online test preparation program designed exclusively by ACT test development professionals. ACT Online Prep has practice test questions, a practice essay with real-time scoring, a diagnostic test, and a personalized Study Path. You can access ACT Online Prep via the Internet anywhere and at any time. Order at www.actonlineprep.com. The Real ACT Prep Guide is the official print guide to the ACT. This book includes three complete practice tests previously used in actual administrations—each with an optional Writing Test, with explanations for all right and wrong answer choices. Order at www.actstudent.org.

A Message to Students
This booklet, which is provided free of charge, is intended to help you do your best on the ACT. It summarizes general test-taking strategies, describes the content of each test, provides specific tips for each, and lets you know what to expect on test day. Included in this booklet are complete practice tests—“retired” ACT questions that were administered to students on a national test date, including a writing prompt—a sample answer document, answer keys, and self-scoring instructions. Read this booklet carefully and take the practice tests well before test day so you will be familiar with the tests, what they measure, and the strategies you can use to do your best on test day. ACT is committed to representing the diversity of our society in all its aspects, including race, ethnicity, and gender. Thus, test passages, questions, and writing prompts are deliberately chosen to reflect the range of cultures in our population. We also are committed to ensuring that test questions and writing prompts are fair—that they do not disadvantage any particular group of examinees. Extensive reviews of the fairness of test materials are rigorously conducted by both ACT staff and external consultants. We also employ statistical procedures to help ensure that our test materials do not unfairly affect the performance of any group.

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General Preparation for the ACT Tests
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Choosing a Test Option
Students may register for one of two Test Options: the ACT (No Writing), which includes the four required multiplechoice tests, or the ACT Plus Writing, which also includes a 30-minute Writing Test. The optional ACT Writing Test complements the ACT English Test. The combined results from both tests provide information about your understanding of the conventions of standard written English and your ability to produce a direct sample of your writing. Taking the ACT Plus Writing will provide you with two additional scores: a Writing subscore and a Combined English/Writing score. Taking the ACT Writing Test does not affect your subject area scores or your Composite score. Not all colleges require or recommend taking the ACT Writing Test. Check directly with the colleges you are considering to find out their requirements, or ask your high school counselor which Test Option you should take. You can also check www.actstudent.org for a searchable list of colleges that have provided information to us about their policies—whether they require, recommend, or do not need results from the ACT Writing Test. Consult this list before you register, so you will know which Test Option to select. The ACT Plus Writing is available within the United States, U.S. territories, and Canada on all established test dates and for Special and Arranged Testing during designated testing windows. The ACT Plus Writing is available internationally on all test dates except February.

ACT endorses the Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education and the Code of Professional Responsibilities in Educational Measurement, guides to the conduct of those involved in educational testing. ACT is committed to ensuring that each of its testing programs upholds the guidelines in each Code. A copy of each Code may be obtained free of charge from ACT Customer Services (68), P.O. Box 1008, Iowa City, IA 52243-1008, 319/337-1429.

© 2010 by ACT, Inc. All rights reserved. NOTE: This booklet is covered by federal copyright laws that prohibit the reproduction of the test questions without the express, written permission of ACT, Inc.

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Choosing a Test Date
Before you choose a test date, check the application deadlines of the colleges and scholarship agencies you are considering. It will normally take three to eight weeks after a test date for ACT to mail your score report to you and to your college or scholarship choices. Many colleges and scholarship agencies recommend that students take the ACT during the spring of their junior year. By this time, students typically have completed most of the coursework covered by the ACT. There are a number of advantages in taking the ACT then: • You will receive test scores and other information that will help you plan your senior year of high school. • Many colleges begin contacting prospective students during the summer before their senior year. • If you do not score as well as you believe you can, there will be opportunities to retake the ACT in the fall of your senior year and still have your new scores available in time to meet admission and scholarship deadlines. NOTE: You cannot plan on receiving your scores from one test date in time to register for the next.

Read each question carefully. It is important that you understand what each question asks. Some questions will require you to go through several steps to find the correct or best answer, while others can be answered more quickly. Answer the easy questions first. The best strategy for taking the tests is to answer the easy questions and skip the questions you find difficult. After answering all of the easy questions, go back and answer the more difficult questions if you have time. Use logic on more difficult questions. When you return to the more difficult questions, try to use logic to eliminate incorrect answers to a question. Compare the answer choices to each other and note how they differ. Such differences may provide clues as to what the question requires. Eliminate as many incorrect answers as you can, then make an educated guess from the remaining answers. Answer every question. Your score on the tests will be based only on the number of questions that you answer correctly; there is no penalty for guessing. Thus, you should answer every question within the time allowed for each test, even if you have to guess. Your supervisor will announce when you have five minutes remaining on each test. Review your work. If there is time left after you have answered every question in a test, go back and check your work on that test. Check to be sure that you marked only one response to each question. You will not be allowed to go back to any other test or mark responses to a test after time has been called on that test. Be precise in marking your answer document. Be sure that you properly fill in the correct ovals on your answer document. Check to be sure that the number of the line of ovals on your answer document is the same as the number of the question you are answering and that you mark only one response for each question. Erase completely. If you want to change a multiple-choice answer, be sure to use a soft eraser that will not leave smudges and erase the unintended mark completely. Do not cross out answers or use correction fluid or tape; you must erase. Correction fluid/tape, smudges, or unintended marks may cause errors in scoring.
To students approved to test at national test centers with extended time: You will be allowed up to 5 hours total to work on the multiple-choice tests at your own pace, including breaks between tests. If you are taking the ACT Plus Writing, you will be allowed up to 5 hours and 45 minutes total to work on all five tests. You will need to pace yourself through each test in order to complete all tests within the total time allowed. Your supervisor will provide time updates every hour. When you complete each test, you must notify your supervisor that you are ready to begin the next test.

General Test-Taking Strategies for the ACT
The ACT contains multiple-choice tests in four areas: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. Each of these tests contains questions that offer either four or five answer choices from which you are to choose the correct, or best, answer. The following suggestions apply to all four tests:

Pace yourself. The time limits set for each test give nearly everyone enough time to finish all the questions. However, because the English, Reading, and Science Tests contain a considerable amount of text, it is important to pace yourself so you will not spend too much time on one passage. Similarly, try not to spend too much time puzzling over an answer to a specific problem in the Mathematics Test. Go on to the other questions and come back if there is time. Your supervisor will announce when you have five minutes remaining on each test. Read the directions for each test carefully. Before you begin taking one of the tests, read the directions carefully. The English, Reading, and Science Tests ask for the “best” answer. Do not respond as soon as you identify a correct answer. Read and consider all of the answer choices and choose the answer that best responds to the question.
The Mathematics Test asks for the “correct” answer. Read each question carefully to make sure you understand the type of answer required. Then, you may want to work out the answer you feel is correct and look for it among the choices given. If your answer is not among the choices provided, reread the question and consider all of the answer choices.

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General Test-Taking Strategies for the ACT Writing Test
The ACT Writing Test lets you show your skill in planning and composing a short essay. It measures writing proficiencies that are taught in high school and are important for readiness to succeed in entry-level college composition courses. The following general strategies will help if you take the ACT Writing Test.

Preparing for Test Day
Although what you know will determine how well you do on the ACT, your attitudes, emotions, and physical state may also influence your performance. The following tips will help you do your best: • Be confident in your ability to do well on the ACT. You can do well! • Be prepared to work hard. • Know what to expect on test day. Familiarize yourself with the information in this booklet, and at www.actstudent.org. NOTE: Most procedures in this booklet refer to testing on an established ACT test date at an ACT test center. Procedures may differ slightly if you test at another location. For example, for most administrations, you won’t be allowed to use scratch paper because each page of the Mathematics Test has a blank column that you can use for scratch work. • Take the practice tests in the exact order they are presented. Review your responses so you will feel comfortable about the approaching test day. • Prepare well in advance for the tests. Do not leave preparation to the last minute. • Get plenty of rest the night before the tests so you will be in good physical condition for taking them. ➤ Bring the following items with you to the test center: 1. Your admission ticket (if you test on a National or International ACT Test Date). 2. Acceptable identification. Your admission ticket is not identification. See details on your admission ticket or at www.actstudent.org. If you do not present acceptable identification at the time of check-in, you will not be admitted to test. You will have to pay a Test Date Change fee to transfer your registration to a different test date if you choose to reschedule. If you have any questions about acceptable ID, call ACT Test Administration (319/337-1510) before test day. 3. Sharpened soft lead No. 2 pencils with good erasers (no mechanical pencils; no ink, ballpoint, or felt-tip pens). Do not bring highlight pens or any other writing instruments; you will not be allowed to use them. If you have registered to take the ACT Plus Writing, your essay must also be completed with a soft lead No. 2 pencil. 4. A watch to pace yourself. Do not bring a watch with an alarm. You will not be allowed to set an alarm because it will disturb other students. If your alarm sounds during testing, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. Your supervisor will announce when you have five minutes remaining on each test. 5. A permitted calculator for the Mathematics Test, if you wish to use one. (See shaded section on page 5 and details about prohibited models and features at www.actstudent.org.)

Pace yourself. You will have 30 minutes to write your essay. It is important to pace yourself in the way that best suits your personal writing strategy. Many writers do best when they spend part of their time planning the essay, most of their time writing the essay, and the last part of their time reviewing the essay to make corrections and small revisions. There is no formula for the best proportion of time to spend planning, writing, and reviewing: writers, topics, and occasions differ too widely for a universal rule to apply. Keep in mind, however, that you are unlikely to have time to draft, revise, and recopy your essay. Therefore, taking a few minutes to plan your essay is a much better strategy than writing a draft with the intent to copy it over for the final essay.
In general, budget your time in the way that feels best to you based on your experience in taking essay tests in school and in other circumstances when you’ve done writing within a time limit. Your supervisor will announce when you have five minutes remaining on the Writing Test.

Read the directions carefully. Before you begin the Writing Test, read the directions carefully. They tell you the aspects of writing on which your essay will be evaluated and give instructions on how to write your essay in the answer folder. Read the writing prompt carefully. It is important that you understand exactly what the writing prompt asks you to do. A firm grasp of the assignment is as crucial for the ACT Writing Test as it is for writing essays for class. Be sure you have a clear understanding of the issue in the writing prompt and of the question you must respond to before you start to plan and write your essay. Write (or print) legibly in the answer folder. If your readers cannot read what you have written, they will not be able to score your essay. You may write or print your essay, whichever you prefer—but you must do so legibly. You must write your essay using a soft lead No. 2 pencil (not a mechanical pencil or ink pen) and only on the lined pages in the answer folder. You may not need all the lined pages, but to ensure you have enough room to finish, do not skip lines. Make corrections clear. If you make corrections by using erasures or cross-outs, do so thoroughly and legibly. You may write corrections or additions neatly between the lines of your essay, but do not write in the margins of the lined pages.

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For students testing on National or International ACT Test Dates: • If you register online, you must print your admission ticket from your ACT Web account. If you submit a registration folder, look for your admission ticket in the mail about 2 weeks after you mail your folder. • If you misplace your admission ticket or have not received it by 10 days before the test date, log in to your ACT Web account to print a copy, or call ACT Registration at 319/337-1270 for assistance (8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m., M–F, central time). • Check your admission ticket for your Test Option and the location of your assigned test center. Pay attention to any special messages on your ticket such as what building to go to, what entrance to use, where to park, etc. If you are unfamiliar with the location, do a practice run to see how to get there and how much travel time you will need to arrive by the time shown on the ticket. • If you are late, you may not be admitted to test. If you arrive earlier than 7:45 a.m., you will probably have to wait outside until testing personnel have completed their arrangements. • Be prepared for testing to start after all examinees present at 8:00 a.m. have been checked in and seated. • Dress comfortably. To conserve energy, your test center may be considerably warmer or cooler on weekends than during the week. Please dress so that you will be comfortable in a variety of temperatures.

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Strategies for Taking the ACT Tests

The ACT measures the knowledge, understanding, and skills that you have acquired throughout your education. Although the sum total of what a person has learned cannot easily be changed, your performance in a specific area can be affected by adequate preparation, especially if it has been some time since you have taken a course in that area. There are three strategies that can help you to prepare yourself for the content included in the ACT:

Familiarize yourself with the content of the ACT tests. Review the information about the tests that is provided on the following pages. Note which content areas make up a large proportion of the tests and which do not. The specific topics included in each content area are examples of possible topics; they do not include all of the possibilities. Refresh your knowledge and skills in the content areas. Review those content areas you have studied but are not fresh in your mind. Spend your time refreshing your knowledge and skills in the content areas that make up large portions of the tests.

Use of Calculators on the ACT Mathematics Test
It is your responsibility to bring a permitted calculator. We regularly update information about which calculators are prohibited and provide the most current information only via the Web or phone. To be certain your calculator will be permitted on test day, check www.actstudent.org or call 800/498-6481 for the most up-to-date information on permitted and prohibited devices. If you use a prohibited calculator, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. You may use a calculator on the ACT Mathematics Test (but not on any of the other tests in the ACT). You are not required to use a calculator. All the problems can be solved without a calculator. If you regularly use a calculator in your mathematics work, you may wish to use one you are familiar with as you take the Mathematics Test. Using a more powerful, but unfamiliar, calculator is not likely to give you an advantage over using the kind you normally use. You may use any four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator, unless it has features described in the current list of prohibited devices at www.actstudent.org. Other models may be permitted if you modify some of the calculator’s features, such as removing paper tape, turning off sounds, removing power cords, or covering infrared data ports. On Test Day Be sure your calculator is working and has reliable batteries. You may bring a backup calculator and extra batteries to the test center. Testing staff will not supply batteries or calculators. You will not be allowed to share calculators during testing. Testing staff will check your calculator to verify it is permitted, and they will monitor your use of your calculator to ensure that you: • use it only during the Mathematics Test; • use your backup calculator only after it has been checked by a member of the testing staff; • do not share your calculator; and • do not store test materials in your calculator’s memory. If your calculator has characters one inch high or larger, or a raised display, testing staff may seat you where no other examinee can see your calculator.

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Identify the content areas you have not studied. If unfamiliar content areas make up major portions of the tests, consider taking coursework to help you gain knowledge and skills in these areas before you take the ACT. Because the ACT measures knowledge and skills acquired over a period of time, it is unlikely that a “cram” course covering material that is unfamiliar to you will help you improve your scores. Longer-term survey courses will be most helpful to you, because they aim to improve your knowledge through sustained learning and practice.

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 asking global 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.

ACT English Test
The ACT English Test is a 75-question, 45-minute test that measures your understanding of the conventions of standard written English (punctuation, grammar and usage, and sentence structure) and of rhetorical skills (strategy, organization, and style). Spelling, vocabulary, and rote recall of rules of grammar are not tested. The test consists of five essays, or passages, each of which is accompanied by a sequence of multiple-choice test questions. Different passage types are employed to provide a variety of rhetorical situations. Passages are chosen not only for their appropriateness in assessing writing skills but also to reflect students’ interests and experiences. Some questions refer to underlined portions of the passage and offer several alternatives to the underlined portion. You must decide which choice is most appropriate in the context of the passage. Some questions ask about an underlined portion, a section of the passage, or the passage as a whole. You must decide which choice best answers the question posed. Many questions offer “NO CHANGE” to the passage as one of the choices. The questions are numbered consecutively. Each question number refers to a correspondingly numbered portion underlined in the passage or to a corresponding numeral in a box located at the appropriate point in the passage. Three scores are reported for the ACT English Test: a total test score based on all 75 questions, a subscore in Usage/Mechanics based on 40 questions, and a subscore in Rhetorical Skills based on 35 questions.

Tips for Taking the ACT English Test
Pace yourself. 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.

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 on the next page.

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USAGE/MECHANICS
Punctuation (13%). Questions in this category test your knowledge of the conventions of internal and end-ofsentence punctuation, with emphasis on the relationship of punctuation to meaning (for example, avoiding ambiguity, indicating appositives). Grammar and Usage (16%). 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 (24%). Questions in this category test your understanding of relationships between and among clauses, placement of modifiers, and shifts in construction.

Tips for Taking the ACT Mathematics Test
Pace yourself. The ACT Mathematics Test contains 60 questions to be completed in 60 minutes. You have an average of 1 minute per 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. If you use a calculator, use it wisely. Remember, all of the mathematics problems can be solved without using a calculator. In fact, some of the problems are best done without a calculator. Use good judgment in deciding when, and when not, to use a calculator. For example, for some problems you may wish to do scratch work to clarify your thoughts on the question before you begin using a calculator to do computations. For many problems, you may not want to use a calculator. Solve the problem. For working out the solutions to the problems, you will usually do scratch work in the space provided in the test booklet, or you will be given scratch paper to use. You may wish to glance over the answer choices after reading the questions. However, working backwards from the answer choices provided can take a lot of time and may not be effective. Locate your solution among the answer choices. Once you have solved the problem, look for your answer among the choices. If your answer is not included among the choices, carefully reread the problem to see whether you missed important information. Pay careful attention to the question being asked. If an equation is to be selected, check to see whether the equation you think is best can be transformed into one of the answer choices provided. Make sure you answer the question. The solutions to many questions in the test will involve several steps. Make sure your answer includes all of the necessary steps. Frequently, questions include answer choices that are based on incomplete solutions. Make sure your answer is reasonable. Sometimes an error in computation will result in an answer that is not practically possible for the situation described. Always think about your answer to determine whether it is reasonable. Check your work. You may arrive at an incorrect solution by making common errors in the problem-solving process. Thus, if there is time available before the end of the Mathematics Test, it is important that you reread the questions and check your answers to make sure they are correct.

RHETORICAL SKILLS
Strategy (16%). 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 (15%). Questions in this category test how well you organize ideas and choose effective opening, transitional, and closing sentences. Style (16%). 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.

ACT Mathematics Test
You may use a calculator on the Mathematics Test. See www.actstudent.org for details about prohibited calculators. The ACT Mathematics Test is a 60-question, 60-minute test designed to assess the mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of grade 12. The test presents multiple-choice questions that require you to use reasoning skills to solve practical problems in mathematics. Most questions are discrete, but on occasion some may belong to sets of several questions (e.g., several questions based on the same graph or chart). Knowledge of basic formulas and computational skills are assumed as background for the problems, but recall of complex formulas and extensive computation is not required. The material covered on the test emphasizes the major content areas that are prerequisites to successful performance in entry-level courses in college mathematics. Four scores are reported for the ACT Mathematics Test: a total test score based on all 60 questions, a subscore in Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra based on 24 questions, a subscore in Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry based on 18 questions, and a subscore in Plane Geometry/Trigonometry based on 18 questions.

Content Covered by the ACT Mathematics Test
Six content areas are included in the Mathematics Test: pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and trigonometry. The questions covering pre-algebra and elementary algebra make up the Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra subscore. The questions covering intermediate algebra and coordinate geometry make up the Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry subscore. The questions

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covering plane geometry and trigonometry make up the Plane Geometry/Trigonometry subscore. A brief description and the approximate percentage of the test devoted to each content area are given below.

PRE-ALGEBRA/ELEMENTARY ALGEBRA
Pre-Algebra (23%). Questions in this content area are based on basic operations using whole numbers, decimals, fractions, and integers; place value; square roots and approximations; the concept of exponents; scientific notation; factors; ratio, proportion, and percent; linear equations in one variable; absolute value and ordering numbers by value; elementary counting techniques and simple probability; data collection, representation, and interpretation; and understanding simple descriptive statistics. Elementary Algebra (17%). Questions in this content area are based on properties of exponents and square roots, evaluation of algebraic expressions through substitution, using variables to express functional relationships, understanding algebraic operations, and the solution of quadratic equations by factoring.

cause-effect relationships; determine the meaning of context-dependent words, phrases, and statements; draw generalizations; and analyze the author’s or narrator’s voice and method. The test comprises four prose passages that are representative of the level and kinds of text commonly encountered in first-year college curricula. Each passage is preceded by a heading that identifies what type of passage it is (for example, “Prose Fiction”), names the author, and may include a brief note that helps in understanding the passage. Each passage is accompanied by a set of multiple-choice test questions. These questions do not test the rote recall of facts from outside the passage, isolated vocabulary items, or rules of formal logic. Three scores are reported for the ACT Reading Test: a total test score based on all 40 questions, a subscore in Social Studies/Sciences reading skills (based on the 20 questions on the social studies and natural sciences passages), and a subscore in Arts/Literature reading skills (based on the 20 questions on the prose fiction and humanities passages).

Tips for Taking the ACT Reading Test
Pace yourself. The ACT Reading Test contains 40 questions to be completed in 35 minutes. If you spend 2–3 minutes reading each passage, then you will have about 35 seconds to answer each question. If possible, spend less time on the passages and the questions 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. Read the passage carefully. Before you begin answering a question, read the entire passage thoroughly. It is important that you read every sentence rather than skim the text. Be conscious of relationships between or among ideas. You may want to make notes about important ideas in the passage, either in the test booklet, or on scratch paper if it is provided. Refer to the passage when answering the questions. Answers to some of the questions will be found by referring to what is explicitly stated in the text. Other questions will require you to determine implicit meanings and to draw conclusions, comparisons, and generalizations. Refer to the passage before you answer any question.

INTERMEDIATE ALGEBRA/COORDINATE GEOMETRY
Intermediate Algebra (15%). Questions in this content area are based on an understanding of the quadratic formula, rational and radical expressions, absolute value equations and inequalities, sequences and patterns, systems of equations, quadratic inequalities, functions, modeling, matrices, roots of polynomials, and complex numbers. Coordinate Geometry (15%). Questions in this content area are based on graphing and the relations between equations and graphs, including points, lines, polynomials, circles, and other curves; graphing inequalities; slope; parallel and perpendicular lines; distance; midpoints; and conics.

PLANE GEOMETRY/TRIGONOMETRY
Plane Geometry (23%). Questions in this content area are based on the properties and relations of plane figures, including angles and relations among perpendicular and parallel lines; properties of circles, triangles, rectangles, parallelograms, and trapezoids; transformations; the concept of proof and proof techniques; volume; and applications of geometry to three dimensions. Trigonometry (7%). Questions in this content area are based on understanding trigonometric relations in right triangles; values and properties of trigonometric functions; graphing trigonometric functions; modeling using trigonometric functions; use of trigonometric identities; and solving trigonometric equations.

Content Covered by the ACT Reading Test
The Reading Test is based on four types of reading selections: the social studies, the natural sciences, prose fiction, and the humanities. A subscore in Social Studies/ Sciences reading skills is based on the questions on the social studies and the natural sciences passages, and a subscore in Arts/Literature reading skills is based on the questions on the prose fiction and humanities passages. A brief description and the approximate percentage of the test devoted to each type of reading selection are given below.

ACT Reading Test
The ACT Reading Test is a 40-question, 35-minute test that measures your reading comprehension. The test questions ask you to derive meaning from several texts by (1) referring to what is explicitly stated and (2) reasoning to determine implicit meanings. Specifically, questions will ask you to use referring and reasoning skills to determine main ideas; locate and interpret significant details; understand sequences of events; make comparisons; comprehend

Social Studies (25%). Questions in this category are based on passages in the content areas of anthropology, archaeology, biography, business, economics, education, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology.

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Natural Sciences (25%). Questions in this category are based on passages in the content areas of anatomy, astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, ecology, geology, medicine, meteorology, microbiology, natural history, physiology, physics, technology, and zoology. Prose Fiction (25%). Questions in this category are based on intact short stories or excerpts from short stories or novels. Humanities (25%). Questions in this category are based on passages from memoirs and personal essays and in the content areas of architecture, art, dance, ethics, film, language, literary criticism, music, philosophy, radio, television, and theater.

viewpoints. It may be helpful for you to make notes summarizing each viewpoint, either next to that section in the test booklet, or on scratch paper if it is provided. For questions that ask you to compare viewpoints, these notes will help you answer more quickly.

Content Covered by the ACT Science Test
The content of the Science Test includes biology, chemistry, physics, and the Earth/space sciences (for example, geology, astronomy, and meteorology). Advanced knowledge in these subjects is not required, but knowledge acquired in general, introductory science courses is needed to answer some of the questions. The test emphasizes scientific reasoning skills over recall of scientific content, skill in mathematics, or reading ability. The scientific information is conveyed in one of three different formats.

ACT Science Test
The ACT Science Test is a 40-question, 35-minute test that measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. The test presents seven sets of scientific information, each followed by a number of multiple-choice test questions. The scientific information is conveyed in one of three different formats: data representation (graphs, tables, and other schematic forms), research summaries (descriptions of several related experiments), or conflicting viewpoints (expressions of several related hypotheses or views that are inconsistent with one another). The questions require you to recognize and understand the basic features of, and concepts related to, the provided information; to examine critically the relationship between the information provided and the conclusions drawn or hypotheses developed; and to generalize from given information to gain new information, draw conclusions, or make predictions. You are not permitted to use a calculator on the ACT Science Test. One score is reported for the ACT Science Test: a total test score based on all 40 questions.

Data Representation (38%). This format presents graphic and tabular material similar to that found in science journals and texts. The questions associated with this format measure skills such as graph reading, interpretation of scatterplots, and interpretation of information presented in tables. Research Summaries (45%). This format provides descriptions of one or more related experiments. The questions focus upon the design of experiments and the interpretation of experimental results. Conflicting Viewpoints (17%). This format presents expressions of several hypotheses or views that, being based on differing premises or on incomplete data, are inconsistent with one another. The questions focus upon the understanding, analysis, and comparison of alternative viewpoints or hypotheses.

ACT Writing Test (Optional)
If you register for the ACT Plus Writing, you will take the ACT Writing Test (which must be completed in English) after you complete the four multiple-choice tests. Taking the Writing Test will not affect your scores on the multiplechoice tests or your Composite score. Rather, you will receive two additional scores: a Combined English/Writing score on a scale of 1 through 36 and a Writing subscore on a scale of 2 through 12. You will also receive some comments on your essay. The ACT Writing Test is a 30-minute essay test that measures your writing skills—specifically those writing skills emphasized in high school English classes and in entrylevel college composition courses. The test consists of one writing prompt that will define an issue and describe two points of view on that issue. You are asked to write in response to a question about your position on the issue described in the writing prompt. In doing so, you may adopt either of the perspectives described in the prompt, or present a different point of view on the issue. Your essay score will not be affected by the point of view you take on the issue. Prompts are designed to be appropriate for response in a 30-minute timed test and to reflect students’ interests and experiences.

Tips for Taking the ACT Science Test
Pace yourself. The ACT Science Test contains 40 questions to be completed in 35 minutes. If you spend about 2 minutes reading each passage, then you will have about 30 seconds to answer each question. If possible, spend less time on the passages and the questions 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. Read the passage carefully. Before you begin answering a question, read the scientific material provided. It is important that you read the entire text and examine any tables, graphs, or figures. You may want to make notes about important ideas in the information provided, either in the test booklet, or on scratch paper if it is provided. Some of the information sets will describe experiments. You should consider the experimental design, including the controls and variables, because questions are likely to address this component of scientific research. Note different viewpoints in passages. Some material will present conflicting points of view, and the questions will ask you to distinguish among the various

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Your essay will be evaluated on the evidence it gives of your ability to do the following: • express judgments by taking a position on the issue in the writing prompt; • maintain a focus on the topic throughout the essay; • develop a position by using logical reasoning and by supporting your ideas; • organize ideas in a logical way; and • use language clearly and effectively according to the conventions of standard written English. Your essay will be scored holistically—that is, on the basis of the overall impression created by all the elements of the writing. Two trained readers will score your essay, each giving it a rating from 1 (low) to 6 (high). The sum of those ratings is your Writing subscore. If the readers’ ratings disagree by more than one point, a third reader will evaluate your essay and resolve the discrepancy.

Vary the structure of your sentences, and use varied and precise word choices. Make logical relationships clear by using transitional words and phrases. Do not wander off the topic. End with a strong conclusion that summarizes or reinforces your position. Is it advisable to organize the essay by using a formula, like “the five-paragraph essay”? Points are neither awarded nor deducted for following formulas, so feel free to use one or not as best suits your preference. Some writers find formulas stifling, while other writers find them vital. The exact numbers of words and paragraphs in your essay are less important than the clarity and development of your ideas. Writers who have something to say can usually express their ideas at reasonable length and in the right number of paragraphs.

Tips for Taking the ACT Writing Test
Pace yourself. The ACT Writing Test gives you 30 minutes to read and think about the issue in the prompt, and to plan and write your essay. When asked to write a timed essay, most writers find it useful to do some planning before they write the essay, and to do a final check of the essay when it is finished. It is unlikely that you will have time to draft, revise, and recopy your essay. Therefore, taking a few minutes to plan your essay is a much better strategy than writing a first draft with the intent to copy it over for the final essay. Prewrite. Some writers like to plunge right in, but this is seldom a good way to do well on a timed essay. Prewriting gets you acquainted with the issue, suggests patterns for presenting your thoughts, and gives you a little breathing room to come up with interesting ideas for introducing and concluding your essay. Before writing, then, carefully consider the prompt and make sure you understand it— reread it if you aren’t sure. Decide how you want to answer the question in the prompt. Then jot down your ideas on the topic: this might simply be a list of ideas, reasons, and examples that you will use to explain your point of view on the issue. Write down what you think others might say in opposition to your point of view and think about how you would refute their argument. Think of how best to organize the ideas in your essay. Do your prewriting in your Writing Test booklet. You can refer back to these notes as you write your essay on the lined pages of your answer folder. Write. Once you’re ready to write your essay in the answer folder, proceed with the confidence that you have prepared well and that you will have attentive and receptive readers who are interested in your ideas. At the beginning of your essay, make sure readers will see that you understand the issue. Explain your point of view in a clear and logical way. If possible, discuss the issue in a broader context or evaluate the implications or complications of the issue. Address what others might say to refute your point of view and present a counterargument. Use specific examples.

Review your essay. Take a few minutes before time is called to read over your essay. Correct any mistakes in grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling. If you find any words that are hard to read, recopy them so your readers can read them easily. Make any corrections and revisions neatly, between the lines. Do not write in the margins. Your readers take into account that you had only 30 minutes to compose and write your essay. Within that time limit, try to make your essay as polished as you can. Practice. There are many ways to prepare for the ACT Writing Test. You may be surprised that these include reading newspapers and magazines, listening to news analyses on television or radio, and participating in discussions and debates about issues and problems. These activities help you become more familiar with current issues, with different perspectives on those issues, and with strategies that skilled writers and speakers use to present their points of view.
Of course, one of the best ways to prepare for the ACT Writing Test is to practice writing different kinds of texts, for different purposes, with different audiences in mind. The writing you do in your English classes will help you. So will practice in writing essays, stories, poems, plays, editorials, reports, letters to the editor, a personal journal, or other kinds of writing that you do on your own. Because the ACT Writing Test asks you to explain your perspective on an issue in a convincing way, writing opportunities like editorials or letters to the editor of a newspaper are especially helpful. Practicing a variety of different kinds of writing will help make you a versatile writer able to adjust to different writing occasions and assignments. It is also a good idea to practice writing within a time limit. This will help build skills that are important in college-level learning and in the world of work. Taking the practice ACT Writing Test in this booklet will give you a good idea of what timed writing is like and how much additional practice you may need. You might want to take the practice ACT Writing Test even if you do not plan to take the ACT Plus Writing, because all the writing you do contributes to your skill in expressing yourself.

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Content Covered by the ACT Writing Test
Writing is where form and content come together. To state that more precisely, writing is where you put form and content together. On the ACT Writing Test, we provide the “prompt”—a writing question about an issue that has been chosen for its appropriateness in a 30-minute test and for its relevance to students’ interests and experiences. The prompt defines the topic and asks you to focus on that topic in your essay. But the “content” of your essay—the arguments and explanations, the analysis and examples, in all their details—is provided by you. By applying your writing skills to shaping that content, you also provide the “form” of your essay. So, with regard to the content covered by the Writing Test, you are the author.

copy the Matching Information from your admission ticket onto your answer document accurately, or fill in the correct ovals, your scores will be delayed up to 8 weeks. You will receive a different answer document depending on which Test Option you registered to take. Make sure the answer document you receive matches the Test Option you intend to take. When you receive your test booklet, you will be told to read the directions printed on the cover, then asked to write the booklet number and test form on your answer document. It is extremely important that you fill in the correct ovals for your test booklet number and for the test form you are taking because these determine which answer key will be used to score your answer document. The supervisor will then tell you when to break the seal, open your test booklet, and begin work. If you are taking the ACT Plus Writing, you will receive a Writing Test booklet only after you have completed the four multiple-choice tests.

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What to Expect on Test Day

Reporting Time
For National and International Test Dates, you must report to the test center by the time stated on your admission ticket, normally 8:00 a.m. If you are late, you may not be admitted to test. If your admission ticket does not list a specific room, test center staff or posted signs will direct you to your test room.

Taking the Tests
As you are working, keep your eyes on your own test booklet and answer document. If you have a question, raise your hand. Do not look around. Please remember that as you take the tests you may not use information or materials that cause you to obtain a test score that misrepresents what you have learned. It is important that you understand what is considered prohibited behavior on the ACT. If you are involved in any of the actions listed below, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. Prohibited behaviors include: • filling in or altering ovals on a test or continuing to write the essay after time is called on that test (You must put your pencil down immediately when time is called.) • looking at another examinee’s test booklet or answer document • giving or receiving assistance • looking back at a test on which time has been called • looking ahead in the test booklet • using highlight pens, colored pens or pencils, notes, dictionaries, or other aids • using a prohibited calculator • using a calculator on any test other than the Mathematics Test • sharing a calculator with another examinee • using any device to share or exchange information at any time during testing or during break (all electronic devices, including cell phones, must be turned off from the time you are admitted to test until you are dismissed after testing concludes) • attempting to remove test materials, including questions or answers, from the test room by any means • not following instructions or abiding by the rules of the test center • exhibiting confrontational, threatening, or unruly behavior • creating a disturbance or allowing an alarm or phone to sound in the test room

Identification Required
At check-in, you will be required to show acceptable ID. See ID requirements on your admission ticket or at www.actstudent.org. You will also need to bring your admission ticket to complete your answer document correctly.

Dos and Don’ts
In the test room, the supervisor or proctor will direct you to a seat. If you need a left-handed desk, tell your supervisor as you enter. Do not leave the test room after you have been admitted. Only pencils, erasers, a permitted calculator (for the Mathematics Test only), and your admission ticket will be allowed on your desk. You will be required to put all other personal belongings away. You will not be allowed to have scratch paper, books, dictionaries, notes or other aids, highlighters, colored pens or pencils, mechanical pencils, ink pens, correction fluid, reading material, or any electronic devices other than a permitted calculator. Examples of prohibited devices include: timer, cell phone, media player, PDA, headphones, camera. You may not use tobacco in any form or have food or drink (including water) in the test room. You must abide by the rules of the test center. Try to relax just before beginning the tests. Take a few deep breaths, tense and relax your muscles, and think about pleasant things.

Test Preliminaries
Testing will begin as soon as all examinees present at 8:00 a.m. are checked in and seated. Listen carefully to all directions read by your supervisor. Ask questions if you do not understand what you are to do. It is very important that you follow all directions carefully. For instance, if you do not

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If you engage in any of these prohibited behaviors, you will be dismissed from the test center and your answer document will not be scored. If you finish a test before time is called, review your work on that test. Do not return to a previous test and do not work ahead. If you are satisfied with your responses, place your answer document inside your test booklet and close the cover. Sit quietly until your supervisor gives you additional instructions. You will have a 10- to 15-minute break after the first two tests. Do not leave the building during the break because some buildings have automatic locking doors, and you may be locked out. You must ask permission to leave the room during testing to go to the restroom; you will not be allowed to make up lost time. If you are taking the ACT Plus Writing, you will have time after Test 4 in which to sharpen your pencils. On certain test dates, ACT administers test questions for developmental purposes. Your responses to these questions do not affect your scores. At the conclusion of testing, you will be asked to sign a statement and copy a certification in your normal handwriting to verify truthful identification of yourself. You will be required to sit quietly until you are dismissed. After all answer documents and test booklets have been collected and counted, your supervisor will dismiss you.

answers, and scoring instructions. This service is not available for all test dates or for other testing programs (e.g., International, State). If you want it, check www.actstudent.org or Registering for the ACT to see which test dates offer this service and register for one of those dates.

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Taking the Practice Tests

Special Situations
If, for any reason, you have to leave the test center before completing all your tests, you must decide whether or not you want your answer document scored and inform your supervisor of your decision. If you fail to do so, your answer document will be scored. If you decide after you have completed all your tests that you do not want your answer document scored, tell your supervisor before you leave the test center. You need not give a reason. Once you break the seal on your multiple-choice test booklet, you cannot request a Test Date Change. If you do not complete all your tests and want to test again, you will have to reregister and pay the basic fee for your test option again. If you want to take the ACT again, you will have to reregister. See www.actstudent.org or Registering for the ACT. Once you begin filling out your answer document, you cannot request a Test Option Change (i.e., you may not change from ACT Plus Writing to the ACT [No Writing] or the reverse, on test day). You may not receive scores from more than one test taken during a scheduled national or international test date. For example, you may test on Saturday or on an authorized non-Saturday date (e.g., because your religious beliefs prohibit testing on Saturday) or on a rescheduled test date arranged by ACT—but not on more than one of those days. If you are admitted and allowed to test a second time, we will report only the scores from the first test. The second set of scores will be cancelled without refund.

Test Information Release
On certain national test dates, if you test at a national test center, you may order (for an additional fee) a copy of the test questions, a copy of your answers, a list of correct

Taking the practice tests can help you become familiar with the ACT. It will be most helpful if you take the tests under conditions that are as similar as possible to those you will experience on test day. The following tips will help you make the most of the practice tests: • The four multiple-choice tests require a total of 2 hours and 55 minutes. Take them in order in one sitting, with a 10- to 15-minute break between Tests 2 and 3. • Sit at a desk with good lighting. You will need sharpened No. 2 pencils with good erasers. You may not use highlight pens or correction fluid. Remove all books and other aids from your desk. On test day, you will not be allowed to use references or notes. For most administrations, you won’t need scratch paper because each page of the Mathematics Test has a blank column that you can use for scratch work. • If you plan to use a calculator on the Mathematics Test, review the information about prohibited calculators at www.actstudent.org. • Use a digital timer or clock to time yourself on each practice test. Set your timer for five minutes less than the time allowed for each test so you can get used to the verbal announcement of five minutes remaining. (Students approved for extended time should set a timer for 60-minute announcements up to the total time allowed—5 hours for the ACT [No Writing], or 5 hours and 45 minutes for the ACT Plus Writing, and an announcement of five minutes remaining at the end.) • Give yourself only the time allowed for each test. • Detach and use the sample multiple-choice answer document on pages 73–74. • Read the general test directions on the first page of the practice multiple-choice tests. These are the same directions that will appear on your test booklet on test day. After you have read the directions, start your timer and begin with Test 1. Continue through Test 4, taking a 10- to 15-minute break between Tests 2 and 3. If you do not plan to take the ACT Plus Writing, score your multiple-choice tests using the information beginning on page 59. • If you plan to take the ACT Plus Writing, read the directions on the first page of the practice ACT Writing Test (page 57). These are the same directions that will appear on your test booklet on test day. After you have read the directions, start your timer, then carefully read the prompt on page 58. After you have considered what the prompt is asking you to do, use scratch paper to plan your essay and then write your essay in the lined pages (75–78) on the answer document. When you have finished, score your essay using the information on pages 66–72.

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Double-click on bubbles with the highlighter (found in comment tab -------> )

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Practice Multiple-Choice T ests
Your Signature (do not print): Print Your Name Here: Your Date of Birth:

Month

Day

Year

Form 0964E

Directions
This booklet contains tests in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. These tests measure skills and abilities highly related to high school course work and success in college. CALCULATORS MAY BE USED ON THE MATHEMATICS TEST ONLY. The questions in each test are numbered, and the suggested answers for each question are lettered. On the answer document, the rows of ovals are numbered to match the questions, and the ovals in each row are lettered to correspond to the suggested answers. For each question, first decide which answer is best. Next, locate on the answer document the row of ovals numbered the same as the question. Then, locate the oval in that row lettered the same as your answer. Finally, fill in the oval completely. Use a soft lead pencil and make your marks heavy and black. DO NOT USE INK OR A MECHANICAL PENCIL. Mark only one answer to each question. If you change your mind about an answer, erase your first mark thoroughly before marking your new answer. For each question, make certain that you mark in the row of ovals with the same number as the question. Only responses marked on your answer document will be scored. Your score on each test will be based only on the number of questions you answer correctly during the time allowed for that test. You will NOT be penalized for guessing. IT IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE TO ANSWER EVERY QUESTION EVEN IF YOU MUST GUESS. You may work on each test ONLY when your test supervisor tells you to do so. If you finish a test before time is called for that test, you should use the time remaining to reconsider questions you are uncertain about in that test. You may NOT look back to a test on which time has already been called, and you may NOT go ahead to another test. To do so will disqualify you from the examination. Lay your pencil down immediately when time is called at the end of each test. You may NOT for any reason fill in or alter ovals for a test after time is called for that test. To do so will disqualify you from the examination. Do not fold or tear the pages of your test booklet. DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOKLET UNTIL TOLD TO DO SO.

P.O. BOX 168 IOWA CITY, IA 52243-0168

© 2009 by ACT, Inc. All rights reserved. NOTE: This booklet is covered by Federal copyright laws that prohibit the reproduction of the test questions without the express, written permission of ACT, Inc.

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ENGLISH TEST 45 Minutes—75 Questions
DIRECTIONS: 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.

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You will also find questions about a section of the passage, 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.

PASSAGE I

The Potter’s Kiln Unbricking a kiln after a firing is like a person
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1. A. B. C. D.

NO CHANGE someone a potter OMIT the underlined portion.

uncovering buried treasure. As the potter takes bricks away
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to create an opening into the oven, an expanding view

2. The writer would like to suggest the potter’s cautious pace and sense of anticipation in opening the kiln. Given that all the choices are true, which one best accomplishes the writer’s goal? F. NO CHANGE G. removes bricks by hand H. removes one brick at a time J. experiences great anticipation and removes bricks 3. A. B. C. D. 4. F. G. H. J. 5. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE rewarding reward as a reward for NO CHANGE of many mostly of for most NO CHANGE with the passing of time, gradually, OMIT the underlined portion.

of gleaming shapes rewards the artist for months
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of hard work. The process of creating ceramics begins in a studio. My friend Ellen is typical of many more potters in that
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some pieces she shapes on a spinning potter’s wheel and others she builds on a work table from coils or slabs of clay. Over many weeks, as time goes by, her collection
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slowly grows: clay bowls, cups, vases, and sculptures fill the studio. She dries them on racks, dips them in glazes, and dries them again.

ACT-64E-PRACTICE

GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE.
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At last, Ellen will have enough pieces for a firing. She then carries the assortment outside to the wood-fired kiln, it is a brick structure designed to bake pottery to a
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6. F. G. H. J. NO CHANGE the brick structure is a brick structure brick 7. The writer is considering deleting the phrase “and transform glazes to glorious colors” from the preceding sentence. Should the phrase be kept or deleted? A. Kept, because it emphasizes that painting pottery is a time-consuming process. B. Kept, because it is relevant to the essay’s focus on the role of kilns in making pottery. C. Deleted, because the appearance of the pottery is not as important to the essay’s focus as how kilns function. D. Deleted, because this level of detail is not consistent with the essay’s description of a kiln firing. 8. F. G. H. J. 9. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE stoops to carefully arrange bends over to arrange with care carefully stoops over to arrange NO CHANGE morning, using twigs for kindling, morning, using twigs for kindling; morning using twigs, for kindling,

hardness and transform glazes to glorious colors that drying alone won’t achieve. ' The chamber is just big

enough for her to crouch in as she carefully arranges the
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pieces inside. When the objects are in place, she backs out gingerly and seals the chamber shut with bricks. The next morning, using twigs, for kindling she
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starts a small blaze in the firebox, located directly below the main chamber. The fire grows steadily throughout the day as she feeds it lumber scraps and then logs. By nightfall a controlled inferno roars in the kiln.
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10. The writer would like to indicate that at this point the fire is extremely intense. Given that all the choices are true, which one best accomplishes the writer’s goal? F. NO CHANGE G. the fire is stronger than ever H. there is more heat being produced J. a kind of intense blaze takes place 11. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? A. On occasion, B. Once in a while, C. Now and then, D. Time or again, 12. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. at the chimney in G. up the chimney toward H. through the chimney up into J. out the chimney into

Occasionally, the fire chugs like a train engine, hungry
11

for more oxygen. Each time the fire is stoked, sparks

shoot from the chimney into the night sky.
12

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Periodically, Ellen looks through a porthole in the wall of the kiln to determine the fire’s intensity. The clay pieces gleam white-hot amid the flames. At last, when the temperature soars out of sight, she knows the firing
13

1
13. Given that all the choices are true, which one provides the most specific detail and maintains the style and tone of the essay? A. NO CHANGE B. rises beyond belief, C. soars well above a thousand degrees, D. elevates in increments to the point that a temperature of more than one thousand degrees is reached, 14. F. G. H. J. 15. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE Finally it dies With a blaze that dies Once the blaze dies NO CHANGE labor, which is the fire’s labor, of which the fire is labor, and the fire is

is nearing its end.

Having died down, she bricks up the firebox as well,
14

sealing the remaining heat inside. In a few days, when the kiln has cooled, Ellen opens the chamber, revealing the results of her labor and of the fire’s magic. Each piece
15

shines as it meets the light of day.

PASSAGE II

A Family Heirloom I live with my father in the summer, when I’m on vacation from school. Last week, he told me he had to go on a business trip in connection with his work and
16

that I’d be staying with his sister for three days. Although I love my aunt, I wasn’t happy about the prospect of three days at her house with nothing to do. It turns out I was in for a surprise. Soon after I arrived, my
17

16. F. G. H. J.

NO CHANGE having something to do with his job that involved traveling to another city OMIT the underlined portion.

17. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? A. Not long B. A short time C. As soon D. Shortly 18. F. G. H. J. NO CHANGE aunt, said aunt said, aunt said;

aunt said she had a gift for me. “It belonged
18

to my mother, your grandma. I’m sorry you never had the chance to know her,” she told me.

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I was expecting my aunt to hand me a ring or a bracelet, or maybe an old book, but instead she led me outside. 3

1
19. The writer is considering deleting the first part of the preceding sentence, so that the sentence would read: She led me outside. If the writer were to make this change, the essay would primarily lose: A. details that indicate to the reader what will eventually happen. B. the contrast between the gift and what the narrator had anticipated receiving. C. examples of the kinds of gifts the narrator normally receives. D. an indication of how close the narrator and her aunt are. 20. F. G. H. J. NO CHANGE have heard of of heard about of heard

[1] She pointed to a corner of the yard, where a tortoise was calmly munching a dandelion. [2] Rosie must have heard us talking, because she began to amble over to
20

us. [3] She was over a foot long and about seven inches high. [4] As soon as my aunt assured me that Rosie
21

wouldn’t snap or bite, I reached down to stroke her neck,

21. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? A. After my B. When my C. My D. Once my 22. Upon reviewing this paragraph and realizing that some information has been left out, the writer composes the following sentence: “This is Rosie,” she announced. This sentence should most logically be placed after Sentence: F. 1. G. 2. H. 3. J. 4. 23. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE Rosie, it turns out, is Rosie, it turns out is Rosie it turns out, is

admiring her brown and tan carapace, or upper shell. 6

Rosie, it turns out is: a desert tortoise that my
23

grandmother had started raising over twenty years
24

24. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. begun to raise G. started to raise H. started up raising J. begun raising 25. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE had checked would check must check

ago. My aunt said that she would have checked with
25

my parents, who each agreed that if I wanted to take responsibility for Rosie, I could take her home with me.

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It’s interesting that Rosie is older than I am.
26

1
26. Given that all the choices are true, which one most effectively introduces the information that follows in this paragraph? F. NO CHANGE G. I asked my aunt about Rosie’s needs and care. H. Most tortoise species are now found only in Africa. J. Some giant tortoises weigh as much as 180 kilograms. 27. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE reap their necessary nutritional requirements from be kept as happy as a clam with be adequately nourished by
27

Tortoises are land-dwelling, vegetarian turtles. They can

experience the satisfaction of contentment through a diet of grass clippings, lettuce, broccoli, melons, and other vegetables and fruit. They like to warm themselves in the
28

sun but will burrow into the ground when they want to be safe and cool. I learned that I should build plywood enclosures in each of my parents’ backyards so that
29

28. Which choice provides the most specific and precise information? F. NO CHANGE G. things they could eat. H. edible items. J. fresh foods. 29. A. B. C. D. 30. F. G. H. J. NO CHANGE parent’s backyards parents backyards parents backyards, NO CHANGE families of family in family of

Rosie would be safe year-round. I learned that tortoises are among the most endangered families in reptiles. That means having a
30

tortoise is a privilege, and I’m proud that my family has entrusted me with Rosie’s care. By caring for Rosie I’ll be able to share something with the grandma I never knew.

PASSAGE III

The following paragraphs may or may not be in the most logical order. Each paragraph is numbered in brackets, and question 45 will ask you to choose where Paragraph 5 should most logically be placed. A Thirst for Knowledge [1] Benjamin Banneker, African American inventor and astronomer, grew up on his familys’ farm in colonial Maryland. Though
31

31. A. B. C. D.

NO CHANGE family’s families’ families

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he had limited access to formal education, Banneker
32

1
[2] 32. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. limiting his access to formal education, G. his access to formal education was limited, H. it was difficult for him to acquire formal education, J. having limited access to formal education,
33

nevertheless demonstrated a keen curiosity and a consuming interest in acquiring knowledge.

Banneker’s grandmother was an indentured servant from England whom, after completing the term of her contract, bought some land and then married a freed slave. B Their daughter Mary—Benjamin’s mother— also married a freed slave. Benjamin’s grandmother taught 33. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE who, which, OMIT the underlined portion.

34. At this point, the writer is considering adding the following true statement: Indentured servants needed a master’s permission to leave their place of work, to perform work for others, or to keep money for personal use. Should the writer add this sentence here? F. Yes, because it shows the extent of control that masters held over indentured servants. G. Yes, because it is necessary to understanding the essay as a whole. H. No, because it provides information that is included elsewhere in the essay. J. No, because it would distract readers from the main topic of the essay. 35. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? A. read; he B. read, and he also C. read he D. read. He 36. Which choice provides the most logical arrangement of the parts of this sentence? F. NO CHANGE G. displayed his skills when he constructed a clock out of hand-carved wooden parts and displayed his interest in mechanical skills. H. displayed his interest in learning and his mechanical skills when he constructed a clock out of handcarved wooden parts. J. displayed his interest in mechanical skills by constructing a clock out of hand-carved wooden parts and his interest in learning. 37. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE its’ its their

him to read, and he attended a one-room Quaker school
35

when the farmwork slowed down during the winter. [3] In 1753, at the age of twenty-two, Banneker constructed a clock out of hand-carved wooden parts,
36

displayed his mechanical skills, and displaying his interest
36

in learning. He had dismantled a pocket watch borrowed
36

from a traveling merchant, made detailed drawings of it’s
37

components, and returned it—fully functioning—to the merchant. Based on those drawings, Banneker designed the works for his own clock and carved the gears, wheels,

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and other moving parts. The clock keeps precise time
38

1
38. F. G. H. J. 39. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE has kept kept still keeps NO CHANGE for over forty years. Amazing! for over forty unbelievable years. for over forty years.
39

for—can you believe it?—over forty years. [4] Banneker lived and worked on the family farm. After his father died in 1759, Banneker took over the responsibility of the farm and the care of his mother and younger sisters. In addition, he pursued scientific studies
40

40. F. G. H. J.

NO CHANGE sisters. Therefore, sisters, in addition, sisters, therefore,

and taught himself to play the flute and violin. I [5] In 1788, a neighbor loaned Banneker some astronomical instruments and four books on mathematics and astronomy. Banneker quickly became engrossed in his studies and began to calculate the paths of the Sun, Moon, and other celestial bodies. Using them, he predicted a
42

41. If the writer were to delete the last part of the preceding sentence (ending the sentence with a period after the word studies), the paragraph would primarily lose: A. support for the essay’s point about Banneker’s love of learning. B. a direct link to the previous paragraph. C. a humorous description of Banneker’s other interests. D. an extensive digression about music.

solar eclipse that occurred the next year. He also began to calculate annual tables of yearly sets of astronomical data,
43

42. F. G. H. J. 43. A. B. C. D.

NO CHANGE these calculations, those, these things, NO CHANGE covering a year’s worth about twelve months OMIT the underlined portion.

which became the basis for almanacs published under his name from 1792 through 1797. [6] Grandson of an indentured servant, Benjamin
44

Banneker liked to study music and astronomy.
44

44. Given that all the choices are true, which one most effectively concludes and summarizes this essay? F. NO CHANGE G. Calculator of the paths of the Sun and Moon, Benjamin Banneker became interested in how things work when he took apart a pocket watch and made some drawings. H. Clock designer and farmer, Benjamin Banneker acquired responsibility for the farm at a young age but retained an interest in learning. J. Farmer, inventor, and self-taught mathematician and astronomer, Benjamin Banneker took advantage of every opportunity to learn and contribute to the society of his time.

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Question 45 asks about the preceding passage as a whole. 45. For the sake of the logic and coherence of this essay, Paragraph 5 should be placed: A. where it is now. B. after Paragraph 1. C. after Paragraph 2. D. after Paragraph 3.

PASSAGE IV

Kayaks and Kayaking Kayaks are lightweight canoes originally used for hunting and fishing by the Inuit peoples of the northern coasts of North America. Today, many people use kayaks recreationally for white-water sports and for touring wilderness areas that are extremely wild.
46

46. F. G. H. J. 47. A. B. C. D.

Most kayaks are made of rubberized cloth, molded plastic, or fiberglass. It is covered except for the opening
47

NO CHANGE of great remoteness. that are uncivilized. OMIT the underlined portion and end the sentence with a period. NO CHANGE One is They are Which are

in which the paddler or paddlers sit. P The two principal

48. The writer is considering deleting the preceding sentence. Should this sentence be kept or deleted? F. Kept, because the reader needs to understand the different types of kayaks. G. Kept, because it helps the reader visualize the kayak’s construction. H. Deleted, because it is not relevant to the preceding sentence. J. Deleted, because it is unnecessarily wordy. 49. A. B. C. D. 50. F. G. H. J. NO CHANGE kayaks, are kayaks are kayaks—are NO CHANGE very biggest more large larger

types of kayaks are; the easily maneuverable white-water
49

kayak and the largest sea kayak.
50

[1] Kayaking in white water the tumultuous rapids of swift-moving rivers
51

appeals to people seeking adventure and excitement.

51. A. NO CHANGE B. water; the tumultuous rapids of swift-moving rivers, C. water, the tumultuous rapids of swift-moving rivers, D. water the tumultuous rapids of swift-moving rivers,

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[2] Designed to maneuver through rapids and around treacherous rocks, many white-water kayaks are only six to nine feet long. [3] Because the center of gravity of the paddler rides low in the water, kayaks are stable boats not easily capsized. [4] White-water kayakers are, at last,
52

1
52. F. G. H. J. NO CHANGE for example, therefore, nevertheless,

advised to wear helmets and flotation vests to prevent injury. [5] The longer sea kayaks are designed for distance and speed rather than maneuverability. [6] Some models have two or three seats. [7] Sea or coastal kayaking offers easy access to wetlands, marshes, and wildlife habitats along shores. [8] Kayaks can float in less than a foot of water, so
53

53. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would be LEAST acceptable? A. water. Thus, B. water. Consequently, C. water, and, as a result, D. water. Yet 54. Which choice fits most specifically with the information at the end of this sentence? F. NO CHANGE G. person H. paddler J. fun seeker 55. If the writer were to divide the preceding paragraph into two shorter paragraphs in order to differentiate between the two types of kayaks discussed in the essay, the new paragraph should begin with Sentence: A. 3. B. 4. C. 5. D. 6. 56. F. G. H. J. 57. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE is were was NO CHANGE paddle, and paddle, so paddle

a nature watcher can quietly paddle through shallows
54

frequented by shorebirds and other wildlife. W

Equipment for both types of kayaks are similar, and
56

fairly simple. Kayakers use a short, double-bladed paddle,
57

an elasticized sprayskirt fits snugly around the waist of the seated paddler to keep water out of the boat. In fact, a kayak can roll over and be brought back upright without taking on water.

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Propelling a kayak works the upper-body muscles. The paddler pulls one end through the water of the paddle
58

1
58. The best placement for the underlined portion would be: F. where it is now. G. after the word paddler. H. after the word pulls. J. after the word paddle. 59. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE simple simple— simple;

on alternating sides of the boat. Skilled kayakers sense the nuances of water movement by means of the kayak hull and adjust their stroke force and pace to keep the kayak on course. But all kayakers can appreciate the nuances of nature as they travel on water in this simple, but
59

versatile boat. \

60. If the writer were to delete this final paragraph from the essay, which of the following would be lost? F. A detailed description of the muscles involved in kayaking G. A comment on the relationships among kayakers, kayaks, and water H. A scientific explanation of how water moves around the hull of a kayak J. A plea to kayakers to be careful of the environment

PASSAGE V

Extremophiles: Amazing Microbial Survivors [1] Some live in airless seams of burning rock; miles
61

beneath Earth’s surface and around the hydrothermal vents of deep-sea volcanoes. Others, salt-encrusted, “sleep” in ancient caverns, waking after centuries
62

61. A. B. C. D.

NO CHANGE seams, of burning rock seams of burning rock seams, of burning rock,

62. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? F. caverns. Then they wake G. caverns and then wake H. caverns, only to wake J. caverns. Waking 63. A. B. C. D. 64. F. G. H. J. 65. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE for breeding. to breed. breeding. NO CHANGE are all right for others to live in; are home to still others; suit others to a tee; NO CHANGE too hot, too cold, or too poisonous too hot, too cold, or too poisonous, to hot, to cold, or to poisonous

to feed and to be bred. Radioactive pools of toxic
63

waste are okay for others to live in; even acid cannot
64

kill them. In lightless vacuums and locales once thought to hot, to cold or to poisonous, to sustain
65

life, there exists a wealth of microbial organisms.

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These single-celled survivors called extremophiles,
66

1
66. F. G. H. J. NO CHANGE survivors, called extremophiles, survivors, called extremophiles survivors called extremophiles;
67

don’t merely endure environments too severe for other life forms; they thrive in them. [2] Heat-loving extremophiles, or thermophiles, flourished in temperatures over
68

67. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable? A. forms; rather, they B. forms—they C. forms. They D. forms they 68. F. G. H. J. NO CHANGE were flourishing had flourished flourish

150 degrees Celsius. Scientists have collected them from the Yellowstone National Park’s thermal pools, the park abounding with geysers like Old Faithful,
69

and from radioactive rock deep within South African gold mines. [3] In the hot waters surrounding Juan de Fuca Ridge in the Pacific Ocean, thermophiles ensure the survival of other marine life. f

69. A. NO CHANGE B. pools, in contrast to the cool depths of Scandinavian fjords, C. pools, natural wonders formed by geologic magic, D. pools

70. The writer is considering deleting the following phrase from the preceding sentence (and revising the capitalization accordingly): In the hot waters surrounding Juan de Fuca Ridge in the Pacific Ocean, Should this phrase be kept or deleted? F. Kept, because it clarifies that thermophiles live in both the Pacific Ocean and Juan de Fuca Ridge. G. Kept, because it provides specific details about the “Here” referred to in the next sentence. H. Deleted, because it contradicts the preceding paragraph, which makes it clear that thermophiles do not live in water only. J. Deleted, because this information is provided later in this paragraph. 71. Given that all the choices are true, which one most specifically and vividly describes the underwater terrain? A. NO CHANGE B. there are signs of both seismic and volcanic activity. C. the results of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are evident. D. the effect of earthquake and volcanic activity is apparent.

Here, the ocean floor is scarred by
71

earthquakes and underwater volcanoes.
71

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Poisonous waters from cracks at temperatures up to
72

1
72. The best placement for the underlined portion would be: F. where it is now. G. after the word temperatures. H. after the word Celsius. J. after the word gush. [4]
73

360 degrees Celsius gush in the ocean floor, and thermophiles convert the toxic chemicals into food for crabs, giant worms, and other deep-sea life.

Psychrophiles live in harsh and inhospitable places on our planet. One ancient breed of psychrophile lives
73

in million-year-old ice miles below an Antarctic glacier. In the ice of the South Pole, psychrophiles survive not only darkness and subzero temperatures but also ultraviolet radiation. [5] If life can persist in extreme environments on Earth, scientists speculate that life may endure under similar conditions elsewhere, perhaps in the frozen seas or the exploding volcanoes of Jupiter’s moons, or beneath the barren landscape of Mars. j

73. Given that all the choices are true, which one would LEAST effectively introduce the subject of Paragraph 4? A. NO CHANGE B. According to researchers, the environment of a cold-loving extremophile, or psychrophile, is as extreme as that of a heat-loving thermophile. C. Certain extremophiles, called psychrophiles, thrive in cold environments rather than hot ones. D. Other types of extremophiles—cold-loving psychrophiles—have been found in temperatures as low as –17 degrees Celsius.

74. The writer is considering deleting the following clause from the preceding sentence (revising the capitalization accordingly): If life can persist in extreme environments on Earth, Should this clause be kept or deleted? F. Kept, because it clarifies for readers that life in extreme environments on Earth may not exist. G. Kept, because it makes the connection between life on Earth and the possibility of life on other planets. H. Deleted, because it contradicts the essay’s main point by implying that life may not exist in extreme environments. J. Deleted, because it misleads readers into thinking the paragraph is about life on Earth rather than life on other planets. 75. A. B. C. D. NO CHANGE On the other hand, However, Indeed,

Nevertheless, findings suggest that life—at least on the
75

microbial level—may flourish throughout the universe in places we have yet to look.

END OF TEST 1 STOP! DO NOT TURN THE PAGE UNTIL TOLD TO DO SO.

ACT-64E-PRACTICE

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MATHEMATICS TEST 60 Minutes—60 Questions
DIRECTIONS: Solve each problem, choose the correct answer, and then fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. Do not linger over problems that take too much time. Solve as many as you can; then return to the others in the time you have left for this test. You are permitted to use a calculator on this test. You may use your calculator for any problems you choose, 1. 2. 3. 4.

2
but some of the problems may best be done without using a calculator. Note: Unless otherwise stated, all of the following should be assumed. Illustrative figures are NOT necessarily drawn to scale. Geometric figures lie in a plane. The word line indicates a straight line. The word average indicates arithmetic mean.

1. ⏐7 A. B. C. D. E.

− 3⏐ − ⏐3 − 7⏐ = ? −8 −6 −4 0 8

5. The figure below is composed of square BCDE and ___ equilateral triangle ABE. The length of CD is 6 inches. What is the perimeter of ABCDE, in inches? A

2. A consultant charges $45 for each hour she works on a consultation, plus a flat $30 consulting fee. How many hours of work are included in a $210 bill for a consultation? F.
4 _ 2_ 5

E A. B. C. D. E. 18 24 30 42 45

B

D

6

C

G. 4 H. J.
2 _ 4_ 3 1 _ 5_ 2

6. The expression (4z + 3)(z − 2) is equivalent to: F. G. H. J. K. 4z2 − 4z2 − 4z2 − 4z2 − 4z2 + 5 6 3z − 5 5z − 6 5z − 6

K. 7

3. Vehicle A averages 14 miles per gallon of gasoline, and Vehicle B averages 36 miles per gallon of gasoline. At these rates, how many more gallons of gasoline does Vehicle A need than Vehicle B to make a 1,008-mile trip? A. 25 B. 28 C. 44 D. 50 E. 72 4. t2 − 59t + 54 − 82t2 + 60t is equivalent to: F. G. H. J. K. −26t2 −26t6 −81t4 + t2 + 54 −81t2 + t + 54 −82t2 + t + 54 26

7. If 40% of a given number is 8, then what is 15% of the given number? A. 1.2 B. 1.8 C. 3.0 D. 5.0 E. 6.5 8. The 6 consecutive integers below add up to 447. x−2 x−1 x x+1 x+2 x+3 What is the value of x ? F. 72 G. 73 H. 74 J. 75 K. 76

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9. In the standard (x,y) coordinate plane, point M with ___ coordinates (5,4) is the midpoint of AB , and B has coordinates (7,3). What are the coordinates of A ? A. B. C. D. E. (17,11) ( 9, 2) ( 6, 3.5) ( 3, 5) (−3,−5) Use the following information to answer questions 13–15. 10. Rectangle ABCD has vertices A(4,5), B(0,2), and C(6,−6). These vertices are graphed below in the standard (x,y) coordinate plane. What are the coordinates of vertex D ? y 6 4 2 –2 –2 –4 –6 –8 –10
O

2
A poll of 200 registered voters was taken before the election for mayor of Springdale. All 200 voters indicated which 1 of the 4 candidates they would vote for. The results of the poll are given in the table below. Candidate Blackcloud Lue Gomez Whitney Number of voters 50 80 40 30

2 4 6 8 10 x

F. G. H. J. K.

(10,−3) ( 9,−2) ( 8, 2) ( 7, 1) ( 2,−9)

13. What percent of the voters polled chose Whitney in the poll? A. 15% B. 20% C. 25% D. 30% E. 40% 14. If the poll is indicative of how the 10,000 registered voters of Springdale will actually vote in the election, which of the following is the best estimate of the number of votes Lue will receive in the election? F. 1,500 G. 2,500 H. 4,000 J. 5,000 K. 8,000 15. If the information in the table were converted into a circle graph (pie chart), then the central angle of the sector for Gomez would measure how many degrees? A. 54° B. 72° C. 90° D. 108° E. 144°

11. Daisun owns 2 sportswear stores (X and Y). She stocks 3 brands of T-shirts (A, B, and C) in each store. The matrices below show the numbers of each type of T-shirt in each store and the cost for each type of T-shirt. The value of Daisun’s T-shirt inventory is computed using the costs listed. What is the total value of the T-shirt inventory for Daisun’s 2 stores? A X Y A. B. C. D. E. $2,200 $2,220 $4,965 $5,450 $7,350 B C A B C Cost
$ 5 $10 $15 100 200 150 120 50 100

12. Given the triangle shown below with exterior angles that measure x°, y°, and z° as shown, what is the sum of x, y, and z ? y° 72° F. G. H. J. K. 180 x° z° 57° 231 309 360 Cannot be determined from the given information

16. In square ABCE shown below, D is the midpoint of ___ CE . Which of the following is the ratio of the area of ADE to the area of ADB ? D C E F. 1:1 G. 1:2 H. 1:3 J. 1:4 K. 1:8 B A

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17. Which of the following is the slope of a line parallel to
2 _ the line y = _ x − 4 in the standard (x,y) coordinate 3

plane? A. −4
3 _ B. − _ 2

21. What values of x are solutions for x2 + 2x = 8 ? A. −4 and 2 B. −2 and 0 C. −2 and 4 D. 0 and 2 E. 6 and 8

2

C. D. E.

2
3 _ _ 2 2 _ _ 3

3a_ 22. For all a > 1, the expression ___ equals: 6 3a

4

F. G. H.

1 _ _ 2

−a2 a2
1 − __ 2 a 1 __ a2

18. Janelle cut a board 30 feet long into 2 pieces. The ratio of the lengths of the 2 pieces is 2:3. What is the length, to the nearest foot, of the shorter piece? F. 5 G. 6 H. 12 J. 15 K. 18

J. K.

19. What is the smallest integer greater than A. 4 B. 7 C. 8 D. 10 E. 30

58 ?

23. If point M has a nonzero x-coordinate and a nonzero y-coordinate and the coordinates have opposite signs, then point M must be located in which of the 4 quadrants labeled below? y quadrants of the standard (x,y) coordinate plane

II
O

I x IV

III

20. Sergio plans to paint the 4 walls of his room with 1 coat of paint. The walls are rectangular, and, according to his measurements, each wall is 10 feet by 15 feet. He will not need to paint the single 3-foot-by-5-foot
1 _ rectangular window in his room and the 3 _ -foot-by2

A. B. C. D. E.

I only III only I or III only I or IV only II or IV only

7-foot rectangular door. Sergio knows that each gallon of paint covers between 300 and 350 square feet. If only 1-gallon cans of paint are available, which of the following is the minimum number of cans of paint Sergio needs to buy to paint his walls? F. G. H. J. K. 1 2 3 4 5 24. The fixed costs of manufacturing basketballs in a factory are $1,400.00 per day. The variable costs are $5.25 per basketball. Which of the following expressions can be used to model the cost of manufacturing b basketballs in 1 day? F. $1,405.25b G. $5.25b − $1,400.00 H. $1,400.00b + $5.25 J. $1,400.00 − $5.25b K. $1,400.00 + $5.25b

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25. In the figure below, where ABC ∼ KLM, lengths given are in centimeters. What is the perimeter, in centimeters, of ABC ? (Note: The symbol ∼ means “is similar to.”) B A 3 C 15 7.5 M A. 12 B. 14
1 _ C. 21 _ 2

2
29. Cube A has an edge length of 2 inches. Cube B has an edge length double that of Cube A. What is the volume, in cubic inches, of Cube B ? A. 4 B. 8 C. 16 D. 32 E. 64 30. A formula used to compute the current value of a savings account is A = P(1 + r)n, where A is the current value; P is the amount deposited; r is the rate of interest for 1 compounding period, expressed as a decimal; and n is the number of compounding periods. Which of the following is closest to the value of a savings account after 5 years if $10,000 is deposited at 4% annual interest compounded yearly? F. G. H. J. K. $10,400 $12,167 $42,000 $52,000 $53,782

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K

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3 _ E. 71 _ 4

3 ___ 3 ___ _ _ 26. If ___ 7 = ___ 7 is true, then a = ? a 7 7

F. G. H. J. K.

1 7 7 21 49

31. A right circular cylinder is shown in the figure below, with dimensions given in centimeters. What is the total surface area of this cylinder, in square centimeters? (Note: The total surface area of a cylinder is given by 2πr2 + 2πrh where r is the radius and h is the height.) 20

27. A hot-air balloon 70 meters above the ground is falling at a constant rate of 6 meters per second while another hot-air balloon 10 meters above the ground is rising at a constant rate of 15 meters per second. To the nearest tenth of a second, after how many seconds will the 2 balloons be the same height above the ground? A. 8.9 B. 6.7 C. 2.9 D. 0.4 E. 0.2

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A. ,300π B. ,400π C. ,500π D. ,600π E. 1,600π

28. A hiking group will go from a certain town to a certain village by van on 1 of 4 roads, from the village to a waterfall by riding bicycles on 1 of 2 bicycle paths, and then from the waterfall to their campsite by hiking on 1 of 6 trails. How many routes are possible for the hiking group to go from the town to the village to the waterfall to their campsite? F. 6 G. 12 H. 24 J. 48 K. 220

32. Given f (x) = 4x + 1 and g(x) = x 2 − 2, which of the following is an expression for f g(x) ? F. −x2 + 4x + 1 G. x2 + 4x − 1 H. 4x2 − 7 J. 4x2 − 1 K. 16x2 + 8x − 1

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33. The table below shows the total number of goals scored in each of 43 soccer matches in a regional tournament. What is the average number of goals scored per match, to the nearest 0.1 goal? Total number of goals in a match 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 A. 1.0 B. 2.8 C. 3.0 D. 6.1 E. 17.1 34. Lines a, b, c, and d are shown below and a b. Which of the following is the set of all angles that must be supplementary to ∠x ? Number of matches with this total 4 10 5 9 7 5 1 2 8 6 4 A. B. C. D. E. (2, 3) (3, 2) (5,−1) (6, 0) (7, 3) 2 –4 –2 –2
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37. As shown in the standard (x,y) coordinate plane below, P(6,6) lies on the circle with center (2,3) and radius 5 coordinate units. What are the coordinates of the image of P after the circle is rotated 90° clockwise ( ) about the center of the circle? y P(6,6) (2,3) 2 4 6 8 x

38. For right triangle F. G.
10 __ 12 12 __ 10 10

KLM below, what is sin,∠M ? K

cm 12

a

b c d

44 _ H. ____ 10 _ ____ 44 44 ____ _ K. 12

x 1 8 9 2 3 10 11
13 4 5 12 15 6 7 14 F. G. H. J. K. {1, {1, {1, {1, {1, 2} 2, 5, 2, 9, 2, 5, 2, 5,

J.

M

10 cm

L

___ ___ 39. In the figure below, B lies on AC , BD bisects ∠ABE, ___ and BE bisects ∠CBD. What is the measure of ∠DBE ? D E

6} 10} 6, 9, 10} 6, 9, 10, 13, 14} A. B. C. D. E.

A

B

C

35. (3x3)3 is equivalent to: A. x B. 9x6 C. 9x9 D. 27x6 E. 27x9 36. Which of the following is equivalent to the inequality 4x − 8 > 8x + 16 ? F. x < −6 G. x > −6 H. x < −2 J. x > 2 K. x < 6

90° 60° 45° 30° Cannot be determined from the given information

40. If there are 8 × 1012 hydrogen molecules in a volume of 4 × 104 cubic centimeters, what is the average number of hydrogen molecules per cubic centimeter? F. 5 × 10−9 G. 2 × 103 H. 2 × 108 J. 32 × 1016 K. 32 × 1048

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41. In the figure below, a radar screen shows 2 ships. Ship A is located at a distance of 20 nautical miles and bearing 170°, and Ship B is located at a distance of 30 nautical miles and bearing 300°. Which of the following is an expression for the straight-line distance, in nautical miles, between the 2 ships? (Note: For ABC with side of length a opposite ∠A, side of length b opposite ∠B, and side of length c opposite ∠C, the law of cosines states c2 = a2 + b2 − 2ab cos,∠C.) N B 30 170° ? 300° 20 A 45. Which of the following is a rational number? A. A. B. C. D. E. 20 2 + 30 2 − 2(20)(30)cos 60° 20 2 + 30 2 − 2(20)(30)cos 130° 20 + 30 − 2(20)(30)cos 170°
2 2

2
44. In the figure below, the area of the larger square is 50 square centimeters and the area of the smaller square is 18 square centimeters. What is x, in centimeters? x

F. 2 G. 2 2 H. 4 2 J. 16 K. 32

2 π 7
5 __ _ 25 64 __ _ 49

B. C. D. E.

20 2 + 30 2 − 2(20)(30)cos 300° 20 + 30 − 2(20)(30)cos 470°
2 2

1 1 _ _ 42. What rational number is halfway between _ and _ ? 5 3

F. G.

1 _ _ 2 1 _ _ 4 15

46. If a < b, then ⏐ a − b ⏐ is equivalent to which of the following? F. a+b G. −(a + b) a−b H. J. a−b K. −(a − b)

2 H. _ _

J.

4 __ 15 15

8 K. _ _

___ ___ 43. In isosceles trapezoid ABCD, AB is parallel to DC , ∠BDC measures 25°, and ∠BCA measures 35°. What is the measure of ∠DBC ? B A A. 85° B. 95° 35° C. 105° D. 115° 25° C E. 125° D

47. Tom has taken 5 of the 8 equally weighted tests in his U.S. History class this semester, and he has an average score of exactly 78.0 points. How many points does he need to earn on the 6th test to bring his average score up to exactly 80.0 points? A. 90 B. 88 C. 82 D. 80 E. 79

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48. In the complex plane, the horizontal axis is called the real axis and the vertical axis is called the imaginary axis. The complex number a + bi graphed in the complex plane is comparable to the point (a,b) graphed in the standard (x,y) coordinate plane. The modulus of a2 + b2 . the complex number a + bi is given by Which of the complex numbers z 1, z 2, z 3, z 4, and z 5 below has the greatest modulus? imaginary axis z1 F. G. H. J. K. z1 z2 z3 z4 z5 z5
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51. An integer from 100 through 999, inclusive, is to be chosen at random. What is the probability that the number chosen will have 0 as at least 1 digit? A. B. C. D.
19 _ __ 900 81 _ __ 900 90 _ __ 900 171 _ __ 900 1,000

_____ E. _271

z2 z3 z4

real axis

49. In the real numbers, what is the solution of the equation 82x + 1 = 41 − x ?
1 _ A. − _ 3 1 _ B. − _ 4 1 _ C. − _ 8

52. In the figure below, line q in the standard (x,y) coordinate plane has equation −2x + y = 1 and intersects line r, which is distinct from line q, at a point on the x-axis. The angles, ∠a and ∠b, formed by these lines and the x-axis are congruent. What is the slope of line r ? y r q 3 2 F. −2 ∠b –2 –1 –1 1
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1 _ G. − _ 2

∠a 1 x

H. J.

1 _ _ 2

D. E.

0
1 _ _ 7

2

K. Cannot be determined from the given information

1 _ 50. The graph of the trigonometric function y = 2 cos _ x 2

53. In the right triangle below, 0 < b < a. One of the
a _ angle measures in the triangle is tan −1 _ . What is a _ cos tan−1 _ b b

is shown below. y 2 –4 –6 –2
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?

4 2 6 x –2

a _ A. _ b a

a

b _ B. _ a ______ C. _____ 2 2 a +b a +b
2

b

The function is: F. even (that is, f (x) = f (−x) for all x). G. odd (that is, f (−x) = −f (x) for all x). H. neither even nor odd. J. the inverse of a cotangent function. K. undefined at x = π.

a 2 + b2

b _____ D. _____ _ 2 2 a _____ E. _____+ b
2

a

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Use the following information to answer questions 54–56. The radio signal from the transmitter site of radio station WGGW can be received only within a radius of 52 miles in all directions from the transmitter site. A map of the region of coverage of the radio signal is shown below in the standard (x,y) coordinate plane, with the transmitter site at the origin and 1 coordinate unit representing 1 mile. N y 52 W S E

57. The graphs of the equations y = x − 1 and y = (x − 1)4 are shown in the standard (x,y) coordinate plane below. What real values of x, if any, satisfy the inequality (x − 1)4 < (x − 1) ? y y = (x – 1)4 2 1 –1
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y=x–1

1

2

x

–1 –2 A. B. C. D. E. No real values x < 0 and x > 1 x < 1 and x > 2 0<x<1 1<x<2

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52 x

54. Which of the following is closest to the area, in square miles, of the region of coverage of the radio signal? F. 2,120 G. 2,700 H. 4,250 J. 8,500 K. 16,990 55. Which of the following is an equation of the circle shown on the map? A. B. C. D. E. x + y = 52 (x + y)2 = 52 (x + y)2 = 522 x2 + y2 = 52 x2 + y2 = 522

58. For every positive 2-digit number, x, with tens digit t and units digit u, let y be the 2-digit number formed by reversing the digits of x. Which of the following expressions is equivalent to x − y ? F. 9(t − u) G. 9(u − t) H. 9t − u J. 9u − t K. 0 59. In the figure below, the vertices of ABC have (x,y) coordinates (4,5), (5,3), and (1,3), respectively. What is the area of ABC ? y A(4,5)

56. The transmitter site of radio station WGGW and the transmitter site of another radio station, WGWB, are on the same highway 100 miles apart. The radio signal from the transmitter site of WGWB can be received only within a radius of 60 miles in all directions from the WGWB transmitter site. For how many miles along the highway can the radio signals of both stations be received? (Note: Assume the highway is straight.) F. 8 G. 12 H. 40 J. 44 K. 48

A. B. C. D. E.

4 4 2 4 3 8 8 2

C(1,3)

B(5,3)

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x

60. The sum of an infinite geometric series with first term
a a and common ratio r < 1 is given by _____ . The sum 1−r

of a given infinite geometric series is 200, and the common ratio is 0.15. What is the second term of this series? F. 25.5 G. 30 H. 169.85 J. 170 K. 199.85

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READING TEST 35 Minutes—40 Questions
DIRECTIONS: There are four passages in this test. 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.

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Passage I
40 PROSE FICTION: This passage is adapted from the short story “The Threshold” by Cristina Peri Rossi (original Spanish version ©1986 by Cristina Peri Rossi; translation ©1993 by Mary Jane Treacy).

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The woman never dreams and this makes her intensely miserable. She thinks that by not dreaming she is unaware of things about herself that dreams would surely give her. She doesn’t have the door of dreams that opens every night to question the certainties of the day. She stays at the threshold, and the door is always closed, refusing her entrance. I tell her that in itself is a dream, a nightmare: to be in front of a door which will not open no matter how much we push at the latch or pound the knocker. But in truth, the door to that nightmare doesn’t have a latch or a knocker; it is total surface, brown, high and smooth as a wall. Our blows strike a body without an echo. “There’s no such thing as a door without a key,” she tells me, with the stubborn resistance of one who does not dream. “There are in dreams,” I tell her. In dreams, doors don’t open, rivers run dry, mountains turn around in circles, telephones are made of stone. Elevators stop in the middle of floors, and when we go to the movies all the seats have their backs to the screen. Objects lose their functionality in dreams in order to become obstacles, or they have their own laws that we don’t know anything about. She thinks that the woman who does not dream is the enemy of the waking woman because she robs her of parts of herself, takes away the wild excitement of revelation when we think we have discovered something that we didn’t know before or that we had forgotten. “A dream is a piece of writing,” she says sadly, “a work that I don’t know how to write and that makes me different from others, all the human beings and animals who dream.”

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spends so much time looking for her dreams before falling asleep that she doesn’t see the images when they appear because her exhaustion has made her close those eyes that are inside of her eyes. When we sleep we have two pairs of eyes: the more superficial eyes, which are accustomed to seeing only the appearance of things and of dealing with light, and dream’s eyes; when the former close, the latter open up. She is the traveler on a long trip who stops at the threshold, half dead with fatigue, and can no longer pass over to the other side or cross the river or the border because she has closed both pairs of eyes. “I wish I could open them,” she says simply. Sometimes she asks me to tell her my dreams, and I know that later, in the privacy of her room with the light out, hiding, she’ll try to dream my dream. But to dream someone else’s dream is harder than writing someone else’s story, and her failures fill her with irritation. She thinks I have a power that she doesn’t have and this brings out her envy and bad humor. She thinks that the world of dreams is an extra life that some of us have, and her curiosity is only halfway satisfied when I am finished telling her the last one. (To tell dreams is one of the most difficult arts; perhaps only author Franz Kafka was able to do so without spoiling their mystery, trivializing their symbols or making them rational.) Just as children can’t stand any slight change and love repetition, she insists that I tell her the same dream two or three times, a tale full of people I don’t know, strange forms, unreal happenings on the road, and she becomes annoyed if in the second version there are some elements that were not in the first. The one she likes best is the amniotic dream, the dream of water. I am walking under a straight line that is above my head, and everything underneath is clear water that doesn’t make me wet or have any weight; you don’t see it or feel it, but you know it is there. I am walking on a ground of damp sand, wearing a white shirt and dark pants, and fish are swimming all around me. I eat and drink under the water but I never swim or float because the water is just like air, and I breathe it naturally. The line above my head is the limit that I never cross, nor do I have any interest in going beyond it. She, in turn, would like to dream of flying, of slipping from tree to tree way above the rooftops.

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She is like a tired traveler who stops at the threshold and stays there, stationary as a plant. In order to console her, I tell her that perhaps she is too tired to cross through the doorway; maybe she

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1. Which of the following best describes the structure of the passage? A. A dialogue between two people in which both relate their dreams in an almost equal amount of detail B. An account of the narrator’s perspective on the woman revealed primarily through the narrator’s report of their conversations C. A character sketch of two people as related by a narrator who knows both of them and their thoughts D. A detailed narration of several of the narrator’s dreams accompanied by a description of the woman’s reactions to them

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5. In relation to the first paragraph’s earlier description of the nightmare, the narrator’s comments in lines 10–13 primarily serve to: A. reveal how to alter a dream in progress. B. explain what caused the nightmare. C. intensify the sense of hopelessness. D. suggest the possibility of escape. 6. Which of the following statements about the amniotic dream is best supported by the passage? F. It is the narrator’s favorite dream. G. The woman is particularly fond of hearing it related. H. The narrator has dreamed this dream many times. J. It is the dream the woman most strongly desires to dream. 7. According to the passage, one of the woman’s worries about her present situation is that she: A. will begin to dream too much. B. suspects the narrator will desert her. C. will watch her dreams become nightmares. D. stands out as different from others. 8. Based on the narrator’s account, the woman’s approach to dreaming the narrator’s dreams is best described as: F. confrontational and powerful. G. enthusiastic and playful. H. precise and confident. J. self-conscious and secretive. 9. As it is used in line 58, the word humor most nearly means: A. personality. B. whim. C. mood. D. comedy. 10. In the passage, the narrator most nearly describes Kafka as someone who: F. diminished dreams by trying to unravel their mysteries. G. explained the underlying rationality of dream symbols. H. conveyed the essence of dreams in his writing. J. found it too difficult to describe dreams artfully.

2. Based on the passage, which of the following statements best describes the overall attitudes of the narrator and the woman? F. The woman is frustrated and despairing, while the narrator is supportive and reassuring. G. The woman is bitter and resentful, while the narrator is detached and uninterested. H. The woman is lonely and resigned, while the narrator is optimistic and relaxed. J. The woman is dismayed and miserable, while the narrator is discontented and angry.

3. It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that the woman most strongly desires to attain which of the following qualities from dreaming? A. Relaxation B. Self-awareness C. Entertainment D. Self-control

4. Throughout the passage, the image of the door is used primarily as a metaphor for the boundary between: F. alertness and fatigue. G. dreams and nightmares. H. wakefulness and sleeping. J. not-dreaming and dreaming.

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Passage II
SOCIAL SCIENCE: This passage is adapted from The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300–1850 by Brian Fagan (©2000 by Brian Fagan). 55 5

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Speak the words “ice age,” and the mind turns to Cro-Magnon mammoth hunters on windswept European plains devoid of trees. But the Little Ice Age (approximately A . D . 1300–1850) was far from a deep freeze. Think instead of an irregular seesaw of rapid climatic shifts, driven by complex and still little understood interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean. The seesaw brought cycles of intensely cold winters and easterly winds, then switched abruptly to years of heavy spring and early summer rains, mild winters, and frequent Atlantic storms, or to periods of droughts, light northeasterly winds, and summer heat waves that baked growing corn fields under a shimmering haze. The Little Ice Age was an endless zigzag of climatic shifts, few lasting more than a quarter century. Today’s prolonged warming is an anomaly. Reconstructing the climate changes of the past is extremely difficult, because reliable instrument records are but a few centuries old. For earlier times, we have but what are called proxy records reconstructed from incomplete written accounts, tree rings, and ice cores. Country clergy and amateur scientists with time on their hands sometimes kept weather records over long periods. Chronicles like those of the eighteenth-century diarist John Evelyn or monastery scribes are invaluable for their remarks on unusual weather, but their usefulness in making comparisons is limited. Remarks like “the worst rain storm in memory,” or “hundreds of fishing boats overwhelmed by mighty waves” do not an accurate meteorological record make, even if they made a deep impression at the time. The traumas of extreme weather events fade rapidly from human consciousness. Many New Yorkers still vividly remember the great heat wave of Summer 1999, but it will soon fade from collective memory, just like the great New York blizzard of 1888, which stranded hundreds of people in Grand Central station and froze dozens to death in deep snowdrifts. A generation ago, we had a generalized impression of Little Ice Age climate compiled with painstaking care from a bewildering array of historical sources and a handful of tree-ring sequences. Today, the scatter of tree-ring records has become hundreds from throughout the Northern Hemisphere and many from south of the equator, too, amplified with a growing body of temperature data from ice cores drilled in Antarctica, Greenland, the Peruvian Andes, and other locations. We can now track the Little Ice Age as an intricate tapestry of short-term climatic shifts that rippled through European society during times of remarkable change—centuries that saw Europe emerge from medieval fiefdom and pass by stages through the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, the Enlightenment, the French and Industrial revolutions, and the making of modern Europe.

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To what extent did those climatic shifts alter the course of European history? Many archaeologists and historians are suspicious of the role of climate change in changing human societies—and with good reason. Environmental determinism, the notion that climate change was a primary cause of major developments like, say, agriculture, has been a dirty word in academia for generations. You certainly cannot argue that climate drove history in a direct and causative way to the point of toppling governments. Nor, however, can you contend that climate change is something that you can totally ignore. Throughout the Little Ice Age, into the nineteenth century, millions of European peasants lived at the subsistence level. Their survival depended on crop yields: cycles of good and poor harvests, of cooler and wetter spring weather, could make a crucial difference between hunger and plenty, life and death. The sufficiency or insufficiency of food was a powerful motivator of human action, sometimes on a national or even continent-wide scale, with consequences that could take decades to unfold. Consider, for instance, the food crises that engulfed Europe during the Little Ice Age—the great hunger of 1315 to 1319, the food dearths of 1741, and 1816, “the year without a summer”—to mention only a few. These crises in themselves did not threaten the continued existence of Western civilization, but they surely played an important role in the formation of modern Europe. Some of these crises resulted from climatic shifts, others from human ineptitude or disastrous economic or political policy; many from a combination of all three. Environmental determinism may be intellectually bankrupt, but climate change is the ignored player on the historical stage.

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11. The author most nearly characterizes the role of climate change in the course of history as one that: A. is neither all important nor safely disregarded. B. is rightly ignored by archaeologists and scientists. C. was greater in medieval Europe than it is today. D. will eventually be seen as direct and causative. 12. The main idea of the first paragraph is that the Little Ice Age: F. was a period defined by prolonged global cooling. G. occurred during the era of Cro-Magnon mammoth hunters. H. was marked by frequent and short-term climate shifts. J. resulted from interactions between the atmosphere and ocean.

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13. The author uses the remark “the worst rain storm in memory” (line 28) primarily as an example of: A. the kind of well-meaning but ultimately useless records of unusual weather that Evelyn kept. B. how people in the eighteenth century were deeply impressed by unusual weather. C. people’s preoccupation with carefully rating and comparing unusual weather events. D. how notes people in the past kept about unusual weather are of limited meteorological value today. 14. The author indicates that the common factor in the events and periods listed in lines 50–54 is that they: F. took place during the Little Ice Age. G. were the result of the Little Ice Age. H. were unaffected by the Little Ice Age. J. occurred after the Little Ice Age. 15. By his statement in lines 71–75, the author most nearly means that during the Little Ice Age: A. food or the lack thereof could have far-reaching and long-lasting effects. B. the difference between hunger and plenty was a very small one. C. food shortages were relatively rare at the national or continental level. D. the insufficiency of food motivated peasant farmers to work harder. 16. The author uses the events listed in lines 77–79 primarily to: F. show how weather-related disasters threatened the survival of Western civilization. G. criticize subsistence-level agriculture as being too dependent on the weather. H. illustrate how environmental determinism operated in the Little Ice Age. J. suggest the part that climate shifts may have had in producing modern Europe.

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17. The author cites all of the following as causes of the European food crises during the Little Ice Age EXCEPT: A. human ineptitude. B. bad economic policy. C. poor political policy. D. bankrupt intellectualism.

18. The author calls the interactions that produced the Little Ice Age climate shifts: F. powerful and relatively straightforward. G. complex and not yet well understood. H. frequent and not often studied today. J. intricate and generally beneficial to humans.

19. Which of the following is NOT listed in the passage as an element of the Little Ice Age? A. Heavy spring and early summer rains B. Intensely cold winters and easterly winds C. Droughts and light northeasterly winds D. Mild winters and an unusually calm ocean

20. The author calls which of the following an anomaly? F. The daily weather of the Little Ice Age G. Today’s prolonged warming H. The climatic seesaw of the last hundred years J. Little Ice Age corn yields

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Passage III
55 HUMANITIES: This passage is adapted from the article “Wherever He Went, Joy Was Sure to Follow” by Stanley Crouch (©2000 by The New York Times Company). Tin Pan Alley is a district famous for its composers and publishers of popular music. 5

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glissandos—rapid slides up or down a musical scale— were so pronounced that trumpeters of the London Philharmonic Orchestra had to inspect his horn to be convinced that it was not made differently from theirs. By his death in 1971, Armstrong had influenced the entirety of American music, instrumentally and vocally, inspiring his own generation and successive ones. I can recall some 30 years ago talking with a concert percussionist who knew Armstrong and the rest of the people who were rising to the top during the middle and late 20’s. Referring to a certain concert piece, which had a more extensive drum part than usual, he said, “When I get that going, I can put my Louis Armstrong influence in and, without them even knowing it, the orchestra starts to swing for a bit.” On a more recent occasion, unless I was imagining it, I even heard rapper Heavy D slip a phrase over the mechanical hiphop beat that had an Armstrong arch to it. To get right down to it, no one in jazz ever played with greater emotional range than Armstrong, whose New Orleans experiences meant that he worked everything from christenings to funerals. In the streets, he picked up all the folk chants and songs. While traveling around town, he heard traces of French and Italian opera that suffused his sensibility and his memory. But beyond all that, what Armstrong wanted to give his listeners was the kind of pleasure music gave him, which is what most artists are after. When he wrote or talked of New Orleans, of being out there with his horn or following the parades or listening to mentors like Joe Oliver, Armstrong never failed to project a joy so profound that it became an antidote to the blues of daily living. He had a determination to swallow experience whole and taste it all and only then to spit out the bitter parts.
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As a jazz trumpeter and a singer, Louis Armstrong asserted a level of individuality in musical interpretation, recomposition and embellishment far more radical than any that had preceded it in Western music. When faced with a musical theme, Armstrong improvised an arrangement that boldly rephrased it, dropping notes he didn’t want to play and adding others. His featured improvisations brought the role of the jazz soloist to the fore. The immaculate logic of his improvised melodies, full of rhythmic surprises and virtuosic turns, influenced show-tune writers, jazz composers, big band arrangers and tap dancers. His harmonic innovations, as fellow trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has noted, were the most brilliant in the history of jazz: Armstrong figured out how to articulate the sound of the blues through Tin Pan Alley popular-music tunes without abandoning their harmonic underpinnings. “Louis Armstrong took two different musics and fused them so that they sounded perfectly compatible,” Mr. Marsalis says. It was during the 1920’s and 30’s that Armstrong’s reputation took off. He set the music scene in his home town of New Orleans on fire before traveling to Chicago in 1921 to join his mentor, the cornetist King Oliver. For a year he went to New York, where he joined Fletcher Henderson’s jazz orchestra and turned the rhythm of the music around with his conception of playing with a swinging beat. Now almost a national musical terror, Armstrong returned to Chicago, then finally settled in New York in 1929. From 1925 through the early 1930’s, he recorded dozens of masterpieces with large and small bands, popularized scat singing (jazz singing that uses nonsense syllables) and took on Tin Pan Alley, introducing one tune after another into jazz, where they became part of his repertory. His tone could be broad, soft and luminous or vocal or comical, or suddenly and indelibly noble, and when his music conquered Europe in the 30’s, it carried the tragic optimism of the American sensibility into the world at large. Wherever he went, swing was sure to follow. He almost single-handedly began a new spirit of freewheeling but perfectly controlled improvisation, tinged with playfulness, sorrow and sardonic irony. Like all innovators, Armstrong was also called upon to perform superhuman feats. Armstrong had endless energy and could play and play and play with the evangelical fire and charisma that brings a new art into being. He extended the range of his instrument, asserted unprecedented rhythmic fluidity and had the greatest endurance of any trumpet player who ever lived. As a young man, he could play five shows in a theater a day, be the featured soloist on virtually every piece and end each show with 100 high C notes. His

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21. Which of the following statements best expresses the main idea of the passage? A. Armstrong was an exceedingly gifted musician whose emotional range was nonetheless somewhat narrow. B. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Armstrong is best known for his soft and luminous tone. C. Armstrong has had a profound effect on music, one that has been both wide ranging and long lasting. D. A pioneering jazz trumpeter and singer, Armstrong recorded numerous masterpieces in the mid to late 1920s.

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22. Which of the following questions is NOT answered in the passage? F. In terms of Western music history, what was so radical about Armstrong’s playing and singing? G. What aspect of Armstrong’s music brought the role of the jazz soloist to the fore? H. What style of jazz singing did Armstrong popularize? J. Which of Armstrong’s recorded masterpieces most changed American music? 23. The passage suggests that Armstrong’s most important contribution to jazz was his: A. musical conquest of Europe. B. emphasis on improvisation. C. work with King Oliver. D. invention of the blues sound. 24. The main function of the second paragraph (lines 20–29) is to: F. identify some of Armstrong’s mentors, such as King Oliver. G. list some of the early events in Armstrong’s developing career. H. contrast Armstrong’s opinions of King Oliver and Fletcher Henderson. J. describe the musical style Armstrong developed jointly with Fletcher Henderson. 25. All of the following details are used in the passage to demonstrate Armstrong’s endurance as a young musician EXCEPT that he: A. would be the featured soloist on almost every piece in a show. B. ended shows with a long series of high notes. C. once managed to play for an entire night. D. could play five shows a day.

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26. The last paragraph establishes all of the following about Armstrong EXCEPT: F. his strong desire to reshape American music. G. his cheerful demeanor and sense of mission. H. the range of influences on his music. J. the varied settings in which he performed. 27. One of the main points in the last paragraph is that through his music, Armstrong attempted to promote in his listeners a sense of: A. awe. B. determination. C. pleasure. D. nostalgia. 28. According to the passage, which of the following cities is the last one Armstrong is said to have lived in? F. New Orleans G. New York H. Chicago J. Paris 29. The author most likely includes the information in lines 53–57 to suggest: A. Armstrong’s highly developed skill. B. Armstrong’s unease with orchestral music. C. that Armstrong used an unusual trumpet. D. that Armstrong invented the glissando. 30. Which of the following words best describes how the orchestra referred to in the fifth paragraph (lines 58–71) is said to have started to swing? F. Reluctantly G. Intentionally H. Unconsciously J. Optimistically

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Passage IV
NATURAL SCIENCE: This passage is adapted from the article “Needles & Nerves” by Catherine Dold (©1999 by The Walt Disney Company). 55 5

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caused by chemotherapy and early pregnancy. That’s not the endorphin system.” Nor does the endorphin story explain what physicist Zang-Hee Cho found when exploring acupoints that are traditionally used to treat vision problems. The points are not found near the eyes but on the outside of the foot, running from the little toe to the ankle. Acupuncturists hold that stimulation of these points with needles will affect the eyes via the system of meridians rather than through the central nervous system. To test that premise, Cho strapped student volunteers into an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine, the results from which can be viewed as colorful brain activation maps. Cho first stimulated the eyes of the volunteers by flashing a light in front of them. The resulting images, as expected, showed a concentration of color—an increase in activity—in the visual cortex, the portion of the brain that is known to be involved in eye function. Then Cho had an acupuncturist stimulate one of the vision-related acupoints. In one person after another, the very same region of the brain lit up on the fMRI image. The magnitude of brain activity seen on acupuncture stimulation was nearly as strong as that elicited by the flash of light. To eliminate the possibility of a placebo effect, Cho also stimulated a nonacupoint, in the big toe. There was no response in the visual cortex. Like many preliminary scientific reports, Cho’s study raises more questions than it answers. Still, he has demonstrated new functional effects of acupuncture. “Classically, acupuncture was the ultimate in experimentation; people collected data for thousands of years,” says Joie Jones, professor of radiological sciences at the University of California at Irvine and coauthor of the study. “With these studies, we’ve demonstrated that for at least some acupuncture points [a connection] goes through the brain.”
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Acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine have been around for more than 4,000 years. Yet the explanation for how acupuncture— and Chinese medicine as a whole—works has long been a mystery for most Western doctors. The basic theory is outlined in a text from 200 B.C. It recognizes in people and in nature a vital energy or life force known as qi. Qi is the source of movements ranging from voluntary muscle action to blood flow; it protects the body from external influences, and it generates warmth. Qi flows through the body and to the organs by way of an extensive system of channels known as meridians. If the flow of the force is disturbed, the theory goes, the resulting deficiency, excess, or stagnation of qi causes bodily malfunction and thus illness. Acupuncture, in which needles are inserted into specific points along the meridians and manipulated, is said to restore the proper flow of qi and thereby return the body to health. Practitioners recognize some 1,500 acupoints, most of which have no obvious relationship to their intended targets. For example, a point on the second toe is used to treat headaches and toothaches, while a point near the elbow enhances the immune system. Another integral concept is the tension between two ever-present, complementary forces of nature, yin and yang. When their balance is disturbed, the theory goes, people get sick. Yin conditions reflect a lack of qi: pale face, cold extremities, slow pulse, depression. Yang conditions result from an excess of qi: red face, fever, fast pulse, agitation. Doctors and licensed practitioners administer between 9 and 12 million acupuncture treatments each year in the United States, commonly for pain control.

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According to neuroscientist Bruce Pomeranz, of the University of Toronto, numerous studies over the past 20 years have shown that inserting needles into acupoints stimulates nerves in the underlying muscles. That stimulation, researchers believe, sends impulses up the spinal cord to a relatively primitive part of the brain known as the limbic system, as well as to the midbrain and the pituitary gland. Somehow this signaling leads to the release of endorphins and monoamines, chemicals that block pain signals in the spinal cord and the brain. “The endorphin story is really nailed down,” says Pomeranz. “The acupoints that have been mapped over thousands of years are likely the spots where nerves are concentrated.” But the endorphin story “doesn’t explain many of the other claims of acupuncture,” he continues. “There have been a number of clinical trials showing that acupuncture is extremely useful for the nausea 31. The passage mentions that the onset of illness would be caused by any of the following EXCEPT: A. a shortage of qi. B. an excess of qi. C. a change in the temperature of qi. D. a disruption in the flow of qi.

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32. According to the fifth paragraph (lines 35–45), studies have shown that the insertion of acupuncture needles into acupoints causes nerve stimulation that results in: F. signals being sent to the brain and pituitary gland, which leads to the release of chemicals. G. signals being sent to the spinal cord, which immediately blocks the release of chemicals. H. chemicals being released that amplify signals to the spinal cord. J. chemicals being released that numb the spinal cord and prevent signals being sent to the brain and pituitary gland. 33. The studies of acupuncture described in the fifth paragraph (lines 35–45) can best explain the success of acupuncture in treating which of the following conditions? A. Blurred vision B. Nausea C. Headaches D. Impaired immune system 34. According to the passage, the study by Cho showed that volunteers experienced an increase in visual cortex activity when they: F. viewed brain activation maps. G. were exposed to high concentrations of color. H. received acupoint stimulation to their big toes. J. underwent acupoint stimulation of the outside of the foot. 35. Information in the last paragraph indicates that acupuncture research has given results that: A. thoroughly explain the mechanisms by which acupuncture functions. B. explain some aspects of how acupuncture functions while leaving other aspects open to further study. C. explain some aspects of how acupuncture functions while questioning the methods used in previous studies. D. do not explain any of the mechanisms by which acupuncture functions.

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36. The passage indicates that the balance between yin and yang in a person depends on that person’s: F. emotional state. G. blood flow. H. pulse. J. level of qi. 37. According to the passage, a person with a yang condition might exhibit all of the following EXCEPT: A. pale face. B. agitation. C. fast pulse. D. fever. 38. As it is used in line 49, the word concentrated most nearly means: F. extracted. G. paid attention to. H. gathered together. J. directed to one topic. 39. According to the passage, Cho would have determined that volunteers had experienced a placebo effect if which of the following procedures had created increased activity in the visual cortex of the brain? A. Flashing a light in front of them B. Stimulating one of their vision-related acupoints C. Having them read an eye-examination chart D. Stimulating a place that was not a visual acupoint 40. In the last paragraph, the author expresses the belief that scientists who open a new line of research on a topic are likely to: F. quickly discover the answers to the questions they raise. G. find that new questions arise as old ones are answered. H. receive answers far different than they anticipated. J. learn that they have often asked the wrong questions.

END OF TEST 3 STOP! DO NOT TURN THE PAGE UNTIL TOLD TO DO SO. DO NOT RETURN TO A PREVIOUS TEST.

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SCIENCE TEST 35 Minutes—40 Questions
DIRECTIONS: There are seven passages in this test. 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.

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Passage I Earthquakes produce seismic waves that can travel long distances through Earth. Two types of seismic waves are p-waves and s-waves. P-waves typically travel 6−13 km/sec and s-waves typically travel 3.5−7.5 km/sec. Figure 1 shows how p-waves and s-waves move and are 0°

refracted (bent) as they travel through different layers of Earth’s interior. Figure 2 shows a seismograph (an instrument that detects seismic waves) recording of p-waves and s-waves from an earthquake. Figure 3 shows, in general, how long it takes p-waves and s-waves to travel given distances along the surface from an earthquake focus (point of origin of seismic waves).

earthquake focus

Key p-waves s-waves

both p-waves and s-waves received at seismographs
li

both p-waves and s-waves received at seismographs

core outer id qu

solid inner core 103°

103°

shadow zone: neither p-waves nor s-waves received at seismographs 142°

mantle
crust

shadow zone: neither p-waves nor s-waves received at seismographs 142°

only p-waves received at seismographs Note: The figure is not to scale. Figure 1

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time earthquake starts at the focus first p-waves arrive at seismograph Figure 2 first s-waves arrive at seismograph 1 minute

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22 20 time to reach seismograph from earthquake focus (min) 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 0
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 1,0 2,0 3,0 4,0 5,0 6,0 7,0 8,0 9,0 10,0

s-waves

2. According to Figure 1, when p-waves encounter the boundary between the mantle and the core, the p-waves most likely: F. stop and do not continue into the core. G. enter the core and are refracted. H. change to s-waves. J. change to a third type of seismic wave. 3. Based on Figure 3, for a given seismograph, the time elapsed between the arrival of the first p-waves and the arrival of the first s-waves from an earthquake focus 10,500 km away would most likely be: A. less than 5 min. B. between 5 min and 7 min. C. between 8 min and 10 min. D. more than 10 min. 4. Based on the information provided, the “time earthquake starts at the focus” in Figure 2 corresponds to which of the following points on Figure 3 ? F. , 0 km, 0 min G. 2,000 km, 5 min H. 5,000 km, 12 min J. 10,000 km, 20 min 5. According to Figure 2, which of the following statements best describes the relative amplitudes of the first p-waves to arrive at the seismograph and the first s-waves to arrive at the seismograph? The amplitude of the first p-waves to arrive at the seismograph is: A. smaller than the amplitude of the first s-waves to arrive at the seismograph. B. larger than the amplitude of the first s-waves to arrive at the seismograph. C. nonzero, and the same as the amplitude of the first s-waves to arrive at the seismograph. D. zero, as is the amplitude of the first s-waves to arrive at the seismograph.

p-waves

distance along Earth’s surface from earthquake focus to seismograph (km) Figure 3

1. Figure 1 shows that a seismograph located at a point 125° around Earth from an earthquake’s focus would receive which type(s) of seismic waves, if either, from that earthquake? A. P-waves only B. S-waves only C. Both p-waves and s-waves D. Neither p-waves nor s-waves

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Passage II Lake Agassiz existed between 11,700 and 9,500 years ago in North America (see Figure 1). The lake was formed when a large glacier dammed several rivers. Groundwater trapped in lake and glacial sediments provides information about the climate at the time the sediments were deposited. Figure 2 shows a cross section of the sediments (lake clay and glacial till) and bedrock in the area. Figure 3 shows the δ18O values of groundwater taken from samples of the top 40 m of sediment at 3 sites along the same cross section. δ18O is calculated from a ratio of 2 oxygen isotopes (18O and 16O) in the groundwater. Smaller δ18O values indicate cooler average temperatures.
Hudson Bay Manitoba maximum extent of Lake Agassiz Site 1 Site 3 North Dakota

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• • •
Grand Forks Winnipeg Site 2 Great Lakes

••

Figure 1

N 250 elevation (m above sea level)

Winnipeg, Manitoba Site 3 Site 1 Site 2

Grand Forks, North Dakota surface

S 250 Key sediment/rock lake clay glacial till bedrock

surface

200

200

150 Figure 2

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depth (m) 10 20 30 40

Site 1 δ O
18

Site 2 δ O
18

Site 3 δ 18 O

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lake clay

smaller larger –26 –22 –18 –14 (surface) 0

smaller larger –26 –22 –18 –14 (surface) 0 depth (m) 10 20 30 40 lake clay glacial till

smaller larger –26 –22 –18 –14 (surface) 0 depth (m) –1
×

10 20 30 40

lake clay

glacial till

Note: δ 18 O =

18 O/16O of groundwater sample ___________________________ 18 O/16O of standard water sample

1,000

Figure 3
Figures adapted from V. H. Remenda, J. A. Cherry, and T. W. D. Edwards, “Isotopic Composition of Old Ground Water from Lake Agassiz: Implications for Late Pleistocene Climate.” ©1994 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

elevation (m above sea level)

A.

225 200 175 150 1 2 3 Site

elevation (m above sea level)

6. According to Figure 2, the lake clay deposit is thinnest at which of the following cities or sites? F. Winnipeg G. Site 1 H. Site 2 J. Grand Forks

9. According to Figure 2, which of the following graphs best represents the elevations, in m above sea level, of the top of the glacial till layer at Sites 1, 2, and 3 ? C. 225 200 175 150 1 2 3 Site

elevation (m above sea level)

200 175 150 1 2 3 Site

elevation (m above sea level)

7. According to Figure 3, at Sites 1, 2, and 3, the smallest δ 18O value of the groundwater in the lake clay was recorded at a depth between: A. 0 m and 10 m. B. 10 m and 20 m. C. 20 m and 30 m. D. 30 m and 40 m.

B.

225

D.

225 200 175 150 1 2 3 Site

8. According to Figure 2, as the thickness of the lake clay deposit increases from Grand Forks to Site 3, the thickness of the glacial till beneath it: F. increases. G. remains the same. H. first increases and then decreases. J. decreases.

10. Precipitation that falls at Sites 1, 2, and 3 soaks into the soil until it reaches the groundwater table about 3 m below the surface. Based on Figure 3, and assuming no alteration of the precipitation, the δ18O value of present-day precipitation in the study area is closest to: F. −26. G. −23. H. −20. J. −15.

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Passage III Some students tested their hypothesis that the presence of bubbles in cans of various liquids would affect the roll time (the time it took a can to roll, without slipping, down an incline between 2 fixed points; see Figure 1). fixed points incline Table 2 Roll time angle of inclination Figure 1 can Trial 4 5 before shaking (sec) 1.86 1.75 after shaking (sec) 1.96 1.93

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Experiment 2 The students added 1 L of the flat-tasting beverage to an empty can. They sealed the can, shook it, and set it aside. Fifteen minutes later they found the roll time of the can before and immediately after shaking it (Trial 4). Again they set the can aside. Two hours later they found the roll time of the can before and immediately after shaking it (Trial 5). The results are shown in Table 2.

Identical 1.2 L aluminum cans were used in the first two experiments. The angle of inclination of the incline was 2.3° in all three experiments.

Experiment 3 The students added 1 L of the flat-tasting beverage to an empty 2 L clear plastic bottle and sealed the bottle. When they rolled the bottle down the incline, no bubbles formed. They shook the bottle, causing bubbles to form, and set the bottle aside. Fifteen minutes later, some bubbles were still visible, but after 2 hours, no bubbles could be seen.
Adapted from David Kagan, “The Shaken-Soda Syndrome.” ©2001 by The American Association of Physics Teachers.

Experiment 1 The students added 1 L of a liquid—tap water containing no bubbles—to an empty can, sealed the can, and found its roll time. Next, they added 1 L of the tap water to a second empty can, sealed it, shook it, and immediately found its roll time. They repeated these procedures using soapy water containing many bubbles, and a carbonated beverage that contained no bubbles and that tasted flat, having lost most of its carbonation. The results are shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Roll time Trial 1 2 3 Liquid tap water soapy water flat-tasting beverage before shaking (sec) 1.75 1.97 1.75 after shaking (sec) 1.75 2.15 1.96

11. In Experiment 3, what is the most likely reason the students used the plastic bottle rather than an aluminum can? Compared to an aluminum can, the plastic bottle: A. rolled more rapidly down the incline. B. made bubbles in the liquid easier to see. C. contained a greater quantity of liquid. D. had thicker walls and was less likely to break. 12. Based on the results of Experiments 1 and 2, in which of the following trials, before shaking, were the average speeds of the cans the same? F. Trials 1 and 2 G. Trials 2 and 3 H. Trials 2 and 4 J. Trials 3 and 5

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13. In Experiment 2, a result of shaking the can of flattasting beverage was that the: A. number of bubbles in the beverage immediately decreased. B. mass of the can of beverage increased. C. roll time of the can of beverage decreased. D. roll time of the can of beverage increased. 14. In Trial 5, is it likely that bubbles were present in large numbers immediately before the can was shaken? F. Yes; based on the results of Experiment 1, the bubbles produced in Trial 4 probably lasted for less than 15 min. G. Yes; based on the results of Experiment 1, the bubbles produced in Trial 4 probably lasted for more than 2 hr. H. No; based on the results of Experiment 3, the bubbles produced in Trial 4 probably lasted for less than 2 hr. J. No; based on the results of Experiment 3, the bubbles produced in Trial 4 probably lasted for more than 3 hr.

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15. Suppose that in Experiment 2, two hours after the completion of Trial 5, the students had measured the roll time of the can of liquid without first shaking the can. Based on the results of Trials 4 and 5, the roll time would most likely have been: A. less than 1.86 sec. B. between 1.86 sec and 1.93 sec. C. between 1.94 sec and 1.96 sec. D. greater than 1.96 sec. 16. Based on the results of Trials 3−5 and Experiment 3, if the students had added 1 L of the flat-tasting beverage to one of the empty aluminum cans, sealed the can, and shaken it, how long would it most likely have taken for the number of bubbles in the beverage to become too few to affect the roll time? F. Less than 5 min G. Between 5 min and 14 min H. Between 15 min and 2 hr J. Over 2 hr

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Passage IV The chemical reactions associated with photosynthesis can be summarized with the following chemical equation: 6,CO2 + 12,H2O + energy → C6H12O6 + 6,O2 + 6,H2O rate of photosynthesis (as % of rate at 670 nm) 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 400 440 480 520 560 600 640 wavelength (nm) Figure 2 680 Table 1 lists wavelength ranges for visible light and the color frequently associated with each range. Table 1 Color Violet Blue Green Yellow Orange Red Wavelength (nm) 380−430 430−500 500−565 565−585 585−630 630−750

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Figure 2 shows the average rate of photosynthesis at various wavelengths as a percent of the average rate of photosynthesis at 670 nm.

720

Table 1 adapted from Neil A. Campbell, Jane B. Reece, and Lawrence G. Mitchell, Biology, 5th ed. ©1999 by Benjamin/Cummings.

Figure 1 shows the relative absorption of light by chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b versus the wavelength of light from 400 nm to 750 nm. Key chlorophyll a chlorophyll b 100 90 80 relative absorption 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 400 450 500 550 600 650 wavelength (nm) Figure 1 700 750

Figures 1 and 2 adapted from Peter H. Raven, Ray F. Evert, and Susan E. Eichhorn, Biology of Plants, 4th ed. ©1986 by Worth Publishers, Inc.

17. Based on Table 1 and Figure 1, which color of light is associated with the wavelength of light that results in the greatest absorption by chlorophyll b ? A. Blue B. Green C. Yellow D. Red

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18. In eukaryotic organisms, the chemical reactions associated with the chemical equation shown in the passage typically occur within which of the following structures? F. Chloroplasts G. Mitochondria H. Lysosomes J. Nuclei 19. In Figure 2, at which of the following wavelengths does the rate of photosynthesis exceed the rate of photosynthesis at 670 nm ? A. 400 nm B. 430 nm C. 630 nm D. 700 nm

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20. In the chemical equation shown in the passage, the carbon in CO2 becomes part of which of the following types of molecules? F. Fat G. Sugar H. Protein J. Nucleic acid 21. Which of the following conclusions is best supported by Figures 1 and 2 ? The wavelength that results in the highest rate of photosynthesis also results in the: A. lowest relative absorption by chlorophyll a. B. lowest relative absorption by chlorophyll b. C. highest relative absorption by chlorophyll a. D. highest relative absorption by chlorophyll b.

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Passage V Students performed the following experiments to determine the density of common plastics. Experiment 1 A dry 100 mL graduated cylinder was placed on an electronic balance and tared (the balance was reset to 0.000 g). H2O was added to the graduated cylinder until a certain mass was obtained. Ethanol was added to the graduated cylinder until the volume of liquid was 50.0 mL. The density of the liquid was then calculated. The procedure was repeated with different amounts of ethanol and H 2O (see Table 1). Table 3 Liquid Plastic Polybutylene VLDPE LDPE HDPE PA-11 PA-6 Polycarbonate PVC 1 R S S S S S S S 2 R R S S S S S S 3 R R S S S S S S 4 R R R S S S S S 5 R R R R S S S S 6 R R R R R S S S 7 R R R R R S S S 8 R R R R R R S S

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Experiment 3 A solid plastic bead was placed at the bottom of a sample of each of Liquids 1−10 from Experiments 1 and 2. If the bead stayed at the bottom, “S” was recorded in Table 3. If the bead rose, “R” was recorded in Table 3. The procedure was repeated for various plastics.

9 R R R R R R R S

10 R R R R R R R S

Table 1 Mass of H 2O (g) 0 10.24 19.79 35.42 49.96 Mass of ethanol (g) 39.67 32.43 25.23 12.47 0 Total mass (g) 39.67 42.67 45.02 47.89 49.96 Density (g/mL) 0.793 0.853 0.900 0.958 0.999

Liquid 1 2 3 4 5

Experiment 2 A known mass of potassium iodide (KI) was dissolved in a known mass of H2O. A dry 100 mL graduated cylinder was placed on the balance and tared. The solution was added to the graduated cylinder until the volume was 50.0 mL. The density of the liquid was then calculated. The procedure was repeated with different amounts of KI and H2O (see Table 2).

Table 2 Mass of H2O in solution (g) 97.66 95.41 94.38 92.18 87.77 Mass of KI in solution (g) 7.36 15.52 20.68 29.08 41.31 Mass of solution in graduated cylinder (g) 52.51 55.70 57.53 60.63 64.64

Liquid 6 7 8 9 10

Density (g/mL) 1.05 1.11 1.15 1.21 1.29

22. In Experiment 1, the density of ethanol was found to be: F. less than 0.793 g/mL. G. 0.793 g/mL. H. 0.999 g/mL. J. greater than 0.999 g/mL. 23. Based on the results of Experiments 1−3, the density of PA-11 is most likely: A. less than 0.793 g/mL. B. between 0.853 g/mL and 0.958 g/mL. C. between 0.999 g/mL and 1.05 g/mL. D. greater than 1.11 g/mL.

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24. Suppose that a sixth KI/H 2O solution had been measured in Experiment 2 and the mass of the solution in the graduated cylinder was 67.54 g. The density of this solution would most likely have been closest to which of the following? F. 1.25 g/mL G. 1.30 g/mL H. 1.35 g/mL J. 1.40 g/mL 25. A plastic bead was tested as in Experiment 3 using Liquids 1−4. Which of the following is NOT a plausible set of results for the plastic? Liquid 1 A. B. C. D. R R S S 2 R R S S 3 R S R S 4 R S R S

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26. In Experiments 1 and 2, the students tared the graduated cylinder in each trial so they could more easily determine: F. the mass of the substances added to the graduated cylinder. G. the density of the graduated cylinder. H. when the total volume of the added substances was equal to 50.0 mL. J. when all of the KI was dissolved in the H2O. 27. A student claimed that polycarbonate is more dense than PA-6. Do the results of Experiments 1−3 support his claim? A. No, because in Liquid 8, polycarbonate stayed at the bottom and PA-6 rose. B. Yes, because in Liquid 8, polycarbonate stayed at the bottom and PA-6 rose. C. No, because in Liquid 8, polycarbonate rose and PA-6 stayed at the bottom. D. Yes, because in Liquid 8, polycarbonate rose and PA-6 stayed at the bottom.

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Passage VI Bacteria break down sugars by fermentation. To study 2 fermentation pathways, researchers performed 2 experiments using broth that contained either the sugar sucrose or the sugar lactose. One of the fermentation pathways produces CO2 gas and increases the acidity (lowers the pH) of the solution. The other pathway produces acid but not CO2. Table 2 Experiment 1 Sucrose broth was added to 5 large test tubes. Next, phenol red (a pH indicator that is yellow if pH < 7, red if pH ≥ 7) was added to each large test tube. A Durham tube (a small test tube) was placed, inverted, in each large test tube to collect CO2 (see Figure 1). Species added A and B A and C B and D C and D Sucrose broth acid − + + + CO2 − + + + Lactose broth acid + − + + CO2 + − + +

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Experiment 2 Synergism occurs when 2 bacterial species act together to ferment a sugar by using a pathway that neither species can use alone. To investigate synergism, Experiment 1 was repeated, except that different pairs of bacterial species were added to each large test tube (see Table 2).

Durham tube broth (red)

Figure 1 The large test tubes were capped, heated until the solutions were sterile, then cooled. One of 4 bacterial species (Species A−D) was added to each of 4 of the large test tubes. The procedure was repeated using lactose broth instead of sucrose broth. The 10 large test tubes (all containing solutions at a pH of 7) were then incubated at 37°C for 48 hr. The large test tubes and Durham tubes were examined. If acid was produced, the solution was yellow. If no acid was produced, the solution remained red. If CO2 was produced, a gas bubble was observed at the top of the Durham tube (see Table 1).

28. In Experiment 1, which of the bacterial species fermented lactose? F. Species B only G. Species C only H. Species B and Species D only J. Species C and Species D only 29. Suppose that in Experiment 2 both Species B and Species C had been added to a large test tube containing sucrose broth and to a large test tube containing lactose broth. Which of the following would most likely depict the results? Sucrose broth acid A. B. C. D. – + + – CO2 – + + – Lactose broth acid + – + – CO2 + – + –

Table 1 Species added A B C D None Sucrose broth acid − − + + − CO2 − − + − − Lactose broth acid − + − + − CO2 − + − − −

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30. Suppose a scientist isolates a bacterial species that is 1 of the 4 species used in Experiment 1. She adds the species to sucrose broth and observes that neither acid nor CO2 is produced. She then adds the species to lactose broth and observes that both acid and CO2 are produced. Based on the results of Experiment 1, the species is most likely: F. Species A. G. Species B. H. Species C. J. Species D. F. H. Durham tube broth (red) G. J. Durham tube broth (yellow)

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32. Which of the following figures best illustrates the results of Experiment 1 for Species D in the sucrose broth? gas bubble

31. What is the evidence from Experiments 1 and 2 that Species C and Species D acted synergistically in Experiment 2 ? A. No acid was produced when each species was alone in the sucrose broth, but acid was produced when the 2 species were together in the sucrose broth. B. No acid was produced when each species was alone in the lactose broth, but acid was produced when the 2 species were together in the sucrose broth. C. No CO 2 was produced when each species was alone in the sucrose broth, but CO2 was produced when the 2 species were together in the sucrose broth. D. No CO 2 was produced when each species was alone in the lactose broth, but CO2 was produced when the 2 species were together in the lactose broth.

Durham tube broth (yellow)

Durham tube broth (red)

gas bubble

33. Is the hypothesis that Species A and Species C acted synergistically supported by the results of Experiment 2 ? A. Yes, because both acid and CO 2 were produced from sucrose. B. Yes, because both acid and CO 2 were produced from lactose. C. No, because only acid, not CO 2 , was produced from both sucrose and lactose. D. No, because neither acid nor CO 2 was produced from lactose.

ACT-64E-PRACTICE

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4
Passage VII In the 1940s, scientists thought all genetic material was contained in structures called chromosomes and that chromosomes had been found only in the nucleus of a cell (not in the cytoplasm): cytoplasm nucleus chromosomes

4
34. Which of the following statements is most consistent with the DNA Hypothesis? The amount of DNA will generally increase from cell type to cell type as the number of: F. amino acids in the nucleus increases from cell type to cell type. G. amino acids in the cytoplasm increases from cell type to cell type. H. chromosomes in the nucleus increases from cell type to cell type. J. chromosomes in the cytoplasm increases from cell type to cell type. 35. By referring to the observation that DNA is found exclusively in the nucleus while proteins are found throughout the cell, the scientist supporting the DNA Hypothesis implies that genes are made only of DNA because which of the following are also found only in the nucleus? A. Amino acids B. Proteins C. Gametes D. Chromosomes 36. According to the passage, a similarity between DNA and proteins is that both types of molecules: F. are found only in gametes. G. are abundant in the cytoplasm. H. contain 20 different amino acids. J. are composed of smaller subunits. 37. According to the Protein Hypothesis, which of the following observations provides the strongest evidence that genes are NOT composed of DNA ? A. DNA is composed of only 4 types of nucleotides. B. DNA is composed of smaller subunits than are proteins. C. DNA is abundant in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm. D. The concentration of DNA is generally consistent from cell to cell. 38. Mitochondria are organelles located in the cytoplasm that are responsible for energy transformation in a cell. After the 1940s, it was observed that mitochondria contain their own genes. This observation contradicts evidence stated in which hypothesis? F. The DNA Hypothesis, because if genes are made of DNA, the observation would show that DNA is present outside the nucleus. G. The DNA Hypothesis, because if genes are made of DNA, the observation would show that DNA is present inside the nucleus. H. The Protein Hypothesis, because if genes are made of proteins, the observation would show that proteins are present outside the nucleus. J. The Protein Hypothesis, because if genes are made of proteins, the observation would show that proteins are present inside the nucleus.

Chromosomes are composed of 2 types of molecules, proteins and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Proteins are composed of subunits called amino acids. DNA consists of chains of subunits called nucleotides. The parts of chromosomes that are responsible for the transmission of genetic information are called genes. Two scientists in the 1940s debate whether genes are made of proteins or DNA. Protein Hypothesis Genes are made only of proteins. Proteins make up 50% or more of a cell’s dry weight. Cells contain 20 different amino acids that can be arranged in a virtually infinite number of ways to make different proteins. The number and arrangement of different amino acids within a protein form the codes that contain hereditary information. In contrast, only 4 different nucleotides make up the DNA found in cells, and they are believed to form chains only in certain ratios. As a result, the number of different combinations that DNA can carry is much smaller than the number that proteins can carry. DNA Hypothesis Genes are made only of DNA. DNA is found exclusively in the cell’s nucleus, whereas proteins are found throughout the nucleus and cytoplasm. Additionally, the amount of protein in a cell varies from cell type to cell type, even within the same animal. Though DNA is less abundant than proteins, the amount is consistent from cell type to cell type within the same animal, except for the gametes (the reproductive cells). Gametes have half the amount of DNA as other cells in the body. Gametes also have half the typical number of chromosomes. Thus, the amount of DNA in a cell is correlated with the number of chromosomes in the cell. No such correlation is found for proteins.

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4
39. The scientist who describes the DNA Hypothesis implies that the Protein Hypothesis is weakened by which of the following observations? A. For a given organism, the amount of protein in the gametes is half that found in other types of cells. B. For a given organism, the amount of protein in different types of cells is not the same. C. Protein molecules are composed of many subunits. D. Proteins are found only in the nucleus. Key AA - amino acid N - nucleotide F.
AA N AA N

4
40. Which of the following illustrations of a portion of a DNA molecule is consistent with the description in the passage? G.

N

AA

AA

N

H.

AA

AA

AA

AA

J.

N

N

N

N

END OF TEST 4 STOP! DO NOT RETURN TO ANY OTHER TEST.
[See Note on page 56.]

ACT-64E-PRACTICE

55

If you plan to take the ACT Plus Writing, sharpen your pencils and continue with the Writing Test on page 57. If you do not plan to take the ACT Plus Writing, skip to page 59 for instructions on scoring your multiple-choice tests.

56

Practice Writing T est
Your Signature (do not print): Print Your Name Here: Your Date of Birth:

Month

Day

Year

Form 13G

Writing Test Booklet
You must take the multiple-choice tests before you take the Writing Test.

Directions This is a test of your writing skills. You will have thirty (30) minutes to write an essay in English. Before you begin planning and writing your essay, read the writing prompt carefully to understand exactly what you are being asked to do. Your essay will be evaluated on the evidence it provides of your ability to express judgments by taking a position on the issue in the writing prompt; to maintain a focus on the topic throughout the essay; to develop a position by using logical reasoning and by supporting your ideas; to organize ideas in a logical way; and to use language clearly and effectively according to the conventions of standard written English. You may use the unlined pages in this test booklet to plan your essay. These pages will not be scored. You must write your essay in pencil on the lined pages in the answer folder. Your writing on those lined pages will be scored. You may not need all the lined pages, but to ensure you have enough room to finish, do NOT skip lines. You may write corrections or additions neatly between the lines of your essay, but do NOT write in the margins of the lined pages. Illegible essays cannot be scored, so you must write (or print) clearly. If you finish before time is called, you may review your work. Lay your pencil down immediately when time is called. DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOKLET UNTIL TOLD TO DO SO.
© 2009 by ACT, Inc. All rights reserved. NOTE: This booklet is covered by Federal copyright laws that prohibit the reproduction of the test questions without the express, written permission of ACT, Inc.

P.O. BOX 168 IOWA CITY, IA 52243-0168

57

ACT Writing T est Prompt

At some high schools, teachers have considered allowing each student to choose the books he or she will read for English class rather than requiring all students in class to read the same books. Some teachers support such a policy because they think students will greatly improve their reading skills if they read books they find interesting. Other teachers do not support such a policy because they think that students will learn more by participating in class discussion with others who have read the same books. In your opinion, should each individual student be allowed to choose the books he or she reads for English class? In your essay, take a position on this question. You may write about either one of the two points of view given, or you may present a different point of view on this question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.

Note • Your test booklet will have blank space for you to plan your essay. For this practice test, use scratch paper. • You may wish to remove pages 75–78 to respond to this prompt. • When you have completed your essay, read pages 66–72 for information and instructions on scoring your practice Writing Test.

ACT-13G-PRACTICE

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5

Scoring Your Tests

How to Score the Multiple-Choice Tests
Follow the instructions below and on the following pages to score your practice multiple-choice tests and to evaluate your performance.

The multiple-choice norms table (Table 3A on page 65) enables you to compare your scores on the practice multiple-choice tests with the scores of recent high school graduates who took the ACT. The numbers reported in Table 3A are cumulative percents. A cumulative percent is the percent of students who scored at or below a given score. For example, a Composite score of 20 has a cumulative percent of 48. This means that 48% of the ACTtested high school students had a Composite score of 20 or lower. Remember that your scores and percent at or below on the practice test are only estimates of the scores that you will obtain during an actual administration of the ACT. Test scores are only one indicator of your level of academic knowledge and skills. Consider your scores in connection with your grades, your performance in outside activities, and your career interests.

Raw Scores
The number of questions you answered correctly on each test and in each subscore area is your raw score. Because there are many forms of the ACT, each containing different questions, some forms will be slightly easier (and some slightly harder) than others. A raw score of 67 on one form of the English Test, for example, may be about as difficult to earn as a raw score of 70 on another form of that test. To compute your raw scores, check your answers with the scoring keys on pages 60–62. Count the number of correct answers for each of the four tests and seven subscore areas, and enter the number in the blanks provided on those pages. These numbers are your raw scores on the tests and subscore areas.

College Readiness Standards™
To add to the information you receive about your performance on the ACT, we have developed College Readiness Standards. These standards help you to more fully understand what your total test score means for each academic area assessed: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and Writing. The College Readiness Standards describe the types of skills, strategies, and understandings you will need to make a successful transition from high school to college. For English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, standards are provided for six score ranges that reflect the progression and complexity of the skills in each of the academic areas measured by the ACT tests. For Writing, standards are provided for five score ranges. The College Readiness Standards and benchmark scores for each test can be found at www.act.org/standard.

Scale Scores
To adjust for the small differences that occur among different forms of the ACT, the raw scores for tests and subscore areas are converted into scale scores. Scale scores are printed on the reports sent to you and your college and scholarship choices. When your raw scores are converted into scale scores, it becomes possible to compare your scores with those of examinees who took different test forms. For example, a scale score of 26 on the English Test has the same meaning regardless of the form of the ACT on which it is based. To determine the scale scores corresponding to your raw scores on the practice test, use the score conversion tables on pages 63–64. Table 1 on page 63 shows the raw-to-scale score conversions for each test, and Table 2 on page 64 shows the raw-to-scale score conversions for the subscore areas. Because each form of the ACT is unique, each form has somewhat different conversion tables. Consequently, these tables provide only approximations of the raw-to-scale score conversions that would apply if a different form of the ACT were taken. Therefore, the scale scores obtained from the practice tests don’t match precisely the scale scores received from an actual administration of the ACT.

Reviewing Your Performance on the Practice Multiple-Choice Tests
After you have determined your scale scores, consider the following as you evaluate your performance. • Did you run out of time? If so, reread the information in this booklet on pacing yourself. Perhaps you need to adjust the way you used your time in responding to the questions. It is to your advantage to answer every question. There is no penalty for guessing. • Did you spend too much time trying to understand the directions for the tests? The directions for the practice tests are the same directions that will appear in your test booklet on test day. Make sure you understand them now, so you won’t have to spend too much time studying them on test day. • Review the questions that you missed. Did you select a response that was an incomplete answer or that did not directly respond to the question being asked? Try to figure out what you overlooked in answering the questions. • Did a particular type of question confuse you? Did the questions you missed come from a particular subscore area? In reviewing your responses, check to see whether a particular type of question or a particular subscore area was more difficult for you or took more time.

Computing the Composite Score
The Composite score is the average of the four scale scores in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. If you left any of these tests blank, do not calculate a Composite score. If you take the ACT Plus Writing, your Writing results do not affect your Composite score.

Comparing Your Scores
Even scale scores don’t tell the whole story of your test performance. You may want to know how your scores compare to the scores of other students who took the ACT.

59

Scoring Keys for the ACT Practice Tests
Use the scoring key for each test to score your answer document for the multiple-choice tests. Mark a “1” in the blank for each question you answered correctly. Add up the numbers in each subscore area and enter the total number correct for each subscore area in the blanks provided. Also enter the total number correct for each test in the blanks provided. The total number correct for each test is the sum of the number correct in each subscore area.

Test 1: English—Scoring Key
Subscore Area* UM RH _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. Subscore Area* UM RH _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. Subscore Area* UM RH _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______

Key 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. D H A G D H B F B F D F C J A J C F B F C F B H B

Key G D F A G B F B J C H C H D F A G D J A J C G C J

Key C J D F C G B J B G C J C H B G D J D G A J A G D

Number Correct (Raw Score) for: Usage/Mechanics (UM) Subscore Area Rhetorical Skills (RH) Subscore Area Total Number Correct for English Test (UM + RH) _______ (40) _______ (35) _______ (75)

* UM = Usage/Mechanics RH = Rhetorical Skills

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Test 2: Mathematics—Scoring Key
Subscore Area* AG Subscore Area* AG

Key 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. D G C J C J C H D F E J A H B G E H C G A K E K B G C J E G

EA

GT 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60.

Key D H B H E F C K B H B J B G E K A F C F D F D J E G E F A F

EA

GT

_______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______

_______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______

Number Correct (Raw Score) for: Pre-Alg./Elem. Alg. (EA) Subscore Area Inter. Alg./Coord. Geo. (AG) Subscore Area Plane Geo./Trig. (GT) Subscore Area Total Number Correct for Math Test (EA + AG + GT) _______ (24) _______ (18) _______ (18) _______ (60)

* EA = Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra AG = Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry GT = Plane Geometry/Trigonometry

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Test 3: Reading—Scoring Key
Subscore Area* SS AL _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. Subscore Area* SS AL _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. Subscore Area* SS AL _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______

Key 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. B F B J C G D J C H A H D F

Key A J D G D G C J B G C F C G

Key A H C F C J B J A H D G

Number Correct (Raw Score) for: Social Studies/Sciences (SS) Subscore Area Arts/Literature (AL) Subscore Area Total Number Correct for Reading Test (SS + AL) _______ (20) _______ (20) _______ (40)

* SS = Social Studies/Sciences AL = Arts/Literature

Test 4: Science—Scoring Key
Key 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. D G D F A F C J C J B J D H _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. Key A H A F B G C G C H B F B H _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. Key C G D G D H D J A F B J _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______

Number Correct (Raw Score) for: Total Number Correct for Science Test _______ (40)

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62

TABLE 1
Explanation of Procedures Used to Obtain Scale Scores from Raw Scores
On each of the four multiple-choice tests on which you marked any responses, the total number of correct responses yields a raw score. Use the table below to convert your raw scores to scale scores. For each test, locate and circle your raw score or the range of raw scores that includes it in the table below. Then, read across to either outside column of the table and circle the scale score that corresponds to that raw score. As you determine your scale scores, enter them in the blanks provided on the right. The highest possible scale score for each test is 36. The lowest possible scale score for any test on which you marked any responses is 1. Next, compute the Composite score by averaging the four scale scores. To do this, add your four scale scores and divide the sum by 4. If the resulting number ends in a fraction, round it off to the nearest whole number. (Round down any fraction less than one-half; round up any fraction that is one-half or more.) Enter this number in the blank. This is your Composite score. The highest possible Composite score is 36. The lowest possible Composite score is 1. ACT Test 64E English Mathematics Reading Science Your Scale Score _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________

Sum of scores Composite score (sum ÷ 4)

_______________ _______________

NOTE: If you left a test completely blank and marked no items, do not list a scale score for that test. If any test was completely blank, do not calculate a Composite score.

Raw Scores Scale Score 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Test 1 English 75 73-74 71-72 70 69 67-68 66 65 63-64 62 60-61 58-59 56-57 54-55 52-53 49-51 46-48 43-45 41-42 39-40 36-38 33-35 30-32 28-29 26-27 24-25 22-23 20-21 17-19 14-16 11-13 08-10 6-7 4-5 3 0-2 Test 2 Mathematics 60 59 58 56-57 55 54 52-53 50-51 48-49 45-47 42-44 40-41 37-39 35-36 33-34 31-32 29-30 26-28 24-25 21-23 17-20 14-16 11-13 09-10 7-8 6 5 4 3 — 2 — 1 — — 0 Test 3 Reading 40 39 38 37 36 35 34 32-33 31 30 29 27-28 26 24-25 23 22 20-21 19 18 16-17 15 14 12-13 11 09-10 8 6-7 — 5 4 3 — 2 — 1 0 Test 4 Science 40 39 — 38 37 — 36 35 33-34 32 30-31 28-29 26-27 25 23-24 21-22 19-20 18 16-17 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 7-8 6 5 4 3 — 2 1 — 0 Scale Score 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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TABLE 2
ACT Test 64E English Usage/Mechanics Rhetorical Skills Mathematics Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra Intermed. Algebra/Coord. Geometry Plane Geometry/Trigonometry Reading Social Studies/Sciences Arts/Literature _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ Your Scale Subscore

Explanation of Procedures Used to Obtain Scale Subscores from Raw Scores

For each of the seven subscore areas, the total number of correct responses yields a raw score. Use the table below to convert your raw scores to scale subscores. For each of the seven subscore areas, locate and circle either the raw score or the range of raw scores that includes it in the table below. Then, read across to either outside column of the table and circle the scale subscore that corresponds to that raw score. As you determine your scale subscores, enter them in the blanks provided on the right. The highest possible scale subscore is 18. The lowest possible scale subscore is 1.

If you left a test completely blank and marked no responses, do not list any scale subscores for that test.

64
Raw Scores Test 1 English Rhetorical Skills 35 33-34 32 30-31 29 27-28 25-26 23-24 20-22 18-19 15-17 13-14 11-12 09-10 7-8 5-6 3-4 0-2 23-24 22 21 20 18-19 17 16 14-15 13 11-12 09-10 7-8 5-6 4 3 2 1 0 18 17 16 14-15 13 11-12 10 8-9 7 5-6 4 — 3 2 — 1 — 0 Pre-Algebra/ Elem. Algebra Inter. Algebra/ Coord. Geometry Test 2 Mathematics

Test 3 Reading Plane Geometry/ Trigonometry 18 — 17 16 14-15 12-13 10-11 9 7-8 6 5 4 3 — 2 — 1 0 Social Studies/ Sciences 20 18-19 17 15-16 14 13 11-12 10 9 8 6-7 5 4 — 3 2 1 0 Arts/ Literature 20 19 18 17 16 15 13-14 12 11 10 9 8 6-7 4-5 3 2 1 0 Scale Subscore 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Scale Subscore

Usage/ Mechanics

18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

38-40 37 35-36 34 33 31-32 29-30 27-28 25-26 23-24 20-22 18-19 16-17 13-15 11-12 09-10 5-8 0-4

0964E

TABLES 3A and 3B
Norms Tables
Use the norms tables below (3A and 3B) to determine your estimated percent at or below for each of your multiple-choice scale scores (3A), and for your Writing scores (3B), if applicable. In the far left column of the multiple-choice norms table (3A), circle your scale score for the English Test (from page 63). Then read across to the percent at or below column for that test; circle or put a check mark beside the corresponding percent at or below. Use the same procedure for each test and subscore area. Use the far right column of scale scores in Table 3A, for your Science Test and Composite scores. Follow the same procedure on the Writing Test norms to get your estimated percent at or below for your Writing subscore and Combined English/Writing score. As you mark your percents at or below, enter them in the blanks provided at the right. You may also find it helpful to compare your performance with the national mean (average) score for each of the tests, subscore areas, and the Composite as shown at the bottom of the norms tables. Your Estimated Percent At or Below on Practice Test English Usage/Mechanics Rhetorical Skills Mathematics Pre-Algebra/Elem. Alg. Alg./Coord. Geometry Plane Geometry/Trig. Reading Soc. Studies/Sciences Arts/Literature Science Composite Combined English/Writing Writing __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________

3A

3B
National Distributions of Cumulative Percents for ACT Test Scores ACT-Tested High School Graduates from 2007, 2008, and 2009
Pre-Algebra/Elem. Alg. Soc. Studies/Sciences Alg./Coord. Geometry Plane Geometry/Trig.

National Distributions of Cumulative Percents for ACT Writing Test Scores ACT-Tested High School Graduates from 2007, 2008, and 2009

Usage/Mechanics

MATHEMATICS

Rhetorical Skills

Arts/Literature

COMPOSITE

READING

ENGLISH

SCIENCE

Score

Score

Score 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Mean S.D.

Combined English/Writing 99 99 99 99 99 97 95 93 90 87 83 78 73 67 59 53 44 38 31 26 21 16 12 9 6 4 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 21.1 5.5

Writing

36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01 Mean S.D.

99 99 99 97 96 95 93 91 89 86 83 79 74 69 64 57 50 42 36 32 27 22 16 12 10 07 05 03 02 01 01 01 01 01 01 01

99 97 93 89 84 78 72 64 55 44 34 26 18 11 06 03 01 01

99 99 97 93 86 80 71 60 48 36 26 16 10 06 03 01 01 01

99 99 99 98 97 96 95 93 91 88 84 79 74 68 62 57 52 47 40 33 24 14 06 02 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01

99 96 92 87 81 74 66 57 48 39 31 19 08 03 01 01 01 01

99 99 98 96 92 84 75 66 53 36 23 13 08 05 02 01 01 01

99 99 98 95 90 83 73 63 52 37 25 15 09 06 03 02 01 01

99 99 99 97 95 93 91 88 85 81 78 74 70 65 59 54 47 41 34 30 24 19 14 09 06 03 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01

99 98 93 88 82 76 69 59 50 39 28 17 10 05 03 01 01 01

99 97 92 85 77 70 64 55 46 38 29 21 15 09 03 01 01 01

99 99 99 99 98 97 97 95 94 92 89 85 78 72 65 56 48 38 30 22 17 13 10 07 05 03 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 20.9 4.9

99 99 99 99 99 97 96 94 91 88 84 80 75 69 62 55 48 40 33 26 20 14 09 05 02 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 21.1 5.0

36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01

99 99 98 91 81 47 33 10 6 2 1 7.3 1.6

20.6 10.3 10.7 6.1 3.8 3.2

21.0 11.0 10.5 10.5 5.2 3.5 2.9 3.1

21.4 10.8 11.0 6.1 3.5 3.8

Note: These norms are the source of national and state norms, for multiple-choice tests, printed on ACT score reports during the 2009–2010 testing year. Sample size: 4,188,909.

Note: These norms are the source of the Writing Test norms printed on the ACT score reports of students who take the optional Writing Test during 2009–2010. Sample size: 2,116,524.

65

Six-Point Holistic Scoring Rubric for the ACT Writing Test
Papers at each level exhibit all or most of the characteristics described at each score point.
Score = 6 Essays within this score range demonstrate effective skill in responding to the task. The essay shows a clear understanding of the task. The essay takes a position on the issue and may offer a critical context for discussion. The essay addresses complexity by examining different perspectives on the issue, or by evaluating the implications and/or complications of the issue, or by fully responding to counterarguments to the writer’s position. Development of ideas is ample, specific, and logical. Most ideas are fully elaborated. A clear focus on the specific issue in the prompt is maintained. The organization of the essay is clear: the organization may be somewhat predictable or it may grow from the writer’s purpose. Ideas are logically sequenced. Most transitions reflect the writer’s logic and are usually integrated into the essay. The introduction and conclusion are effective, clear, and well developed. The essay shows a good command of language. Sentences are varied and word choice is varied and precise. There are few, if any, errors to distract the reader. Score = 5 Essays within this score range demonstrate competent skill in responding to the task. The essay shows a clear understanding of the task. The essay takes a position on the issue and may offer a broad context for discussion. The essay shows recognition of complexity by partially evaluating the implications and/or complications of the issue, or by responding to counterarguments to the writer’s position. Development of ideas is specific and logical. Most ideas are elaborated, with clear movement between general statements and specific reasons, examples, and details. Focus on the specific issue in the prompt is maintained. The organization of the essay is clear, although it may be predictable. Ideas are logically sequenced, although simple and obvious transitions may be used. The introduction and conclusion are clear and generally well developed. Language is competent. Sentences are somewhat varied and word choice is sometimes varied and precise. There may be a few errors, but they are rarely distracting. Score = 4 Essays within this score range demonstrate adequate skill in responding to the task. The essay shows an understanding of the task. The essay takes a position on the issue and may offer some context for discussion. The essay may show some recognition of complexity by providing some response to counterarguments to the writer’s position. Development of ideas is adequate, with some movement between general statements and specific reasons, examples, and details. Focus on the specific issue in the prompt is maintained throughout most of the essay. The organization of the essay is apparent but predictable. Some evidence of logical sequencing of ideas is apparent, although most transitions are simple and obvious. The introduction and conclusion are clear and somewhat developed. Language is adequate, with some sentence variety and appropriate word choice. There may be some distracting errors, but they do not impede understanding. Score = 3 Essays within this score range demonstrate some developing skill in responding to the task. The essay shows some understanding of the task. The essay takes a position on the issue but does not offer a context for discussion. The essay may acknowledge a counterargument to the writer’s position, but its development is brief or unclear. Development of ideas is limited and may be repetitious, with little, if any, movement between general statements and specific reasons, examples, and details. Focus on the general topic is maintained, but focus on the specific issue in the prompt may not be maintained. The organization of the essay is simple. Ideas are logically grouped within parts of the essay, but there is little or no evidence of logical sequencing of ideas. Transitions, if used, are simple and obvious. An introduction and conclusion are clearly discernible but underdeveloped. Language shows a basic control. Sentences show a little variety and word choice is appropriate. Errors may be distracting and may occasionally impede understanding. Score = 2 Essays within this score range demonstrate inconsistent or weak skill in responding to the task. The essay shows a weak understanding of the task. The essay may not take a position on the issue, or the essay may take a position but fail to convey reasons to support that position, or the essay may take a position but fail to maintain a stance. There is little or no recognition of a counterargument to the writer’s position. The essay is thinly developed. If examples are given, they are general and may not be clearly relevant. The essay may include extensive repetition of the writer’s ideas or of ideas in the prompt. Focus on the general topic is maintained, but focus on the specific issue in the prompt may not be maintained. There is some indication of an organizational structure, and some logical grouping of ideas within parts of the essay is apparent. Transitions, if used, are simple and obvious, and they may be inappropriate or misleading. An introduction and conclusion are discernible but minimal. Sentence structure and word choice are usually simple. Errors may be frequently distracting and may sometimes impede understanding. Score = 1 Essays within this score range show little or no skill in responding to the task. The essay shows little or no understanding of the task. If the essay takes a position, it fails to convey reasons to support that position. The essay is minimally developed. The essay may include excessive repetition of the writer’s ideas or of ideas in the prompt. Focus on the general topic is usually maintained, but focus on the specific issue in the prompt may not be maintained. There is little or no evidence of an organizational structure or of the logical grouping of ideas. Transitions are rarely used. If present, an introduction and conclusion are minimal. Sentence structure and word choice are simple. Errors may be frequently distracting and may significantly impede understanding. No Score Blank, Off-Topic, Illegible, Not in English, or Void

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How to Score the Writing Test
Two trained readers will score your essay on the actual Writing Test. These readers are trained by reading examples of papers at each score point and by scoring many practice papers. They are given detailed feedback on the correctness of their scores during practice. During actual scoring, score differences of more than one point will be evaluated by a third trained reader to resolve discrepancies. This method is designed to be as objective and impartial as possible. So—how can you rate your own practice Writing Test? It is difficult to be objective about one’s own work, and you have not had the extensive training provided to actual readers of the ACT Writing Test. However, it is to your advantage to read your own writing critically. Becoming your own editor helps you grow as a writer and as a reader. So it makes sense for you to evaluate your own practice essay. It may also be helpful for you to give your practice essay to another reader to get another perspective: perhaps that of a classmate, a parent, or an English teacher, for example. Thinking and talking with others about writing is good preparation for the ACT Writing Test. To rate your essay, you and your reader(s) should read the scoring guidelines and example essays, which begin below and continue through page 71, and then assign your practice essay a score of 1 through 6. For an actual administration, each essay will be scored on a scale from 1 (low) through 6 (high). The score is based on the overall impression that is created by all the elements of the writing. The scores given by the two readers are added together, yielding the Writing subscore range 2–12 shown in Table 4 on page 72.

Scoring Guidelines (see page 66) These are the guidelines that will be used to score your essay. These guidelines are also called a “rubric.” Many papers do not fit the exact description at each score point. You should note that the rubric says: “Papers at each level exhibit all or most of the characteristics in the descriptors.” To score your paper, read your response and try to determine which score point and paragraph in the rubric best describes most of the characteristics of your essay. Then (because your Writing Test subscore is the sum of two readers’ ratings of your essay), you should multiply your 1–6 score by 2 when you use Table 4, on page 72, to find your Combined English/Writing score. Or, if both you and someone else read and score your practice essay, add those scores together. Comparing Your Scores The Writing Test norms table (Table 3B on page 65) allows you to compare your score on the practice Writing Test with the scores of recent high school graduates who took the ACT Plus Writing. The norms for the Writing Test are reported the same way as the norms for the multiple-choice tests (see page 59). For example, a Writing subscore of 8 has a cumulative percent of 81. This means that 81% of students had a Writing subscore of 8 or lower. Remember that your scores and percents at or below are only estimates of the scores you will obtain on an actual administration of the ACT Plus Writing. They should be considered in connection with your performance on other essay tests and your planned college curriculum. College Readiness Standards The College Readiness Standards for Writing (see page 59) can be found at www.act.org/standard.

Example Essays and Scoring Explanations
Readers for the ACT Writing Test are trained by scoring many essays before they score “live” essays. Although we cannot provide you with the same extensive training these readers receive, reading the example essays that follow will help you better understand some of the characteristics of essays at each score point. You will also be able to read a brief explanation of how each essay was scored. The example essays are in response to the practice prompt on page 58.

Score = 1 I think we should consider because not everybody likes the same books. There are people who like, cartoon stories, stories that talk about the olden days. We would not complain so much if we actually had a book to read that we enjoy. We could improve our reading skill if we could choose the books we want to read. If we had the same book, some people have already read in the past and they could tell the ending. I think if we have to read books then we should read books that we feel comfortable with.

Score Point 1 Scoring Explanation Essays that earn a score of 1 show little or no skill in responding to the writing task. This essay shows little engagement with the prompt task. The writer takes a position (I think we should consider because not everybody likes the same books), but ideas are not developed beyond single-sentence assertions and therefore remain unelaborated and unexplained (We would not complain so much if we actually had a book to read that we enjoy. We could improve our reading skill if we could choose the books we want to read. If we had the same book, some people have already read in the past and they could tell the ending ). There is no discernible organization present. Transitions are not used, and ideas are not logically grouped. No introduction or conclusion is present, unless the position statement is considered an introduction to the response. Sentence structure and word choice are simple. Most sentences begin with a simple subject-verb construction (I think..., We would..., We could...). Errors, such as an unnecessary comma, are distracting but do not impede understanding.

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Score = 2 I think that students should not be allowed to pick there own book out in class. I think that students would get alot more out of reading the same book as everyone else in the class. Some students I think would probably get easier books to read then others and that wouldn’t be fair. It would probably just cause conflict. What would they do in class just sit and read there books! I think that if they had the same books that they could have discussions in class. It would keep the whole class interested and they would probably keep reading. Then maybe when they’re done reading the class can watch the movie. I also think by keeping the class working on the same book together that they will learn more and be able to help each other out. I think if they read the same book they will greatly improve there reading skills. Thats what my policy would be.

Score Point 2 Scoring Explanation Essays that earn a 2 demonstrate inconsistent or weak skill in responding to the task. This writer takes a clear position (I think students should not be allowed to pick there own book out in class) and offers specific supporting reasons (I think that students would get alot more out of reading the same book as everyone else in the class. Some students I think would probably get easier books to read then others and that wouldn’t be fair. It would probably just cause conflict ), but development of these reasons is thin, and the relevance of some of the ideas is not made clear (What would they do in class just sit and read there books! and Then maybe when they’re done reading the class can watch the movie). There is some indication of an organizational structure, and ideas seem to be logically grouped—the first paragraph briefly discusses why having students read different books wouldn’t work and the second paragraph briefly discusses the benefits of having students read the same book. A few simple transitions are used (Then maybe..., I also think...). However, the writer includes no discernible introduction beyond the one-sentence position statement, and the conclusion consists of only the essay’s final sentence (Thats what my policy would be). Sentence structure and word choice are simple, with an overreliance on the use of I think… to open sentences. Errors are rarely distracting (for example, using there for their ) and do not interfere with meaning. Score Point 3 Scoring Explanation Essays that earn a 3 demonstrate some developing skill in responding to the task. This essay opens with a position statement that outlines the writer’s three supporting points, but the writer does not provide any context for the discussion. Development of the three ideas is limited, with little movement between general statements and specific reasons or examples (The students will be more interested to read the books they chose rather than a book they know nothing about. They will also be interested in a book they actually like. Students like the feeling that they can be trusted to do something right. People are often excited by reading a book on a topic they like, however if it is a topic they care nothing about, they will often put it off ). Although the writer provides specific examples in the third paragraph (Now days, many teenagers are reading books about the war in Iraq and the economy, because it is what they hear about everyday on the news, or local radio station), more explanation is needed to clearly connect these supporting examples to the writer’s point. The essay is organized simply—the structure of the essay follows the order of points in the writer’s opening statement. Ideas are logically grouped, but there is little evidence of logical sequencing of ideas. The writer uses a single transition (Also) throughout the essay to connect ideas. Although the introduction and conclusion are clearly discernible, they are underdeveloped and consist only of the writer’s position statement as the introduction and a reiteration of that position statement in the conclusion. Language demonstrates a basic control. Sentence structure shows little variety (for example, the repetition of the phrase students will be more... throughout the essay). Word choice is also usually simple and sometimes lacks clarity (for example, using common when familiar would be clearer, and the misuse of the word reliable). Errors are occasionally distracting, but generally do not interfere with meaning.

Score = 3 It is a great idea for students to choose the books they read. They will be more interested, more understanding, and more reliable to do so. The students will be more interested to read the books they chose rather than a book they know nothing about. They will also be interested in a book they actually like. Students like the feeling that they can be trusted to do something right. People are often excited by reading a book on a topic they like, however if it is a topic they care nothing about, they will often put it off. Also, the students will be more understanding of their topic. If the student chooses their own book they are most likely common with the story behind the book, or the meaning of the story. Now days, many teenagers are reading books about the war in Iraq and the economy, because it is what they hear about everyday on the news, or local radio station. Students will also be more reliable of reading their books if it is something they actually care about. The teacher can actually rely on them to go home and read the pages assigned for homework the night before. Rather than giving them a book on a topic which they have no feelings about, and expecting them to give up the time they have away from school to actually work on it. Students who chose their own books would be more likely to actually do the assignment. Students choosing their own books or topics for class is a great idea. The student will be more reliable, more interested, and definetly more understanding of the book.

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Score = 4 At some high schools, teachers are now allowing students to choose the books they want to read for class rather than requiring that all students read the same book. These teachers feel that students will be more likely to read the book if they find the book interesting; and as a result, increasing their reading skills. While some may believe this is a good idea, I completely disagree. Allowing students to choose their own books would not only create problems, but it would be very hard for teachers to help students and it would irradicate the whole idea of class discussion. Allowing students to chose their own books could create many problems. Some books may not be school appropriate, or may contain information that is irrelevant to the area of study. Question as to whether the book is appropriate would be up to the discretion of teacher. This may lead to negative teacher-student interaction, and create an even larger number of complications for a student choosing his or her book. If students were allowed to choose their own book, teachers may not be able to guide the student through it properly. Questions from students may be left unanswered if the teacher is unfamiliar with the book or hasn’t read it at all. If this were to be the scenario, the student might be unable to complete an assignment; therefore, he or she would be at a disadvantage compared to someone who chose a book that the teacher was familiar with. Allowing students to choose their books would also eliminate class discussions. While class discussions concerning works of literature are very important, these students would be missing out. They would not receive the input from the teacher that is needed to understand to full meaning of a book. They may also not be able to discuss points or topics among their classmates that may otherwise be helpul if they were all reading the same book. Although some of the books assigned by teachers may seem boring, it is very beneficial to a student that everyone is reading the same book at all times. This gives every student a fair chance to obtain help from the teacher and engage in helpul class discussions. It also eliminates problems associated with choosing a book. In the classroom setting, the teacher should always assign the same book, and if the student wishes to read another book than he or she may do it on their own time.

Score Point 4 Scoring Explanation Essays that earn a 4 demonstrate adequate skill in responding to the task. This essay takes a clear position (Allowing students to choose their own books would not only create problems, but it would be very hard for teachers to help students and it would irradicate the whole idea of class discussion) and provides some context by reiterating a portion of the prompt. The writer demonstrates some complexity by briefly acknowledging counterarguments (While some may believe this is a good idea, I completely disagree and Although some of the books assigned by teachers may seem boring, it is very beneficial to a student that everyone is reading the same book at all times). Development of the writer’s three ideas is adequate, with some movement between general statements and specific reasons (Allowing students to chose their own books could create many problems. Some books may not be school appropriate, or may contain information that is irrelevant to the area of study. Question as to whether the book is appropriate would be up to the discretion of teacher. This may lead to negative teacher-student interaction, and create an even larger number of complications for a student choosing his or her book). The organization of the essay is apparent, but predictable. The writer uses a five-paragraph framework to organize the three ideas mentioned in the introduction. Some evidence of logically sequenced ideas is apparent, although the writer does not use transitions to show the connection between ideas. The introduction and conclusion are clear and somewhat developed—the introduction establishes some context and the conclusion reaffirms the writer’s main points. Language is adequate, with some sentence variety and mostly appropriate word choice. The rare distracting errors (irradicate, Question as to whether, and helpul) do not impede understanding.

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Score = 5 Reading is stressed as the most important requirement during a child’s early years of development. From birth, the ability to read is seen as both a mark of education and aptitude. By the time a student reaches the high school level they have probably read a wide variety of novels, biographies, historical accounts, and other types of literature. Many high school students, because of the excessive exposure to literature, lose interest in reading because it has become a common factor in their lives. For this reason high school students should be allowed to choose which books they wish to read, although it stands to reason that the choices should be monitored by teachers. In my life I have read about fifty to one hundred books, from Reader Rabbit to The Scarlet Letter. In the books I have read, those that I most enjoyed are those that I chose for myself. While they may not have been the most provacative or best written books, I found them to be more valuable than those that had been forced upon me. If I had been asked to discuss or analyze the novel I would have done so willingly and with more fervor than if I were asked to discuss a book required for my English class. The fact is that students, especially teens, don’t like to be told what to do. Teachers should respect this and allow their students to select what they want to read, knowing that consequences will insue if the chosen book is inappropriate or poorly analyzed. By doing this teachers will allow their pupils to gain a sense of independence and also learn to teach themselves about a book, instead of relying on the teacher to instruct them in their learning. Class discussion, although helpful, is not vital to a students’ success. In fact, it may give lazier students an opportunity to sit back and copy all of the answers down from more dedicated students as they tell what they’ve learned. If each student read a different book, this problem would be solved. Not only that, but if the student isn’t familiar with what everyone else is reading, they will be more likely to ask about the other books people are reading in class. If they find them interesting, an opportunity to connect the concepts from other stories to their own and draw paralells will be opened up. Whereas if everyone reads exactly the same thing, no parallels can be drawn. While teaching a set curriculum and reading agenda for students has succeeded in teaching certain principles to high school students, the chances are that more students would be willing to learn about a book if they chose it for themselves. Hopefully, with this process, more students will read more often and gain a better interest in literature and class discussion, which would benefit both the student and the teachers.

Score Point 5 Scoring Explanation Essays that earn a 5 demonstrate competent skill in responding to the task. This writer begins by establishing a broad context for the discussion (Reading is stressed as the most important requirement during a child’s early years of development. From birth, the ability to read is seen as both a mark of education and aptitude. By the time a student reaches the high school level…) and then takes a clear position on the prompt’s issue (For this reason high school students should be allowed to choose which books they wish to read, although it stands to reason that the choices should be monitored by teachers). The essay shows recognition of complexity by weaving a response to counterarguments through several parts of the essay (In the books I have read, those that I most enjoyed are those that I chose for myself. While they many not have been the most provacative or best written books, I found them to be more valuable than those that had been forced upon me... and While teaching a set curriculum and reading agenda for students has succeeded in teaching certain principles to high school students, the chances are that more students would be willing to learn about a book if they chose it for themselves). Development of the writer’s ideas is specific, with clear movement between general statements and specific supporting reasons (Class discussion, although helpful, is not vital to a students’ success. In fact, it may give lazier students an opportunity to sit back and copy all of the answers down from more dedicated students as they tell what they’ve learned ). Organization of the essay is logical and clear, with some integrated transitions (For this reason…, Not only that…) that show the connection of ideas. The introduction and conclusion are both clear and generally well developed. The introduction offers context, and the conclusion adds emphasis to clarify the writer’s argument. Language is competent. Sentences are varied and word choice is varied and sometimes precise (a mark of education and aptitude, willingly and with more fervor ). The few errors present (such as a misplaced apostrophe and a sentence fragment) do not distract.

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Score = 6 The words “Crime and Punishment” glared at me from the cover of my new book for English class. As my teacher announced our new reading assignment, our class released a simultaneous groan—no one wanted to read Doestoevsky. Nevertheless, after spending my days delving into this dense Russian literature, I unexpectedly found Doestoevsky’s masterpiece to become one of my favorite books. If teachers exclusively allow students to choose their own reading material, students education will be impaired and progress of their reading abilities stagnated. Students need a broad foundation of literary works and therefore cannot be responsible for determing the content of their education. To begin, the literature selections of English class should function, in effect, as a microcosm of the studies of the school itself. Students are required to complete courses not just in subjects that interest them, but instead in all areas of study such as science, social studies, English, and math. While it is true that permitting students to choose their own book will allow them to choose books they wish to read, it is detrimental to students’ education to assume that this would be beneficial. Were students allowed to choose their favorite novels or genres, they would perpetually fall back on what they know, which would leave them utterly unprepared to encounter the works of literature that they will be asked to read in college, where students don’t have a say in selecting the materials for their courses. To ensure that students are able to persist through literary challenges, there should be a diversity in the collection of literature students read, which will not be achieved if a student only reads what he or she desires. Furthermore, the abundant rules and regulations present in schools should serve as a blantent warning. Teens clearly need to be guided to perform to the best of their abilities. Even if many teens might benefit from their book selections, an equal or greater number may not choose challenging literature. Reading only elementary literature stagnates the progress of reading skills and would be deleterious to the quality of students education. It is difficult enough to force students to complete homework, allowing the student to choose the difficulty of the homework would not produce the desired results of learning and progress—the sole reason students attend school to begin with. In addition, while some students may select unchallenging books because they are apathetic or lazy, others may choose certain books because they do not know what else is out there. It is the inherent responsibility of the teacher to expose their students to all types of material, even unfamiliar works. This way, other students too, have the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised by the intricacies of Doestoevsky. Thankfully, my teacher had the ability and wherewithal to provide me with such new and exciting literature. Thus, it is vital that students not be given the control over their education in English class. This would proliferate undiverse and single-minded teens who would likely not choose challenging literature. Such a class would be devoid of enlightening discussion and would not produce the knowledgable and well-rounded individuals schools should strive for. A better solution to this problem would be to allow the class as a group to pick among a selection of books proposed by the English teacher herself. This would produce a more democratic medium and stimulate interest, while avoiding the problems that would result from their own selections.

Score Point 6 Scoring Explanation Essays that earn a 6 demonstrate effective skill in responding to the task. This essay opens with a broad context (The words “Crime and Punishment” glared at me from the cover of my new book for English class. As my teacher announced our new reading assignment, our class released a simultaneous groan—no one wanted to read Doestoevsky ) and then critically and persuasively argues that “students need a broad foundation of literary works and therefore cannot be responsible for determing the content of their education.” The essay demonstrates complexity by responding to a counterargument to the writer’s position (While it is true that permitting students to choose their own book will allow them to choose books they wish to read, it is detrimental to students’ education to assume that this would be beneficial ). The writer further demonstrates complexity by examining some of the long-term implications of allowing students to select their own novels (Were students allowed to choose their favorite novels or genres, they would perpetually fall back on what they know, which would leave them utterly unprepared to encounter the works of literature that they will be asked to read in college, where students don’t have a say in selecting the materials for their courses). Development of ideas is ample, specific, and logical. The writer elaborates on general statements (Teens clearly need to be guided to perform to the best of their abilities) by supporting such statements with more specific reasons and examples (Even if many teens might benefit from their book selections, an equal or greater number may not choose challenging literature. Reading only elementary literature stagnates the progress of reading skills and would be deleterious to the quality of students education. It is difficult enough to force students to complete homework, allowing the student to choose the difficulty of the homework would not produce the desired results of learning and progress— the sole reason students attend school to begin with). The organization of the essay is clear and grows from the writer’s purpose instead of being predictable. Ideas are logically sequenced, and transitions are used to show the connection between ideas (To begin..., Furthermore..., In addition..., Thus...). The introduction and conclusion are effective, clear, and well developed. The introduction provides a narrative to establish context for the discussion, and the conclusion goes beyond merely summarizing the essay’s main points into a discussion of additional implications of the prompt’s proposal (This would proliferate undiverse and single-minded teens who would likely not choose challenging literature. Such a class would be devoid of enlightening discussion and would not produce the knowledgable and well-rounded individuals schools should strive for ). The essay shows a good command of language. Sentences are varied and word choice is varied and precise (delving, microcosm, deleterious, apathetic ). Although there are a few minor errors present in the essay (for example, a comma splice and an occasional missing apostrophe), they do not distract the reader.

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TABLE 4
Calculating Your Combined English/Writing Score
Complete these steps to calculate your Combined English/ Writing score for your practice tests. 1. Locate your scale score for the English Test on page 63 and enter it here: ______. 2. Enter your Writing Test score (1–6) here ______ and double it to get your Writing subscore (2–12): _____ (If two people read and scored your Writing Test, add those two scores to get your Writing subscore.) 3. Use the table below to find your Combined English/Writing score. • First, circle your ACT English Test score in the left column. • Second, circle your ACT Writing subscore at the top of the table. • Finally, follow the English Test score row across and the Writing subscore column down until the two meet. Circle the Combined English/Writing score where the row and column meet. (For example, for an English Test score of 19 and a Writing subscore of 6, the Combined English/Writing score is 18.) 4. Using the number you circled in the table below, write your Combined English/Writing score here: ______. (The highest possible Combined English/Writing score is 36 and the lowest possible score is 1.) ACT English Test score Writing subscore _________________ _________________

Combined English/Writing Score (from table below) Combined English/Writing Scale Scores English Test Score 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Writing Subscore 2 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 8 8 9 10 10 11 12 13 13 14 15 16 16 17 18 18 19 20 21 21 22 23 24 24 25 26 26 3 2 3 3 4 5 6 6 7 8 9 9 10 11 11 12 13 14 14 15 16 17 17 18 19 19 20 21 22 22 23 24 25 25 26 27 27 4 3 4 4 5 6 7 7 8 9 9 10 11 12 12 13 14 15 15 16 17 17 18 19 20 20 21 22 23 23 24 25 25 26 27 28 28 5 4 5 5 6 7 7 8 9 10 10 11 12 13 13 14 15 16 16 17 18 18 19 20 21 21 22 23 24 24 25 26 26 27 28 29 29 6 5 6 6 7 8 8 9 10 11 11 12 13 14 14 15 16 16 17 18 19 19 20 21 22 22 23 24 24 25 26 27 27 28 29 30 30 7 6 6 7 8 9 9 10 11 12 12 13 14 14 15 16 17 17 18 19 20 20 21 22 23 23 24 25 25 26 27 28 28 29 30 31 31 8 7 7 8 9 10 10 11 12 13 13 14 15 15 16 17 18 18 19 20 21 21 22 23 23 24 25 26 26 27 28 29 29 30 31 31 32 9 8 8 9 10 11 11 12 13 13 14 15 16 16 17 18 19 19 20 21 21 22 23 24 24 25 26 27 27 28 29 30 30 31 32 32 33 10 9 9 10 11 12 12 13 14 14 15 16 17 17 18 19 20 20 21 22 22 23 24 25 25 26 27 28 28 29 30 30 31 32 33 33 34 11 10 10 11 12 12 13 14 15 15 16 17 18 18 19 20 20 21 22 23 23 24 25 26 26 27 28 28 29 30 31 31 32 33 34 34 35

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12 11 11 12 13 13 14 15 16 16 17 18 19 19 20 21 21 22 23 24 24 25 26 27 27 28 29 29 30 31 32 32 33 34 35 35 36

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The ACT PLUS WRITING Answer Folder
A
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B

MATCH NAME (First 5 letters of last name)

C
MATCH NUMBER (Registered examinees only)

D

DATE OF BIRTH
Day Year

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Last Name

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TEST 1
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A F A F A F A F A F A F A B G B G B G B G B G B G B C H C H C H C H C H C H C D J D J D J D J D J D J D

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

F A F A F A F A F A F A F

G B G B G B G B G B G B G

H C H C H C H C H C H C H

J D J D J D J D J D J D J

27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39

A F A F A F A F A F A F A

B G B G B G B G B G B G B

C H C H C H C H C H C H C

D J D J D J D J D J D J D

40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52

F A F A F A F A F A F A F

G B G B G B G B G B G B G

H C H C H C H C H C H C H

J D J D J D J D J D J D J

53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65

A F A F A F A F A F A F A

B G B G B G B G B G B G B

C H C H C H C H C H C H C

D J D J D J D J D J D J D

66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75

F A F A F A F A F A

G B G B G B G B G B

H C H C H C H C H C

J D J D J D J D J D

TEST 2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
A F A F A F A F A F B G B G B G B G B G C H C H C H C H C H D J D J D J D J D J E K E K E K E K E K

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

A F A F A F A F A F

B G B G B G B G B G

C H C H C H C H C H

D J D J D J D J D J

E K E K E K E K E K

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

A F A F A F A F A F

B G B G B G B G B G

C H C H C H C H C H

D J D J D J D J D J

E K E K E K E K E K

31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

A F A F A F A F A F

B G B G B G B G B G

C H C H C H C H C H

D J D J D J D J D J

E K E K E K E K E K

41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

A F A F A F A F A F

B G B G B G B G B G

C H C H C H C H C H

D J D J D J D J D J

E K E K E K E K E K

51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60

A F A F A F A F A F

B G B G B G B G B G

C H C H C H C H C H

D J D J D J D J D J

E K E K E K E K E K

TEST 3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
A F A F A F A B G B G B G B C H C H C H C D J D J D J D

8 9 10 11 12 13 14

F A F A F A F

G B G B G B G

H C H C H C H

J D J D J D J

15 16 17 18 19 20 21

A F A F A F A

B G B G B G B

C H C H C H C

D J D J D J D

22 23 24 25 26 27 28

F A F A F A F

G B G B G B G

H C H C H C H

J D J D J D J

29 30 31 32 33 34 35

A F A F A F A

B G B G B G B

C H C H C H C

D J D J D J D

36 37 38 39 40

F A F A F

G B G B G

H C H C H

J D J D J

TEST 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
A F A F A F A B G B G B G B C H C H C H C D J D J D J D

8 9 10 11 12 13 14

F A F A F A F

G B G B G B G

H C H C H C H

J D J D J D J

15 16 17 18 19 20 21

A F A F A F A

B G B G B G B

C H C H C H C

D J D J D J D

22 23 24 25 26 27 28

F A F A F A F

G B G B G B G

H C H C H C H

J D J D J D J

29 30 31 32 33 34 35

A F A F A F A

B G B G B G B

C H C H C H C

D J D J D J D

36 37 38 39 40

F A F A F

G B G B G

H C H C H

J D J D J

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General ACT Strategy

ACT English Guidance (Test Form 0964E) English Strategy
Passage I

1. When making a comparison, it is necessary to compare like to like. The first half of this comparison (signaled by the word “like”) is “unbricking a kiln”. This should be paired with something similar like “opening an oven” or even “flying a kite”, as it is also an activity that a person might undertake. Both of these phrases also exhibit parallel structure (or parallelism) with the first half of the comparison (“unbricking a kiln.”) See: illogical comparisons [Tip]: When given the option to “OMIT (or DELETE) the underlined portion,” you should think carefully about doing so, as this option is correct about half the time it is offered.
YouTube Video: ACT English: How to Identify Errors in Comparison Language | Kaplan Test Prep

See: parallel structure

2. On questions like this that give you a specific purpose, pay attention primarily to the purpose and minimally to the context. Sometimes incorrect answers are made to sound great in the context even though they do not accomplish the stated purpose. The purpose can often be summarized in a few words from the question. In this case, we have three phrases: “cautious pace,” “sense of anticipation,” and the verb “suggest” which indicates that the correct answer only needs an indication of the “pace” and “sense” asked for. In this case, just one of these requirements can rule out all three wrong answer choices. To judge our answer choices, we must remember the context in which they will be used, as it is perhaps not obvious that any of the answer choices “suggest” the potter’s “sense of anticipation”. The correct answer does accomplish this in context, especially as seen from the potter’s perspective, as stipulated in the question. Watch out for incorrect answers that use a word or words from the stated purpose but in no way accomplish the required purpose. If you look at the sentence as a whole, it says in the second half "to create an opening into the oven, an expanding view of gleaming shapes rewards the artist for months of hard work". The correct answer choice goes along with "an expanding view" as well. See: Answer the Question [In short]: Choose according to the goal

3) Whenever a verb is underlined, it is wise to match it with its simple subject to check for agreement (in tense and number), remembering that this word can never (on ACT anyway) be found within a prepositional phrase, since they can only modify. In this case, the subject is the singular “view.” The subject cannot be “shapes” because “shapes” is part of the prepositional phrase that begins with the preposition “of.” Putting a plural noun in between a singular subject and what should be a singular verb is a common way the ACT tries totrick you on verb agreement questions. See verb agreement. This question also tests agreement in verb tense. The answer to the question should match the tense of "takes", which is present tense. One of the incorrect choices is incorrect because it uses the present progressive tense (-ing), not present tense. Be careful because ACT provides an answer choice that corresponds to the number of the noun in the prepositional phrase. Another choice is wrong because it would make the sentence a fragment. The correct answer agrees in both verb tense and number (singular/plural) [Tip]: If prepositions give you trouble here’s a song (Schoolhouse Rock!)

Prepositions: “Pooh in the Box”
by Erin Rhone

4) This is a question of idiomatic language, which means that there isn’t a broad rule that governs this situation; instead, you simply need to know the correct expression or be able to use your ear to figure it out. This question tests idiom usage. It is difficult to learn idioms in any other way than seeing them in writing – there is no reason why one works and another doesn't. [Tip]: if you realize you’re doing a “sounds best” (idiom) question, don’t be satisfied with the usual rules (e.g., shortest is best), one of the answers will be “very wrong.”

5) We are offered 4 grammatically correct answer choices – 3 with nearly synonymous indications of the passage of time. Think about what this means – there can only be one correct answer. In these situations we need to consider whether something is unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant in terms of the sentence, paragraph, or passage as a whole. [Tip]: Equivalent answer choices are all incorrect

6) The original sentence is incorrect, and hopefully sounds so, because it is one of the most frequent errors on the ACT. It links two independent clauses (could-be sentences) with only a comma. This creates a type of run-on sentence called a comma splice – “splicing” two sentences together with just a comma. One of the other answer choices commits the same error, and another simply makes no sense. The correct answer turns the second part of the sentence into an appositive phrase (a type of modifier), which renames the kiln. Phrases can be connected to the rest of a sentence using only a comma(s). This rule separates or links our individual thoughts (sentences). See: Sentence Punctuation

7) This is a difficult question. It is asking us to make a decision about content. Questions about content need to be decided based on the topic of the passage and the location within it. This passage is a discussion of how kilns are used to make pottery. The sentence in question describes one of the key functions of kilns in this process. See: Meaning Questions 8) When you notice that one answer choice (including the “NO CHANGE” option) is significantly shorter than the other three, check to see if the three mean about the same thing, i.e., that you are being given the option of not including something that has been included in the others. Check to see if what is included in the other answer choices could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant. If there is any chance it could be, choose the shorter one. It is important to use the structure of the question to tip you off to look for possible redundancy; because we often use redundant language in speech, we cannot count on it to necessarily sound bad. [Tip]: The most difficult questions of this type will need to be judged in terms of the content of the paragraph, or even the passage as a whole. [Tip]: If you remember just one thing about such questions, remember that in most cases the shortest answer choice is the best, provided that it gets the point across.

SAT & ACT Writing: How to Identify and Correct Wordy / Redundant Sentences | Kaplan Test Prep

9) “Using twigs for kindling” is a nonessential clause (an additional comment – additional because it could be left out) of this sentence, meaning that if you were to take it out, the sentence would still mean the same thing about the same subject(s). Nonessential elements are offset from the rest of the sentence. Commas are the most common way of doing this, though pairs of dashes or parentheses can also be used. ACT will not make you choose amongst these three grammatically equivalent punctuation usages as they differ only in terms of emphasis – arguably a matter of opinion. [Wrong Answers]: Two of the options are incorrect because they fail to isolate (through punctuation) the entire nonessential element. Semicolons can only be used in between two independent clauses, and the first part of this sentence is not an independent clause since it does not express a complete thought. See comma use. Practice commas level 1

10) This is a purpose question, so you should pay primary attention to the prescribed purpose and minimal attention to the context or to which one you would personally use. [Wrong Answers]: Two of the options are incorrect because they are simply comparing the fire to some point in the past; maybe the fire went from extremely small to not quite so small. If you are inclined toward logic, these two satisfy the necessary condition – what they say must be expressed in the correct choice, but they are not sufficient to necessarily express “extremely intense.” The final incorrect option is incorrect because it uses a qualifier that explicitly contradicts the prescribed meaning. [Advanced Tip]: Test-writers write the incorrect options in a way that there is a specific way to rule them out. A careful test-taker will know how to rule out all unselected options. See: Meaning Questions 11) Notice the “NOT.” This is a question of idiomatic language, which means that there isn’t a broad rule that governs this situation; instead, you simply need to have read or heard the idiom before and be able to use your “ear” to figure it out. If your “ear” fails you on such questions you need to read more, or study idioms. [Tip]: the answers to these questions are not just a little bit awkward, they are not part of Standard Written English (what the ACT is testing). [Book Recommendation]: 700 English Idioms/any book in modern American English

12) Notice the “NOT.” The correct answer does not work because although it forms a grammatically correct sentence, it completely botches the intended meaning. In addition, three of the answer choices have very similar meanings. [Tip]: For this type of question we know what the author is trying to say, and one of the answer choices will have a major error in meaning or expression. Don’t look for an answer that is just a little wordy or awkward. 13) This is a purpose question, so you should pay primary attention to the prescribed purpose and minimal attention to the context or to which one you would personally use. Here, the stated purpose is twofold, so the correct answer must accomplish both purposes. We can check the requirements one at a time. 1. “specific detail”: It’s easier to check for the presence of details: two answer choices lack detail. Two choices remain. 2. “style and tone”: For the two remaining options, one is ridiculously wordy and would never be correct on the ACT. Not surprisingly, the “style and tone,” is concise and informative, so the wordy option is inconsistent with the essay’s style. See: Answer the Question

14) The original contains a misplaced modifier. Although the phrase at the beginning of the original sentence is clearly intended to modify the fire, because it is next to “she,” that is what it is modifying. I t is saying that Ellen has “died down.” Another option is incorrect because it creates two independent clauses joined by a comma and no conjunction – a comma splice. Yet another choice is incorrect because it makes a nonsensical implication. The correct answer works because it uses a dependent clause about the fire in the first part of the sentence, which is correctly joined to the subsequent independent clause with a comma.

When a sentence begins with a descriptive phrase (modifier--adjectival/adverbial phrase) followed by a comma, it must modify the following noun. See comma use.

15) What is revealed (the pottery) is the result of two things: 1) “of her labor” and 2) “of the fire’s magic.” When two items are joined by “and”, there is no need for a comma -- “and” is like a comma and two is not a list.

[Wrong answers]: One option is incorrect because, although grammatically correct, it fails to capture the intended meaning of the sentence. 2. Another answer choice is incorrect because it uses a relative pronoun to introduce the second item, which implies that they are the same thing. 3. The final incorrect answer choice is only naming one cause, then adding then adding on the other as something unrelated. 1.

Passage II
16) Have we already been told that this trip is “in connection with his work,” even if not in those exact terms? When given the option to “OMIT the underlined portion,” you should think carefully about doing so, as this option is correct about half the time it is offered. Of course, it is also wrong half the time. Ask yourself if there is any possibility the underlined portion could beconsidered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant. If there is any chance it could be, it should be omitted. [30+ Tip]: The most difficult questions of this type include information that is made redundant by something stated elsewhere in the paragraph or even the passage. For a top score you’ll need to be aware of the larger context.

17) Watch out for the “NOT” This is an issue of idiomatic language, so there is no rule involved. You just have to know the expression or be able to use your ear to figure it out. The right answer here is something I’ve never heard before, as usual. Book Recommendation: 700 English Idioms [Tip]: the best way to improve at these questions is to read a lot, so find a topic/author/genre/whatever that you like and start reading, or ask me for a suggestion or ebook, daniel.henrickson3@gmail.com, I’ll email you back with some books attached.

18) This sentence features indirect quotation since it does not use quotation marks, which are used in direct quotation. In indirect quotation, a comma is not used between the introduction and what was said. Semi-colons are used in between two independent clauses, and the first part of this sentence is not an independent clause since it does not express a complete thought. [Tip]: If you want to test whether a semicolon is correct, replace it with a period; if that works, then so does the semicolon. The choice between a period and a semicolon is not something the ACT tests, so if they are both offered, they are both incorrect. [Tip]: If you are unsure about whether a comma is required on an ACT question, remove it. All correct commas on ACT will have a specific justification.

19) This is a rhetorical skills topic development question, one of the most difficult question types. We are asked what effect removing "I was expecting my aunt to hand me a ring or a bracelet, or maybe an old book" has on the sentence. The answer is always that you would lose the information in the deleted portion. So just summarize that information. Don’t “read into it,” just put what is there into your own words, and then check that against the answer choices. See: Meaning Questions

20) “Must of” (as well as “would of,” “could of,” “should of,” etc.) is a mistake that derives from the similar sound of the contraction for must have: must’ve (also could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, etc.) The same applies to should have, could have, would have, etc. The nonsensical phrase “must of” comes from a mishearing of the contraction must’ve. Except in a few rare instances, must of always bears changing to must have.

21) Notice the “NOT.” The answer is unacceptable because it leaves you with two independent clauses joined by a comma and no conjunction, (this is a Comma Splice) the other options all work because they add dependent markers to the beginning of the clause, which turn the clause into a dependent clause – something that cannot stand alone. A dependent clause can then be joined to a subsequent independent clause with just a comma. See comma use.

22) Sentence 1 speaks of “a tortoise” (so it obviously has yet to be introduced by name), and Sentence 2 states that: “Rosie must have…” Who’s Rosie? It’s rather easy to infer that Rosie must be the tortoise, but in formal writing (Standard Written English—the kind the ACT tests), it is best to introduce the reader to new characters in a straightforward way. Be careful to check whether it says “before” or “after” in the question, as ACT uses both. See: Organization

23) “It turns out” is a nonessential element of this sentence, meaning that if you were to take it out, the sentence would still make good sense. Nonessential elements, as they are basically author’s comments and unrelated to the rest of the sentence, are separated from the rest of the sentences – with commas, dashes, or parentheses. See comma use.

24) Notice the “NOT.” This is an issue of idiomatic language, so there is no rule involved. You just have to know the expression or be able to use your ear to figure it out. [Book Recommendation]: Books in English. The best way to learn idioms is through reading a variety of materials, ideally grade level or above. Email me for suggestions/free ebooks! : O daniel.henrickson3@gmail.com

25) The incorrect answers, while all grammatically correct, make no sense in the context of the sentence, since they all imply that the writer’s aunt has not yet checked with the writer’s parents, while the second part of the sentence indicates that both parents had already agreed. The aunt has already checked with the writer’s parents. This is a question of verb tense, and for such questions we must check the tense used in the surrounding text. See: Verb Tense

26) This is a purpose question, so you should pay primary attention to the prescribed purpose and minimal attention to the context or to which one you would personally use. Here, you must choose the option that leads into the information in the rest of the paragraph. Note that because the purpose is context -dependent, you do have to consult the context in this case. However, consulting the context to gain insight into the specific purpose is far different from the dangerous strategy of reading all the answers in the context and seeing which one sounds best. Essentially, the question is asking for a good topic sentence for this paragraph. The rest of the paragraph details how to look after a tortoise. When ACT asks such questions, they are implicitly testing your knowledge of proper paragraph /passage structure. The first sentence of a paragraph is typically the topic sentence, and thus should introduce the topic of the following paragraph. See: Main Idea 27) When you notice that one answer choice is shorter than the others, recognize that you are being given the option of not including something that has been included in the others. Check to see if what is included in the other answer choices could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant. If there is any chance it could be, choose the shortest one. It is important to use the structure of the question to tip you off to look for possible redundancy; because we often use redundant language in speech, we cannot count on it to necessarily sound bad. The incorrect answers are wordy and redundant. Furthermore, the tone of one of them is inconsistent with the factual tone of the paragraph. Only one answer choice accurately expresses the meaning without unnecessary words or redundancy.

28) This is a purpose question, so you should pay primary attention to the prescribed purpose and minimal attention to the context or to which one you would personally use. Here, you are asked to provide “the most specific and precise information”, so the answer choices should be judged on these criteria, ignoring other considerations. Two answer choices are absurdly nonspecific. See: Answer the Question

29) On apostrophe questions, you must consider two questions: (1) is it plural or singular and (2) is it possessive or not possessive. Singular possessives are formed by adding “’s,” plural possessives are formed by adding “s’.” The only exception is that some nouns (men, women, children for example) are already plural, and need only “’s” to form the plural possessive. [Tip]: There are some words that make the apostrophe rules complicated/debatable, but the ACT won’t test those.

30) The plural “families” is needed instead of the singular “family” because “among” implies that it is talking about more than one family. You need to use “of” instead of “in” simply because that is how the expression goes. As is usually the case when you are being tested on preposition use, this is a case of idiomatic language, so there is no rule involved. You either have to know the expression or be able to use your ear to figure it out.

Passage III
31) On apostrophe questions, you must consider two questions: (1) is it plural or singular and (2) is it possessive or not possessive. In this case, the noun in question has an irregular plural (“y” changes to “ies” instead of simply adding an “s.”). All singular possessives are formed with an ‘s – plural possessives (except nouns that are already plural such as men or children) are formed by s’. Grammar Bytes: Apostrophes — Exercise 1

32) The “-ing” form (of a participial adjective) indicates that someone is doing something, whereas the “-ed” form indicates the person is the recipient of the action (e.g., being “boring” vs. being “bored”)

33) “Who” is the subject form of the pronoun. “Whom” is only used for objects. A subject performs an action or is described. An object has something done to it. A foolproof test is that you use who if it is not preceded by a preposition and is followed by a verb, while you use whom if it is either preceded by a preposition or followed by a noun or pronoun. In this case, disregard “after completing the term of her contract” in applying this test, since this phrase is a nonessential element of the sentence. Another test is replacing who or whom with subject object pairs we use more often, such as she/her or they/them. See pronoun case. Grammar Girl podcast on who vs. whom

grammar girl frontpage

[Tip]: Don’t use “that” or “which” to refer to people

34) The question we have to ask is whether the information is relevant to the passage, and whether it belongs here (in this case in the middle of a paragraph where the topic has already been established). The question asks if you should add a sentence with an explanation of the "contract" that Banneker's grandmother had filled. The previous sentence talks about Banneker's grandmother's contract, so maybe this belongs here. However, in order to be sure we must keep the information presented throughout the essay in mind. See: Meaning Questions [Tip]: If you are unsure about whether something belongs, you can forget about that and just focus on the reasoning presented for inclusion/exclusion. Wrong answers here will be factually incorrect or simply not proper criteria for selection of sentences.

35) Notice the “NOT.” The answer choice that is not acceptable is the one that joins two independent clauses with no punctuation (forming a type of run-on sentence called a fused sentence). A semi- colon, a comma-conjunction, and a period are all acceptable options in between two independent clauses. In addition, colons and dashes can both join/separate independent clauses, though these options are rarely used.

Schoolhouse Rock, conjunction junction

36) The question asks you to arrange the given facts in the most logical order. This takes some thinking – first figure out what the author is trying to say. There will only be one logical relationship among the facts presented. See: Organization

37) its’/it’s/its + their The possessive forms are its – singular and their – plural. “It’s” means it is or it has, and “its’” means nothing, never pick it. See pronoun agreement.
Commonly Confused Words Part 1 - There, Your, Its

38) This is a verb tense question. Verb tense tells us when something happened. When did this happen? The hard part is choosing between has kept (present perfect, means it’s still going) and kept (simple past, it’s over). Both are grammatically correct; the answer depends on the context. See: Verb Tense 39) The question is whether such high emotion and author commentary is in keeping with the rest of the passage. Does the essay have a factual tone or an emotional tone? See: Style

40) This is a transition question, so you should read the previous sentence and the underlined sentence without reading any of the transition words, so you can think clearly about how they are related. Here, the first sentence describes one thing Banneker did, and the second sentence describes something else he did. See transition words.

41) This last part of the sentence is giving yet another example of Banneker’s never-ending desire to keep learning. If the correct answer does not immediately jump out at you on this type of question (and this will often be the case), use process of elimination See: Meaning Questions

42) Whenever a pronoun is underlined, match it with its antecedent (noun it refers to). If there is no clear and recent antecedent, use a noun instead of a pronoun. Always beware very vague nouns like “things” or “stuff” because they add little, if any, information. See pronoun agreement.

43) When you are given the option to “OMIT the underlined portion,” you should seriously consider doing so, since this option is correct about half the time it is offered. Consider what you are being given the option of omitting, and ask yourself if there is any chance it could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant. If there is any chance it could be, you should choose to omit.

44) Consider where we are placing this sentence. What do we do at the end of short informational essays/ACT essays generally? The answer must be the best conclusion of the essay. [Tip]: tempting wrong answer choices for this type of question will be accurate—but not comprehensive. See: Main Idea 45) Organization question – how is the passage organized? More specifically, what is the logic behind the order of the paragraphs? Make sure you take the time to be certain on this type of question. To do this, you must look at how the paragraph would transition with other paragraphs in context. [Tip]: this passage is organized like most biographies and most passages on the ACT generally. See: Organization

Passage IV
46) Assume the underlined portion is unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant when you are given the option to “OMIT (or DELETE) the underlined portion,” and try to justify this. If you are still not sure, look at the answer choices, and if they are synonymous, you omit. See: unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant 47) Whenever a pronoun (“it” in this case) is underlined, you should match it with its antecedent to check for agreement. Pronouns must agree in number (and gender where relevant) with their antecedents. We need to determine what the underlined pronoun is referring back to. Two of the answer choices are incorrect in number, and the third creates a fragment. See pronoun agreement. 48) When you read this sentence did it help you understand? If yes, keep it. If no, delete it. If you don’t know, look at the reasoning and do POE. See: Meaning Questions 49) This is a punctuation question. Learn how to use commas, semicolons, periods, colons, and dashes. See: Sentence Punctuation See: ACT Top Punctuation Rules

50) The “-est” ending and “most” are used for 2+ items. More and “-er” are for 2 things. When deciding whether to put an “-er” at the end of an adjective or a more in front of it, use your ear. Only if the “-er” option sounds off should you go with more. If they both sound OK, opt for the “-er.” The same applies for “-est” vs. most. See adjectives, adverbs, and comparisons.

[Extra]: For one syllable adjectives/adverbs (in this case, large), you would use an “-er” ending. For adjectives/adverbs of two syllables or more, you would use "more" followed by that word. This applies to comparatives with adverbs/adjectives which do not end in “-y.” Since large has one syllable, you would say "larger" rather than "more large." 51) “The tumultuous rapids of swift-moving rivers” is a nonessential element of the sentence, since if you were to take it out the rest of the sentence would still make sense. Because it is nonessential, it should be separated from the rest of the sentence. See comma use. Grammar girl podcast on commas and nonessential clauses

52) Even though this transition word is in the middle of a sentence, it is not linking the two parts of the sentence; instead, it is linking the entire sentence to the previous sentence. You should read the previous sentence and the sentence the error is in without reading any of the transition words so you can think clearly about how they are related. Here, the first sentence discusses the stability of kayaks. The second sentence indicates that kayakers should still use safety gear in case a boat does capsize. These two ideas are going in opposite directions

53) Notice the “LEAST.” All these options are grammatically correct, so you must consider the meaning of the two parts of the sentence (or in some options the two sentences) so you can choose the correct transition. There is a cause and effect relationship between the two parts. See transition words.

54) This is a purpose question, so you must pay primary attention to the purpose and minimal attention to which option you would use. Here, the purpose is context-dependent, so you must read and consider the end of the sentence before attempting to choose an answer. The end of the sentence describes the natural environment and wildlife. See: Main Idea 55) Where should we split a paragraph that discusses two types of kayaks (arguably separate topics)? The whole idea of paragraphs is that they combine thoughts (sentences) on a particular topic, and separate them from other topics. See: Main Ideas

56) Whenever a verb is underlined, you must consider subject-verb agreement and verb tense. Here, tense is easy; look around and see what tense the rest of the essay is in – the closer to the underlined portion the better. To check for agreement (singular/plural), match the verb with its simple subject. Here, that subject is “equipment,” which is singular, so you must use a singular verb. It would be easy to mistake “kayaks” for the subject, but “kayaks” cannot be the subject because it is the object of the compound prepositional phrase “for both types of kayaks,” and the subject can never be found within a modifying phrase. The ACT loves to trick test takers by putting a modifying phrase that ends with a plural word in between a singular subject and what should be a singular verb or vice-versa. See verb agreement and verb tense.

57) Whenever you are offered a period, semi-colon, or comma conjunction in any of the answer choices, check to see if you have two independent clauses by seeing if both parts are capable of standing alone. If yes any of those options is acceptable (you will only be offered one of them). See: Punctuation See: ACT Top Punctuation Rules 58) When you are asked where to put a word or phrase within a sentence, it is likely a modifying word or phrase. Ask yourself who or what the word or phrase is modifying, and put it right next to whatever it is modifying. See misplaced modifiers.

59) Punctuation is not arbitrary. Any use of it on the ACT will have a specific justification. Learn the rules, and don’t use punctuation unless you know why. See: Punctuation -- English Grammar SparkChart page 4 -- attached to this document (press paperclip on left) 60) If the correct answer does not jump out at you, process of elimination is a great approach. The wrong answers all make untrue statements. Pay close attention to the language: “scientific explanation,” “detailed description” – very high standards

Passage V
61) To score well on ACT English you need to know how to use periods, commas, colons, semicolons, and dashes. See: punctuation Sparkchart – English Grammar page 4 – attachment

62) Notice the “NOT.” This question tests sentence structure. One of the options treats a fragment like a complete sentence. It is a fragment since it does not express a complete thought.

Grammar Bytes: Fixing Fragments

63) In lists or comparisons, the items should be expressed in as similar a manner as possible. See parallel construction. 64) This is a rhetorical skills question. You want to pick the least wordy option and best flowing option, since all of them are actually grammatically correct, and it has to suit the tone of the passage. The tone is informational. Always beware informal language on ACT. The usage of "still" is a good way to say "even more", which is what the author wants to get across. See: Style

65) “to” vs. “too” and commas

See comma use.

Commas with Adjectives

66) We need to figure out how “called extremophiles” fits into this sentence. If we need it, it is an essential clause and there is no punctuation. If we don’t need it, it is a nonessential element of this sentence and can be removed, because if it were removed, the rest of the sentence would still make sense. If it is nonessential, offset it from the rest of the sentence by putting a comma before it and a comma after it. See comma use.

67) Here you have two independent clauses, even though the second one is quite short. The semicolon and period both work in between two independent clauses. The dash would also work in this situation. Dashes are like generic punctuation that can act like commas, semi- colons, and colons. (Never choose a dash over another option you know works, but use it as a backup plan when you know you need punctuation and none of the other options are acceptable.) Here, the dash is acting like a semi-colon.

68) Here you are being tested on verb tense. Use the same tense as the rest of the passage. The tense used here is the usual one for scientific/informational passages.

69) When you notice that one answer choice is shorter than the others, recognize that you are being given the option of not including something that has been included in the others. Check to see if what is included in the other answer choices could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant. If it could be, choose the shorter one. Yes, I’m kind of giving away the answer here, but just remember to stay on topic. Short informational passages have no place for digression.

70) Keep or delete questions are like a series of true/false questions. If you are unsure about whether to keep or delete, just check the justification/premise that follows the word because. Typically, three of the answer choices will contain verifiably false statements. See: Meaning Questions 71) On questions like this that give you a specific purpose, pay attention primarily to the purpose and minimally to the context. Sometimes incorrect answers are made to sound great in the context even though they do not accomplish the stated purpose. There are key words in these questions – “specific and vivid imagery” in this case -- and there are key words in the correct answer that meet these criteria, always. See: Answer the Question 72) When you are asked where to put a word or phrase within a sentence, it is likely a modifying word or phrase. Ask yourself who or what the word or phrase should be modifying, and put it right next to it. See misplaced modifiers.

73) There is one key detail here.

74) Paragraphs are thought units, and transition sentences help guide the reader. These sentences, where necessary, come at the beginnings and ends of paragraphs. The first half of this sentence (if needed) would serve as half of the bridge between paragraphs. There are two hints: “if” and “elsewhere.” The first indicates a conditional (“if” needs a “then”), the second (“elsewhere”) needs a referent—what does it refer to? See: Main Idea

75) This is a transition question, so you should read the previous sentence and the sentence the error is in without reading any of the transition words, so you can think clearly about how they are related. Condense the sentences to their cores. How does [Life may endure elsewhere] relate to [Life may flourish throughout the universe]? The relationship is one of heightened agreement. The three incorrect options all express contradiction, which does not work in this context. Of course, whenever answer choices are equivalent on tests with a single correct answer, they can safely be eliminated. Transitions can be categorized into three basic categories: agreement, disagreement, or neutral. See transition words

hah -- Transitions

ACT MATH ADVICE

1) Remember how absolute values work. First, do any computation within the absolute value. If the result is positive or zero, keep it as it is. If the result is negative, make it positive. See absolute values. Any number within absolute signs becomes positive, after completing any internal operations. If you do not have an understanding of absolute value, there a few tricks you can fall for in this question. If you did the absolute value operation on each individual number instead of treating the operations within the absolute value as a single term, you would end up with an incorrect answer. Using this logic, you would get 4 for the first term, and 10 for the second term. [Tip]: for order of operations (PEMDAS), absolute value signs = parentheses. || = () Khan Academy: Finding absolute values

See absolute values 2) This is a question where we must take a verbal description and put it into equation form to solve the problem posed. A good initial strategy to tackle these problems is to identify which elements of the problem are constant, and which ones vary. The two constants in this equation are the flat rate of $30, and the final bill of $210. The varying element is the $45 per hour charge for the consultants work. The variable we are solving for is the number of hours the consultant must work. $45 x (the number of hours)+ $30 flat rate= $210 bill Now put this in full algebraic form, using a letter for the variable (# of hours). Now solve the equation for h by subtracting 30 from both sides and dividing both sides by 45. Beware for the trick answer choice that can be obtained if you set up your equation switching the flat fee with the $/hr. charge. The equation takes the form of a linear equation: y=mx+b or total ($) = ($/hr)(hrs.) + $, where the xdimension (independent variable), hours in this case, is “cancelled out,” yielding an answer in the terms of the dependent variable (or answer or y-variable): dollars. See equation building.

3) This question requires us to take the verbal description of the problem and put it in an algebraic form. More specifically, we need to set up two simple equations and compare the resulting answers. We can do this because both equations we set up must be equal to 1008 miles. Now we must choose what our variable will represent. We can do this by identifying which element of the problem is varying. This element is the number of gallons, which is dependent on the number of miles per gallon. To check if you are setting up the equation properly, use the units of measure. In this case distance traveled in miles is on one side of the equation, so any other unit of the equation must cancel out (mi/g)(g) This question resembles distance problems in the form of d=r x t distance equals rate times time, except in this case, we are using mi/g and gallons instead of mi/h and hours. d=r x g to solve for gallons, we divide distance (miles) by rate, or mileage, (miles/gallon) to divide by a fractional denominator, we multiply the numerator by the reciprocal miles x- gallons/mile, yielding an answer in gallons for each car. After solving for the number of gallons, we find the difference between these values.

4) Combine like terms – the t2 terms and the t terms. The t2 and the -82t2 combine. The -59t and the 60t combine. If you’re not familiar with this:

Khan Academy Video

Khan Academy Practice

5) There are three things that we must realize about the figure before we answer the problem: a) All sides of a square are equal, b) All sides of an equilateral triangle are equal, c) The triangle shares one of the 6 inch sides with the square. Knowing this, we can deduce that all the sides of this figure created by the triangle and square have a length of 6 inches. To find the perimeter, we must simply add up the lengths of all of the sides. See plane geometry.

See: Geometry Sparkchart 1. Triangles 2. Squares

6) FOIL – Expand this expression by multiplying the First terms of each, the Outer terms of each, the Inner terms of each, and the Last terms of each and simplify the expression by combining like terms. Don't simply think you can multiply 4z with z and 3 with -2. Now we can expand the expression by multiplying the First terms (4z and z), the Outer terms (4z and -2), the Inner terms (3 and z), and the Last terms (3 and -2). See quadratics. Khan Academy: Factoring Quadratic Expressions

7) This is another problem where a written description must be translated into an algebraic expression. Since the "given number" is (as usual) the unknown, we should assign a variable to it – x. Solve for x. However, this is not the answer to the question. The final question is what 15% of this number is. Convert 15% to decimal form. The product of a percent and a number yields that percent of that number. [Distracter]: A trick answer here is choice A, which you would get if you simply multiplied 8 by 0.15. If you are not reading carefully, you may focus on the statement "given number is 8" and subsequently interpret that this is the number you must find 15% of, which would yield 1.2. See percentages and equation building. 8) This is another algebra question where you must add up all the terms and solve the equation in terms of x. We can do this because it is stated that all of the terms add up to 447. Combine the six expressions and set that equal to 447, and solve for x. The only way you can go wrong in this question is if you don't add up the numbered terms correctly. Otherwise, this is a very straightforward problem.

9a) For this question, we need to apply the midpoint formula to solve an algebraic equation to get the ordered pair we need for the answer. The midpoint of a segment can be found by just finding the average value of the x-values and y-values, respectively, for both end points. Below are midpoint formulas for both x and y values. Knowing this, we can set up two algebraic equations to find the coordinates of A by solving for the other x-coordinate corresponding to A and the y-coordinate corresponding to A:

For x: (7 + x)/2 = 5

For y: (3 + y)/2 = 4

By solving just solving for x, we can eliminate all of the wrong answer choices. See coordinate geometry. If you can’t remember the midpoint formula there is another option:

9b) Deal with the x-coordinates and the y-coordinates separately on midpoint problems. If the x-coordinate of one endpoint is 7 and the x-coordinate of the midpoint is 5, then the x-coordinate of the other endpoint must be two units to the other side of 5. If the y-coordinate of one endpoint is 3 and the y-coordinate of the midpoint is 4, then the y-coordinate of the other endpoint must be one unit to the other side of 4. If you were aware of your answer choices, you would have been done as soon as you got the x-coordinate. The above method is much faster than plugging the known values into the midpoint formula to solve for the other endpoint, although that method would work as well, as long as you put the pieces in the right places. See coordinate geometry.

10a) For this question, we can estimate where the dot for point D should be, and we can use process of elimination to arrive at the correct answer. From knowledge of the properties of rectangles, opposite sides should be equal in length. Look at the difference in the y-values between A and B. We can do this by subtracting B's y-value, 2, from A's y-value, 5, which means that the difference is 3. That means that the increase in y-value from point C to point D would be 3 to keep the proportions characteristic of a rectangle. Since point C is at (6, -6), point D would have to have a y-value of -3

10b) One way to do this is to just draw in the points and see which one appears to make a rectangle with points A, B, and C. (10, -3) is the only one that looks right. A more mathematical approach is that AD must be the same length as BC and the same slope as BC since it is parallel to BC. From B to C is down 8 and to the right 6, so from A to D must be down 8 and to the right 6 as well. See coordinate geometry.

11a) You can apply the rules of matrix multiplication if you know them, but knowing these rules are unnecessary to getting the problem correct since you just need to work with the situation. Multiply the total number of T-shirt A’s by the cost per T-shirt A, the total number of T-shirt B’s by the cost per T-shirt B, and the total number of T-shirt C’s by the cost per T-shirt C. Then, add these values together. 11b) If you want to do this as a matrix problem, first add the two columns of the 2x3 matrix, then multiply the 1x3 by the 3x1 matrix. See: Matrices 12) This question requires the application of two basic geometric principles: 1) Supplementary angles must add up to 180 and 2) All the angles in a triangle add up to 180°. To make our calculations easier however, we can recognize that the exterior angle z is equal to the sum of the two given angles in the triangle. Now we can use the angle supplementary rule to find angles x and y. Add all angles x, y, and z together. Also, do not pick choice K. Calmly go through the problem and try to answer it. If you cannot, do not pick K; skip the problem and go back to it if you have time. Pick K only if you can definitively say that there is not enough information to solve the problem. Most of the time, this answer choice ends up being wrong. See plane geometry.

13) This is a simple division problem to find what percentage a certain number is of a larger number. Look at the chart under the number of voters section and we can see that 30 people voted for Whitney. What we are being asked to do is simply finding what percentage 30 is of 200. To turn any fraction into a percent we can set it equal to x/100. There is absolutely no trick to this question; it is simply just reading the chart properly and doing this single operation. The only way you can err in this problem is picking the wrong number off of the chart.

See percentages.

14) To tackle this problem, we should set up an algebraic proportion to find the number of votes Lue is projected to receive in the election. We know that 80 people out of 200 favored Lue as the mayor, or 40% of the poll. Therefore, we can set up a proportion that looks like this:

Part / Whole (Sample) = Part/Whole (Population)

See percentages.

15) For this question, we must apply the fact that a circle is 360° to find the angle of the portion corresponding to the Gomez votes on a circle representing the proportion of voters for each candidate. First, we must find what percentage of the 200 pollsters voted for Gomez. We can do this by dividing the “part” (Gomez voters) by the “whole” (total voters) and we find the % who voted for Gomez. Now we must find the angle on the circle that would represent 20% of the pollsters. To do this, we simply multiply 360° by 0. 2 See percentages.

16a) For this question, we need to use some deduction to find the ratio. Because point D is the midpoint of segment EC, we can infer that ED and DC are each half of AB. We also know that triangle ADE has the same height as ADB. Area of a triangle: 1/2bh So the area of a triangle with ½ of b is? See plane geometry. 16b) Another way to do this problem is visually. Remember that even though the directions indicate otherwise, figures are drawn to scale. Draw a line segment from D to the midpoint of AB. This divides triangle ADB into two congruent triangles, each of which are also congruent to triangle ADE. Therefore, the area of triangle ADE is ½ that of triangle ADB. Another way to think about it is that the two triangles have the same height, but the base of triangle ADB is twice the base of triangle ADE. Therefore, it would result in triangle ADB having twice the area of triangle ADE when plugged into the area formula for a triangle A = ½ bh. See plane geometry.

17) This is a very straightforward problem if you know the definitions of slope and of a parallel line. The slope of a parallel line has the same slope as the original line. The slope of a line can be determined by solving for y=mx+b. m=slope. If you are not given a formula, any two points on a line can determine slope – it is the ratio of the change in y to the change in x. See coordinate geometry.

18) If the ratio of the lengths of the pieces is 2:3, that means that the short one is 2/5 of the total and the long one is 3/5 of the total. Therefore, the length of the short one is 2/5 * length of total. If this equation is not intuitive once you know that the short one is 2/5 of the total (remember that “of” typically means multiply), you could set up a proportion: 2/5 = x/30. This proportion works because the units line up: short side/total = short side/total. The five in the denominator is found by adding the 2 and 3. In the problem, you were given part to part, so it was necessary to find the whole by adding the parts together. Always pay attention to whether you are given part to part or part to whole. See ratios and proportions.

19) If you use your calculator and know the definition of an integer, this question is extremely easy. Find the square root of 58, and round up. Integers are the natural numbers (1, 2, 3….), their opposites, and zero. Even if you did not have a calculator (you should), you could do this in your head by recognizing that the answer is equal to the square root of the next perfect square greater than 58.

20) For this problem, we must find the total surface area of the area that needs to be painted on the walls to determine how many cans of paint are needed for the job. Since the walls are rectangular, the area of each wall would be the length times the height. There are four walls—multiply by 4. This is a good example of a question where estimation will save you time. You are rounding your answer, so you don’t need an exact answer. 21) To solve a quadratic (ax2 + bx + c), first get set it equal to 0 by getting everything on one side of the equation. x2 + 2x – 8 = 0 in this case. “Solving” this equation means finding the x-value(s) which yield a yvalue of zero. To solve, we will factor – a method of finding the “roots” or “solutions.” To factor, find two numbers with a sum of b (in ax2 + bx + c) and a product of c. If you are not familiar with any method of solving a quadratic, you could have simply plugged in your answer choices into the initial equation and to see which ones work. Remember that this method can be used in any “solve for x” problem. See quadratics.

22) We need to know some properties of exponents in order to find this problem. Plugging in values for a is too cumbersome; simplify the expression to find the answer. We know that exponents with the same base can be condensed in an expression. In this case, one exponentiated term is being divided by another exponentiated term with the same base. When this operation is done, the exponent of the term under the divisor is subtracted from the exponent of the term above the divisor. In this case, we would subtract 6 from 4. The 3's would be canceled out because 3 is being divided by 3. See exponents and radicals.

23) The only knowledge that is required for this question is a very basic knowledge of the coordinate axis system. We must note that the intersection of the x and y-axes indicates a point of (0,0), and that values higher than this point have a positive y-value, while points lower than this point have a negative y-value. Points to the right of this point have a positive x value, and points to the left of this point have a negative x-value. Knowing this, we can find the quadrant(s) that have x and y values with opposite signs. The Coordinate Plane

24) This is a common question type where there is a fixed cost and a variable cost. We need to decide which is which. The variable cost is variable because the number of items is variable. The fixed cost is added to the variable cost. When modeling this sort of (linear) situation, the y-intercept (b in y = mx + b) is equal to the fixed amount and the slope (m in y = mx + b) is equal to the variable or “per something” amount. Be careful because the correct answer is not written in the usual order: instead of being written as y = mx + b is written as y = b + mx. See equation building.

25) Similar figures have the same shape but not necessarily the same size. Therefore, their corresponding parts are in proportion. So set up a proportion. Shortest side/ perimeter of one triangle = shortest side/perimeter of the other triangle. Cross multiply and solve for x. If you didn’t know how to do this problem, at least take an educated guess using the figure, since all figures are drawn to scale despite the directions at the beginning of the test saying they are not. Just by looking carefully at the figure, you could probably get it down to 2 answer choices. See ratios and proportions.

26) If we know a simple property of root multiplication, we can easily arrive at the answer to this question. Notice that the only difference between the expression on the right of the equal sign and the number on the left is the “a” in the denominator. What would "a" have to be to make the two denominators equal? Note that if we multiply a root by the same root, the root signs cancel out and we are left with the number within the root.

27) The best way to do this problem is to set up two equations. When modeling a linear situation, the yintercept (b in y = mx + b) is equal to the fixed amount and the slope (m in y = mx + b) is equal to the variable or “per something” amount. The equation for the first balloon is h = 70 – 6s and for the second is h = 10 + 15s. Because we want to know when h will be equal for each balloon, you can set the right sides of the equations equal to each other via substitution. Another way of doing this problem quickly is to realize that the balloons start out 60 meters apart and are converging at a rate of 21 meters per second. This method is quicker, but you have to see it. This is treating it as a combined rate problem. The distance equals product of the sum of the rates and the time. d = (r1+r2) t

28) In counting problems, you should consider how many events are occurring and how many ways each event can occur. Here you have 3 events (a road, bike path, and trail are each chosen). It might be wise at this point to write out slots for each event with multiplication symbols in between them: _•_•_. Then, populate these slots with how many ways each event can occur. Here, the first event is a road is chosen (4 ways this event can occur), the second event is a bike path is chosen (2 ways this event can occur), and the third event is a trail is chosen (6 ways this event can occur). [Distracter]: The only way of solving this problem is using the counting principle. Choice G is present to trick people who would not use the counting principle and would simply add up the 4 possible roads, 2 possible biking paths, and 6 possible hiking trails to get 12.

See counting and probability.

29) If we know the formula for the volume of a cube, this problem is easy. If the question is asking us the volume of a cube that has edge lengths two inches more than a 2 inch edge length on another cube, then it is obviously asking us the volume of a cube with edge lengths of 4 inches. The formula for the volume of a cube is the edge length cubed or V=s3

If you don’t know your geometry formulas: ACT Math Formula sheet -- Attachment

30) This is a simple "plug and chug" problem – we simply have to plug in given values into the formula to find the correct answer. For A, we would plug in our initial investment of $10,000. For r, we would plug in 0.04 for the rate of interest. For n we would plug in 5 compounding periods within 5 years. Calculate A using your calculator.

31) Because the test makers give us the formula for the surface area of a cylinder, this is another problem where we only need to plug in values to obtain an answer. We can see that the height of the cylinder is 20 centimeters, and the diameter of the cylinder is 20 centimeters. This means that the radius of the cylinder is 10 centimeters. Now we can plug the values into the formula. [Distracters]: One choice is a trap for people who don't realize that 20 centimeters is the diameter of the cylinder and not the radius

32) For this problem, you need an understanding of function notation. That is, when we are given f(x) and g(x), and we are asked to find f(g(x)), that means that we must plug in g(x) into the variables of f(x). f(g(x)) = f(x2– 2). This is the case because g(x) =x2 – 2, so x2 – 2 can be substituted for g(x). f(x2 – 2) = 4(x2 – 2) + 1. See function notation. [Distracters]: don't fall for answer choice K, which you would obtain if you did the operation g(f(x)) as opposed to f(g(x)).

33) Total = sum of (each value)(number of instances) Average = Total/Number (of games in this case) If this is not obvious to you, review averages – they appear frequently on ACT See averages.

34) Because a and b are parallel, all the acute angles formed by the transversal c and either a or b are equivalent. These angles (1, 2, 9, and 10) are all supplementary to x since 1 forms a linear pair with x and 1, 2, 9, and 10 are all equivalent. None of the angles formed by the transversal d and a or b are equal to x because d is not parallel to c. See plane geometry.

35) Exponents outside parentheses must be distributed to all terms in the parentheses. Another way of thinking about this is that what is inside the parentheses will be multiplied by itself the number of times indicated by the exponent outside the parentheses. In this case, we multiply x-cubed which is itself (x*x*x) by itself 3 times. See exponents and radicals.

36) For the most part, solving inequalities is done in the same manner as solving equations; it’s just that in the end we’ll have an expression that tells us that one side is larger than the other. Like an equation, we must end up with the variable on one side, and the constant on the other.

[TIP]: When solving inequalities algebraically, remember to flip the inequality sign when multiplying or dividing both sides by a negative number.
Exercises: Inequalities on a number line

See inequalities and the number line.

Solving Inequalities

37a) This problem does not require any complicated and tedious math. Rather, all we have to know is what quadrant the point P will end up in when we rotate the axis clockwise. Since the circle occupies 4 quadrants, and a 90 degree rotation is 1/4th of the circles angle measure, we can assume that the point will end up in the next quadrant with regards to the direction it is rotated in. Since we are rotating clockwise and point P is located in quadrant 1, we should expect that the point will be in quadrant 4 when rotated 90 degrees because quadrant 4 is clockwise from quadrant 1 Or 37b) The slope of the line connecting the center of the circle to the original P is (6 – 3)/(6 –2) = 3/4. Because P is rotated 90 degrees clockwise, the new P would be the endpoint of a radius that is perpendicular to the slope 3/4. Because perpendicular lines have negative reciprocal slopes, this perpendicular slope is -4/3. To find the new location of point P, move down 4 units and right 3 units from the center: See coordinate geometry.

38) This is a two-step problem. We must first find the missing side of triangle, and use this side to find the sin of angle K. Since this is a right triangle, we can use the Pythagorean Theorem to solve for the missing side: SOHCAHTOA See basic trigonometry
Example: Using soh cah toa

39) For this question, we must understand that that the angles on a line must all add up to 180 Also, we must note that angles DBA and EBC are equivalent because they both bisect angles of the same measure and they share the point. Because of the supplementary angle property, the three angles comprising segment AC must add up to 180. If you didn’t know how to do this problem, you could have visually estimated it to get the correct answer because the answer choices are so far apart. See plane geometry.

40) Don't let the scientific notation of the numbers keep you from seeing this as a very simple average problem. Since the question is asking for the average number of hydrogen molecules per cubic centimeter, we simply divide the total number of hydrogen molecules by the total number of cubic centimeters. (Remember that “per” means divide.) You could either calculate this by hand or on your calculator. If you are doing it by hand, divide 8 by 4. Then to get the exponent of the 10, subtract 4 from 12 since the bases are being divided.

See exponents and radicals.

41) Although this problem looks difficult, it simply involves plugging numbers into the equation for the law of cosines, which is given to you in the note. First, find the measure of the angle made by connecting points A and B to the center. At this point, the answer should be obvious; instead of painstakingly plugging in every piece, recognize that only one answer features the correct angle measure. Based on the equation in the note, it is clear that you must use the angle opposite c, the side you are solving for.

42) “Half way between” implies that you must average 1/5 and 1/3. Method 1: find a common denominator (they are both prime in this case, so multiplying them will yield the least common denominator (LCD)). Multiply (1/5) by (3/3) and (1/3) by (5/5). Then choose a numerator halfway between the two numerator values.

Method 2 (calculator): add the two fractions together on your calculator and divide by 2. Then use the “frac” function in the “math” menu (on a TI calculator) to convert the answer to a fraction.

See averages.

43) To do this problem, we must realize that angles ADC and BCD as well as sides AD and BC are equivalent from the definition of the isosceles trapezoid. SAS (side-angle-side) makes triangles ACD and BDC congruent and allows us to conclude that angle ACD is 25 and that angle BCD=35 + angle ACD =60. We now know two of the three angles of triangle BCD. If you had trouble coming up with all the reasons for the correct answer given here, just make a guess based on intuition and estimation from the picture. See plane geometry.

44) The easiest way to answer this problem is to first find out what one side of the smaller square is, and try out different answer choices added to that side length to see if that value squared is 50 square centimeters. As with all problems where you try different answer choices and the answer choices are going in ascending order, start with the middle choice.

See exponents and radicals.

45) This question is easy if we know some basic square roots and the definition of a rational number. A rational number is defined as any number that can be written as the ratio of two integers (one integer divided by another). Another way of saying the same thing is that rational numbers include integers, terminating decimals, and repeating decimals.

46) For this question, we must analyze what is happening with a and b in the expression. Because a is less than b, the absolute value of the (a-b) would be the equivalent to (b-a), because absolute value is an indicator of the numerical distance between two numbers. Now we must find the expression that is equal to b-a. Choice F is a trick answer for people who assume that a is a negative number because they see a < b. Just because a < b does not mean that it is a negative number. See absolute values.

47) Set up an average equation. (Average of set) = (sum of items in set) / (number of items in set). Here, you know the average must be 80, and the number of tests is 6 (5 known tests and one unknown – the 8 tests total is irrelevant because he wants his average to be 80 after 6 tests). To find the sum of his scores, treat the 5 tests that average 78 as though they are each 78’s. Then call the unknown x Solve for x. See averages.

48) In this problem, we must realize that the sign of the x and y-values is irrelevant because the values are squared within the square root sign. We must also note that this problem does not require us to do any operations in the complex domain. We must therefore look for the point which has the highest magnitude of x and y in the real domain. Magnitude disregards sign and measures the distance of the value from the origin. With this in mind, we can now eliminate answer choices. The square root of x2 = │x│ 49) The easiest way to solve this problem is to express the 8 and 4 on each side as powers of 2. Rewrite both sides of the equation using a common base. (23)2x+1 = (22)1-x When raising a power to a power, multiply the exponents, so 26x+3 = 22-2x. If exponents have the same base and the expressions are equal, then the exponents are equal. Solve for x. [Tip]: If xy = xz, then y=z. See exponents and radicals.

50) For this question, we simply need to know the definitions of an even and odd function. An even function is a function that has a mirror image across the y axis. An odd function is a function that has a mirror image across the origin. In this question, we are fortunately given the formal definitions of even and odd, but we can just look at the graph to arrive at the correct answer. Checking to see if the graph is an even function, we can see that if an x-value yields a particular y-value, the x-value yields the same y value, indicating symmetry across the y-axis. See function notation.
Video: Recognizing Odd and Even Functions

Exercise: Even and odd functions: See if a graphed function is even, odd, or neither.

51) Probability is equal to the number of desired outcomes divided by the number of possible outcomes, so in this case it is the number of numbers from 100 through 999 that contain one or more zeros divided by the total number of numbers from 100 through 999. Figuring out the total number of numbers from 100 through 999 is easy: 999 – 100 + 1 = 900 (the one is added because both 100 and 999 are to be included). Finding how many of these numbers contain at least one zero is a tricky counting problem. In counting problems, you should consider how many events are occurring and how many ways each event can occur. Here you have 3 events (the hundreds, tens, and units digit are each chosen). It might be wise at this point to write out slots for each event with multiplication symbols in between them: _•_•_. Then, populate these slots with how many ways each event can occur. Here, it makes sense to do three separate counting problems: one for when the tens digit only is zero, one for when the units digit only is zero, and one for when the tens and units digits are both zero (the hundreds digit is never zero for the numbers we are working with). When the tens digit only is zero, there are 9 options for the hundreds digit (1-9), one option for the tens digit (0), and 9 options for the units digit (1-9), so 9 • 1 • 9 = 81. When the units digit only is zero, there are 9 options for the hundreds digit (1-9), 9 options for the tens digit (19), and 1 option for the units digit (0), so 9 • 9 • 1 = 81. When the tens and units digits are both zero, there are 9 options for the hundreds digit (1-9), one option for the tens digit (0), and one option for the units digit (0), so 9 • 1 • 1= 9. Therefore, the total number of numbers that have zero as at least one digit is 81 + 81 + 9 = 171. Divide 171 by 900 to get the probability of choosing a number with 0 as at least one digit. [Alternate solution]: solve for the excluded set – numbers from 100-999 with no zeroes. There are nine non-zero digits, and each of the three places can be occupied by any one of them. The total number of possibilities is the product these three 9’s = 93. So, the number with at least one zero = (999 – 100 + 1) – 93. Divide this answer by 900. This can be written as (9/9)(10/10)(10/10) – (9/10)3

See counting and probability.

52) Slope = value of the rate of change. Absolute value of slope = the angle at which a line is traveling/the rate of change of a line. Since angles a and b have the same slope, we can infer that lines q and r have slopes with the same absolute value, since they are approaching the x-axis and beyond at the same angle. Since q has a positive slope, r must have a negative slope of the same magnitude. We can find the slope of line q by placing it in slope-intercept form: y=mx+b m=slope

See coordinate geometry.

53) In this problem, we must understand that tan-1 (a/b) is an angle value. Since this angle is represented by this expression, this would be the angle that is across from side a and adjacent to side b. Now we must find the expression that expresses cosine of this angle. Cosine on a right triangle = adjacent side/hypotenuse. See basic trigonometry. [Tip]: sometimes tan-1, sin-1, cos-1 are called arctan, arcsin, and arcos.

Worked example using trigonometry to solve for the lengths of the sides of a right triangle given one of the non-right angles.

Inverse trig functions

54) This question is simply asking us to find the area of the circle that models the situation in the description. Area ⃝ = πr2. In this problem, the radius is 52 miles (r=52)

See circles. 55) If you know the standard form of a circle equation, this problem is a direct application of that. ( )2 + ( )2 = r2

x2 + y2 = r2 (centered at origin/h,k = 0) where r is the radius and (h, k) is the center point. Have this equation memorized, as it comes up frequently. Here, the center point is the origin, so both h and k equal 0, and the radius is 52. See coordinate geometry.

56) If you draw a picture, you can solve this graphically. Remember, whenever possible, you should always write your thinking down on paper to free up precious space in your short term memory. First, draw out a circle representing the range of the WGGW signal, which would be a circle with a radius of 52 miles. Then Draw the overlapping 60 mile radius circle. The size of the overlap has to be the difference between the combined radii of the circles and distance between the towers.

Arithmetically, when two things overlap (circles, sets, lines, whatever) subtract the total from the sum – the difference has to be the overlap.

57) Simply observe the graph to determine the x-values for which the inequality is true. In other words, for which x-values does y = (x-1)4 have a lesser y-value than that of y = x – 1. Observing the graph reveals where this is true.

Video: Graphing systems of inequalities

Exercise: Graph a system of inequalities, and determine whether ordered pairs are solutions.

58) This one requires a bit of thought about the meaning of “place” within the number system. A digit is multiplied by ten (in base 10) each time it is moved forward a place in a number. A number with multiple digits is the sum of each of these individual values. So our first number, x, formed by the tens digit t, and the units digit u, must have its tens digit multiplied by 10 if the digits are going to be treated separately. (10t+u) The second number, y, is formed in the same way, except the digits are reversed. Next we subtract y from x.

Khan Academy Video: Decimal Place Value

59) For this question, we do not need to use the distance formula to find the height of the triangle to find its area. Because the coordinates are given, we can just look at the values of these coordinates to see what the height of the triangle is. The y-coordinate of the base and top of the triangle are given, as are the x-coordinates of the triangle’s base. Therefore, we can find the base and height of the triangle. The formula for the area of a triangle is

Plug the values for the height and base into the formula to get the answer:

We can calculate the length of the base (CB) because the y-values of C and B are the same, they can be disregarded in calculating this length. Because the base is perfectly horizontal, the height must be perfectly vertical. The change in y from A to the line BC is the height. The area of a triangle is ½ bh. See plane geometry.

60) To do this problem, we must find the first term of the series, or a, so we can easily find the second term by multiplying a by the common ratio of 0.15. We are given the formula for the sum of an infinite geometric series which we can use to find a. Since the sum of the series is 200, and r is 0 .15, plug the numbers into the given equation, and solve for a. a is the first term, so multiply it by the common ratio to find the second term. [Tip]: This question is typical of many advanced ACT math problems, it looks fairly difficult and involves some tricky concepts (infinite sums), but you don’t actually have to understand much, you just plug the given values into the given equation. See series and sequences.

Khan Academy Video: Geometric Sequences (Introduction)

READING ANSWER CHOICE ADVICE

Brightstorm: ACT Reading Strategies

[Important]: SAT & ACT Reading: How to Practice Active Reading

Passage I
See: Fiction Passages

1) In fiction passages, pay most attention to the characters and their traits. This passage is written in the first person, and the narrator spends most of the passage describing the woman who does not dream through her conversations with that woman and her thoughts about those conversations. If you are to attack this question, you should have done at least a quick skim of the passage before looking at the questions. When a question asks about structure, it is essentially asking for the most generalized summary that can be reasonably associated with the passage. A minute's glance at the passage can reveal a great deal about its core layout. 2) This is a question where the technique of looking for key words related to the answer choices is helpful. In this case, the question is practically set up for this kind of analysis. Each answer is set up as a comparison between two people, using simple adjectives to describe each person. You simply have to find the answer choice where the descriptions of the people are supported by synonyms in the passage. Be careful, there is one “trick” answer choice. The ACT likes to trap people into the thought process that if one part of an answer is correct, the rest of the answer must be correct. For one answer, the first comparison is correct, but the second one is not.

3) To answer this question, we need to refer to specific parts in the passage. Just look for the quality that is most supported as something that the woman desires. If you are not sure, check lines 24 and 25-30. This is the type of question that a careful reader would probably have a ready answer for after reading the passage. The woman wants to dream – Why? Reading fiction is an exercise in empathy, the only “point” in such a short passage (any ACT passage) is the humanity/feeling the author imparts to the reader through the characters.

4) What is the central conflict here? As the question states, this metaphor is used throughout the passage, so it probably is about something central to the story. In fact, this is the central metaphor in the story, and metaphors are central to fiction – you should look for them as you read the fiction section. Doing so will save you a lot of time on questions like this.

5) This citation question asks you to make a direct inference about information specifically given in the passage. Look at the citation, and try to get a sense of the tone that the author is conveying. Through the description of the long smooth wall where blows to its surface don't resound whatsoever, we can see that this is a description of futility. The passage describes the door to dreaming as impossible to open for the woman. The narrator’s description in lines 10-13 makes the situation seem that much more hopeless by describing the door as a flat surface without a handle or any other way of gaining access to the world on the other side.

6) Look for the word “amniotic.” (Technique = spot the keyword) It’s in the 12th paragraph (starting with line 71). Now all that remains is to pick the answer choice that most directly restates a specific idea from this paragraph Remember, don't stretch your thoughts too far when answering these questions. The right answer is always clearly stated in the passage, or enough information is given so that a direct inference that corresponds to the right answer can be made. Always look for the answer that has specific textual justification over the answer that appears to be a very good interpretation.

7) This is a question that can be answered with a general knowledge of the passage and with specific citations within the passage. Why would the woman wish to dream? Video: SAT & ACT Reading: Making Inferences See Line 58 and lines 31-34

8) This question requires some inference based on information directly stated in the passage. The reference to the woman trying to dream the narrator's dreams is in paragraph 9. The correct answer choice will be the one that most accurately describes the information given in this paragraph. Process of elimination is a very effective strategy on this type of question; if you can eliminate even one of the two words of an answer choice, you can eliminate that answer choice altogether. See: Reasoning and Inferences 9) On vocabulary in context questions, you should go back to the context to figure out what the word means before reading any of the answer choices. Doing so will prevent you from being tempted by an answer choice that might sound good but does not accurately capture the meaning. Be careful, since these questions frequently feature uncommon secondary definitions of the word.

See: Vocabulary in Context

10) This question asks for a correct description of information directly present in the passage. A good way to tackle this problem is to quickly scan the passage looking for the key word "Kafka". Once you find it (paragraph 9), you simply must find the answer choice that paraphrases this information.

Passage II
11) This question requires you to make a generalization of information given by a large piece of the passage. It is in the fourth paragraph where the passage explores the potential role of climate change in the course of history. It is clear from a quick scan of the remainder of the passage after the fourth paragraph that the author believes that climate change was not the primary motivator of historical change, but that its effects should still not be neglected. Knowing this, we can eliminate choice B because it is not stated anywhere that the author believes it is right that the effects of climate change are ignored by scientists. Rather, he believes that some attention should be paid to the climate change during the period. In paragraph 4, the author cautions against using the little ice age as a universal explanation for the dynamics of Europe during 1300-1850, whereas in paragraph 5, he notes that the correlation of climate change and the dynamics of human civilization should not be ignored completely.

12) This question is easy because it just asks you to summarize the essence of the first paragraph in one concise statement. Try to form a short description of the paragraph as you re-read it. [Tip]: Beware of partial answers and the use of the exact wording of the passage. Video: ACT Reading - Main Idea of Passage or Paragraph 13) This is an example of a direct citation question. For these questions, it is usually necessary to read the lines directly before and after the citation to get an idea of the context of the citation. After doing this, it is evident that the descriptions of weather of the type referred to in the passage are somewhat insightful, but not very useful for scientific analysis of weather patterns

[Tip]: Answer choice A is an example of a “distracter.” These are answers that are supposed to be tempting. Choice A is of the “too extreme” variety – you take the right answer and exaggerate it beyond what the passage supports.

14) This is a simple chronology question, one of the easiest question types to answer in the reading section. The reason why this author mentions these events is because they are events of significance that overlap with the little ice age. Evidence that these events occurred in the Little Ice Age is found in the first part of the sentence that contains these events, lines 47-50. [Tip]: It is important to recognize that, when going back to the text, you will often have to look not only in the lines referenced in the question, but also in the immediate context of these lines.

15) This is a question that requires analyzing the citation and connecting it with general themes in the passage. The general idea presented in the passage is that this "ice age" can potentially cause long lasting consequences indirectly if not directly. With this in mind, the question is basically asking you to restate the idea presented in the lines.

[Distracter]: Choice C is a distracter. It is wrong because it is not stated that food shortages were rare at the continental level, though the phrase "continent level scale" is mentioned. Be wary of deceptive answer choices that contain words that are in the passage. Quickly skimming though the passage, you may pick an answer choice because it has a few words from the passage, as is the case in choice C. Scan for words initially, but make sure you look closely at the material to eliminate wrong answers, for there is only one answer that is supported by the passage.

16) This question asks about information specifically in the passage based on a citation. Again, you should read past these lines to get an idea of the context of the citation. It will then be evident that the other answer choices don't describe the correct reason why the author mentions those events.

17) For this problem, we must look at the paragraphs where the debate about the role of climate change in the course of European history is started. This is the fourth paragraph and the 5th paragraph. Again, this is a question where we must find the one incorrect statement in the answer choices. [Tip]: There is a quoted words distracter choice employed here 18) Where is the little ice age first mentioned in the passage? Since the little ice age is the main focus of the passage, it is a fair assessment that the little ice age is first mentioned in the first paragraph. It is stated here that the ice age was caused by "complex and not well understood interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere." With this information, we can now eliminate answer choices. Lines 6-7 provide evidence for the answer

19) We can find information of the elements of the little ice age by again looking at the first paragraph. We are also again looking for the answer choice that has incorrect information Three answer choices are mentioned in their entirety in lines 7- 13.

20) This question also references material within the first paragraph. At the end of the paragraph, there is a mention that the prolonged warming that characterizes today's weather is an anomaly.

Passage III

21) What is a theme that is echoed most often throughout the passage regarding Louis Armstrong? For much of the passage, the techniques that Louis Armstrong pioneered are mentioned, and his influence on many musical genres is noted. The general tone of this message is obviously positive. [Distracter]: One answer is tempting answer choice because it is a statement supported by lines 30-31 in the text. However, it is incorrect because it is far too narrow to capture the main point of the passage. It is important on main point questions to find the answer choice that represents the correct breadth of topic. In other words, avoid answer choices that are too broad or too narrow.
See: MAIN IDEA OF THE PASSAGE

22) For this type of question, you must look for the information given by the answer choices within the passage. If it is present, then it is obviously a wrong answer. Eliminate three by finding them, and then choose the one left.
See: WATCH OUT FOR "EXCEPT" OR "NOT" QUESTIONS

23) In the context of the passage, the contribution that is mentioned or referred to most frequently can be assumed to be Armstrong's most important contribution to Jazz, at least in the author's opinion. What the author mentions most in the passage is Armstrong's knack for effortlessly and melodically soloing in jazz. Therefore, we can start eliminating choices. SAT & ACT Reading: Think Big Picture 24) It is important when answering this question not to pick the answer choice that mentions one piece of information that is within the paragraph. You must find the answer choice that best describes how this paragraph functions with regards to the rest of the passage. The focus of the paragraph is on Armstrong's movement up the ranks of the music scene. Although this paragraph mentions Armstrong’s work both with King Oliver and with Fletcher Henderson, neither of these people is central to the function of the paragraph. Instead, the paragraph provides a list of many important events in the early part of Armstrong’s career. Included in these events are some of the people he played with and some of the places he traveled. SAT & ACT Reading: What's the Function? 25) All the details necessary to answer this question are contained within paragraph 4 lines 51-53, and it is asking which detail is not mentioned in this paragraph. See: Details

26) You should approach this question in the same way that you approached question 25. From the last paragraph, we get the impression that Armstrong's music reached many different environments, had an eclectic set of influences, and was enhanced by Armstrong's desire to have his audience get as much pleasure from music as he did.

27) This question ties into the last one. How did Armstrong want to make his audience feel when he played? According to the paragraph, Armstrong wanted to make his audience feel the pleasure that he felt by playing music Lines 79-81 indicate that Armstrong hoped to give his listeners “pleasure” through his music.

28) This question asks about a chronology of events described in the passage. This particular chronology, dealing with the location of Armstrong, can be found in paragraph 3. See: Detail Questions 29) This question asks what the purpose of the detail presented with in the citation is with regards to the passage. As always with specific citation questions, it is essential to read around the citations as well. In this paragraph, we get the idea that Louis Armstrong was an extremely versatile and powerful trumpeter. The mention of the glissando is used to describe the technical skill of Armstrong on this instrument, and how he had this skill to such a degree that people thought it was not possible to play on a regular trumpet. The fact that the trumpeters from a renowned orchestra were skeptical that Armstrong was even playing the same instrument as them (lines 53-57). What does this disbelief indicate about Armstrong’s skill?

30) This is a tone question. According to the description provided in the lines, how could the actions of an orchestra in response to Louis Armstrong influences be described? It is stated that the orchestra, along with other artists, subconsciously swing in rhythm. They certainly don't do this reluctantly, and they apparently don't do it consciously See: Tone Questions

Passage IV

31) This is another type of question where you must find the choice that is not supported by the passage. The idea of qi is mentioned in the first three paragraphs. In the first paragraph, it is mentioned that the flow of qi throughout the body is essential to good health. Therefore, you can eliminate choice D, because a disruption in the flow of qi would cause malfunction and illness, according to the passage. In paragraph three, the effects of the lack, or excess of qi, are described. See: Except/Not Questions

32) This question asks for you to concisely state the information presented in lines 35-45. Simply pick the statement that best accomplishes this. We can do this easily by identifying the "gist" of lines 35-45, which is that acupuncture at certain points in the body sends impulses to the limbic system and pituitary glands and results in the secretion of pain relieving chemicals.

33) To answer this question, we must not for what kind of ailments has this study of acupuncture been confirmed with. For this, you should use the technique of reading around the stated citation to get more information. It is evident after doing this that the study describes how acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins, which help block pain. The sixth paragraph goes on to indicate that scientists are uncertain how acupuncture treats non-pain related ailments.

34) For this question, we must find the place where the volunteer experiment is described. The goal of this experiment was to see if a specific acupuncture point could produce the same concentration of brain activity in a particular area of the brain as shining light into the subjects' eyes. Corresponding foot acupuncture points were tested, as well as random points on the foot, such as the big toe. The seventh paragraph, lines 55-63, indicates that acupoints related to vision are found along the foot between the little toe and the ankle. The next paragraph indicates that experimental subjects who were stimulated in one of these acupoints experienced an increase in activity in the visual cortex (lines 67-75). 35) What is the main idea conveyed in the last paragraph of the passage? As a description of the usefulness of the experiments described in the previous paragraph, it basically states that some questions about acupuncture were answered, while more questions about acupuncture as a whole were raised. Lines 81-84 indicate that while science has explained some of the mechanisms by which acupuncture works, there are still many questions to be answered. [Tip]: With words like “thoroughly” and “any,” answer choices A and D exhibit absolute language and are therefore unlikely ACT answers. 36) This question requires you to refer back to the description of yin and yang in the third paragraph. After looking quickly through this, it is clear that yin and yang are directly related to the quantities of qi in one’s system. The passage indicates that too little qi causes Yin conditions (lines 28-29) while too much qi causes Yang conditions (line 30). 37) This is another question where you need to look at the information on yin and yang in the third paragraph! From the description of yin and yang, it is implied that excess yin produces melancholic symptoms, while excess yang produces hyperactive symptoms. Agitation, fast pulse, and fever are all symptoms of someone with a yang condition. A pale face, however, is not caused by too much yang. Lines 28-31 indicate that a pale face is a symptom of a yin condition, while the other answer choices are all symptoms of a yang condition. 38) On vocabulary in context questions, you should go back to the context to figure out what the word means before reading any of the answer choices. Doing so will prevent you from being tempted by an answer choice that might sound good but does not accurately capture the meaning. Be careful, since these questions frequently feature uncommon secondary definitions of the word. In this case, “concentrated” (line 49) means clustered, since many nerves are found in these spots, so H is the correct answer. See: Vocabulary Questions

39) For this question, we need to look at the paragraph that describes Cho’s experiment. At the end of the paragraph, it is mentioned that the stimulation of the big toe is used as a control to make sure stimulation of non acupoints does not cause the same brain activity.

A placebo effect is when a specific result is achieved by a treatment that should not produce that result, due to a person’s expectations. For example, if a person is given a sugar pill but told it is a pain pill, it would be considered a placebo effect if that person reports a decrease in pain. Knowing what a placebo effect is would be helpful to getting this question correct, but it is not essential, since the context provides adequate clues Cho wanted to make sure that the visual cortex stimulation caused by stimulating a visual acupoint was actually due to the stimulation of that acupoint and not merely the result of the subject’s expectations, as is described in lines 78-79.

40) This question can be answered by looking at the first sentence in the last paragraph The author makes a generalization about scientists who undertake new types of research that when she states “like many preliminary scientific reports, Cho’s study raises more questions than it answers” (lines 81-82.

SCIENCE REASONING ADVICE
ACT Science: How to Map a Science Passage

Passage I
ACT Data Representation Passages

1) Like many science reasoning questions, we can answer this problem without even reading the background information and solely looking at the figure. First it helps to just glance at figure 1 for a moment and see how its information categorized. It appears that the picture shows graduated degree values over a depiction of earth with its multiple layers. Luckily for us, the information we need to answer this question is clearly stated on this graph, and we don't need to interpret the direction of the wave lines. All you have to do is find the region where 125 degrees is. According to Figure 1, 125° from the focus of the earthquake falls in between 103° and 142°.

2) For this problem, we need to note two important features of Figure 1. First, you should notice that p wave paths are indicated by the solid lines. Also you need to identify where the boundary between the mantle and the core is. This boundary is represented by the outside of the darkened circle within the larger circle representing earth. Now that we have an idea of how the information we need is organized, we can eliminate answer choices we can see that as the P- waves enter the core, they start to lose their straight character on the diagram, indicating that they are being refracted within the core.

3) For this problem, we need to use some extrapolation and a little common sense in eliminating answer choices.Look at figure 3 and notice that the S wave graph is much different than the P wave graph in that it takes much more time for s waves to reach a particular point away from the focus than P waves. However, the graph only goes up to 10,000 km away from the earthquake surface. Because the question is asking us to find what the difference in wave arrival times is at a distance larger than is graphed we can use the time difference corresponding to the 10,000 km value on the x axis as a starting point. To reach the seismograph 10,000 km away from the earthquake, it takes the P wave 12 minutes. For the S wave, we can do some extrapolation and estimate that the wave would take about 24 minutes to reach the seismograph 10,000 km from the earthquake focus. This obviously is a difference of 12 minutes. From the trend in the data, it is clear that as distance from the earth quake focus increases, the difference between the arrival times of the two types of waves increases. Therefore, we would expect the difference between the arrival times of the P and S waves to be greater at 10,500 km away from the focus. This is an extrapolation problem, which means you must extend the lines of the graph beyond the boundaries of the graph. Extend the lines of the s-waves and p-waves beyond the graph in Figure 3 to the point that would represent 10,500 km on the x-axis. Now find the approximate time values for the p and s-waves at the points where they will intersect with the 10,500 km line. See Extrapolation/Interpolation

4) This question again requires a small amount of common sense and graph reading ability. It is fairly obvious that the time the earth quake starts at focus would correspond to the start of the graphing of the waves movement, which is at 0 km from the earth quake, and 0 minutes of wave travel, or the point (0,0) on the x-y axis See: Direct Questions

5) This is one of the few science reasoning questions that require a minimal knowledge background. In this case, you must know what the term amplitude means. In case you don't know, amplitude is the height of a wave from its resting position to its highest value within a given period. The relative amplitude would therefore be a description of the average amplitude of a graph that has varying amplitude levels at different times. With this information we can answer the question. This is the rare science question (typically 1-3 per test) that requires a bit of outside knowledge, in that you are expected to know what amplitude refers to. Amplitude is a measure of the vertical size of the wave equal to half the difference between its maximum and its minimum. Simply put, waves with larger amplitudes are taller than waves with smaller amplitudes. Therefore the p-waves depicted in Figure 2 have smaller amplitudes than the s-waves depicted in Figure 2. See: SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE

Passage II
ACT Data Representation Passages

6) Though it is a good idea to very briefly glance at the introductory paragraph in every passage, we do not need any information in this paragraph to answer this particular question. What we do need to do, however, is quickly note some key features on figure 2. First, notice that lake clay is indicated by the light gray uppermost layer of Figure 2. Also, because the y-axis of the graph in figure 2 represents length, we can use this as an indicator of the thickness or thinness of an area. Obviously, the point where the lake clay occupies the least amount of elevation is where the thinnest area of lake clay will be.

7) For this question, we simply need to understand and correctly interpret the graphs. The complicated looking equation at the bottom of figure 3 is not necessary at all for this problem. We do, however, need to note that the y axis describing depth is going from high values to low values when reading from a normal orientation. Also, the values for the oxygen are getting less negative along the x axis, which means that they are getting larger. We are looking for the depth where there is the smallest oxygen level. From the data on the graphs, it appears that as depth decreases, the oxygen content of the water increases in lake clay. Therefore, we would expect the oxygen content to be lowest at deeper depths for lake clay. Where is the point where the lowest amount of oxygen that can be measured is located? The smallest 18O value is represented in Figure 3 by the furthest left values on the graphs. In all three graphs, this smallest 18O value occurs at a depth between 25 and 30 m.

8) What is the relationship between the depth of the lake clay and glacial till as we move left across Figure 2 from Grand Forks to Site 3? The answer is obvious. See: OTHER FIGURES

[Tip]: try to put relationships you can see on graphs/charts/figures into your own words before looking at the answer choices

9) The top of the glacial till layer is represented by the boundary between the glacial till layer (represented by the diagonal lines) and the lake clay layer (represented by the light gray). Among Sites 1, 2, and 3, this boundary is highest in Site 2, second highest in Site 1, and lowest in Site 3.

10) If precipitation “reaches the groundwater table about 3 m below the surface,” water within 3 m of the surface is precipitation that has not yet been mixed with groundwater. Water within 3 m of the surface is represented by the furthest right points on each of the three graphs in Figure 3. See: NEW INFORMATION

Passage III
Brightstorm Video: Research Summary Passages

11) For this question, you need to think about why a clear plastic bottle would have been useful in this experiment. If you read through the short paragraph describing experiment 3, you should notice that they mention "bubbles being visible" on many occasions. This is a cue that visibility of bubbles is important for this experiment, and that this experiment was probably conducted to see the state of the liquid bubbles during different steps of the procedures outlined in the previous experiments. Experiment 3 describes the students visually examining the bottle for the presence of bubbles, which would not have been possible with an opaque aluminum can. [Tip]: Things won’t always be spelled out for you; they are testing your reasoning ability, so think for yourself 12) This is a very simple question that asks you to find similar numbers on tables 1 and 2. Obviously, you should only look at the "before shaking" section of these tables. After looking at the 5 trials, you can see which trials had the same roll time

13) For this question, when referring to table 1, we must understand the variable that is being tested, or dependent variable. The only dependent variable is the roll time, so that is the piece of data that can be analyzed from this experiment. Now we must see whether shaking the can affected roll time, which is the only variable that was measured in this experiment. [Tip]: the identification of the independent and dependent variables is always a good idea

14) For this question, though experiment 2 is mentioned, we must refer to another experiment for the information necessary to pick an answer. Recall from experiment 1 what the purpose of the study was. Only roll time was measured in this experiment, and the number of bubbles was inconsequential. Therefore, the results from experiment 1 cannot help us answer this question. We need to find an experiment that gives us results that show how many bubbles are left over after two hours of stagnation, as this was the condition that the bottle in trial 5 was subject to. Since the only other experiment to look at is experiment 3, we should look at it and see that there were most likely no bubbles left over after the bottle was left to sit for 2 hours and was tested before shaking In Trial 5, the can containing the flat tasting beverage has been left to sit for two hours before being rolled down the incline. Experiment 3 shows that a bottle containing a flat tasting beverage that has been shaken and then left to sit for two hours will no longer contain any bubbles after the two hours. Therefore, the can from Trial 5 likely contains no bubbles.

15) This question requires some careful analysis of the data presented in trials 4 and 5. Judging by the information we got from experiment 3, after 2 hours, no bubbles would be left in the can or bottle. If we look again at the procedure for experiment 2, we can see that trial four was conducted 15 minutes after the can was shaken. It is stated in experiment 3 that 15 minutes after shaking, there were still some bubbles present in the bottle. As the data trends show, a higher number of bubbles correlates with a longer rolling time. Therefore, the rolling time of a bottle that stood for 2 hours should be less than the bottle in trial 4, which stood for only 15 minutes. This means that the time had to be less than 1.86 seconds The roll time would have most likely been less than 1.86 seconds. Specifically, the roll time would be likely to be near 1.75 seconds, the before shaking roll time for Trial 5, since this trial similarly represents a wait of two hours since the bottle was shaken before the can was rolled down the incline.

16) This question can be answered solely with information found in the results of experiment 3. From these results, we can see that there were still bubbles after 15 minutes of stagnation, but by 2 hours, bubbles cease to form with in the bottle The before shaking roll time from Trial 4 (1.86 sec) represents a 15 min. wait since the can had last been shaken. The before shaking roll time for Trial 5 (1.75 sec) represents a two hour wait since the can had last been shaken. Because these two roll times are different, you can conclude that the bubbles from the shaking are having some effect on the role time after a wait of 15 minutes. Experiment 3 indicates that two hours after shaking, all the bubbles are gone, so they must have disappeared completely sometime between 15 minutes and two hours after shaking.

Passage IV
ACT Data Representation Passages

17) For this question, we need to use information from one figure to interpret data in another table. We should note that the solid line in figure 1 represents chlorophyll b. Because this graph has absorbance as its y axis variable, the point on the x axis where the graph of chlorophyll b is highest will represent the correct wavelength. We can see that this wavelength is a little higher than 475 nanometers. With this information, we can now look at table 1 to see what color 475 nm corresponds to. See: Two Figures

18) This is the rare science question (typically 1-3 per test) that requires a bit of outside knowledge, in that you are expected to know that photosynthesis occurs within chloroplasts. If you did not know this, it still would have been somewhat doable, since the passage is discussing light being absorbed by chlorophyll. Because of the similarity in spelling between chlorophyll and chloroplasts, it would be reasonable to assume that the chemical reactions of photosynthesis occur within chloroplasts. See: Scientific Knowledge

19) This question requires us to look at figure 2 and see which nm value corresponds to a photosynthesis rate that is higher than the rate at the given wavelength of 670 nm. We can do this by simply seeing where the graph goes above the 100% mark for rate. This occurs in the region between 420 nm and about 460 nm and again in the region between 670 and 680 nm. By making this quick assessment of the data, we now have ranges that we can use to eliminate answer choices According to Figure 2, the rate of photosynthesis at 670 nm is 100%. You can get this either by lining up a wavelength of 670 nm on the x-axis with the corresponding value of 100 on the y-axis or simply by reading the label of the y-axis which indicates that the rate of photosynthesis is given “as a % of the rate at 670 nm.” Either way, you need to find a wavelength that has a rate of photosynthesis above 100 on the y-axis. Of the options given, 430 nm is the only wavelength with a rate of photosynthesis above 100; it has a rate of photosynthesis of approximately 105.

20) This is the rare science question (typically 1-3 per test) that requires a bit of outside knowledge, in that you are expected to know that the C6H12O6 from the chemical equation in the passage is a sugar. If you did not recognize this based simply on its chemical composition, you could have figured it out if you knew that photosynthesis produced sugar. Even if you only knew that photosynthesis was how plants made their food, you may have been able to get this question correct, since plants are not known for their high fat or protein contents, and nucleic acid is genetic material not food. See: Scientific Knowledge 21) This is another question where information obtained from one figure must be used to get more information from another figure. The figure where we would find which wavelength would yield the highest rate of photosynthesis is figure 2. This wave length is 440 nm. Using this value, we can go to figure 1 find the best description of the graph at this particular wavelength. On this question, you must cross reference between Figure 1 and Figure 2. Figure 2 shows that the highest rate of photosynthesis occurs at a wavelength of 440 nm. Figure 1 shows that a wavelength of 440 nm corresponds with the highest relative absorbance of chlorophyll a. See: Two or More Figures

Passage V
Brightstorm Video: Research Summary Passages

22) The density of ethanol is found by looking at the density of the sample that is composed purely of ethanol, the sample for which the mass of ethanol is equal to the total mass. 23) This question requires a small amount of common sense and analysis of information from multiple charts. It requires that you can deduce that a material is less dense than another material if it floats in the other material. This is the basis of experiment 3, even though it is not explicitly stated. For PA-11, the first liquid that it floats in is liquid 6.If we look at table 2 in experiment 2, we can see that the density of liquid 6 is 1.05 g/ml. Using the assumption that a floating object has less density than the material it is floating in, we can infer that PA-11 has a density that is less than 1.05 g/mL Since PA-11 sinks in liquid 5, which is the next densest liquid at .999 g/m, we can further deduce that the density of PA-11 is between .999 g/ml and 1.05 g/mL 24) From table 2, we can see that as the mass of the solution in the graduated cylinder increases, so does the density of the solution. Now we must do some extrapolation of this data. In general, the masses of the solution are increasing at about 3 grams per solution and the densities are increasing at about 0.050.06 g/ml for each solution.

25) To answer this question, you need to understand what "R" and "S" mean in experiment 3. R refers to a rising sample of plastic, and S refers to a sinking sample of plastic. From all of the data shown for liquids 1 through 4, which are all denser than the liquid before it, an S never shows up after an R. This makes sense because something should not rise in a certain liquid and sink in a denser liquid. The only choice where this is the case is choice B, and all the other choices are reasonable sets of results. Therefore, choice B is the correct answer. Notice the “NOT.” This question could be answered quickly and easily even without an understanding of what Table 3 means. None of the plastics in Table 3 feature any S’s to the right of any R’s, so answer choice B appears to be inconsistent with the results of the table. This is the case because, as shown by Tables 1 and 2, the density of the liquids increases from Liquid 1 to Liquid 10 – or from left to right in Figure 3. Because an S represents that the bead stayed on the bottom and an R represents that the bead rose, no bead can have an S to the right of an R because that would indicate that it stayed on the bottom in a liquid that is denser than a liquid in which it rose to the top.

26) This is another science question that requires a small amount of common sense. All we need to know is the definition of tare, which is in the description of the first experiment (setting the scale to 0.000 grams). Now that we have this information, we can eliminate the answer choices that do not make sense.

In the text of the Experiment 1, taring a scale defined as resetting it so that it reads 0.000 g. The text indicates that this was done after the graduated cylinder was put on the scale. If the scale was reset to 0.000 after the graduated cylinder was put on it, the obvious intent is that the reading of the scale would be a measure only of “the mass of the substances added to the graduated cylinder,” which should not include the mass of the graduated cylinder itself. 27) For this question, we need to use our understanding of "R" and "S" that we needed to answer question 25. We also only need the information in Experiment 3. There are two parts to the answer: the actual answer, and the explanation for the answer. For the first round of elimination, we must determine whether polycarbonate is in fact denser than PA-6. With the knowledge that an object that rises in a liquid is less dense than the liquid, Table 3 shows that polycarbonate is in fact more dense than PA-6, since polycarbonate stayed at the bottom in Liquid 8 while PA-6 rose in Liquid 8. If polycarbonate stayed at the bottom and PA-6 rose in the same liquid, polycarbonate must be more dense than PA-6.

Passage VI
Brightstorm Video: Research Summary Passages

28) For this question, we need to refer to the chart in experiment 1 with the + and - signs and understand that + means that fermentation occurred, and - means that fermentation did not occur for both types of fermentation. If even one + sign is present under lactose, that qualifies as a type of fermentation Table 1 in Experiment 1 indicates the presence or absence of CO2 and acid. To determine what information this gives you about fermentation, you must consult the text. The initial paragraph of the passage states the production of acid and CO2 is the indicative of one fermentation pathway, while the production of acid alone is indicative of another fermentation pathway. Therefore, the presence of acid alone or acid and CO2 is enough to conclude that fermentation has taken place, so according to Table 1, only Species B and Species D fermented lactose.

29) This is a rather tricky science question to tackle, as it requires careful inference from the data presented in Table 2. Look at the pattern of + and - signs within the chart. All the useful information for this problem is present within the first 2 combinations. If you look carefully, you will notice that though both the first combinations have species A, the fermentation patterns change with the addition of B and C. In the case of the first combination, both types of fermentation occur in lactose broth, while in the second combination, both types of fermentation occur in the sucrose broth. Therefore, it is safe to assume that species B was necessary for fermentation in lactose broth, and species C was necessary for fermentation in sucrose broth, so if both were mixed, the fermentations would occur in both sucrose and lactose. Table 1 shows that Species C produces both acid and CO2 in a sucrose broth and that Species B produces both acid and CO2 and a lactose broth. Therefore, a combination of both species will produce both acid and CO2 in both the sucrose broth and the lactose broth.

30) To answer this question we simply need to find the results on the chart that correspond to this qualitative description of the data. Which species does both types of fermentation in lactose broth, but does neither in sucrose broth? Species A doesn't ferment in either sucrose or lactose broth, so choice F can be eliminated. Species C does the opposite of the description: it ferments in sucrose but not in lactose. Table 1 indicates that Species B is the only one of the four species that produces neither acid nor CO2 in a sucrose broth and both acid and CO2 in a lactose broth. 31) As will typically be the case if there’s a word you don’t know, synergism is defined in the text, and it is italicized so it is easy to find. The definition is located in Experiment 2, and it is described as “when 2 bacterial species act together to ferment a sugar by using a pathway that neither species can use alone.” By this definition, Species C and D do act synergistically in Experiment 2 because they produce CO2 in lactose broth when added together in Experiment 2, and neither Species C nor Species D produced CO2 in lactose broth by itself in Table 1. If they are producing CO2 in lactose broth together but not alone, they must be acting synergistically, according to the above definition.

32) Looking at your answer choices, you can see that you have to make two choices: 1) gas bubble or no gas bubble and 2) red or yellow broth. Whenever you are asked to make two choices on a science problem, it is best to consider each one individually. First, consider the gas bubble. Second, consider the color. 33) The definition of a synergistic relationship in the context of experiment 2 is that the two bacteria must be able to break down sugar by both forms of fermentation when they are mixed together. If a true synergistic relationship is present, this combination of bacteria must be able to break down all types of sugar with both types of fermentation.

Passage VII
Brightstorm Video: ACT Conflicting Viewpoints Passages

34) The conflicting viewpoints passages require a somewhat different approach. A quick skim to get the main ideas of the arguments from each passage is essential. What is the main idea of the DNA hypothesis? Genes are made of DNA. It is already established that genes have chromosomes. So what happens if the amount of DNA increases?

35) According to the initial text of the passage (remember that the text before any hypothesis is presented is agreed upon by all parties), both hypotheses agree that chromosomes, which are located exclusively in the cell nucleus, hold all of a cell’s genetic material. Therefore, if DNA is also found only in the nucleus, it supports the DNA Hypothesis, that DNA is the only component of genes. 36) The information necessary to answer this question is found within the introductory material before the hypotheses. If you were low on time at this point, you could have answered this question correctly simply by using a little common sense. What in nature is not composed of smaller subunits?

37) Look at the protein hypothesis and try to identify the main defense the author of this hypothesis has for advocating this point. This appears to be the fact that the proteins are a greater proportion of the cell than DNA, and that proteins can be made up of an infinite number of combinations of 20 amino acids. With this in mind, we can now eliminate answers.

38) For this question, we need to see which hypothesis mentions that DNA is present only inside of the nucleus, as this is the argument that would be weakened with the information given in the question. Usually, a main point like this one would be found in the opening sentences of a hypothesis.

39) To answer this question we must find the central argument that that DNA hypothesis uses to prove its validity. Usually in a conflicting scientist passage, this key argument is tied into why the other hypothesis (es) is (are) incorrect. In this case, the central argument is that DNA in the same concentration in different cell types for a given organism. The central argument also states that this property is not true for proteins. Since genetic material must remain constant between all of the cells in an organism other than the gametes, this would strengthen the DNA hypothesis and greatly weaken the Protein hypothesis. 40) For this question, we must look at information found in the introductory passage before the hypotheses are presented. In this section, it is stated that DNA is made up of subunits called nucleotides. Now we must look at the information provided in the question: AA represents amino acid, and N represents nucleotide.

The Essay

General Strategies for the ACT
Timing
Timing is of crucial importance on the ACT. Be sure to memorize the timing guidelines for each section of the test, as described in the Basic Strategy Outlines and Detailed Strategy Guides for each section. Time every section using a digital wristwatch. Use the stopwatch mode rather than the timer mode so that the numbers are counted up not down, and simply remember the number that indicates that time is up. By having the time go up rather than down, you can better time yourself according to the specific intervals indicated for each passage within a given section. Staying on pace, even at the expense of accuracy, should be your number one priority. Simply do not let yourself fall at all behind pace. By staying strictly on pace, you will eliminate one of the most common causes of a complete meltdown on a section of the test: running out of time. In order to stay on pace, you must be disciplined about not spending too much time on any one question.

Guessing
Because there is no “guessing penalty” on the ACT as there is on some other tests, such as the SAT, you should guess on every single problem. If you are ready to move on from a problem because you are not making progress on it, make certain to take a guess and bubble it in. Be sure to bubble in your guess even if you intend to come back to the problem later, in case you run out of time and do not have a chance to come back. When you guess, try to guess intelligently rather than randomly; eliminate the answers that cannot possibly be correct, and go with a hunch rather than always choosing the same letter. If you are running out of time towards the end of the section, make absolutely certain to leave time to fill in bubbles for the questions you do not get to. Because all ACT questions, except for those on the Mathematics Test, feature four answer choices, each question for which you randomly fill in a bubble (instead of leaving it blank) gains you, on average, 1/4 of a point. On the Mathematics Test, every question has five answer choices, so a random guess gains you, on average, 1/5 of a point.

Preparing
Many students believe that the ACT is some sort of IQ test that you cannot successfully prepare for. Such an opinion cannot be further from the truth. While it is undeniable that your intelligence is a factor in your success on the ACT, it is but one of many factors that contribute to your

score. Specifically, two other factors contribute enormously to your success on the ACT: your knowledge of the content covered and your familiarity with and understanding of the test. If you hope to do your best on the ACT, you must be committed to mastering the content that is covered on the test. The ACT features two content-based tests: Mathematics and English. Because these tests involve specific, learnable content, they are the two easiest tests to drastically improve your scores on. Learn the content, and watch your scores rise. To master the English Test, you must learn the grammatical rules featured on the test, how to recognize what rule(s) a given question is testing you on, and how to successfully apply the rule(s) to find the correct answer. To learn the concepts in greater depth, read and understand Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, available here: http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-Fourth-William-Strunk/dp/020530902. To master the Mathematics Test, you must learn all the mathematical concepts covered on the test, how the ACT tests you on these concepts in unfamiliar ways, and how the ACT tries to trick you on certain types of questions. Begin by making sure you understand all the concepts discussed in the AnswerExplanations.com Math Content Pages. For extra practice on certain topics, consult the relevant sections of a high school mathematics textbook. The resources described above are invaluable in your quest for content mastery; however, the single most important resource for mastering the content on the ACT is actual ACTs. The Real ACT Prep Guide, produced by the makers of the test, is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Real-ACT-3rdPrep-Guide/dp/0768934400/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326425725&sr=1-1. This guide features 5 real ACT’s along with high quality answer explanations. Not only should you take each of these tests under timed conditions, but you should also master every math and English question you missed before moving on to the next test. Use the explanations in the book to gain a complete understanding of these missed problems. Taking practice tests is great, but the real learning occurs when you go back to the test to carefully examine your mistakes. The key to achieving a top score is having a mental commitment to never making the same mistake twice. Another real ACT can be found in the Preparing for the ACT booklet, which is likely available from your guidance counselor and is also available here: http://www.act.org/aap/pdf/preparing.pdf. You can find answer explanations for this test on AnswerExplanations.com, here. Finally, you can get an invaluable study resource by taking the April (national administration), June, and December ACTs. These tests offer you the option of purchasing the Test Information Release (TIR), which gives you a copy of the test you took, a list of the correct answers, and a list of your answers. You can find answer explanations for these tests on AnswerExplanations.com, here. Be careful about taking the test before you are ready, just to get the TIR, since some colleges and universities ask to see all your ACT scores. However, the vast majority of colleges and universities allow you to show only the scores you choose to submit. If all your prospective schools fall into this category, go ahead and take it just for practice. In general,

avoid taking tests created by third-party test preparation companies, as these tests are often of dubious quality do not always accurately represent the content covered on the test.

In addition to mastering the content covered on the ACT, you must gain a familiarity with and understanding of the test. This familiarity will help you on all sections, content-based or not, and can be gained by taking practice tests from the resources described above. After taking a practice test, reflect on what went right and what went wrong. Examine any question you missed using answer explanations on this site or in the book to understand why your answer is wrong, why the correct answer is right, and where you went wrong. Look for tendencies of the test, and develop a good “feel” for right and wrong answers. Consider what strategies you need to concentrate on in order to navigate the test more effectively. Become an ACT expert.

Test Week
The week of the test, make sure you get on a regular sleep schedule in which you are going to bed early and waking up early. Getting on such a schedule will make it easier to get a good night sleep the night before the test, and getting very little sleep even a few nights before the test can have you still not functioning at your best on test day. The night before the test, make sure you eat a nutritious dinner and hydrate adequately. Get to bed at a reasonably hour, but do not go to bet so early that you risk not falling asleep.

Test Morning
On the morning of the test, wake up early enough that you can do everything you need to do at a leisurely pace, not a rushed pace; an extra 15 minutes of sleep is not worth setting a frenzied pace for the day. The least popular, but perhaps most important, piece of advice for the morning of the test is to go for a run (or get some other form of cardiovascular exercise) when you wake up. The run can be short – 5 minutes is probably enough if the run is extremely intense – but it should be enough to get you breathing hard and to get your heart rate elevated. Getting your blood flowing in this way not only wakes up your body – it also wakes up your brain. As anyone who has had an early-morning sports practice can attest, early morning exercise will have you much more awake at 8 AM than you would be otherwise.

Be sure to eat a good breakfast. Eat something with a high fat and protein content and a low sugar and simple carbohydrate content. In other words, eat bacon and eggs, not pancakes and syrup. Sugar and simple carbs will cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop, so you will have tons of energy one moment and zero energy the next. A breakfast high in protein and fat will keep your blood sugar more even through the test, keeping your energy levels more consistent. Do not eat so much that you feel stuffed, but eat enough to give you energy through the morning. Make sure you adequately hydrate, but don’t drink so much water that you have to use the restroom during the test. If you are a regular (daily or near daily) coffee drinker, drink a cup of coffee, but do not drink too much, as you do not want to be over-caffeinated. If you are not a regular coffee drinker, avoid coffee, as it will likely make you jittery. However, a cup of black tea might be a good idea. Caffeine is proven to speed up brain processes, and the amount of caffeine in a cup of tea is unlikely to make you jittery. However, use your best judgment and your knowledge of how caffeine affects you personally when deciding whether and how to caffeinate. Avoid energy drinks and energy shots, as they are typically far stronger than you want on test day. If you are on a prescription for ADD or ADHD, avoid caffeine, as your medication is likely already a stimulant. Make sure you leave for the test center with time to spare so you do not have to stress about being late. Make sure you bring your test ticket, your ID, several number 2 pencils, a graphing calculator with working batteries, and a digital wristwatch THAT IS COMPLETELY SILENT to time yourself. Also bring a non-sugary snack for during the break. You may not want it, but if you are hungry you will be glad you brought it. If you feel that you might need a pick-me-up, bring a beverage with a MODEST amount of caffeine to drink during the break. Again, avoid energy drinks and energy shots. Also avoid sugary beverages. An unsweetened or diet iced tea or a diet caffeinated soda could be appropriate. Bring a jacket in cast the test center is cold. When you get to the test center, it is wise to use the restroom so you don’t have to go in the middle of the test.

Test Day Mentality
When you take the test, you should be calm yet intensely focused. You do not want to be too calm and nonchalant about the test, or you will not be working your hardest. On the other hand, you do not want to be too intense, or your intensity could turn into panic. Go into the test expecting to feel a bit nervous; that way when you do feel those nerves, you will not panic in response to them. When you feel that little bit of nervousness, use it to your advantage. Use it to think a little harder, pay more attention to details, and generally do more brain processes per minute than you could do if you didn’t have that adrenaline to push you on.

Also make sure you take the test one section at a time and one problem at a time, while making certain, of course, to always stay on pace. Do not worry about rough stretches you may have already experienced or difficult sections that you know are coming up. Before the test, you should anticipate that you WILL have rough stretches; that way, when those rough stretches occur, they will not faze you or cause you to deviate from the strategies you have learned and practiced. Even top scorers usually experience what they consider to be rough stretches; when you experience these stretches, put them out of your mind, and worry about getting the next problem right.

ACT English Detailed Strategy Guide
ACT Format and Timing:
The ACT English section consists of 5 passages featuring 15 questions each, for a total of 75 questions to be completed in 45 minutes. You have exactly 9 minutes per passage, so be certain to stay on the good side of a 9 minute per passage pace. For instance, after 27 minutes have elapsed, you must be moving on from the third passage. Although the English section features the least time per question of any section on the ACT, it is also, for many students, the easiest section for staying on pace. Because you can work more accurately if you use nearly all the time given, you should make sure you are not completing the passages in significantly less than 9 minutes. For instance, if you are completing the passages in 7 minutes, you should probably slow down a bit.

Overview
The ACT English Test is designed to test your usage/mechanics and rhetorical skills. It is a test of the rules of formal, written English, and it should be treated as such. In other words, you should treat it as the rule-based test that it is, learning to break down the questions in terms of the grammatical rules they are testing you on instead of merely relying on your ear. If you are a native English speaker, you are likely to get many questions correct simply by using your ear, but learning to take a rule-based approach will ultimately allow you to be much more accurate. In order to effectively implement a rule-based approach to the English section, you should learn any grammatical rules you do not know. The English content pages listed below offer an outline of many of the most important rules that are covered on this test. These pages are not, however, comprehensive. A more in-depth explanation of the rules of formal written English can be found in Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, found here:http://www.amazon.com/Elements-StyleFourth-William-Strunk/dp/020530902X. In addition to knowing the rules of formal written English, you must be able to recognize what rule or rules a given question is testing you on, or you will be

unable to apply your knowledge of the rules. This recognition is best attained by a careful examination of the nature of what is underlined and differences between the answer choices. Finally, it is important to recognize the situations in which your ear is a valuable or essential tool and the situations in which it is likely to get you in trouble. Your ear is not a worthless tool, but it is a flawed tool. Knowing when you can and cannot trust your ear is essential.

Strategy
The basic strategy on the English Test is to read the passage until you get to an underlined portion that indicates a possible error. When you get to an underlined portion, you should always finish reading the sentence before attempting to answer the question. Finishing the sentence that contains the underlined portion, even when you think you know the answer before doing so, will prevent you from making careless errors, since the sentences commonly take unexpected turns after the underlined portion that affect what the correct answer should be. If there is a large portion of the text that does not contain an underlined portion, you should read it anyway, since you will often be asked to answer questions that rely on an understanding of the passage as a whole. Never be afraid to choose the “NO CHANGE” option; this answer choice is correct just about its fair share (1/4) of the time. If a question features “OMIT the underlined portion” or “DELETE the underlined portion,” you should seriously consider this option, as it is correct nearly half the time it is offered. Be careful, however, not to overplay this tendency by carelessly choosing this option. Be particularly careful on questions that feature the words “EXCEPT,” “NOT,” or “LEAST.” These words reverse what you are looking for in your answer, and they constitute the single biggest cause of careless errors on the English Test. To reduce the probability of making a careless error on one of these questions, it is wise to circle the “EXCEPT,” “NOT,” or “LEAST.” Another cause of unnecessary mistakes is students rushing through certain types of rhetorical skills questions that simply take longer than the average question to answer. The majority of questions on this test, including almost all grammatical questions, are fairly quick. Because of this, students get into a certain rhythm, and they subconsciously want every question to conform to this rhythm. Therefore, they are prone to rushing through certain types of questions that simply take longer than average without even realizing it. These types of questions that take longer than most involve arranging the sentences within a paragraph, arranging the paragraphs within the passage, deciding where to place a certain sentence within a paragraph, deciding on a proposed addition to or deletion from a passage, judging what the passage would lose if a certain deletion were made, or answering questions regarding the purpose of the passage. On these types of questions, consciously slow down and make sure to take the time (within the constraints of the time limit) to be as certain as possible of your answer.

One specific type of question that is worthy of mention in a general discussion of ACT English strategy is the purpose question. On purpose questions, you are given the option of four different sentences or parts of sentences and asked which one would best accomplish a stated purpose. It is crucial on purpose questions to pay primary attention to the stated purpose and minimal attention to the context, unless of course the purpose itself is somehow dependent upon the context. Many students make the mistake of reading each of the options in the context to see which one sounds best or which one they would use. Often, by doing so, they end up with an answer that sounds great in the context but is incorrect because it fails to accomplish the stated purpose. Rather than considering which one sounds best or which one you would use, simply choose the option that best accomplishes the stated purpose. When in doubt, choose the option that contains the most specific language, as these options are correct high percentage of the time.

How to Study Missed Questions
When studying questions you have missed on the English Test, you should attempt to determine why you missed the question so you can avoid making a similar mistake in the future. Grammatical questions are often missed because students did not know a rule or because they did not recognize what rule they were being tested on. If you missed a question because you did not know a rule, learn it. The content pages below should be helpful in doing so. If you missed a question because you did not recognize what rule you were being tested on, learn to recognize the rule you are being tested on based on the structure of the question and the differences in the answer choices. Of course, knowing a rule and recognizing that you are being tested on it are of limited use if you do not use the rule to carefully analyze the question. Sometimes students miss questions when they know the rule and realize they are being tested on it simply because they get lazy and do not apply the rule. If you suspect that you missed a question for this reason, you must work on being more disciplined in always applying the rules rather than relying on your ear. You can achieve your best results on the English Test by applying the rules every time without fail, even on questions that appear easy at first glance.

ACT Mathematics Detailed Strategy Guide
ACT Format:
60 questions in 60 minutes, progressing from easier to more difficult.

ACT Timing:
Because the questions go from easier to more difficult, timing is more complicated than simply staying on a one minute per question pace. How you should time the Mathematics Test depends largely upon the score you are hoping to get. If you are hoping to score in the high 20s or better, you should plan on finishing the entire test. To make this happen, do the first 30 problems in no more than 20-25 minutes, leaving 35-40 minutes for the more difficult last 30. If, however, you are hoping to score in the mid-20s or below, it is not as important to get to every problem, as there will be many problems towards the end of the test that you simply do not know how to do. Therefore, your best bet is to work through the first 30 problems at a pace that allows you to be accurate, while still making sure you do not spend too much time on any one problem. Although doing so might leave you with only 25-30 minutes for the last 30, that is OK. On the last 30, pick your battles. You may not have time to attempt every problem, but that is OK since you would not know how to do every problem anyway. Therefore, take your best attempt at the problems you know how to do, and take educated guesses on the other problems. Make certain that you have an answer down for every problem before time is up, even if it is a complete guess. No matter the score you are trying to get, the single most important time management strategy on the ACT Mathematics Test is to not let any one problem take up too much of your time.

The Challenge
In order to be successful on the Mathematics Test, it is essential to recognize what the primary challenge of the test consists of. The math covered on the ACT is not difficult; very few concepts tested go beyond what is covered in a typical curriculum of Geometry and Algebra 2. Furthermore, the problems are computationally easy, frequently featuring easy numbers that work out very nicely. The challenge, therefore, lies not in the doing of the math. Instead, the challenge lies in figuring out what math to do.

It can be challenging for a number of reasons to figure out what math to do. For one, the ACT Mathematics Test tests you on a wider range of topics than any test you have likely taken before. Secondly, the ACT Mathematics Test features a high percentage of word problems, which naturally make it more difficult to figure out what math to do. Finally, the ACT tests you on familiar topics in unfamiliar ways in an attempt to confuse students. For instance, the ACT’s two favorite ways of making the familiar appear unfamiliar are putting variables were you are used to seeing numbers and having you solve an equation “backwards,” solving for one of the items that is typically a given. If you recognize that figuring out what math to do is the primary challenge of the test, you can take a more informed approach. You can assume that most problems are very doable even if they do not appear to be at first glance, and you can concentrate your efforts on figuring out what math to do.

Take Time to Think
Unless you are 100% certain how to do a problem as soon as you see it, be sure to think before you start doing math. Come up with a plan for the problem that you are fairly certain will work, so you can avoid doing unnecessary math. Because it is a timed test, many students do not want to “waste time thinking.” When they see a problem, they want to start doing math right away, so they immediately begin scribbling away or punching numbers into their calculators. If you take this approach, the problem is that you will often realize after 45 seconds or so that the work you have been doing is not going to lead to the answer. This leaves you with a tough choice: spend even more time on the problem to try to figure out a better approach, or simply guess and move on. You likely could have avoided this situation altogether by taking the time to think before you began doing math. Had you thought about your approach to the problem before doing it, you may have been able to realize after 10 seconds of thought that your first instinct was not going to work. This would have given you ample time to think about other possible approaches before settling on one that seemed like it would work. Although it goes against all instincts to “waste” time thinking on a timed test, doing so will actually save you time in addition to increasing your accuracy. When thinking about how to do a problem, consider the general type of problem and any tricks, tactics, or formulas that are often helpful on problems of this type. Think about how you might use what you know creatively to solve the problem. If a problem seems weird, it is useful to think about why it seems weird. Two of the most common tricks the ACT uses to make problems seem weird, as mentioned above, are putting variables were you are used to seeing numbers and having you solve an equation “backwards,” solving for one of the items that is typically a given. If a problem features variables where you are used to seeing numbers, do not panic; instead, do exactly what you would do if the variables were numbers. If a problem is having you solve for something that you

are not used to solving for, consider any relevant equations you know. Set up an equation with the unknown as a variable, and simply use algebra to solve.

Really Hard Problems
Sometimes you will encounter problems that you are unlikely to be able to get no matter how long you spend thinking about them. On these problems, the most important thing is to not let them take up too much of your time. However, before writing a difficult problem off completely, you should consider three alternative methods to solving it.

1)

Plugging in Answer Choices.

On most problems that have you solve for specific value, you can get the correct answer simply by plugging in answers until you get one that works. When using this strategy, always start with the middle answer choice. If it does not work, you will usually know if you need a larger or smaller value, which will limit you to a maximum of three attempts before finding the correct answer.

2)

Graphing it on Your Calculator.

Anything that can be solved algebraically can also be solved graphically. If you are uncomfortable with the algebraic method, graphing can be of great way of solving the problem. See TI tutorial.

3)

Using Your Own Numbers.

This method is particularly useful on problems that have one or more variables in both the question and the answer choices. Substitute your own numbers for the variables in the question, making certain that they work with any conditions in the question. Then substitute the same numbers for the variables in the answer choices to see which one or ones work. Be careful; just because one answer choice works for the numbers you used does not mean it is necessarily the correct answer. It is possible that more than one answer choice will work coincidentally based on the specific numbers you chose. Therefore, when using this strategy, you must try all the answer choices, relying on process of elimination to eliminate answer choices that do not work. If more than one answer choice works, repeat the process for those answer choices using different numbers. To reduce the probability of more than one answer choice coincidentally working, avoid using the numbers -2, -1, 0, 1, and 2. If none of these three methods seems like it will work for solving a problem you don’t know how to do, you should quickly guess and move on. Put a mark next to the question in your test booklet so that you can go back if you have time at the end of the section, but make certain you have a guess

bubbled in before moving on in case you do not have a chance to go back. When guessing, do not guess randomly; guess intelligently. Go with a hunch, choose an answer that seems to make sense, or attempt to estimate it visually if it is a geometry problem with a diagram. If you have nothing else to go by, at least choose the answer choice that seems to have the most in common with the most other answer choices.

Avoid Careless Errors
Avoiding careless errors is one of the most important skills on the ACT Mathematics Test. On the ACT, your answer is either right or it is wrong, and unlike in many math classes, you receive zero points for process or showing your work. Because it is all or nothing on a given question, you must make as certain as possible that careless errors do not prevent you from getting points on questions you know how to do. However, because it is a timed test, you cannot simply work at a painstakingly slow pace, double checking all your work as you go in order to avoid careless errors. Such a strategy probably would limit your careless errors, but it would also make it extremely difficult to finish the test. Instead, use the three strategies of avoiding careless errors listed below.

1)

Make sure you answer what the question is asking.

Although this may seem obvious, many careless errors are caused by students failing to answer the question. Specifically on word problems, it is easy to lose track of what the question is asking while you are doing your math. Often, this results in an answer that is one step away from the correct answer. For instance, it would be easy to get so caught up in doing trigonometry to find the height of the building that you forget that the question was asking not for the height of the building but instead for how much taller the building is than the 50 foot tree across the street. Similarly, it would be easy on a problem in which you use a system of equations to find how many rows are in a garden to answer how many plants are in each row instead of how many rows are in the garden. One way to avoid making this type of mistake is to take note while reading a problem of situations in which it would be easy to answer something other than what the question is asking. However, if you are particularly prone to this type of error, your best bet is probably to read the last sentence of any word problem one more time as you are getting ready to choose your answer.

2)

Make sure your answer makes sense.

This one probably seems pretty obvious as well, but students frequently choose incorrect answers that don’t make a bit of sense. Most importantly, your answer should make sense in terms of your general number intuition for what seems like a reasonable answer. Many mistakes that you can make result in an answer that is way off. If you consider whether your answer makes sense, you will

recognize that something is off and go back and check your work. Your answer also must make sense in terms of the situation. If the question is asking how many gallons of water are needed to fill a swimming pool, and your calculations yield an answer of 4, you can bet that you did something wrong, so you should go back and check your work. Finally, answers to geometry questions on which you are given a diagram must make sense visually, since all diagrams are drawn to scale, as discussed below.

3) Look out for situations in which you could see yourself making a careless error.
While you do not have time to work slowly on every step of every problem, you should selectively slow down in situations where you could see yourself making a mistake. Recognize the situations in which you can work quickly without increasing your chances of a mistake, and recognize the situations in which you are likely to make an error if you are not extremely careful. Some of these situations are fairly universal. For instance, just about everybody should slow down a little bit when distributing a negative number to every term in a polynomial, since it would be easy to mess up one of your negatives. Other situations are going to be more personal; learn to recognize the types of problems or algebraic steps on which you tend to make careless errors, and slow down in these situations.

All Figures are Drawn to Scale
The directions of the Mathematics Test state “Illustrative figures are NOT necessarily drawn to scale.” However, a careful observation of many ACTs has yielded zero figures that are not drawn to scale. Therefore, you can safely assume that figures are drawn to scale. The warning from the directions is likely just a disclaimer in case they mess one up. Use the fact that figures are drawn to scale to your advantage. For one, use the diagrams to check your work. If you get an answer that doesn’t look right visually, you should probably reconsider your answer. You can also use the diagram to take a good guess on any geometry problem you don’t know how to do. By visually estimating the lengths of segments and the measures of angles, you can often get the answer down to one or two choices without knowing anything about how to solve the problem. When attempting to estimate an area, if you know the relevant area formula but are unable to find one of the lengths you need to plug into the formula, estimate the unknown length and calculate the area using the formula rather than attempting to directly estimate the area. Doing so should result in a much more accurate estimate, since it is much easier to estimate length than area.

How to Study Missed Math Problems
Figure out why you missed the problem and determine how you can avoid making a similar mistake in the future. Math problems are typically missed because you did not know how to do the math, because you did not recognize that you knew how to do the math, because you did not answer what the question was asking, or because you made an arithmetic error. If you did not know how to do the problem, learn how to, unless it is a problem that is way beyond your current ability, in which case it may not be necessary to learn in order to get a score you will be happy with. Unless you are going for a near perfect score on math, it is unnecessary to learn every bit of math that could appear on the test, so you should prioritize what math you do learn. Concentrate first on learning the math that you have known how to do at some point in the past but are simply rusty on, as these concepts will be easier to learn. Concentrate as well on the concepts that come up the most frequently on the test. If you did not recognize that the problem could be solved using math you know how to do, learn how to recognize similar problems in the future. If you did not answer what the question was asking, commit yourself to answering what the questions are asking next time you take a test. If you made a computational error, slow down when doing similar computations so you can avoid making the same mistake in the future. When studying a math problem, try to understand it on a conceptual level. In other words, you should not be content merely to memorize the steps needed to get the correct answer. Instead, you should strive to understand why these steps make sense as a process for solving the problem. By understanding how a problem is solved on a conceptual level, you will be much more likely to be able to adapt the process to solve similar problems rather than having to learn each variation as though it is a completely new problem.

ACT Reading Detailed Strategy Guide
ACT Format:
The ACT Reading Test consists of 40 questions to be answered in 35 minutes, divided into 4 passages of 10 questions each. Passage I is always Prose Fiction, Passage II is always Social Science, Passage III is always Humanities, and Passage IV is always Natural Science.

ACT Timing:
Technically, you have 8 minutes and 45 seconds per passage. However, 8:45 is too impractical a number to use for your timing purposes. Instead, use the approximation of 9 minutes. Force yourself very strictly to stay on the good side of a 9 minute per passage pace. For example, after two passages, make sure no more than 18 minutes have elapsed. Nine minutes per passage will actually leave you with only 8 minutes for the last one, but 8 minutes is a reasonable amount of time. If you find that one of the four subjects tends to be significantly easier for you, consider saving this one till last as your 8 minute passage. Stay on this pace even if doing so means not spending as much time as you would ideally like on certain questions.

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Basics
Read a passage (including the italicized blurb at the beginning) and then answer the corresponding questions, going back to the text as needed while making certain to stay on pace. Reading the questions before reading the passage is not a good idea because it is tough to keep 10 questions in your head while reading something and because the nature of the questions is fairly predictable anyway.

How to Read

When thinking about how to read the passages, it is important to make a distinction between the Prose Fiction passage and the other three passages. While the Social Science, Humanities (usually), and Natural Science passages deal with very different subjects, they share in common that they are fact-based and tend to read like short essays. Therefore, you can read these three passages using the same techniques. The Prose Fiction, on the other hand, is a fictional excerpt from a novel or short story, so it requires a different technique. Occasionally (about ¼ of the time), a Humanities passage reads more like a story than an essay. When this is the case, recognize it quickly and switch your reading strategy to the Prose Fiction strategy.

Factual Passages: Social Science, Humanities, Natural Science
On the three factual passages, Social Science, Humanities, and Natural Science, you should focus your reading on gaining an understanding of the main point or author’s purpose. Although understanding the main point is always crucial when you read something factual, it is of particular importance on this test. Many of the questions deal directly with the main point, and many of the ones that do not can be answered without going back to the passage with nothing more than a good knowledge of the main point. The second most important thing to get is a sense of what is located where, to enable you to quickly locate the relevant portion of the passage when you need to go back to the passage to find an answer. The third most important thing to get is a sense of the author’s tone, his attitude towards his subject. To gain a sense of the tone, look for the little judgment words that show the author’s attitude towards his subject. A useful oversimplification is to think of tone as a sliding scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being completely negative, 10 being completely positive, and 5 being neutral. Do not worry about remembering every detail when you read the passage, since you can refer back to the passage if a question asks you about a detail you do not remember and since paying too much attention to little details can sometimes obscure rather than enhance your understanding of the main point. In order to accomplish the purpose described above, you should use the common structural elements of factual writing as your guide. These elements include introductory paragraphs, thesis statements, and topic sentences. Begin by reading the italicized blurb. Although this blurb might not contain anything useful, it often does contain useful information that provides hints as to the main point. When you read the first paragraph, you should be actively thinking about the main point. Be on the lookout for a possible thesis statement, especially in the first and last sentences of the first paragraph. Although there is not always an explicitly stated thesis, you want to make certain that you find it if it is there, as it will make reading and understanding the rest of the passage much easier. Whether or not you found a thesis statement, at the end of the first paragraph you should attempt to make a conscious prediction about the main point of the passage. When you read each of the remaining paragraphs, your goal is to gain an understanding of the main point of the paragraph. However, do not think about the main point of the paragraph as if the paragraph existed on its own; instead think about the main point of the paragraph as it relates to the

overall main point of the passage. In other words, consider how each paragraph helps the author develop his or her main point. Sometimes, each paragraph fits very nicely into your predicted main point. Other times, you will need to adjust your understanding of the main point in response to a paragraph. Read each paragraph more carefully until you feel like you have an excellent understanding of what it is about and how it helps support the author’s main point. If there is a textbook topic sentence, the topic sentence might be all you need to gain such an understanding. Many times, however, there will not be a textbook topic sentence, so you will have to read further into the paragraph before you attain this understanding. Once you feel comfortable with what the paragraph is about and how it helps develop the main point of the passage, you can speed up your reading a bit, since the rest of the paragraph will consist mainly of supporting details. This is not to say that you should skim the rest of the paragraph, but simply that you can speed up a bit, since you do not need to remember every detail. At the end of each paragraph, it is wise to take two seconds to do a quick comprehension check; confirm that you understood the passage, and think of a word or two to remember it by before moving on. By the time you get to the end of the passage, you should have an understanding of the overall main point and how each paragraph helps to develop that main point.

Prose Fiction
On the Prose Fiction, you should read with an emphasis on the narrative elements of characters, plot, and setting. The questions tend to emphasize characters more than the other two elements, so you should focus your attention on the characters. Pay particular attention to their motives, their feelings, and their interpersonal relationships. It is sometimes useful to circle a character’s name whenever that character is introduced for the first time. Although characterization tends to be the most important element on the Prose Fiction, you also do need to pick up on the important elements of plot and setting.

Speed
Reading the passage quickly is obviously better than reading it slowly. However, making certain that you understand the passage is far more important than being fast. It is always worth spending an extra 30 seconds reading if that 30 seconds means the difference between getting it and not getting it. Typically, when a student has one terrible passage that ruins his entire reading score, it is because he did not take the time to understand the passage. This is not to say that you need to read the passage so carefully that you can remember every detail. However, you should feel comfortable with the content of the passage by the time you are done reading. Instead of allotting certain amount of time to the reading of the passage, shoot for a certain level of understanding and spend the time you need to achieve that level of understanding. This time will likely vary from

passage the passage. The more difficult you find the passage, the more you should slow down your reading to make sure you get it. Although understanding the passage is far more important than being fast, as a general guideline, reading the passage in 3 minutes or less is very good, 3.5 minutes is decent, and anything over 4 minutes is going to leave you with minimal time for the questions. If you find it undoable to stay on pace on the Reading Test, see the Not Enough Time section below.

Addressing the Questions
Once you have read the passage, you are ready to address the questions.

Always Read Every Answer Choice Before Making a Decision to go Back to the Passage
Sometimes, when you read a question and do not know the answer off the top of your head, it is tempting to go back to the passage right away before reading the answer choices, especially if you are given a line reference in the question. However, doing so is not a good idea. Instead, you should read the answer choices first, using process of elimination to eliminate the answers you know are incorrect. One reason to consult the answer choices before looking back in the passage is that sometimes you will surprise yourself by getting the answer correct based simply on process of elimination; even though you didn’t know the answer to the question off the top of your head, three of the answer choices were obviously incorrect. More importantly, even when you are not able to narrow it down to one answer choice based on process of elimination, you will likely be able to eliminate one or two of the answer choices. Therefore, if you do end up going back to the text, you will be going back to use the text to help you choose between two or three options that you have already read. If you go back to the text without having read your options, you are forced instead to make meaning on your own, which is more difficult than choosing between two or three known options. The one and only exception to this rule is the vocabulary in context question, on which you are asked the meaning of a word “as it is used in line…” On this type of question, you should consult the passage before looking at any of your answer choices. Doing so will enable you to think clearly about how the word is used in the context without your judgment being affected by the answer choices. Be careful, since this type of question often features an uncommon secondary definition of a word.

Pick Your Battles
Unless you are an incredibly fast reader, it is unlikely that you will have time to hold yourself to a standard of certainty on every question. You will simply not be able to consult the passage on every question on which you have the least bit of uncertainty. Therefore, you must be selective about

when to go back to the passage. When deciding whether you can afford to go back on a given question, you should consider three factors. One, how are you doing for time? If you are ahead of pace, you will be able to go back more frequently than if you are simply on pace. If you are at all behind pace, you should almost never go back. Two, how likely are you to get the question correct if you do not go back? If you feel like your instinct has an 80% likelihood of being correct, you should be much less likely to go back than if you feel like your guess would be a random 25% chance. Three, how long is it going to take you to go back on this question? You should be much more likely to go back if there is a line reference and if you know that a quick 15 second glance is all you need to be certain of the answer than if you have no idea where to look within the passage or if you would have to look in a different place for each of the answer choices. The most common way that students misplay this strategy is spending too much time going back to make certain of the answers to early questions in a passage, leaving inadequate time for the last few questions of the passage before they must be moving on. To reduce the probability of this occurring, be particularly cautious about spending time going back on the early questions of the passage. If one of the early questions is going to take a particularly long time to go back on, you are probably better off guessing, even if your guess is completely random. After bubbling in a guess, put a mark next to the question, so that if you do have time at the end of the passage before you must be moving on to the next passage, you can go back with the knowledge of exactly how much time you have. If you do not end up with time to go back to this question, take comfort in the fact that guessing on that one question may have given you time to answer two others correctly. If you do misplay this strategy and end up in a situation where you have 1 minute before you must be moving on to the next passage and four questions left, give yourself 15 seconds per question. This is enough time to read the question, read the answer choices, and go with your first instinct. Doing this on four questions is a much better use of your time than doing a more careful job on one question and having to guess randomly on three or, worse yet, allowing yourself to fall behind pace.

Be Smart With Your Answers
Because every answer can be found in the passage, it is easy to get tunnel vision and forget to use anything other than the passage in choosing your answers. However, the passage is not the only tool at your disposal. ACT passages tend not to contain false information, so you can feel pretty safe answering a question based on your own knowledge, even if you do not remember it being stated in the text. In addition to your prior knowledge, you should use your common sense; if an answer choice seems unlikely or unreasonable, it probably is not correct. Also, look out for answer choices that simply do not answer the question. Make certain your answers are consistent with each other and with the main point of the passage. If you are given the opportunity to choose an answer that sounds a lot like another answer you previously chose, there is a good chance it is correct. As you gain familiarity with the ACT Reading Test, try to develop a sense of what “sounds” like a good ACT answer and what does not.

Things to Look Out for in Incorrect Answers
The ACT loves incorrect answer choices that are half right and half wrong. If any part of the answer choice is incorrect, the answer choice can be eliminated. Watch out for an answer choice that is incorrect because it puts the wrong name with the wrong thing. This is particularly dangerous when the passage discusses several people, none of whom you have ever heard of before. Some incorrect answer choices subtly state the exact opposite of what is correct by changing one crucial word, like swapping “larger” for “smaller.” If an answer could reasonably be considered insulting to any group or individual, it is unlikely to be correct. Correct answers can be negative towards groups or individuals, but they tend to at least be respectful. The ACT tends not to have correct answers that are the least bit negative towards traditionally disadvantaged groups such as women and minorities. Avoid answers that would not be considered politically correct. Some incorrect answer choices use language from the passage but misrepresent the meaning of that language. For instance, if the passage said, “Jason likes reading books about race cars,” an incorrect answer might say, “Jason likes reading books and driving race cars.” This is not to say that an answer is less likely to be correct simply because it features language from the text; whether or not an answer contains language from the text should give you no evidence as to the correctness of the answer. Be careful to match meaning rather than matching words. Many incorrect answers feature the use of absolute language. Absolute language is language that offers no room for exceptions, including words such as “always,” “never,” “all,” “none,” “entirely,” and “invariably.” This type of language is rarely featured in correct answers, since the ACT wants correct answers that cannot be argued with. Absolute statements are easy to argue with, since all that is needed to disprove an absolute statement is one counterexample. Absolute statements form particularly dangerous incorrect answers because they often go in the exact same direction as the passage; however, it is a question of magnitude, not direction, as these absolute statements usually go further than what can be substantiated by the passage. Although absolute language is found on rare occasions in a correct answer, it is uncommon enough that you should hold yourself to a higher standard of certainty before choosing an answer that contains absolute language.

Characteristics of Correct Answers
As discussed above, correct answers tend not to feature absolute language, since absolute statements are so easy to argue against. Taking this concept one step further, you should be wary of any answer choice that seems like it is making to bold the statement or is perhaps going a little

too far even if it does not contain absolute language. Correct answers tend to be those that are impossible to argue with, and the less an answer choice says, the less there is for anybody to find fault with. Therefore, correct answer choices tend to be weak, vague, and non-committing. You are not looking for the most correct answer but instead for the least wrong answer, not the answer that is correct because it says so much good stuff but the answer that is correct because you can’t argue with it. Choose answer choices that make general statements rather than ones that attempt to specify too many details. If you have a question narrowed down to two answer choices but it sounds like they are saying the same thing, one of them is probably saying a little bit less and the other a little bit more. Choose the one that is saying less.

Not Enough Time
This section is specifically for students who cannot seem to finish the Reading Test. Most frequently, this is the result of a student’s slower than average reading speed. Below are two strategies that can help you survive the Reading Test if you fall into this category.

Don’t Read, Skim
If it takes you over 4 minutes to read a passage, you can buy yourself time by skimming the passage instead of reading it. To be clear, the type of skim recommended here does not involve simply trying to read the whole passage really fast, as this would result in a complete lack of comprehension. Instead, it involves selectively reading the parts of the passage that are likely to be the most important. As discussed above, on factual passages your goal is to gain an understanding of the main point, the tone, and what is located where. To gain this knowledge without having to read the whole passage, begin by reading the italicized blurb. Then, read the entire first paragraph, unless it is extremely long, in which case you should only read its first few sentences and last few sentences. While reading the first paragraph, try to quickly identify the author’s main point. Look out for a possible thesis statement. Whether or not you found a thesis statement, make a conscious prediction about the main point by the time you finish the first paragraph. In the remaining paragraphs, read only until you feel like you understand what the paragraph is about and how it supports the main point. Once you have achieved this understanding, skip the rest of the paragraph and move on to the next. If a paragraph has a perfect topic sentence, the topic sentence is likely all you will need to read. Sometimes, you will need to read two or three sentences, and in the case of particularly difficult paragraphs, you may need to read the whole thing. Make sure to read the last sentence of the entire passage, as this sentence often provides an important conclusion. Skimming the passage in this way instead of reading every word should cut your reading time in half while still providing you with most of the information you need to be successful on the questions. On the Prose Fiction passage, there is not as much that you can do to save time, since the structure of a

fictional excerpt is not as predictable as the structure of an essay. Therefore, you cannot as easily guess which parts you need to read. Assume that you will likely need to read all or most of the Prose Fiction passage, but when you are reading it, save time by skipping over any parts that seem unimportant.

Do 3 Instead of 4
If the skimming technique described above is unsuccessful for you, you might consider focusing your attention on three of the four passages and randomly filling in bubbles on the fourth. If you choose to employ this strategy, you should give yourself 11 minutes each for two of the passages and 12 minutes for one of the passages, which leaves you with 1 minute to randomly fill in bubbles on the fourth passage. If you can achieve an average of 9 out of 10 questions correct on each of the three passages you attempt, you will likely score in the upper 20s. If you can achieve an average of 8 out of 10 questions correct on each of the three passages you attempt, you will likely score in the mid 20s. Remember that you can expect to get an average of 2.5 questions correct on the passage you guess randomly on, so it is of crucial importance to make sure you have a chance to fill in bubbles on the fourth passage. When employing this strategy, make sure that the passage you choose to guess randomly on is the one that typically gives you the most trouble.

How to Study Missed Reading Problems
Figure out why you missed the problem so you can avoid making a similar mistake in the future. On the Reading Test, some missed problems are much worse than others. If you missed a problem because it would have been extremely time consuming to have gone back to the passage to find the answer and you decided instead to guess to make sure you stay on pace, it was probably a “good miss.” Your decision not to go back to the passage likely enabled you to stay on pace and have time for more than one question you may not have gotten to otherwise. Getting fooled by one of the ACT’s common tricks, such as putting the wrong name with the wrong thing or using words from the passage but misrepresenting their meaning, is a worse miss, as you should learn to look out for these traps. The worst misses are those involving answer choices that could have been avoided even with a minimal knowledge of the passage, such as answers that feature absolute language, those that are contrary to common sense, those that are insulting to a group or individual, and those that simply do not answer the question. You must learn to recognize and avoid any such answers. Similarly, a miss is a bad one if one of the answer choices should have been obviously correct even without a great knowledge of the passage. This frequently occurs when the correct answer is a “can’t be wrong” answer that is simply impossible to argue with. Learn to recognize and take advantage of these answers.

If you did extremely poorly on one passage (or more than one), the most likely cause is that you did not do a good enough job of reading the passage before attempting to answer the questions. If you missed four or more questions on a passage, it may be a good idea to attempt to redo the passage. Give yourself 9 minutes, and reread the passage and answer the questions, making certain to read the passage well enough to understand it.

ACT Science Detailed Strategy Guide
ACT Format:
40 questions in 35 minutes, divided into 7 passages of 5, 6, or 7 questions each. The test includes 3 Data Representation passages of 5 questions each, 3 Research Summary passages of 6 questions each, and one Conflicting Viewpoints passage that contains 7 questions.

ACT Timing:
You have an average of 5 minutes per passage. Never, under any circumstances, allow yourself to fall behind a 5 minute per passage pace. For instance, make certain that no more than 15 minutes have elapsed by the time you are moving on from the third passage. Stick to this pace even if it means having to guess on one or more problems along the way. In addition to making certain to stay on the good side of a 5 minute per passage pace, you should make every attempt to build up a small cushion from this pace. Ideally, you will be quick enough on one or more passages to get 1.5 – 2 minutes ahead of this pace so that you have a little bit more time for the Conflicting Viewpoints passage, which contains 7 questions and requires you to read.

Basics
The Science Test is the most unusual of the four tests on the ACT. Interestingly, it is not a Science Test at all. At least it is not a Science Test like any you have ever taken, since almost every question can be answered without any scientific knowledge based solely on information in the passage. Many times, you don’t even need to understand the information in the passage in order to get the question right; you simply need to line things up. If everything lines up correctly, you probably have the correct answer even if that answer has little meaning to you. A more accurate name for Science Test would be the Data Analysis Test. A more cynical, but also very accurate, name for the test would be the Lining Things Up Test. Of course, a good scientific background is helpful on this test, since a familiarity with the topics covered and a good understanding of experimental procedure can be useful on certain questions. However, do not make the mistake of thinking the Science Test is testing you on your scientific knowledge in any way. Although the vast majority of questions on the Science Test can be answered without any scientific knowledge, it is necessary to mention that each test typically includes between one and three questions that do require a bit of scientific knowledge. However, this knowledge is typically basic knowledge that would be taught in a middle school science class, such as knowing that a lower pH is associated with a more acidic solution.

On Data Representation and Research Summary passages, you should not waste any time reading the passage. Go straight to the first question, and refer to the passage to find the answer. Repeat this process for the other questions in the passage. On the Conflicting Viewpoints passage, you should read the passage and then answer the questions, much like you would do on a passage from the Reading Test.

Identifying the Passage Type
It is essential to be able to quickly and accurately identify the Conflicting Viewpoints passage since you should read this passage before answering the questions, while on the other passages, you should go immediately to the questions. The most reliable way of identifying the Conflicting Viewpoints passage is that it is the only passage that contains 7 questions. Another fairly reliable way of identifying it is that you will likely see labels such as “Hypothesis 1,” “Theory 1,” “Student 1,” or “Scientist 1.” Do not confuse these labels with those commonly found in Research Summary passages, such as “Experiment 1,” “Activity 1,” or “Procedure 1.” Do not count on recognizing the Conflicting Viewpoints passage based on the fact that it is all text. Although this passage is often all text, it sometimes includes figures, pictures, tables, or diagrams. Even when it includes portions that are not text, you should still read the passage before answering the questions. Conversely, you will occasionally see Research Summary passages that are entirely text. Even when this is the case, you should treat them like any other Research Summary passage and go directly to the questions, consulting the text for what you need when you need it. Distinguishing the Data Representation passages from the Research Summary passages is much less important than distinguishing the Conflicting Viewpoints passage, since these types of passages are very similar and call for the same strategy of going directly to the questions. The Data Representation passages can be identified because they contain 5 questions each. The Research Summary passages can be identified because they contain 6 questions each and because they usually contain labels such as “Experiment 1,” “Activity 1,” or “Procedure 1.” The only difference in the content between these two types of passages is that the Data Representation passages merely give you some data and ask you to make meaning of it whereas the Research Summary passages also discuss the procedure used to get the data.

Data Representation/Research Summary Passages
As mentioned above, the best strategy on these types of passages is to go straight to the questions without wasting time reading the passage. Going straight to the questions is the best strategy on

these passages because the questions tend to be very specific. On the Reading Test, it makes sense to read the passages first because a good understanding of the main point of the passage will help you get many of the questions right without needing to look back. On the Science Test, however, because the questions tend to be so specific, you would likely have to go back to the passage on most questions even if you read and understood the passage. What you would have gained from reading the passage is a nice conceptual understanding of what the passage is about. As comforting as such an understanding is, it is not particularly helpful in answering most of the questions and therefore is not worth wasting your time to achieve. In order to successfully implement this strategy, you must be comfortable answering questions even when you don’t know exactly what everything means. If it lines up, it is probably correct regardless of the meeting. Implementing this approach can best be described as a three step process: (1) reading and understanding the question, (2) identifying where in the passage to look for your answer, and (3) correctly reading and interpreting the data in the passage. Each of these steps is described in detail below.

Step 1: Read and Understand the Question (What are they giving you and what do they want you to find?)
Reading the question well is in many ways the most important step in the process, as success in the later steps is dependent upon success in the first step. When you read the question, you do not need to gain a conceptual understanding of what it is asking. Instead, you need to know what the question is giving you that is important and what you need to find in order to answer the question. Before moving onto the second step, you should be able to answer the questions “what are they giving me and what do they want me to find?” If you cannot answer these questions, you would benefit from reading the question again. As for what the question is giving you, concentrate on the concrete. Anything numeric is concrete, but some things that are not numeric are concrete is well, such as if the question gives you the names of two species of bacteria. Some students find it helpful to circle or underline anything concrete in the question. When determining what the question wants you do find, you are looking for the missing piece of information you need in order to answer the question. One particularly common trick to look out for is that questions will frequently make an association between two things and ask you about one of them, when they are really asking about the other. For instance, if a question states that lighter weight cars tend to get better gas mileage and then asks you which of the following cars would most likely get the best gas mileage, you should look immediately for a chart indicating the weights of different cars and choose the car with the lowest weight.

If you find yourself searching aimlessly through the passage for the answer to a question without a clear sense of what you are looking for, you likely did an inadequate job on this first step, and you would be wise to go back to the question and reread it.

Step 2: Figure out where to look for the answer.
As a general rule, try to use the tables, charts, and figures whenever possible and avoid the text whenever possible. Most questions can be answered without ever needing to consult the text, so it is wise to avoid the text when you can. Any questions with numeric answers and any questions that ask what, how many, or when can most likely be answered just by looking at the data (charts, tables, graphs, etc.), as can questions asking about a trend, hypothesis, conclusion, or relationship. However, there are many situations in which you will need to consult the text. You will typically need to consult the text on conceptual questions that are asking “how” or “why,” since these types of questions can rarely be answered by the data alone. You will also need to consult the text on questions that ask you about an experimental procedure, unless of course there is a diagram of the procedure, in which case you should attempt to use the diagram before resorting to the text. It is also necessary to consult the text if you need a definition. Most words you don’t know will be defined in the passage. These words will typically be italicized to help you find them quickly, and they are usually found in the very initial text of the passage. Be careful, though; just because you don’t know what a word means does not necessarily mean you need to. Judge whether or not your knowledge of what the word means is essential to getting the question correct. Finally, you will need to consult the text if you need clarification on how to read a chart, graph, table, or figure. For instance, if many of the fields in a table are variables and you do not know which one represents what you are looking for, consult the text immediately prior to the table for definitions of the variables (unless of course there is a key). Similarly, if one of the concrete things you were given in the question was 40 mL, but you don’t see mL (or any other volume measurement) anywhere in the graph, it is likely that the entire graph involves 40 mL samples. However, to make sure, you should glance at the text immediately preceding the graph. An important thing to consider when you do need to consult the text is that needing to consult the text for a specific bit of information does not necessitate reading the whole thing. Although there are times when you will need to read much or all of the text in order to answer question, you can usually find what you need quickly and get out quickly. The task of figuring out where in the passage to look to find your answer is made simpler by the fact that many questions tell you exactly where to go. However, it is necessary to be aware of the distinction between limiting and nonlimiting language. Limiting language clearly specifies where you will find the answer, thereby limiting your search to a specific portion of the passage. “Based on Experiment 1” and “According to Table 2” are examples of limiting language, since they state in no uncertain terms that Experiment 1 and Table 2, respectively, are where you will find your answers. However, if the passage states, “One would expect the plankton species from Study 2

to…,” this would be considered nonlimiting language. In this example, the question merely mentions Study 2 and does not specifically tell you that you will find your answer there. If you have no better idea of where to look, go to Study 2, but go there keeping in mind that while you may find the answer there, it also may lead you elsewhere where you will eventually find the answer. If the question states “based on the information in the passage,” do not make the mistake of thinking “the passage” refers only to the text. The entire thing is considered the passage, charts, graphs, and all. Be careful as well because there is often a Table 1 and Figure 1 in the same passage, and it is easy to get them confused if you are not paying attention. On numeric questions on which the question does not tell you where to look, pay attention to the units of measurement attached to any numbers in the question and the units of measurement attached to the answer choices. Wherever you see these units together is likely where you need to look to find the answer.

Step 3: Interpret the Data Correctly
From a strategic standpoint, this third step is the simplest. Once you know what you need to find and where you will find it, all you need to do is go get your answer. However, this third step is the cause of many errors both due to the confusing nature of many of the graphs and due to careless errors. The charts and graphs on this test often do not present the data in the most user-friendly way. In fact, they often present the data in a way that would cause you to be downgraded if you presented your data in a similar way on a lab write up in a science class. For instance, you will occasionally see a table in which the values move from greatest to least as you move from left to right. One of the ACT’s most dangerous tricks is to put the independent variable on the y-axis of the graph, since almost any graph you have ever seen features the independent variable on the xaxis. Typically, the ACT will only do this if they have an excuse, which is usually an independent variable that occurs vertically in nature, such as altitude or ocean depth. If you notice that the independent variable is on the y-axis, it may be useful to turn your test booklet 90° counterclockwise to get the independent variable back on the x-axis. Because the data in the charts and graphs is often not presented in the most user-friendly manner, you must make certain that you do not make assumptions about how to read the data based on how data is normally presented. (On the other hand, you can often get away with making reasonable assumptions about experimental procedures in order to save time, since the experimental procedures on this test typically follow good scientific method.) Make sure you pay attention to how the data is presented rather than how it ought to be presented. The other important strategy to avoid making careless errors is to make certain you pay attention to all the units, labels, and keys of any chart, graph, or table.

Use Prior Knowledge and Common Sense
Although you rarely need to use outside knowledge on the Science Test, it is still wise to use what you know, and a large base of scientific knowledge just may come in handy. With the exception of

the Conflicting Viewpoints passage, the Science Test rarely if ever presents incorrect information. Therefore, if you know the answer to a question without needing to consult the passage, you can save yourself time. In addition to using outside knowledge, use common sense. Choose answers that make sense, and avoid those that don’t.

When in Doubt
When you are severely confused by a question or simply do not have time to work through it carefully, you often still have ways to take a good guess. If it is a numeric question, simply look at what is concrete in the question, look at the units of the answer choices, and attempt to quickly line things up. This strategy will often yield the correct answer without any understanding of the question and with minimal time invested. If it is a conceptual question, try to choose an answer seems to make sense or, at the very least, echoes the language of the question.

Conflicting Viewpoints Passage
Read and attempt to understand the passage. The text at the beginning of the passage is information that all parties agree upon and usually consists of background information on the issue. Read this, and then proceed to each person’s argument. When reading each argument, try to zero in on the main point. This main point is often stated succinctly in a topic sentence. As long as you understand the basics of each person’s argument, don’t worry if you aren’t getting every detail, since you can look back for the details. It is important to recognize that Conflicting Viewpoints passages are not always a strict point/counterpoint. Although the different theories differ on at least one key point, there are often elements that they agree upon, found both in the initial text of the passage and in their individual arguments. Many of the questions are simple reading comprehension questions, in which you are asked what one of the theories states. On these questions, consult the text if necessary. Other questions involve determining which theory or theories a piece of evidence would strengthen or weaken or determining which of several pieces of evidence would most strengthen or weaken a particular theory. On these questions, think carefully about how the evidence relates to the arguments presented. Some of the most difficult questions involve predicting what the author of one of the viewpoints would predict about another situation. Sometimes, it is obvious how the new situation relates to the one discussed in the paragraph, and other times it is not. Either way, you must apply the viewpoint’s reasoning as closely and carefully as you can to the new situation.

Sometimes you will notice that one person is obviously right and the other obviously wrong. The right person will usually have good predictions/explanations about other things and the wrong person will usually have bad predictions/explanations. If it isn’t obvious that one person is wrong, don’t try to figure out who is right and who isn’t. Doing so will only get you in trouble. Plus, the issue has often not been resolved. Furthermore, you must evaluate both parties on the basis of the evidence presented. In other words, there might be a piece of evidence that supports the person you know is wrong.

How to Study Missed Science Problems
Focus on why you missed the problem. Questions are missed due to a breakdown in one of the three steps described above or due to a careless error. Determine where the breakdown occurred, why it occurred, and how you could avoid making a similar mistake in the future. Focus on process.

ACT Essay Detailed Strategy Guide
Time: 30 minutes
5 minutes to plan:
 

Choose your side. Choose the side that will be easiest to argue for, not necessarily the one you believe.

Write a very brief outline: three bullet points (one for each body paragraph) each followed by one to three words. 5 minutes per paragraph:

About 1 minute per sentence

Topic:
Controversial high school or teen issue.

What They Want:
  

Pick a side (no middle ground). Emphasis on organization and clarity rather than the quality of the ideas. “Address complexity” by responding to an argument of the opposition.

How to Organize it: Five Paragraph Essay
I. Intro (3-5 sentences)
a. Frame the issue: give background info, discuss relevance, etc. Use information from the prompt (2-4 sentences) b. Thesis statement that clearly states your position. You may or may not choose to refer to the points you will discuss in support of your position. State your thesis in one clear sentence that is the last sentence of your introduction.

II. Body paragraph #1 – First reason/argument to support your argument (5-6 sentences)
a. Open with clear topic sentence. i. Must state what the paragraph is about. ii. Must be clear how what you intend to discuss supports your thesis. b. Remainder of paragraph must support and explain your topic sentence. i. Use examples and reasoning to prove your point. Examples can come from your own life experiences, current events, and history, when applicable. ii. Explain yourself; do not simply repeat yourself in different words.

III. Body paragraph #2 – Second reason/argument to support your argument (5-6 sentences)
a. Open with clear topic sentence. i. Must state what the paragraph is about. ii. Must be clear how what you intend to discuss supports your thesis. iii. Must provide an appropriate transition from the previous paragraph. Organic transitions that link the ideas conceptually are best, but stock transitions such as “furthermore” or “another reason” will suffice. b. Remainder of paragraph must support and explain your topic sentence. i. Use examples and reasoning to prove your point. Examples can come from your own life experiences, current events, and history, when applicable. ii. Explain yourself; do not simply repeat yourself in different words. c. Make sure your second reason is sufficiently different from your first that it does not sound like you are repeating yourself.

IV. Body paragraph #3 – Address opposing argument in order to weaken it (5-6 sentences)

a. Option A: Refute the argument – prove it wrong. i. Show how it is illogical. ii. Show how it goes against values we all hold dear. iii. Argue that it is simply false based on your experiences and observations. iv. One good way to open this paragraph: “Many/some people believe/argue…… However, …….” b. Option B: Allow that the opposing argument has some merit, but weaken it. i. Show why it is irrelevant even if it is true. ii. Argue that it is simply not the most important consideration. iii. Be careful. If you are arguing that it is not as important a concern as the factors you have already mentioned, explain why this is so. Do not simply repeat your arguments. iv. One good way to open this paragraph: “Many/some people believe/argue…… While this may be true, …….”

V. Conclusion (4 sentences)
a. Restate thesis in different words (1 sentence) b. Review main points (2 sentences) c. Draw conclusion (1 sentence) i. If you can draw a good conclusion do so. ii. If not, here is a generic way of sounding like you are doing so: Restate your thesis yet again, but use a negative construction so you don’t sound like you are simply restating your thesis. If your thesis was “We must institute dress codes,” you could state for your final sentence, “If we do not institute dress codes, we will be doing our students, our schools, and our communities a grave disservice.” This really hasn’t said anything beyond the original thesis, but it sounds like it has, and it seems to wrap things up well.

General Tips

   

Make sure you write on the topic given to you. Always pick a side; never attempt to split the difference or argue both sides. Your ideas do not need to be brilliant; they simply need to be good enough and make sense. Keep the structure of your essay very simple. Show the reader that you have been taught how to structure an essay. Keep your structure simple without dumbing down your sentences or ideas. Pretend you are writing a sample five paragraph essay to teach ninth graders how to write one. Because you do not have the editing tools available to you when you write a paper on a computer, you must plan things out better in advance. During your 5 minute planning stage, write an extremely brief outline that consists of three bullet points, one for each body paragraph, followed by 1 to 3 words each. Before you begin writing a paragraph, take a moment to consider the flow of ideas. Before you begin writing a sentence, construct the sentence in your head rather than simply writing and hoping it works out. Do not throw in large words simply to try to impress the reader. By all means, use your full vocabulary, but trying to use large words just to use them is rarely a good idea. Instead, strive for accuracy of language. A longer essay will usually make a better impression on the reader than a shorter one. Write as much as you can without being repetitive or overly wordy. Aim for writing a sentence a minute (excluding the 5 minutes you use for planning). Make sure your handwriting is legible. Although the readers likely become quite good at deciphering students’ handwriting, they cannot give you a good score if they cannot read your writing. “Reason… is that” NOT “Reason… is because.” Avoid agreement errors. Specifically never use the plural “they” to refer to a singular word such as “a student.” “A student” must be referred to as “he or she,” while “students” must be referred to as “they.” The official Scoring Guidelines for the essay can be found here:http://www.actstudent.org/writing/scores/guidelines.html . Each of the two readers can give you up to 6 points for a total score out of 12 points.

 

Adjectives, Adverbs and Comparisons
Adjectives are used to modify nouns and pronouns, while adverbs are used to modify verbs and adjectives. Adjectives commonly, but not always end in “ly.” On the ACT, it is wise to always determine what word an underlined adjective or adverb is describing so you can determine whether it is being used correctly.

Correct: The girl is quick. The adjective “quick” is used to modify the noun “girl.” Correct: The girl ran quickly. The adverb “quickly” is used to modify the verb “ran.” Incorrect: The girl ran quick. It is incorrect to use the adjective “quick” to modify the verb “ran.”

Correct: The girl is fast. In this example, “fast” is used as an adjective to modify the noun “girl.” Correct: The girl ran fast. In this example, “fast” is used as an adverb to modify the verb “ran.”

Correct: He was silently happy. The adverb “silently” is used to modify the adjective “happy.” Incorrect: He was silent happy. It is incorrect to use the adjective “silent” to modify the verb “happy.”

Comparative Adjectives and Adverbs

For comparative adjectives and adverbs, use the comparative (more, less, -er) when comparing two and the superlative (most, least, -est) when comparing three or more. When deciding whether to precede an adjective or adverb with “more” or end it with an “er” to make it comparative, use your ear. If both options sound good, end it with “er.” Only when the ending “er” sounds bad should you precede it with “more” to make it comparative. For instance, “more crazy” and “crazier” might both sound OK to you. Therefore, you should choose “crazier.” On the other hand, “intelligenter” clearly sounds wrong, so you are forced to choose “more intelligent” instead. The same applies to most/est.

Correct: The girl is quicker than her sister. The comparative adjective “quicker” is comparing the nouns “girl” and “sister.” Correct: The girl is the quickest person on her soccer team. The superlative adjective “quickest” is comparing more than two people: the girl and everyone else on her team. Correct: The girl runs more quickly than her sister. The comparative adverb “more quickly” compares how the girl and her sister run. Correct: The girl runs the most quickly of anyone on her soccer team. The superlative adverb “most quickly” compares how the girl runs to how everybody else on her team runs. Incorrect: The girl runs the quickest of anyone on her soccer team. The adjective “quickest” cannot be used to compare how the girl runs with how everybody else on her team runs. Instead, the sentence must feature the adverb “most quickly.”

Less vs. Fewer
The adjectives “less” and “fewer” can be particularly tricky. “Less” is used to compare things that cannot be counted, and “fewer” is used to compare things that can be counted.

Correct: There is less milk in the carton than there was before I drank a glass. The amount of milk in a carton cannot be counted (although it can be measured), so “less” is appropriate. Correct: There are fewer cans of soda in the fridge than there were before I drank one. The number of cans of soda in the fridge can be counted, so “fewer” is appropriate.

Compare Like to Like
It is important when making a comparison to compare like to like.

Incorrect: The Steakhouse’s portions are much larger than most restaurants in town. It is unlikely that the portions at The Steakhouse, as large as they might be, could be larger than an entire restaurant. It does not make sense to compare portions to restaurants. Correct: The Steakhouse’s portions are much larger than those of most restaurants in town. Correct: The Steakhouse’s portions are much larger than the portions of most restaurants in town.

Apostrophes
Apostrophes are used both for contractions and to indicate possession.

Contractions
she’s = she is didn’t = did not should’ve = should have (the expression is always “should’ve” or “should have”, never “should of”)

Possession
On questions that test you on the use of apostrophes for possession, consciously ask yourself two questions: (1) is the word in question singular or plural, and (2) is the word in question possessive or non-possessive.

dogs = plural non-possessive The dogs chased the cat.

dog’s = singular possessive The dog’s legs became tangled in his leash.

dogs’ = plural possessive The dogs’ owners took them for walks every day.

Tricky ones
The dogs had many toys. In this sentence, “dogs” is plural but not possessive, which is a little bit tricky because the sentence does indicate

possession. However, the sentence indicates possession by use of the verb “had” rather than a possessive noun.

Before the women’s rights movement, women could not vote. “Women’s” is both plural and possessive even though “ ’s” is typically used for singular possessive words. Because “women” is plural without needing an “s” at the end, it can be made possessive in the same way singular words are typically made possessive: by adding “ ’s” to the end. The same is true for other irregular plural words that do not end in an “s,” such as mice, geese, and men.

James’s car is fast. Although the “s’s” looks a bit strange, it is correct. Although “James” ends in an “s,” it is still singular, and it is made plural by adding an “ ’s” just like you would for any other singular word.

It’s vs. its
“It’s” is a contraction of it is. “Its” is the possessive form of “it.” The ACT frequently will use the word “its’ ” in incorrect answer choices, but “its’ ” is not even a word.

It’s raining outside.

The dog wagged its tail.

Colons
The most common use of the colon is to introduce a list. When using a colon to introduce a list, the colon must be preceded by an independent clause.

Example: I bought the following items at the grocery store: chicken, pork, beef, and ham. Example: I bought these items at the grocery store: chicken, pork, beef, and ham. Example: I bought three items at the grocery store: chicken, pork, and beef. The above three examples are all correct uses of a colon because the colon is preceded by an independent clause and followed by a list.

In each of the following three sentences, written correctly below, it would be incorrect to use a colon because it would not be immediately preceded by an independent clause. Example: I bought several items at the grocery store, including chicken, pork, beef, and ham. Example: At the grocery store, I bought chicken, pork, beef, and ham. Example: Among the items I bought at the grocery store are chicken, pork, beef, and ham.

The One Item List
Watch out for the one item list, Technically, it is not a list if it is only one item, but sometimes one item can act like a list and therefore calls for a colon.

Example: For Christmas, the boy got the present he wanted most in the world: a new bike. Structurally, this sentence is similar to the following sentence and therefore should be punctuated in the same way even though the “list” only includes one item. Example: For Christmas, the boy got the three presents he wanted most in the world: a bike, a fishing rod, and a puppy.

Backup Plan to Separate two Independent Clauses

The one other use of a colon that comes up on the ACT is to separate two independent clauses, much in the way that a semi-colon is typically used. Colons are only used between two independent clauses when they are very closely related. Never choose a colon between two independent clauses over a period, semi-colon, or comma-conjunction (unless it is not an appropriate conjunction). Consider it a good back-up option.

Example: Bob did not want to go to the sushi restaurant: he couldn’t stand the thought of eating raw fish

Comma Use
1) To separate the items in a list.
Example: I like watching football, baseball, and basketball. Example: I mowed the lawn, went grocery shopping, and made dinner. Example: The quarterback threw the ball, the receiver caught it, and the cornerback failed to tackle him. Example: My favorite snack foods are pretzels, chips and salsa, and peanuts. (Note that there is no comma between “chips and salsa” because “chips and salsa” counts as a single item in the list.)

2) Along with a conjunction to separate two independent clauses.
Example: The boy threw the ball, and he watched it fly. Example: I tried to play the violin, but it sounded terrible. Example: The boy threw the ball and watched it fly. The above sentence does not have a comma because the part after the “and” is not an independent clause.

3) To separate phrases and dependent clauses from the beginning of an independent clause.
There are no exceptions to this rule, except in the case of some very short introductory phrases for which case the comma is optional. Most one-word introductions to sentences, such as “therefore,” “thus,” and “however” must be followed by a comma. Example: Because he was tired, he took a nap. Example: On the table, there was a book. Example: In Chicago, it is often windy. Example: Although I like ice cream, I do not like frozen yogurt. Example: I like ice cream. However, I do not like frozen yogurt.

When phrases and dependent clauses are added to the end of a sentence, no comma is typically used.
Example: He took a nap because he was tired. Example: There was a book on the table. Example: It is often windy in Chicago.

There are exceptions to this rule in which a comma is used to separate a phrase or dependent clause from the end of an independent clause. Use your ear to figure out when these exceptions occur. If your ear is on the fence, though, assume no comma. Example: He comes from Canada, a country known for its cold weather.

4) Two commas are used to separate non-essential phrases from the middle of a sentence. If a phrase is essential, it should not be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.
Example: The Yankees, who play in New York, are always a tough team to beat. The phrase “who play in New York” is non-essential, since the rest of the sentence would work just fine without it. If this phrase were removed, the sentence would still be perfectly clear and would not lose more than the phrase itself.

Example: People who live in New York expect their baseball team to win. In this example, “who live in New York” is essential, since the meaning of the sentence would change drastically if the phrase were removed from the sentence. Without “who live in New York,” the subject of the sentence would simply be “people,” and the sentence would imply that all people expect their team to win, which is not the intended meaning of the sentence. (I am from Cleveland, so I never expect my team to win.) Whenever a phrase is needed in order to specify or clarify the subject of a sentence, it is essential and therefore requires no commas to separate it from the rest of the sentence.

Example: I like ice cream. I do not, however, like frozen yogurt. In this example, “however” is non-essential, so it must have a comma before it and a comma after it.

5) Commas are sometimes used to separate two adjectives that are describing the same noun.
Use your ear to decide whether to use a comma in this situation.

Example: The tall, snowy mountain towered over the village. A comma separates the adjectives “tall” and “snowy.”

Example: The Boy Scout helped the little old lady cross the street. No comma separates the adjectives “little” and “old.”

Although your ear should be pretty effective in deciding whether to use a comma between two adjectives, the difference can be explained technically in terms of the roles of the adjectives. If two adjectives of relatively equal importance both independently modify the noun, a comma should be used. For instance, in the first example, “tall” and “snowy” both independently modify “mountain.” On the other hand, if the first adjective modifies the noun which has already been modified by the second adjective, a comma should not be used. In the second example, it is more accurate to say that “little” modifies “old lady” than that “little” and “old” both independently modify “lady,” so no comma is used.

Tips:
-Once you learn the rules, consider any decision to use a comma in terms of the rules. You must have a rule-based reason to use a comma rather than a reason not to. -One specific situation in which students often incorrectly use a comma is between a subject and its verb. NEVER put a comma between a subject and its verb, even when your ear tells you to put one in. It is particularly tempting to put a comma between a subject and its verb when the subject is long and/or non-concrete. For instance, in the following sentence, many students would be tempted to incorrectly put a comma between “skiing” and “is.” “The best part about skiing is that you get to go fast.” -When deciding whether a comma should be used, consider all the commas in the sentence and strive to understand the structure of the sentence as a whole.

Commas
Exercise 1
 

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Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 2
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Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 3
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Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 4
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Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 5 [Not for the faint hearted!]
 

Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Dashes
Dashes are generic punctuation. In other words, they can be used like a lot of other types of punctuation. For the ACT, you are best off thinking of dashes as a back-up plan; never choose a dash over another option that you know works, but if none of the other options seems correct, and you know you need some form of punctuation, the dash is a good bet. Below are some of the most common uses of dashes.

Dashes can sometimes be used like parentheses.
Example: The way he plays football – recklessly and with little regard for his health – is likely what has led to his many injuries.

Two dashes can sometimes be used like two commas to offset a nonessential part of a sentence.
Example: The soldier was happy – though also a bit apprehensive – to be returning home after the war.

A dash can sometimes be used like a comma to separate a phrase from the end of a sentence.
Example: The sailor noticed a speck of land in the distance – a sign that his long journey would soon be over.

A dash can sometimes be used like a semi-colon to separate two independent clauses.
Example: The scientist did not know what to do – he knew his research was valid but feared he would be mocked by his peers for his unconventional findings.

A dash can sometimes be used like a colon to separate an independent clause from a list.
Example: I bought the following items at the grocery store – chicken, pork, beef, and ham.

Generally, the part of a sentence that is offset by dash is given greater emphasis than had it been offset with another form of punctuation. However, this is a judgment call that you would not be expected to make on the ACT, so your best bet is simply to never choose a dash over another option you know is correct.

Fragments
Fragments are sentences that are incomplete and therefore cannot stand on their own. Every sentence must contain at least one independent clause, which by definition has a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought. Students often associate fragments with being short, but this is not always the case. Some complete sentences can be extremely short while some fragments can be very long without ever expressing a complete thought. The ACT likes to test students on long fragments, since these fragments are more easily mistaken for complete sentences.

Incorrect: The blue house with yellow flowers in the front yard and a neatly trimmed lawn across the street from the baseball field. Correct: The blue house with yellow flowers in the front yard and a neatly trimmed lawn sat across the street from the baseball field. Correct: The blue house with yellow flowers in the front yard and a neatly trimmed lawn across the street from the baseball field was built in 1908. The incorrect version of this sentence does not contain a verb and therefore constitutes a fragment despite its length. Adding “sat” fixes the problem in the first correction. Adding “was built in 1908” fixes the problem in the second correction.

Incorrect: Playing the guitar every day for several hours. Correct: Playing the guitar every day for several hours is how you get good. Correct: Playing the guitar every day for several hours, the boy dreamed of playing in a rock and roll band. The incorrect version features no subject and is therefore a fragment. The first correction turns the original phrase into the subject of the sentence, while the second correction adds an independent clause to the end of the phrase.

Incorrect: Because I am tired of having to go to practice every day after school. Correct: I am tired of having to go to practice every day after school. Correct: Because I am tired of having to go to practice every day after school, I am thinking about quitting the team. Correct: I am thinking about quitting the team because I am tired of having to go to practice every day after school. The incorrect version features a dependent clause incorrectly standing alone, the most common form of fragment on the ACT. Although a dependent clause has a subject and a verb, it does not express a complete thought. The first

correction fixes the fragment by dropping the “because” from the clause. Since “because” is a dependent marker that turns a clause into a dependent clause, dropping it from the clause creates an independent clause, which is capable of standing on its own. The second correction fixes the fragment by adding an independent clause to the end of the dependent clause, and the third correction fixes the fragment by adding an independent clause to the beginning of the dependent clause.

Incorrect: Many students, who worked hard to get into the colleges of their dreams. Correct: Many students worked hard to get into the colleges of their dreams. The word “who” in the incorrect version turns the second part of the sentence into a phrase. Therefore, the incorrect version features a subject followed by a phrase and does not express a complete thought, since there is no verb outside the phrase. By removing the comma and the word “who,” the verb “worked” becomes the main verb of the sentence, turning the sentence into an independent clause that expresses a complete thought.

Incorrect: The bird, soaring gracefully through the air high above the towering, snow-capped mountains. Incorrect: The bird, having soared gracefully through the air high above the towering, snow-capped mountains. Correct: The bird soared gracefully through the air high above the towering, snow-capped mountains. Correct: The bird, soaring gracefully through the air high above the towering, snow-capped mountains, spotted its prey on the valley floor far below. Correct: The bird, having soared gracefully through the air high above the towering, snow-capped mountains, returned to earth and landed on a branch. The two incorrect versions each feature a verb tense that results in the sentence failing to express a complete thought. Both verbs are simply part of a phrase, so neither sentence contains a main verb. In the first correction, the verb tense is changed to the past simple tense, which can successfully function as the main verb of the sentence. In each of the other two corrections, a main verb (“spotted” and “returned”) is added after the phrase, allowing the sentence to express a complete thought.

Fragments
To view the handouts, you must have Adobe Reader on your computer.
Exercise 1
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Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 2
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Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 3
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Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 4
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Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout .

Exercise 5
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Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 6
 

Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 7

Interactive Exercise  Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Finding Fragments in Short Passages
Directions: Read each passage that follows. Use your mouse to choose the part that is a fragment. To keep track of your answers, print the accompanying handout. If you are unsure which choice to make, consult the rules. Disclaimer: All prizes in this exercise are cyber, which means they have no physical reality and cannot be collected for use in the material world.

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Fragments – Exercise 1
This handout accompanies Exercise 1 of Grammar Bytes! Get the answers by doing the interactive version of the exercise at this address: http://chompchomp.com/exercises.htm Directions: Read each short passage that follows. Determine which part is the fragment 1.
A

Maria wasn't watching her plate of barbecue very carefully.
C

B

So Santana, the family beagle,

snatched a chicken leg hanging over the edge. Maria's new sandals. 2.
A

As baked beans and potato salad slid onto

Ever since Andre peeked at Melissa's paper during the biology exam.
C

B

Guilt has consumed

him.

Even the blueberries floating in his cereal bowl seem like the accusing eyes of Dr.

Gregory, his microbiology instructor. 3.
A

James opened the door of his cluttered refrigerator.
C

B

Which caused a pint of blueberries to

fall to the floor. 4.
A

The fruit bounced and rolled everywhere in an explosion of indigo.
B

Richie loves to walk his friends' dogs at Lake Eola Park.
C

For example, Kim's Labrador

retriever Murphy or Gary's bulldog Kembo. toward guys with cute dogs. 5.
A

Beautiful women, Richie has learned, gravitate

Head down, Lela stared at the textbook on her desk.
C

B

She understood the fragment practice

that Mrs. Markham was going over in class. an answer. 6.
A

But was too shy to raise her hand and volunteer

Joshua found the pressure from the gas in his stomach unbearable.
C

B

Although he didn't want

to be rude in the middle of geology class. 7.
A

An explosive belch erupted from his mouth.

Phillip left work early.
C

B

To memorize the vocabulary that his Spanish midterm would test the

next day.

But all that he could think about was Beatrice, the cute new sales associate who

worked in the camera department. 8.
A

Chewing the dry, tough, whole-grain bread bought from the health food store.
C

B

Lorena tried

to enjoy her lunch.

Fantasizing about a juicy cheeseburger on a soft white bun didn't improve

the taste of the soy product sandwiched between leaves of organic lettuce.

9.

A C

My cat Fuzz loves to sleep in inconvenient places.

B

Lately she prefers the computer table.

Where her long hair sticks to the mouse pad, covers the keyboard, and clings to the screen of

the monitor. 10.
A

Rocking and thrashing like a wild horse that cowboys had lassoed.
C

B

The washer complained

about its overloaded tub.

At the other end of the laundromat, Bobby quietly read an old

magazine, pretending that it was not his machine. 11.
A

Day after day, thunderclouds rolled in during the early afternoon.
C

B

Making Madison's grass

thrive from all of the water.

Her neighbors, however, prayed for a sunny afternoon so that

Madison could finally mow the jungle that was the front yard. 12.
A

While cleaning under his bed, Glen heard the vacuum cleaner suck up something hard and
B

metallic.

Glen wanted to know what the object was.

C

But had no intention of digging through

a bag of dust, dead bugs, cat litter, and bathroom hair to find out. 13.
A

Farah woke Kirby, the family's ancient German shepherd.
C

B

To see if he had fallen asleep on

the remote control.

The growl that Kirby rumbled in protest convinced Farah to use the

channel buttons on the front of the television instead. 14.
A

Raja knew that his roommate Tina had cupcakes hidden in the apartment.
C

B

He looked

everywhere.

Including in the clothes hamper, on top of the bookcases, behind the sofa—

even under his own bed!—all to no avail. 15.
A

Peering around the other students in line, Sylvia tried to see the lunch choices.
C

B

The

cafeteria selections were disappointing.

For example, greasy fried chicken, soupy sweet-n-

sour pork, and a gray mystery meat floating in translucent, lumpy gravy. 16.
A

Struggling up three flights of stairs, her arms filled with the heavy texts for four classes, her
B

backpack loaded with notebooks and other supplies.

Jamala huffed and puffed.

C

Never

again would she register for all of her classes back-to-back on the same days of the week. 17.
A

As quietly as possible, Sherri tried to open the one-pound bag of candy on her lap.
C

B

Finally,

the tough plastic split open.

Causing an explosion of chocolate balls that bounced and rolled

down the aisles of Dr. Wilson's chemistry class. 18.
A

Each morning when Helene is fixing her hair in the bathroom.
C

B

She applies many sticky hair

products.

During a typical day, she catches more bugs in her coif than most spiders manage

to land in their webs in a week.

19.

A

Ralph spent all of his savings on a diamond ring to give to his girlfriend Melanie.
C

B

A greedy

young woman who had a box full of expensive trinkets from ex-boyfriends. always looking for the man with the fattest wallet. 20.
A

Melanie was

Emily pounded on the bedroom door, demanding a little quiet so that she could study for her
B

physics midterm.

Her sister Amy ignored the request.

C

And continued banging on the drum

set that she bought at a garage sale.

©1997 - 2012 by Robin L. Simmons All Rights Reserved.

Finding Fragments in Short Passages
Directions: Read each passage that follows. Use your mouse to choose the part that is a fragment. To keep track of your answers, print the accompanying handout. If you are unsure which choice to make, consult the rules. Disclaimer: All prizes in this exercise are cyber, which means they have no physical reality and cannot be collected for use in the material world.

Start here.

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Fragments – Exercise 2
This handout accompanies Exercise 2 of Grammar Bytes! Get the answers by doing the interactive version of the exercise at this address: http://chompchomp.com/exercises.htm Directions: Read each short passage that follows. Determine which part is the fragment. 1.
A

While Cynthia dressed for her sister's wedding, Murphy, the golden retriever, ate the straps
B

off the only shoes that matched Cynthia's pale blue dress. inappropriate. leather pumps. 2.
A C

Her replacement options were

Like rubber flip-flops, running shoes, fuzzy pink rabbit slippers, or brown

When Will stepped out of the shower, he panicked.
C

B

Realizing that all of his underwear

was still in the washing machine. 3.
A

Damp jockey shorts were not a good way to start his day.
B

Joey idolizes his older brother David.
C

Combing his hair in the style that David wears,

drinking coffee black with five sugars, and giving teachers the same lame excuses for late homework. 4.
A B

As a consequence, everyone calls Joey “David” by mistake!

While thunder boomed in the distance, Margaret started off on her daily five-mile run. Confident that she had plenty of time before the storm arrived.
C

Wet hair and clothes

plastered to her body proved that she couldn't outpace Mother Nature. 5.
A B

Whenever Coach Moody sees behavior that she doesn't like—either on or off the court. The members of the girls' basketball team pay during the next practice.
C

When Frankie

was caught smooching her boyfriend Larry in the hallway, everyone had to run two extra miles that afternoon. 6.
A

Making his anxious students relax would have required very little effort.
C

B

Like a smile when

he walked into class or a "Good job" written at the bottom of an essay.

Professor Marshall

refused to do more than scowl and read from his yellowed lecture notes. 7.
A

Marcus has no consideration for the ecosystem rich with life in his backyard.
C

B

When he

cuts the lawn, he slows for nothing.

As toads, lizards, and insects jump to the sanctuary of

bushes to avoid the deadly mower blades. 8.
A

Each morning, Darren adds guava juice, raw egg, protein powder, raisins, and sardines to a
B

blender.

After mixing these ingredients on high for a few seconds, he has breakfast.

C

A

drink that will give him plenty of energy and shiny hair.

9.

A

Horrified, Sherri stared at her reflection in the mirror.
C

B

Hair sticking out in seventeen

different directions, a spot of whipped cream on her chin, and a green pen mark across her nose. 10.
A B

Why hadn't her friends at the table mentioned her disarray?

Lying awake in the dark room, staring up at the shadows that danced across the ceiling. Jason worried about the shuffling and thumps that he heard outside.
C

Raccoons—not

hungry zombies with grabbing arms—were prowling behind the house. 11.
A

Like amber honey, Helene's long hair dripped over her shoulders and spilled down her
B

back.
C

Styling products, moreover, made the tresses as sticky as pancake syrup.

Catching pieces of thread, feathers, dust, and even an occasional insect that buzzed too

close. 12.
A B

While eating the plate of sesame chicken, Maria was thankful for her skill with chopsticks. Eating utensils that required only one hand to use.
C

For Maria's left hand was pinned to the

booth by Hunter, her five-year-old son who lay sleeping after a long day of shopping at the mall. 13.
A

To stay awake for a long evening of chemistry homework.
C

B

Beth made a huge pot of

coffee.

Unfortunately, her heart beat so fast and her legs jiggled so violently that the poor

girl couldn't concentrate. 14.
A

Diane picked at the slice of cheesecake with her car keys.
C

B

While Nick sucked whipped

cream off his fingers.

Horrified, Rachel watched her roommates decimate the dessert that

she had spent three hours preparing. 15.
A

Cringing with anxiety at the grade that she might find.
C

B

Nancy peeked at the last page of

the essay. 16.
A B

The big red A sent waves of relief radiating through her body.

Jonathon often tries to shock his English teacher, Mrs. Mauzy, with weird paper topics. Such as eating tarantulas or wearing women's underwear.
C

Mrs. Mauzy remains

nonplussed, scandalized only by the number of fragments in Jonathon's essays. 17.
A

To save enough money to pay tuition, Tanisha keeps a strict budget.
C

B

She never carries

more than three dollars in her wallet.

To avoid making impulse purchases like a pizza or

CD that will cause her to come up short when registration begins. 18.
A

To keep the cat from sleeping on her new convertible's canvas top.
C

B

Kim leaves the

garden hose out.

Like a gunslinger in a Western, she "duels" with Rocky, the family's

orange tom, who hisses as vehemently as the forceful spray of water.

19.

A

Dr. Gregory surveyed the auditorium full of nervous, sweating biochemistry students.
C

B

Her

gaze often stopped on Bryan.

Whose test anxiety manifested in the loud popping of his

knuckles and the high-speed bouncing of his left leg. 20.
A

To save money on a haircut that he badly needed.
C

B

Raja let Tina, his roommate and an

aspiring stylist, trim his shaggy head. done a better job!

Honestly, a blender or a weed whacker could have

©1997 - 2012 by Robin L. Simmons All Rights Reserved.

Finding Fragments in a Long Passage
Directions: Read the passage that follows and answer the questions. To keep track of your answers, print the accompanying handout. If you are unsure which choice to make, consult the rules. Disclaimer: All prizes in this exercise are cyber, which means they have no physical reality and cannot be collected for use in the material world. Get your fins, and you'll be ready to go!

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Fragments – Exercise 3
This handout accompanies Exercise 3 of Grammar Bytes! Get the answers by doing the interactive version of the exercise at this address: http://chompchomp.com/exercises.htm Directions: Find and fix the fragments in the passage below.
1

Marina, the beautiful mermaid, wanted some tuna salad. 2But had a small problem since she

was allergic to celery. 3At Sammy’s Sub Shop, Marina hoped to find tuna salad free of this dangerous vegetable. 4Flopping across the tiled floor to the counter. 5Marina placed her order and then checked her sandwich for celery. 6Not noticing, however, the spoiled mayonnaise. 7At five o'clock that evening, Marina became violently ill with food poisoning. 8When a lifeguard at the beach discovered the problem, he called 911. 9Even though the mermaid had fishy breath. paramedic gave her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. to the hospital.
12 11 10

A handsome

Wailing like a sick dog, the ambulance sped off
13

Where the doctor on call refused to treat a sea creature with a scaly tail.
14

A kind

nurse, however, had more sympathy.

After she found some Pepto-Bismol.
16

15

Marina drank the

entire bottle of pink liquid, feeling an immediate improvement. never to swim in the ocean.
17

The mermaid told the rude doctor
18

For she would order hungry sharks to bite off the doctor's legs.
19

While

sharp-clawed crabs plucked out his eyes. Pepto-Bismol.
20

Tossing her long hair, Marina thanked the nurse for the

And took a mint from David, the handsome paramedic.

©1997 - 2012 by Robin L. Simmons All Rights Reserved.

Identifying the Different Types of Fragments
Directions: In the exercise that follows, you must identify the type of fragment you find. Choices will include the following: subordinate clause fragments, participle phrase fragments, infinitive phrase fragments, afterthought fragments, lonely verb fragments, and appositive fragments If you can correctly identify the type of fragment you have found, then you can pick the right strategy to fix it. Review the rules before you begin. To keep track of your answers, download the accompanying handout. Disclaimer: All prizes in this exercise are cyber, which means they have no physical reality and cannot be collected for use in the material world.

Whistle wetted? Good!

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Fragments – Exercise 4
This handout accompanies Exercise 4 of Grammar Bytes! Get the answers by doing the interactive version of the exercise at this address: http://chompchomp.com/exercises.htm Directions: Choose the option that correctly identifies each word group. 1. Assaulted with green peas catapulted across the table from her brother's spoon. A. B. C. 2. Participle phrase fragment Lonely verb fragment Appositive fragment

Because he refused to touch the serving of lima beans on his plate. A. B. C. Main clause Subordinate clause fragment Lonely verb fragment

3.

The man whom Brenda refuses to marry even if someone paid her a million dollars. A. B. C. Lonely verb fragment Subordinate clause fragment Appositive fragment

4.

But saw too late that the cream had expired three weeks ago. A. B. C. Participle phrase fragment Lonely verb fragment Subordinate clause fragment

5.

Including the frying pan with encrusted egg and the greasy silverware full of fingerprints. A. B. C. Afterthought fragment Participle phrase fragment Subordinate clause fragment

6.

To enjoy the warm sunshine that he could see spilling through the blinds. A. B. C. Participle phrase fragment Main clause Infinitive phrase fragment

7.

Kissing the wet frog in hopes of getting a cool prize. A. B. C. Afterthought fragment Participle phrase fragment Lonely verb fragment

8.

Such as stacks of tottering books, crumpled paper, empty soda cans, and greasy pizza boxes. A. B. C. Lonely verb fragment Subordinate clause fragment Afterthought fragment

9.

Because Loraine had to clean up the kitchen mess left by her roommate Bob. A. B. C. Subordinate clause fragment Main clause Lonely verb fragment

10.

And grabbed the last glazed doughnut while Frederick was pouring her a cup of coffee. A. B. C. Main clause Lonely verb fragment Appositive fragment

11.

Roger regrets eating the mushy radishes. A. B. C. Main clause Participle phrase fragment Subordinate clause fragment

12.

To see her favorite part of the parade, the majorettes with their twirling batons. A. B. C. Appositive fragment Participle phrase fragment Infinitive phrase fragment

13.

The neighborhood cat whom even the biggest dogs fear. A. B. C. Subordinate clause fragment Main clause Appositive fragment

14.

Hissing and spitting like an angry alligator caught by its tail. A. B. C. Participle phrase fragment Lonely verb fragment Appositive fragment

15.

One day Andrew aspires to eat asparagus. A. B. C. Main clause Subordinate clause fragment Lonely verb fragment

16.

Scooting the dead cockroach under the refrigerator with the toe of his shoe. A. B. C. Lonely verb fragment Participle phrase fragment Subordinate clause fragment

17.

For example, sand-encrusted feet or a cold drink in a sweating bottle. A. B. C. Participle phrase fragment Lonely verb fragment Afterthought fragment

18.

To reach the countertop where Sara had momentarily left the tuna salad. A. B. C. Subordinate clause fragment Lonely verb fragment Infinitive phrase fragment

19.

But found only a cookie bag full of crumbs and a tablespoon of milk. A. B. C. Main clause Lonely verb fragment Subordinate clause fragment

20.

Whenever Rosita makes microwave popcorn. A. B. C. Subordinate clause fragment Main clause Lonely verb fragment

©1997 - 2012 by Robin L. Simmons All Rights Reserved.

Fixing Fragments
Directions: Read each passage that follows. Use your mouse to choose the correction that will fix the fragment. To keep track of your answers, print the accompanying handout. If you are unsure which choice to make, consult the rules. Disclaimer: All prizes in this exercise are cyber, which means they have no physical reality and cannot be collected for use in the material world.

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Fragments -- Exercise 5
This handout accompanies Exercise 5 of Grammar Bytes! Get the answers by doing the interactive version of the exercise at this address: http://chompchomp.com/exercises.htm Directions: Choose the option that fixes the fragment. 1. Scooting the glass of iced tea closer to her plate. Brave Vanessa dipped the tortilla chip into Pedro's infamous hot sauce. A. B. C. Scooting the glass of iced tea closer to her plate, brave Vanessa dipped the tortilla chip into Pedro's infamous hot sauce. Scooting the glass of iced tea closer to her plate brave Vanessa dipped the tortilla chip into Pedro's infamous hot sauce. Brave Vanessa dipped the tortilla chip into Pedro's infamous hot sauce scooting the glass of iced tea closer to her plate.

2.

As he scrubbed the tile grout with a toothbrush and bleach. Nick vowed never again to let the bathroom get so filthy. A. B. C. As he scrubbed the tile grout with a toothbrush and bleach Nick vowed never again to let the bathroom get so filthy. As he scrubbed the tile grout with a toothbrush and bleach, Nick vowed never again to let the bathroom get so filthy. Nick vowed never again to let the bathroom get so filthy, as he scrubbed the tile grout with a toothbrush and bleach.

3.

To keep her basset hound away from the pizza, Ana keeps the squirt bottle close by. So that she can "draw" like a gunslinger if a dog tongue gets too close to the delivery box. A. To keep her basset hound away from the pizza, Ana keeps the squirt bottle close by, so that she can "draw" like a gunslinger if a dog tongue gets too close to the delivery box. To keep her basset hound away from the pizza, Ana keeps the squirt bottle close by; so that she can "draw" like a gunslinger if a dog tongue gets too close to the delivery box. To keep her basset hound away from the pizza, Ana keeps the squirt bottle close by so that she can "draw" like a gunslinger if a dog tongue gets too close to the delivery box.

B.

C.

4.

Even though the windows leak and the paint is peeling, Georgette loves her old pickup truck. The vehicle that has dependably taken her everywhere since junior year of high school. A. Even though the windows leak and the paint is peeling, Georgette loves her old pickup truck; the vehicle that has dependably taken her everywhere since junior year of high school. Even though the windows leak and the paint is peeling, Georgette loves her old pickup truck, the vehicle that has dependably taken her everywhere since junior year of high school. Even though the windows leak and the paint is peeling, Georgette loves her old pickup truck the vehicle that has dependably taken her everywhere since junior year of high school.

B.

C.

5.

Deidre has to watch her baby constantly, for Mathew likes to crawl around the floorboards and pop anything into his mouth. Such as fuzz-covered candies, dog biscuits, and dead bugs. A. Deidre has to watch her baby constantly, for Mathew likes to crawl around the floorboards and pop anything into his mouth such as fuzz-covered candies, dog biscuits, and dead bugs. Deidre has to watch her baby constantly, for Mathew likes to crawl around the floorboards and pop anything into his mouth: such as, fuzz-covered candies, dog biscuits, and dead bugs. Deidre has to watch her baby constantly, for Mathew likes to crawl around the floorboards and pop anything into his mouth, such as fuzz-covered candies, dog biscuits, and dead bugs.

B.

C.

6.

Baking in his hot car during rush-hour traffic, Joe slurped up the last few drops of his iced tea. And hoped that after this week's paycheck he could afford to make the costly repair to his broken air conditioner. A. Baking in his hot car during rush-hour traffic, Joe slurped up the last few drops of his iced tea and hoped that after this week's paycheck he could afford to make the costly repair to his broken air conditioner. Baking in his hot car during rush-hour traffic, Joe slurped up the last few drops of his iced tea and he hoped that after this week's paycheck he could afford to make the costly repair to his broken air conditioner. Baking in his hot car during rush-hour traffic, Joe slurped up the last few drops of his iced tea, and hoped that after this week's paycheck he could afford to make the costly repair to his broken air conditioner.

B.

C.

7.

To stomach the cup of strong coffee that he desperately needed to keep awake. Lawrence added seven packets of sugar and a quarter cup of cream. A. B. C. To stomach the cup of strong coffee that he desperately needed to keep awake, Lawrence added seven packets of sugar and a quarter cup of cream. Lawrence added seven packets of sugar and a quarter cup of cream, to stomach the cup of strong coffee that he desperately needed to keep awake. To stomach the cup of strong coffee that he desperately needed to keep awake Lawrence added seven packets of sugar and a quarter cup of cream.

8.

Jaime grabbed the leash with both hands and threw his weight backward. To keep Roxie, his German shepherd, from attacking Mr. Velasquez, who was walking down the sidewalk. A. Jaime grabbed the leash with both hands and threw his weight backward; to keep Roxie, his German shepherd, from attacking Mr. Velasquez, who was walking down the sidewalk. Jaime grabbed the leash with both hands and threw his weight backward, to keep Roxie, his German shepherd, from attacking Mr. Velasquez, who was walking down the sidewalk. Jaime grabbed the leash with both hands and threw his weight backward to keep Roxie, his German shepherd, from attacking Mr. Velasquez, who was walking down the sidewalk.

B.

C.

9.

O'Neil quietly closed the front door and tiptoed through the living room. Hoping not to wake his sleeping mother, who would begin a loud and long lecture on missing curfew. A. O'Neil quietly closed the front door and tiptoed through the living room hoping not to wake his sleeping mother, who would begin a loud and long lecture on missing curfew. O'Neil quietly closed the front door and tiptoed through the living room, hoping not to wake his sleeping mother, who would begin a loud and long lecture on missing curfew. O'Neil quietly closed the front door and tiptoed through the living room; hoping not to wake his sleeping mother, who would begin a loud and long lecture on missing curfew.

B.

C.

10.

Erin cannot tolerate tight and restrictive clothing. Because, she claims, she had been wrapped too tightly as a mummy in her previous Egyptian life. A. B. C. Erin cannot tolerate tight and restrictive clothing because, she claims, she had been wrapped too tightly as a mummy in her previous Egyptian life. Erin cannot tolerate tight and restrictive clothing, because, she claims, she had been wrapped too tightly as a mummy in her previous Egyptian life. Erin cannot tolerate tight and restrictive clothing; because, she claims, she had been wrapped too tightly as a mummy in her previous Egyptian life.

11.

Whenever Delores makes her infamous rubbery meatballs. David sneaks them off his plate and into the willing mouth of Jellybean, the family's terrier. A. B. C. Whenever Delores makes her infamous rubbery meatballs David sneaks them off his plate and into the willing mouth of Jellybean, the family's terrier. Delores makes her infamous rubbery meatballs whenever David sneaks them off his plate and into the willing mouth of Jellybean, the family's terrier. Whenever Delores makes her infamous rubbery meatballs, David sneaks them off his plate and into the willing mouth of Jellybean, the family's terrier.

12.

While Kristy labored through another evening of incomprehensible accounting homework, her roommate Bob read a sci-fi novel. And ate an entire bag of potato chips. A. While Kristy labored through another evening of incomprehensible accounting homework, her roommate Bob read a sci-fi novel and ate an entire bag of potato chips. B. While Kristy labored through another evening of incomprehensible accounting homework, her roommate Bob read a sci-fi novel, and ate an entire bag of potato chips. C. While Kristy labored through another evening of incomprehensible accounting homework, her roommate Bob read a sci-fi novel and he ate an entire bag of potato chips.

13.

To make her ex-boyfriend Brad jealous, Georgia saved her money. To buy a head-turning black dress that would attract a flock of men at the dance. A. B. C. To make her ex-boyfriend Brad jealous, Georgia saved her money, to buy a headturning black dress that would attract a flock of men at the dance. To make her ex-boyfriend Brad jealous, Georgia saved her money to buy a headturning black dress that would attract a flock of men at the dance. To make her ex-boyfriend Brad jealous, Georgia saved her money; to buy a headturning black dress that would attract a flock of men at the dance.

14.

Anyone who enters Cedric's apartment can tell that this young man has a dog. For example, puncture marks in the mini blinds, dog snot clouding the windows, and paw prints on the beige upholstery. A. Anyone who enters Cedric's apartment can tell that this young man has a dog; for example, puncture marks in the mini blinds, dog snot clouding the windows, and paw prints on the beige upholstery. Anyone who enters Cedric's apartment can tell that this young man has a dog; for example: puncture marks in the mini blinds, dog snot clouding the windows, and paw prints on the beige upholstery. Anyone who enters Cedric's apartment can tell that this young man has a dog. For example, there are puncture marks in the mini blinds, dog snot clouding the windows, and paw prints on the beige upholstery.

B.

C.

15.

Bored with the revision of his research essay. Patrick poked the soft front of his flat-screen monitor, fascinated by its squishy surface. A. B. C. Bored with the revision of his research essay, Patrick poked the soft front of his flatscreen monitor, fascinated by its squishy surface. Bored with the revision of his research essay Patrick poked the soft front of his flatscreen monitor, fascinated by its squishy surface. Because he was bored with the revision of his research essay Patrick poked the soft front of his flat-screen monitor, fascinated by its squishy surface.

16.

Despite Cassandra's stern warning, Alex walked over to flirt with Helen. The most beautiful— and dangerous—woman at the party. A. B. C. Despite Cassandra's stern warning, Alex walked over to flirt with Helen; the most beautiful—and dangerous—woman at the party. Despite Cassandra's stern warning, Alex walked over to flirt with Helen the most beautiful—and dangerous—woman at the party. Despite Cassandra's stern warning, Alex walked over to flirt with Helen, the most beautiful—and dangerous—woman at the party.

17.

All of my friends wanted to spend Friday afternoon at the beach. Except Michael, the worrier, who was concerned about shark bites, jellyfish stings, and skin cancer. A. B. C. All of my friends wanted to spend Friday afternoon at the beach: except Michael, the worrier, who was concerned about shark bites, jellyfish stings, and skin cancer. All of my friends wanted to spend Friday afternoon at the beach. Michael, however, was concerned about shark bites, jellyfish stings, and skin cancer. All of my friends wanted to spend Friday afternoon at the beach. Excluding Michael, the worrier, who was concerned about shark bites, jellyfish stings, and skin cancer.

18.

Since the roof of Orlando Hall leaks, students know to check their seats. To avoid soaking their pants in a puddle of water and then sitting in damp underwear for an entire class. A. Since the roof of Orlando Hall leaks, students know to check their seats to avoid soaking their pants in a puddle of water and then sitting in damp underwear for an entire class. Since the roof of Orlando Hall leaks, students know to check their seats, to avoid soaking their pants in a puddle of water and then sitting in damp underwear for an entire class. Since the roof of Orlando Hall leaks, students know to check their seats; to avoid soaking their pants in a puddle of water and then sitting in damp underwear for an entire class.

B.

C.

19.

As waves of boring information rolled from Professor Clark's mouth. Kris grabbed his mental surfboard and spent the rest of the hour riding fantasy waves. A. B. C. As waves of boring information rolled from Professor Clark's mouth Kris grabbed his mental surfboard and spent the rest of the hour riding fantasy waves. Waves of boring information rolled from Professor Clark's mouth, while Kris grabbed his mental surfboard and spent the rest of the hour riding fantasy waves. As waves of boring information rolled from Professor Clark's mouth, Kris grabbed his mental surfboard and spent the rest of the hour riding fantasy waves.

20.

To make Sylvia, the party's hostess, happy. Kelvin steeled himself, dipped his spoon into the squid eyeball stew, and began to drain the bowl. A. B. C. To make Sylvia, the party's hostess, happy; Kelvin steeled himself, dipped his spoon into the squid eyeball stew, and began to drain the bowl. To make Sylvia, the party's hostess, happy Kelvin steeled himself, dipped his spoon into the squid eyeball stew, and began to drain the bowl. To make Sylvia, the party's hostess, happy, Kelvin steeled himself, dipped his spoon into the squid eyeball stew, and began to drain the bowl.

©1997 - 2012 by Robin L. Simmons All Rights Reserved.

Fixing Fragments
Directions: Read each item that follows. Use your mouse to choose the right option. To keep track of your answers, print the accompanying handout. If you are unsure which choice to make, consult the rules. We're waiting to see if your answers are music to our ears!

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Fragments – Exercise 6
This handout accompanies Exercise 6 of Grammar Bytes! Get the answers by doing the interactive version of the exercise at this address: http://chompchomp.com/exercises.htm Directions: Choose the option that corrects an error in the underlined portions. If no error exists, choose “No change is necessary.” 1. With her heavy dictionary, (A) Donna thumps the top of her ancient computer monitor. (B) Whenever the color tint flickers (C) from normal to sickly yellow. A. B. C. D. 2. ... dictionary Donna ... ... monitor whenever ... ... flickers. From ... No change is necessary.

When Kate saw the gray worm on the dissection tray. (A) She folded her arms (B) and refused to pick up the scalpel (C) even though she would earn a zero in lab. A. B. C. D. ... tray, she ... ... arms. And ... ... scalpel. Even though ... No change is necessary.

3.

Karlene drove slowly through the heavy traffic. (A) Anticipating a bag of microwave popcorn (B) and a couple of hours in front of the television (C) as her reward for a hard day at work. A. B. C. D. ... traffic, anticipating ... ... popcorn, and ... ... television. As ... No change is necessary.

4.

Because of all his responsibilities at work and school, (A) Michael had no time to devote to the yard, (B) so weeds, vines, and insects thrived in this jungle. (C) That neighbors looked on with disapproval. A. B. C. D. ... school. Michael ... ... yard so ... ... jungle that ... No change is necessary.

5.

Citing writer's block as the reason (A) that she didn't have her essay, (B) Yao received no sympathy from Mrs. Santos. (C) Who will only accept "breather's block" as a legitimate excuse for late work. A. B. C. D. ... reason, that ... ... essay. Yao ... ... Mrs. Santos, who ... No change is necessary.

6.

Mackenzie had to leave the room, (A) for her father was noisily crunching raw radishes, (B) which produced so annoying a sound (C) that studying was impossible. A. B. C. D. ... room. Because her ... ... radishes. Which ... ... sound; that ... No change is necessary.

7.

Because he had eaten a stack of twelve pancakes, (A) Emanuel heard his stomach begin to rumble (B) as it processed the food. (C) Gurgling loudly to protest the huge meal. A. B. C. D. ... pancakes. Emanuel ... ... rumble. As ... ... food, gurgling ... No change is necessary.

8.

Although fans blew in every room, (A) Faye found the house unbearably hot. (B) And wished that the air conditioning repairman, (C) who was already three hours late, would pull into her driveway. A. B. C. D. ... room. Faye ... ... hot and ... ... repairman. Who ... No change is necessary.

9.

A student fascinated with all things ancient Egyptian. (A) Kemette squinted at the computer screen, (B) hoping to find the information she needed (C) to finish her research paper on Old Kingdom art. A. B. C. D. ... Egyptian, Kemette ... ... screen. Hoping ... ... needed, to ... No change is necessary.

10.

Whenever one of her six cats jumps on the kitchen counter, (A) Lorna just sighs. (B) And reminds herself that everything tastes better (C) if there is a little cat hair in it. A. B. C. D. ... counter Lorna ... ... sighs and ... ... better, if ... No change is necessary.

11.

Piling into the car, Jorge and his friends drove to Little Anthony's Pizzeria (A) and gorged on house specialties, (B) such as, (C) garlic knots, meatballs, and sausage pizza. A. B. C. D. ... Pizzeria. And ... ... specialties such ... ... as garlic ... No change is necessary.

12.

My appliances are always hungry. (A) For example, the dryer will eat underwear, (B) and the microwave will suck off half a frozen dinner (C) while it is cooking. A. B. C. D. ... hungry, for ... ... underwear and ... ... dinner, while ... No change is necessary.

13.

While Dr. Kinser bounced down the stairs (A) and strode through the hallway. (B) A brightly colored tie streamed over his shoulder, (C) flapping in his wake. A. B. C. D. ... stairs, and ... ... hallway, a ... ... shoulder flapping ... No change is necessary.

14.

Despite her parents' disapproval, (A) Tran continues to date Charlie. (B) A nice young man (C) whose only fault is not being born Vietnamese. A. B. C. D. ... disapproval Tran ... ... Charlie, a ... ... man. Whose ... No change is necessary.

15.

Anyone who visits Neil will find uneaten fruit all over his apartment. (A) Such as rotting bananas on the kitchen counter, (B) desiccated grapes in a bowl on the coffee table, (C) and a drippy apple on the bureau by the bed. A. B. C. D. ... apartment. For instance, he has rotting ... ... counter. Desiccated ... ... table. And ... No change is necessary.

16.

Searching travel websites (A) to compare room and flight rates, (B) Shaquita fantasized about a spring break vacation to Hawaii. (C) As her unfinished algebra homework lay ignored on her desk. A. B. C. D. ... websites, to ... ... rates Shaquita ... ... Hawaii as ... No change is necessary.

17.

Paulie is a daredevil (A) who enjoys skydiving, motorcycle racing, and boxing. But (B) won't eat raw cookie dough (C) because he's afraid of bacteria from uncooked eggs. A. B. C. D. ... daredevil. Who ... ... But he won't ... ... dough, because ... No change is necessary.

18.

The potted geranium wilted (A) from lack of water on Terry's kitchen window (B) while the faucet dripped wastefully, (C) staining the porcelain sink with rust. A. B. C. D. ... wilted, from ... ... window. While ... ... wastefully staining ... No change is necessary.

19.

His arms full of expensive science fiction paperbacks, (A) Cary remembered (B) that next semester's tuition was due in two weeks. (C) Making a trip to the library instead of the bookstore a better financial decision. A. B. C. D. ... paperbacks Cary ... ... remembered, that ... ... weeks, making ... No change is necessary.

20.

With the huge number of confusing rules colliding in her head, (A) Cindy took the quiz on fragments (B) and hoped, (C) that she would remember enough of the material to pass. A. B. C. D. ... head. Cindy ... ... fragments, and ... ... hoped that ... No change is necessary.

©1997 - 2012 by Robin L. Simmons All Rights Reserved.

Fixing Fragments
Directions: Read each item that follows. Use your mouse to choose the right option. To keep track of your answers, print the accompanying handout. If you are unsure which choice to make, consult the rules. Disclaimer: All prizes in this exercise are cyber, which means they have no physical reality and cannot be collected for use in the material world.

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Fragments – Exercise 7
This handout accompanies Exercise 7 of Grammar Bytes! Get the answers by doing the interactive version of the exercise at this address: http://chompchomp.com/exercises.htm Directions: Choose the option that corrects an error in the underlined portions. If no error exists, choose “No change is necessary.” 1. After Deidre saw the tiny balance on her ATM receipt, (A) she realized, (B) that her meals for the next week would consist of cheap food, (C) such as peanut butter sandwiches and instant soup. A. B. C. D. 2. ... receipt. She ... ... realized that ... ... food. Such ... No change is necessary.

Smiling with satisfaction (A) Michelle typed the last sentence of her research paper. Then a bolt of lightning crashed nearby, (B) extinguishing the electricity (C) and making poor Michelle wish that she had invested in a surge protector. A. B. C. D. ... satisfaction, Michelle ... ... nearby. Extinguishing ... ... electricity. And ... No change is necessary.

3.

When the cell phone began to chime in her book bag, (A) Jasmine froze in her seat (B) as all eyes in the room darted from her to Mr. Williams. (C) A professor who tolerated no interruptions during a lecture. A. B. C. D. ... bag. Jasmine ... ... seat. As ... ... Williams, a ... No change is necessary.

4.

As Alex squeezed down the narrow row of chairs. (A) His heavy book bag bumped the large soda perched on a desk, (B) sending a shower of diet cola into Teresa’s lap, (C) soaking her jeans. A. B. C. D. ... chairs, his ... ... desk. Sending ... ... lap soaking ... No change is necessary.

5.

You might think (A) that a floor-length dress is conservative (B) until you see the one that Christina wears. (C) A psychedelic swirl of pinks and purples that attracts everyone’s attention. A. B. C. D. ... think, that ... ... conservative. Until ... ... wears. It is a ... No change is necessary.

6.

As all of her classmates were sharing results (A) Melody quietly left the room (B) and found a quiet corner in the hallway (C) so that she could see her grade without embarrassing herself in front of her friends. A. B. C. D. ... results, Melody ... ... room, and ... ... hallway. So that ... No change is necessary.

7.

Gloria and Scooby stood in front of the bathroom mirror, (A) bitterly complaining about the difficult midterm and stern teaching in their biology course. (B) As Mrs. Perry, their professor, (C) eavesdropped from inside a far stall. A. B. C. D. ... mirror bitterly ... ... course as ... ... professor eavesdropped ... No change is necessary.

8.

One day in class, Shantrell rested her head against the wall (A) and discovered (B) that she could hear the classical music that Mr. Nguyen played in his office on the other side. (C) The music promptly put her to sleep. A. B. C. D. ... wall. And ... ... discovered, that ... ... side. Which ... No change is necessary.

9.

While Professor Koopman explained the consequences of the French Revolution, (A) Tiffany and Faith sniffled uncomfortably in their seats, (B) suffocated by the cheap shaving lotion (C) that Henry always wore. A. B. C. D. ... Revolution. Tiffany ... ... seats. Suffocated ... ... lotion, that ... No change is necessary.

10.

Once classes were over, (A) Maria used to meet her lab partner Chris at the diner near campus (B) until she discovered that Chris preferred, (C) to flirt with the waitresses instead of discussing their chemistry homework. A. B. C. D. ... over Maria ... ... campus, until ... ... preferred to ... No change is necessary.

11.

Coated with dust, (A) the blinds filtered shadowy light into Adrian's cluttered apartment,
(B)

where clothing and empty take-out boxes littered the floor. (C) As flies buzzed around

rotting bananas on the kitchen counter. A. B. C. D. 12. ... dust the ... ... apartment. Where ... ... floor as ... No change is necessary.

Hands covered in cookie dough, (A) Madeline ran to the phone, (B) hoping that the call was from Eric. (C) Her boyfriend who had broken his promise to call the day before. A. B. C. D. ... dough Madeline ... ... phone hoping ... ... Eric, her ... No change is necessary.

13.

Wendy pushed her glasses up her nose, (A) and blew loose strands of hair from her eyes, (B) hoping that clearer vision would help her make sense of the difficult algebra problem (C) that she was trying to solve. A. B. C. D. ... nose and ... ... eyes. Hoping ... ... problem, that ... No change is necessary.

14.

To get on his mother's good side, (A) Rufus offered to unpack the groceries, (B) but dropped the carton of eggs that Mom would later need (C) to make chocolate-broccoli muffins for the church bake sale. A. B. C. D. ... side Rufus ... ... groceries. But he dropped ... ... need, to ... No change is necessary.

15.

Circling the parking lot, (A) Dominique searched for an empty space close to the mall entrance (B) so that an afternoon thunderstorm wouldn't drench her (C) while she was loaded down with good buys. A. B. C. D. ... lot Dominique ... ... entrance. So ... ... her, while ... No change is necessary.

16.

If his friends walked into the bookstore (A) Boris had a stack of car magazines as camouflage, (B) but he was really reading Better Homes and Gardens, studying decorating ideas (C) to spruce up his first apartment. A. B. C. D. ... bookstore, Boris ... ... camouflage but ... ... ideas, to ... No change is necessary.

17.

To make his long shift at Bernie’s Burger Emporium tolerable, (A) Kelvin used ketchup,
(B)

to make smiley faces on the burgers (C) that he assembled at the grill. ... tolerable. Kelvin ... ... ketchup to ... ... burgers, that ... No change is necessary.

A. B. C. D.

18.

Darryl has the messiest book bag (A) of anyone Rachel knows; (B) he essentially has a compost pile rotting in the main compartment. (C) For instance, pistachio shells, pencil shavings, and a brown banana. A. B. C. D. ... bag, of ... ... knows, he ... ... compartment. For instance, there are pistachio ... No change is necessary.

19.

Mrs. Neal loves chocolate cake. (A) But couldn't accept the slice that her student Michael offered (B) because she knew that it was a bribe (C) for a better grade on his midterm essay. A. B. C. D. ... cake but ... ... offered. Because ... ... bribe, for ... No change is necessary.

20.

Dressing for her interview with the recruiters, (A) Leisha debated wearing four hoops in each ear and a nose ring (B) or removing the jewelry (C) and tolerating convention during the college job fair. A. B. C. D. ... recruiters Leisha ... ... ring. Or ... ... jewelry, and ... No change is necessary.

©1997 - 2012 by Robin L. Simmons All Rights Reserved.

Idiomatic Language
Idiomatic language involves the use of certain expressions that are said a certain way for no specific grammatical reason. Typically, there is no logical justification of why a certain word is correct in an idiomatic expression; it just is. Idiomatic language is the reason why a direct translation of something written in a foreign language often does not make sense, since idioms cannot be conveyed through direct translation. Common sayings or figures of speech fit into the category of idiomatic language. For instance, to say somebody “lost his marbles” does not mean that he literally lost his marbles; it means that he went crazy. This type of idiomatic language is only occasionally featured on the ACT. The tests more frequently test students on the proper preposition to use in an expression. Prepositions are words like by, for, on, of, to, at and after. Preposition use in expressions is almost always an issue of idiomatic language, since there is usually no logical reason to use one preposition over another. Take note of situations in which you are given the option of different prepositions. To figure out which preposition is appropriate in an expression, use your ear. Think about how you have heard the expression before, and maybe even make up your own sentence featuring the expression to see how you would say it.

Below are some examples of correct idiomatic expressions.
by accident on purpose intended to “This page is intended to teach you about idiomatic language.” intended for “This email is intended for your eyes only.” look at “I looked at the clock.” look for “I looked for my keys.” points at “I pointed at the car.” points to “The evidence points to the conclusion that the defendant is guilty.” in danger in agreement on sale “The book is on sale.” (This means it is being sold at a discount.)

for sale “The book is for sale.” (This means it is being sold.) on fire young at heart modeled by “This model car was modeled by me.” (This means that I put the model together.) modeled after “This model car is modeled after a Ferrari Testarossa.” (This means that it is a replica of a Ferrari Testarossa) modeled on “This model car is modeled on a Ferrari Testarossa.” (Just as in the above example, this means that it is a replica of a Ferrari Testarossa)

In the above list, many of the expression differ only in the preposition used. As you can see, many words can take more than one preposition but have different meanings according to which preposition is used. Be especially careful of such words on the ACT. If you are using your own sentence in an attempt to figure out an idiomatic expression, make certain that the expression in your sentence is being used in the same way as the expression in the question.

Misplaced Modifiers
A modifier is a word or phrase that modifies, or describes, something. Modifiers must be placed next to whatever they are modifying or describing.

If you notice that different answer choices are giving you different options for the placement of an adjective or adverb, choose the option that places it next to what it is describing.

Incorrect: The cloudless airplane flew through the sky. Correct: The airplane flew through the cloudless sky. When the modifier in question is simply an adjective or an adverb, misplaced modifier issues are fairly easy to recognize just by using your ear, as is the case in the above example.

Misplaced modifiers can be much more difficult to catch just by using your year when the modifier is a phrase. Incorrect: Surrounded by strangers, a feeling of uneasiness swept over Ryan. Correct: Surrounded by strangers, Ryan began to feel uneasy. In this example, “surrounded by strangers” is a modifying phrase, so it must be followed by whatever it is most specifically describing, which is Ryan, not “a feeling of uneasiness.”

Incorrect: Skiing down the mountain, John’s hat flew off his head. Correct: Skiing down the mountain, John felt his hat fly off his head. In this example, the incorrect version is sneaky, because “John” appears come right after the modifying phrase. However, “John’s hat” is not the same as “John,” and John’s hat is not skiing down the mountain. Watch out, as this subtle form of misplaced modifier appears frequently on the ACT.

Incorrect: She showed up with her boyfriend wearing a pink dress. Correct: She showed up wearing a pink dress with her boyfriend.

In this example, the incorrect version implies that her boyfriend was wearing a pink dress.

Misplaced modifiers can be tricky to catch using only your ear, since they don’t always sound obviously wrong. To make sure you don’t get fooled by a misplaced modifier, you have to know where to look for them. Whenever a sentence begins with a phrase, and then you are given different options for how to begin the independent clause that follows the phrase, you must recognize that you are being tested on a misplaced modifier. Then, it’s easy. Just put whoever or whatever the phrase is talking about right after the phrase. Misplaced modifiers also show up frequently on “awkwardness questions,” questions in which you must choose the least awkward option. Misplaced modifiers are frequently responsible for a sentence sounding just a bit off. Before you choose an answer on an awkwardness question, make certain that it does not contain any subtle misplaced modifiers. .

Misplaced & Dangling Modifiers
Exercise 1
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Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 2
 

Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 3
 

Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout .

Exercise 4
 

Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Exercise 5
 

Interactive Exercise Keep track of your answers with this accompanying handout.

Parallel Construction
Parallel construction dictates that the items in a list or comparison must be expressed in as similar a manner as possible. The items in a list or comparison should all be nouns or all be verbs, and if the items are verbs, they should all be expressed in the same tense.

Incorrect: I like spaghetti, hamburgers, and eating pizza. “Spaghetti” and “hamburgers” are both nouns, while “eating pizza” is a verb. Correct: I like spaghetti, hamburgers, and pizza. Every item in this list is a noun. Correct: I like eating spaghetti, hamburgers, and pizza. When “eating” comes before the first item in the list, it applies to every item in the list.

Incorrect: I read books, watch TV, and listening to music. Although this list consists only of verbs, “listening to music” is not in the same tense as the other two verbs. Correct: I read books, watch TV, and listen to music. Every item in this list is a verb that is in the same tense.

Incorrect: I like to ski better than snowboarding. “To ski” and “snowboarding” should not be compared because they are in different tenses. Correct: I like to ski better than to snowboard. The comparison can be made between the infinitive of both verbs. Correct: I like skiing better than snowboarding. The comparison can be made between the present participles of both verbs.

Parallel Structure
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Exercise 1
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Passive Voice
The passive voice is a construction that turns the natural object of a sentence into the subject and the natural subject of the sentence into the object. Although it does not technically constitute a grammatical error, it is stylistically undesirable in most situations and should rarely be chosen over the active voice on the ACT.

Active: The boy caught the ball. Passive: The ball was caught by the boy. Passive: The ball was caught.

Active: The students heard the sound of birds chirping. Passive: The sound of birds chirping was heard by the students.

Active: The principal introduced the speaker. Passive: The speaker was introduced by the principal.

There are, of course, situations in which it makes sense to use the passive voice: if you do not know the subject of your sentence, cannot adequately articulate the subject, or wish to deemphasize the subject. However, such reasons to use the passive voice are highly unlikely to come up on the ACT. In general, you should always choose the active voice over the passive voice if they both seem grammatically correct. The only somewhat common situation in which you should choose the passive voice over the active voice is if the passive construction is needed in order to avoid a misplaced modifier error, as is illustrated by the following example.

Active: Spiraling through the air, the boy caught the ball. Passive: Spiraling through the air, the ball was caught by the boy. Here, the active sentence features a misplaced modifier error, since “spiraling through the air” is meant to be describing the ball, not the boy. Therefore, “the ball” must come right after “spiraling through the air.”

There are two main situations in which you should be on the lookout for the passive voice on the ACT. The first occurs on “awkwardness questions,” on which you need to choose the least awkward answer. Look out for the passive voice on these questions, and eliminate answer choices in which you see it, unless of course the use of the passive voice is needed in order to avoid a misplaced modifier. The second situation occurs when you have a question narrowed down to two answer choices and are having trouble choosing between them because they both sound correct. Very often, one is written in the passive voice and the other is written in the active voice. Choose the active voice.

Pronoun Agreement
A pronoun must agree with its antecedent, the word it renames. In other words, singular pronouns must rename singular nouns and plural pronouns must rename plural nouns. Any time a pronoun is underlined, match it with its antecedent to make sure they agree. If you match a pronoun with its antecedent and are not sure if the antecedent is singular or plural, use the is/are test: if the antecedent sounds good followed by “is,” it is singular, and if it sounds good followed by “are,” it is plural. Be particularly careful with the pronoun “they,” as “they” is commonly misused as a singular pronoun in spoken English.

Incorrect: Any student who needs extra help with their homework should see their teacher after class. Correct: Any student who needs extra help with his or her homework should see his or her teacher after class. Correct: All students who need extra help with their homework should see their teachers after class. “Any student” is singular, so it cannot be renamed by “their.” Either the antecedent or the pronoun must be changed to create agreement.

Incorrect: The football team made the playoffs for the first time in years. Hopefully, they can win the championship. Correct: The football team made the playoffs for the first time in years. Hopefully, it can win the championship. This one is tricky, since “they” in the incorrect version refers to “the football team,” which is made up of many players. However, the football team is technically a singular entity, which you can tell because “the football team is” sounds a lot better than “the football team are.” Because it is singular, it must be replaced with a singular pronoun.

Incorrect: The zebra mussel is not native to the North America, but they now thrive in North America’s Great Lakes. Correct: The zebra mussel is not native to North America, but it now thrives in North America’s Great Lakes. Correct: Zebra mussels are not native to North America, but they now thrive in North America’s Great Lakes. The incorrect version incorrectly switches from a singular to a plural construction. The plural “they” cannot rename the singular “zebra mussel” even if “the zebra mussel” is referring to the entire species. It is not what you are talking about that is important; it is how you are talking about it. Whether a sentence uses a singular or plural construction, it must stay consistent.

Incorrect: Each of the brothers did well on their math finals. Correct: Each of the brothers did well on his math final. This one is tricky, since “their” in the incorrect version appears to renaming “brothers,” which is plural. However, it is actually incorrectly renaming “each,” which is singular. “Each” is the true one-word antecedent of the pronoun in this example, and “of the brothers” is simply a phrase that modifies “each.” When dealing with agreement, the relevant word that must be agreed with can never under any circumstances be found within a phrase. In particular, beware of phrases that begin with the preposition “of.” It is also wise to remember that “each,” “either,” “neither,” and “none” are singular words.

Vague Pronouns When you are matching a pronoun with its antecedent to check for agreement, check to make sure that there is in fact a clear and recent antecedent. A pronoun must refer to and agree with a specific antecedent, not something that is understood but not specifically mentioned. The antecedent must also be recent. How recent it must be depends upon the context and the potential for ambiguity. If there is the slightest bit of ambiguity as to who or what a pronoun could be referring to, use a noun. Recognize that you are being tested on this concept when one or more answer choices give you the option of using a noun instead of a pronoun. When you are given this option on the ACT, the noun is correct a high percentage of the time.

Incorrect: Although he must have been tired after working for 12 hours straight, he didn’t let it show. Correct: Although he must have been tired after working for 12 hours straight, he didn’t let his tiredness show. This one is tricky, because although it is fairly obvious in the incorrect version that “it” refers to his tiredness, “tiredness” is never stated in the sentence, so “it” lacks a clear antecedent.

Incorrect: I have worked hard to make these sentences clear. This should make it easier for you to learn about pronouns. Correct: I have worked hard to make these sentences clear. The clarity of these sentences should make it easier for you to learn about pronouns. Watch out for the word “this,” as it often lacks a clear antecedent.

Incorrect: Mark dislikes Chris because he is a betterathlete . Correct: Mark dislikes Chris because Chris is a better athlete. In the incorrect version, it is unclear who is the better athlete.

Pronoun Agreement

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Pronoun Case
Pronoun case refers to the use of subject pronouns (like “she”) in the subjects of sentences and object pronouns (like “her”) in the objects of sentences. Usually, pronoun case is intuitive for native English speakers. For instance, you would never say “Her did well on the test” or “I sent an email to she.” The two pronouns for which case can be tricky is I/me and who/whom.

I/me
I = subject Me = object In other words, if the I/me is performing the action described by the verb (is the subject of the verb), the proper word is “I.” If the I/me is not the subject of a verb, the proper word is “me.” One good way of figuring out if “I” or “me” makes sense is to remove the other person from the sentence, as situations involving another person are where people most frequently misuse “I” or “me.” For instance, if a sentence said “My father and watched football,” the proper word is “I,” since the sentence would read “I watched football,” not “Me watched football” if “my father” was removed from the sentence. If the sentence said “My brother watched football with my father and ,” the proper word is “me” since the sentence would read “My brother watched football with me,” not “my brother watched football with I.” Certain types of sentences limit your ability to use this test by requiring more than one person in order to make sense. For instance, if a sentence said “There has always been a sibling rivalry between my brother and ,” the sentence would make no sense if you were to remove “my brother.” A good test in this situation is to rewrite the sentence in the third person: “There has always been a sibling rivalry between his brother and him.” Because you would use the object pronoun “him,” you should use the object pronoun “me.”

Who/whom
Who = subject Whom = object In other words, if the who/whom is performing the action described by the verb (is the subject of the verb), the proper word is “who.” If the I/me is not the subject of a verb, the proper word is “whom.” If you have trouble thinking about it simply in terms of subject vs. object, refer to the following test: Whom: Is preceded by a preposition OR is followed by a noun or pronoun. Who: Is not preceded by a preposition AND is followed by a verb. The best way to use is test is in two steps. First, determine if the who/whom is preceded by a preposition. Prepositions

are words such as to, for, from, at, by, and of. If the who/whom is preceded by a preposition, “whom” is the correct word. If the who/whom is not preceded by a preposition, you must move on to the second step, which is to see what the who/whom is followed by. If it is followed by a verb, “who” is the correct word, since it is the subject of the verb. If it is followed by a noun or pronoun, “whom” is the correct example, since the noun or pronoun after it is the subject of the sentence’s verb. Note that the verb or the noun or pronoun is not always the very next word after the who/whom. It is a matter of what you get to first after the who/whom: a verb or a noun or pronoun.

Below are several correct examples of who and whom:
That is the person who kicked the ball to me. That is the person to whom I kicked the ball. That is the person whom I kicked. Michael Jordan, whom many people consider the greatest basketball player of all time, won six championships with the Bulls. Michael Jordan, who won six championships with the bulls, is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time. To whom did you send that letter? For whom is that present?

Pronoun Case
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Exercise 6
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Two Independent Clauses (Avoiding Run-ons)
An independent clause is a group of words that is capable of standing on its own as a complete thought. By definition, an independent clause has a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought. Every sentence must contain at least one independent clause.

There are three main correct ways to link two independent clauses:
(1) Separate them with a period.
Example: The boy threw the ball. He watched it fly.

(2) Join them with a semi-colon.
Example: The boy threw the ball; he watched it fly.

(3) Join them with a comma followed by a conjunction (and, or, but, yet, for, so, nor).
Example: The boy threw the ball, and he watched it fly. Example: I like ice cream, but I do not like frozen yogurt.

Incorrect options in between two independent clauses:
(1) No punctuation at all.
Incorrect: The boy threw the ball he watched it fly.

(2) A comma without a conjunction.
Incorrect: The boy threw the ball, he watched it fly.

(3) A conjunction without a comma.
Incorrect: The boy threw the ball and he watched it fly. Be careful though, since the following sentence correctly features no comma since the part after the “and” is not an independent clause: The boy threw the ball and watched it fly.

Other correct possibilities:
If you have two independent clauses that are incorrectly joined, but you are not given the option of a period, semi-colon, or comma-conjunction, consider the following ways of fixing the sentence.

(1) Colon
Colons are only used between two independent clauses when the two independent clauses are very closely related. Never choose a colon between two independent clauses over a period, semi-colon, or comma-conjunction (unless it is not the appropriate conjunction). Consider it a good back-up option. Example: Bob did not want to go to the sushi restaurant: he couldn’t stand the thought of eating raw fish.

(2) Dash
Dashes are only used between two independent clauses when they are very closely related. Never choose a dash between two independent clauses over a period, semi-colon, or comma-conjunction (unless it is not the appropriate conjunction). Consider it a good back-up option. Example: Bob did not want to go to the sushi restaurant – he couldn’t stand the thought of eating raw fish.

(3) Turn one of the independent clauses into a dependent clause.
Incorrect: Bob did not want to go to the sushi restaurant, he couldn’t stand the thought of eating raw fish. Correct: Bob did not want to go to the sushi restaurant, since he couldn’t stand the thought of eating raw fish. Correct: Because Bob could not stand the thought of eating raw fish, he did not want to go to the sushi restaurant.

Tips: The ACT will not ask you to choose between a period followed by a capital letter and a semi-colon

followed by a lowercase letter. In real life, choosing between these options is a judgment call, and a standardized test cannot ask you to make a judgment call. If you are offered both a period-capital and a semi-colon-lowercase, neither option can be correct, unless of course there is some other differencebetween the two answer choices to distinguish them by. -Whenever you are given the option of a period, semi-colon, or comma-conjunction in any of the answer choices, check to see if you have two independent clauses. If so, that option will be correct unless there is something else wrong with the answer or, in the case of the comma-conjunction, the wrong conjunction is used.

Comma Splices & Fused Sentences
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Unnecessary, Irrelevant, Redundant:Reason to Delete
The ACT values conciseness. You must seek out and delete anything that could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant. Because we commonly speak redundantly, you cannot expect unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant language to sound incorrect. Therefore, you should rely on the structure of the question to tip you off to look for such language.

Redundancy is repetitive.
Redundant: It was chilly and cold outside. Correct: It was cold outside. Although chilly and cold are not perfect synonyms , they are close enough in meaning that they are redundant when used together. Choose the more accurate of the two. Usually you will only be given the choice of one or the other so you will not have to decide which one is more accurate.

Redundant: The police cop arrested the burglar. Correct: The cop arrested the burglar. You can refer to him a policeman or a cop, but it is redundant to call him a police cop.

Redundant: The stupid idiot Correct: The idiot An idiot is by definition stupid. Never use an adjective to modify a noun that already by definition presupposes that adjective.

Redundant: Large in size Correct: Large Large by definition refers to size.

Redundant: There was a blizzard outside, so he stayed in the house because of the snow. Correct: There was a blizzard outside, so he stayed in the house. Correct: He stayed in the house because of the snow. There is no need to state why he stayed in the house more than once.

Unnecessary is not needed.
Sometimes language isn’t redundant, but it just isn’t needed. Words that add no meaning should always be eliminated. Unnecessary: He was tired for the particular reason that he had been working all day. Correct: He was tired because he had been working all day. “For the particular reason that” contains no more meaning than the single word “because.”

Unnecessary: There must have been some sort of mistake. Correct: There must have been a mistake. “Some sort of” adds no meaning to the sentence.

Irrelevant is off topic.
Irrelevant information is not directly on topic. All information must help to advance the logical flow of the paragraph, provide a relevant example, or clarify something that might otherwise be unclear. It must be more than “kind of related” to the focus of the paragraph. Many times, information that is only “kind of related,” is really going off on a tangent, digressing from the focus of the paragraph. Any such information must be deleted. Irrelevant: Grizzly bears are dangerous animals, so people who hike in grizzly bear territory should take certain precautions. Other dangerous animals include lions and poisonous snakes. In grizzly bear territory, people should hike with bear spray and make plenty of noise to prevent startling a bear.

Correct: Grizzly bears are dangerous animals, so people who hike in grizzly bear territory should take certain precautions. In grizzly bear territory, people should hike with bear spray or a large gun and make plenty of noise to prevent startling a bear. Although the sentence about other dangerous animals is kind of related to the first sentence, it is irrelevant to the focus of the paragraph as a whole, since it merely goes off on a tangent.

On the ACT, there are two structures you should look out for. If you are given the option to “OMIT the underlined portion” or “DELETE the underlined portion,” you must consider whether there is any chance the underlined portion could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant. If so, choose to omit or delete. Remember that the omit or delete option is correct about half the time it is offered. Of course, that also means it is incorrect about half the time, so be careful not to overplay this tendency. The second structure you should look out for is when one answer choice is shorter than the others. Consider what is not included in that answer choice that is included in the others. If this information could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant, choose the shorter option.

Verb Agreement
A verb must agree with its simple subject. Any time a verb is underlined, match it with its subject to check for agreement. If you match a verb with its subject and are not sure if the subject is singular or plural, use the is/are test: if the subject sounds good followed by “is,” it is singular, and if the subject sounds good followed by “are,” it is plural. Then, if you are having trouble figuring out the singular or plural form of the verb, use the he/they test. The singular form of the verb will sound good preceded by “he” and the plural form of the verb will sound good preceded by “they.”

Incorrect: The leaves on the tree was starting to turn yellow. Correct: The leaves on the tree were starting to turn yellow. Here, the verb must agree with “leaves,” not “tree.” This example features one of the ACT’s favorite ways of tricking students on verb agreement questions: putting a phrase that ends in a singular word (“on the tree”) in between a plural subject and what needs to be a plural verb (or vice versa). It is important to remember that your simple subject can never be found within a phrase.

Incorrect: Sarah and Nancy plays softball. Correct: Sarah and Nancy play softball. Although “Sarah” and “Nancy” are each singular individually, “Sarah and Nancy” is a plural subject and therefore requires the plural “play.” If a subject contains more than one item connect with “and,” it is plural.

Incorrect: The lion or the tiger are the most impressive big cat. Correct: The lion or the tiger is the most impressive big cat. When “or” is used to connect two singular subjects, a singular verb is used. When “or” is used to connect two plural subjects, a plural verb is used. When “or” is used to connect a singular and a plural subject, the verb should agree with whichever subject it is closest to.

Incorrect: Neither of the mice were able to get to the cheese. Correct: Neither of the mice was able to get to the cheese.

This one is tricky, since the plural word “mice” might appear to be the simple subject of the sentence, in which case the plural “were” would be appropriate. However, the subject is actually “neither,” which is singular, and “of the mice” is simply a phrase that modifies “neither.” When dealing with agreement, the relevant word that must be agreed with can never under any circumstances be found within a phrase. In particular, beware of phrases that begin with the preposition “of.” It is also wise to remember that each, either, and neither are singular words. You should also be aware that when an indefinite pronoun (either, neither, each, any, all, some, few, somebody, most, etc.) is the first word of a sentence, it is probably the subject of the sentence even though it derives most of its meaning from a modifying phrase

Subject-Verb Agreement
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Verb Tense
Whenever a verb is underlined, you should make sure it is in the correct tense. It is unnecessary to learn the name of every tense. Just be able to match like with like and use the context to figure out the proper tense of a verb. Look at the tense of any other verbs in the sentence and in nearby sentences. A verb will most likely be in the same tense as the other nearby verbs unless there is a reason to shift the tense. If you suspect a shift in the time frame being discussed based on the context, you likely need to shift the verb tense. Be sure to also consider parallel construction when considering verbtense; the verbs in a list or comparison must be written in the same tense.

Incorrect: Yesterday, I went swimming and play baseball. Correct: Yesterday, I went swimming and played baseball. It is obvious based on the context that both verbs in the sentence occurred in the past, so the past tense is needed.

Incorrect: Right now I am a student, but someday I become a doctor. Correct: Right now I am a student, but someday I will become a doctor. Although the verbs within a sentence are usually written in the same tense, here the context of the sentence dictates that the first verb is in the present tense and the second verb is in the future tense.

Incorrect: She brushed her teeth, read a book, and goes to bed. Correct: She brushed her teeth, read a book, and went to bed. Parallel construction dictates that every verb in a list should be expressed in the same tense. Furthermore, there is simply no reason to shift from the past to the present tense in this sentence.

Recognizing Past Participles One of the trickiest verb tense errors on the ACT involves the past participles of verbs. A past participle of a verb is the form of verb that can be preceded by “had” or “have” (among other uses). The past participle of a verb is often identical to the past simple (the regular past tense); when these tenses are not the same, they are often confused. Below are some examples.

Past Simple did played was beat came gave swam began forgot cleaned

Past Participle done played been beaten come given swum begun forgotten cleaned

Incorrect: He begun to eat. Incorrect: He has began to eat. Correct: He began to eat. Correct: He has begun to eat. Correct: He should have begun to eat.

Incorrect: I have forgot your name. Correct: I have forgotten your name. Correct: I would have forgotten your name. Correct: I forgot your name. One final note on verb tense: generally avoid answers that contain the word “being,” as “being” is used in many more incorrect answers than correct answers on the ACT. Be certain you are right before choosing an answer that contains the word “being.”

IV
RHETORICAL SKILLS
The Rhetorical Skills questions focus on writing strategy, main ideas, organization, and style. These questions-which make up about one-third, or roughly 25 of the 75 questions on the test-tend to be more difficult than the Usage/Mechanics questions discussed in Chapter Ill. While the grammar techniques from Chapter II may come in handy, the questions discussed in this chapter, for the most part, do not rely on grammar knowledge. This chapter will discuss general techniques that will help you tackle Rhetorical Skills questions.

IDENTIFYING RHETORICAL SKILLS QUESTIONS
hanics.ql:lestio�gener,g,l!iY\ltaveawntte{).. Rh�t9�1 Skills qu�stions, unlike Usa questronjnext t()>tfte,q��stion !'!Umber. In addition, the .?loSwer choic�s tend to be longer than those on Usage/Mechan� f:iluestions. .

.....

>'··

If necessary, go to page 89 to see examples of Usage/Mechanics and Rhetorical Skills questions.

A passage on "Snooker'' is found on the following page. Don't read it yet. The questions and related lessons will be discussed on the pages following the passage. For easy reference, you might want to cut the passage out of this tutorial.

RHETORICAL SKILLS

1 05

[1] Snooker, a table sport where each opponent uses a cue to hit colored balls into table pockets, has been around for over a hundred years. If you've watched a game of pool or Billiards, then you might be more familiar with Snooker than you think. ITJ The game likely originated in India in the late 1800's when British Army officers made variations to traditional Billiards. The word
snooker was

@
1.

At this point, the writer is considering adding the following sentence: Billiards involves more colored balls than does Snooker. Given that it is true, would this be a relevant addition to make here?
A. Yes, because it gives the reader a

a slang military term for an

inexperienced military man. It is claimed that Colonel Sir Neville Chamberlain was playing this new game when his opponent failed to "pot"---or sink-a ball. Chamberlain called his opponent a "snooker." The sport soon took this as its name.

[2] The historv of Snooker is filled with exciting
2

better idea of the differences between Billiards and Snooker. B. Yes, because it allows the reader to visualize Billiards. C. No, because it doesn't help expand the historical background of Snooker. D. No, because this paragraph is discussing table sports in general, not specific table sports. 2.

matches and skilled players. The goal of
2

@

Snooker is to score more points than the opponent. The game includes 15 red balls, one white ball, or cue ball, and six balls of different colors. Points are scored by potting balls. But the hard part is that the balls must be potted in a predetermined order. If you miss a shot on the desired ball, then your turn is done and the next player takes over. Imagine the challenge of having to hit one specific ball with all of the other balls scattered around. [l]

Which choice would most effectively and appropriately lead the reader from the topic of Paragraph 1 to that of Paragraph 2?
F.

NO C HA NG E

G. Billiards and Snooker are not the

only games played with cues and balls. H. Snooker may have gotten its name from an unskilled player, but the game is not easy. J. Every game must have a means to determine winning from losing. 3. Given that all of the following sentences are true, which one, if added here, would offer the best transition from Paragraph 2 to Paragraph 3?
A.

@

No wonder Snooker players are considered to be so skilled. B. Tournaments are where Snooker players can show their stuff. C. So many balls; so little time. D. A major advance for Snooker occurred in 1969 when the balls were used to demonstrate color TV.
RHETORICAL SKILLS 1 07

[3]
Of the many great Snooker players, Stephen Hendry stands out. Born in January

13,

1969 in Scotland, Hendry became the youngest player to become a Snooker World Champion­ at the age of 21. He went on to win six more World Championships, and he was Snooker's number one player for eight consecutive years, between 1990 and 1998. Hendry's skill as a player lead to amazing riches and fame for him, and helped popularize the sport of Snooker around the world. However. you may not have heard of it.
4 4

4.

@

[§]

Which of the choices would provide an ending most consistent with essay as a whole?

F. NO CHANGE G. It's hard to imagine that Snooker, a
sport with such humble beginnings, could become what it is today. H. The possibility of fame is real indeed. Snooker may be difficult, but that shouldn't stop you from giving it a shot. Question 5 asks about the preceding passage as a whole.

J.

5.

@

Suppose the writer had chosen to write a brief essay that compares Snooker to other table games. Would this essay successfully fulfill that goal? Yes, because the essay discusses pool, Billiards, and Snooker.

A.

B. Yes, because the essay mentions
that Snooker is a variation of Billiards.

C. No, because the essay primarily
discusses the origins and development of Snooker. D. No, because the essay fails to mention any other table games.

1 08

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

1. MAIN IDEAS
The most important part of Rhetorical Skills questions is recognizing

main ideas.

As the name

implies, a main idea is the central point or message of a passage, paragraph, or even an individual sentence.

MAIN IDEA OF A PARAGRAPH
Think about the main idea of each paragraph while reading a passage. The first or last sentence-often called a

topic sentence-of a paragraph can often help you identify the

paragraph's main idea. But remember that these passages are in need of revision and may lack clear and effective topic sentences. Therefore, you will likely have to look at details within the paragraph as well.

FIND KEYWORDS
You should usually be able to write down the main idea of a paragraph in just a few words. These words, or

keywords,

will help you when you look at the answer choices. Read Paragraph

1 of the sample passage now.

'

-4---

The first thing you might notice is that to answer Question

1,

you should read the whole

paragraph. Main idea questions often cannot be answered without reading beyond the place where the question occurs. Before you answer the question, think about the main idea of Paragraph

1

and come up with some keywords. What's the first word that comes to mind?

'
Was your first keyword "Snooker''? The paragraph is certainly focused on the sport Snooker. First keyword of Paragraph

1

=

Snooker

Now, let's look a little deeper. If you had to think of one word that summarizes paragraph discusses Snooker, what would it be?

how the

RHETORICAL SKILLS

1 09

Look at some of the key phrases: " ... has been around for over a hundred years...," "...the game likely originated in India in the late 1800's ... ," 'The sport soon took this as its name." The paragraph is talking about the
origin of

Snooker.

Second keyword of Paragraph 1

=

origin

So the main idea of Paragraph 1 has to do with the

origin

of

Snooker.

WATCH OUT FOR OFF-TOPIC ANSWER CHOICES
Finally, let's look at Question 1.

Does the sentence in question tie into the main idea of the

paragraph, or is it off-topic? What's the best answer?

'
The sentence is off-topic because it focuses more on Billiards than Snooker. It has nothing to do with the origin or history of Snooker. The best answer is C.

TOPIC SENTENCES
A topic sentence, which generally is found either at the beginning or end of a paragraph, can serve two purposes: 1. 2. To summarize or capture the main idea of its paragraph. To transition from one paragraph to another.
Read Paragraph 2 now.

Once again, analyzing the main idea of each paragraph in question and looking for keywords will help you solve these questions. Don't answer any questions yet.

When you're done reading, think about main idea keywords for the paragraph.

'
What keywords did you come up with? Of course, "Snooker" should come to mind again. The passage is still talking about the sport Snooker. First keyword of Paragraph 2
=

Snooker

Beyond the general topic of Snooker, what is the specific focus of the paragraph? The paragraph talks about how Snooker is played and goes on to say that the sport is challenging (notice the keywords "the hard part" and later "Imagine the challenge"). Second keywords of Paragraph 2
=

how to play; challenging

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

So, you might write that the main idea of Paragraph 2 has to do with how to play the
challenging

game

Snooker.

Now, look at Question 2.

Which answer choice best transitions from Paragraph 1 and covers

the main idea of Paragraph 2?

'
F and H both refer to ideas presented in Paragraph 1 ("history of Snooker" and "its name, " respectively), but only H also introduces the main idea of Paragraph

2

("the game is not easy'?.

To answer Question 3, we'll have to

read Paragraph 3.

Don't worry about Questions 4 or 5 yet.

When you're done reading, think about main idea keywords for the paragraph.

'
What's the main idea of Paragraph 3? Your first keyword should probably be "Stephen Hendry." First keyword of Paragraph 3
=

Stephen Hendry

Is there anything else? You might notice that the paragraph transitions, in the last sentence, to the
popularity

of Snooker (thanks in no small way to Stephen Hendry).
=

Second keywords of Paragraph 3

popularity of Snooker

So the main idea of Paragraph 3 has to do with
popularize

Stephen Hendry and

how he helped

the sport of

Snooker.

Now, let's tackle Question 3

(go back to Paragraph 2). Once again, note that the question is
and

asking you to consider the main ideas of Paragraph 2 answer?

Paragraph 3. What's the best

'
Only A mentions the skill required to play (Paragraph player (Paragraph

2)

and transitions to an actual Snooker

3).

You might notice that the first sentence of Paragraph
. . .

3 gives you enough

information: "Of the many great Snooker players paragraph to answer Question 3.

" You didn't have to read the whole

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111

MAIN IDEA OF THE PASSAGE
Some passages will have a question that relates to the main idea of the entire passage. The best way to tackle these is to think about the main idea of each paragraph. Let's do this with the practice passage:

• • •

Paragraph

1 has to do with the origin

of Snooker.

Paragraph 2 has to do with how to play the challenging game of Snooker. Paragraph

3 has to do with the Stephen

Hendry and how he helped popularize the

sport of Snooker.

If you were to summarize the passage, you might say that the passage offers a general overview of the sport of Snooker, from its origins to its current popularity.

Now, look at Question 4. What answer choice best captures the main idea of the passage?

'
F seems to disagree with the main idea of Paragraph 3 (that Snooker has become popular).

And ask yourself: would this ending help summarize the essay as a whole? Look back to the main ideas of each paragraph; you'll probably agree that F is not correct. His too narrow-it only focuses on Paragraph 3, not the whole passage (remember, the question asks about "the essay as a whole'J. J shifts the focus to "you," the reader, actually playing the sport. This is off­ topic-not a focus of the passage. The best answer is G, which touches on the origin of Snooker (its "humble beginnings'? and its current popularity ("what it is today'?.
Question 5 is another Yes or No question, which is another way that you may be asked about the main idea of the passage. The following two lessons will help you answer this kind of question.

YES OR NO QUESTIONS
Yes or No questions will have two step,

yes answer choices and two no answer choices.
is to decide whether the answer is

The first By

before you look at the answer choices,

yes or no.

doing this, you immediately remove half of the answer choices.

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Let's look at Question 5.

Does the writer succeed in comparing Snooker to other table

games?

'
Your first thought might be yes-you probably remember "pool" and "Billiards" mentioned in the first paragraph. But there are two reasons why the answer is no. First, these other table games are merely mentioned; there is no strong comparison taking place between Snooker and these other games. And second and most importantly, this is a main idea question, a question that asks you to consider the passage as a whole. As we already know, the focus of the passage is Snooker, not how Snooker compares to other games. So at this point, eliminate A and B, the yes answers.

ELIMINATE FALSE ANSWER CHOICES
Yes or No questions often have answer choices is false. other table games?
false answer

choices. Check to see if one of the remaining answer choice D. Does the essay fail to mention

Look at Question 5,

'
As stated above, "pool" and "Billiards" are mentioned in the first paragraph. Eliminate D, leaving

C. Indeed, the essay's focus is "the origins and development of Snooker."

To summarize, when you tackle main idea questions:
• • • • •

Look for keywords in the passage that capture main ideas. Watch out for answer choices that are off-topic. Understand the function of topic sentences. Answer Yes or No questions before looking at the answer choices. Eliminate false answer choices.

RHETORICAL SKILLS

1 13

2. TRANSITIONS
CONJUNCTIONS AS TRANSITIONS
As we've already learned, conjunctions are words that connect phrases or sentences together. They transition from one thought or idea to another. These conjunctions can be broken into three types of transitions:

CONTRAST TRANSITIONS
although but despite even though even so however in contrast in spite of instead of nevertheless on the contrary on the other hand rather than still while yet

SUPPORT TRANSITIONS
additionally also and besides furthermore in addition in fact likewise moreover similarly (colon):

CAUSE AND EFFECT TRANSITIONS
accordingly because consequently for hence in order to so so. . . that therefore thus when. . . then

TRANSITIONS AND MAIN IDEAS
To choose a correct transition, you need to recognize the main idea of where you

were and the

main idea of where you're going. Whether you're dealing with phrases, sentences, or whole paragraphs, understanding main ideas is the key. Let's look at an example:

Although it may take a long time to
6

understand all of the intricacies of Snooker, you can enjoy watching the sport today if you just understand the basic rules.

6.

@

Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would be LEAST acceptable?

F. G. H. J.

While Since Even though Despite the fact that

1 14

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Do you see the contrast? What's the best answer? Read the question carefully.

'
The first part of the sentence talks about taking "a long time" to understand Snooker. The second part says you can enjoy the sport "today." The only answer choice that doesn't reflect this contrast is G-"Since" is a cause and effect transition.

SOMETIMES, NO TRANSITION IS BEST
Don't assume that you
must use

a transition. If the flow seems awkward with a transition, or if
not have

none of the transitions seem to work, look for the answer choice that does For example:

a transition.

I wanted to learn how to play Snooker. It seemed the best place to start was learning
7

@
7.

how to break.

A. NO C HA NG E B. Nevertheless, i t seemed C. On the other hand, it seemed D. In any case, it seemed

Consider the main idea of each sentence and answer the question.

'
The flow from the first sentence to the second sentence is clear without a transition. B and C are clear contrasts and can be eliminated since there is no contrast between the two sentences. The transition in D, "In any case, " is wordy at best and awkward at worst. The best answer is A.

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115

3. ORGANIZATION
Some questions ask you to change the organization of a passage. Usually this involves changing the placement of a sentence or adding a sentence somewhere in a given paragraph. You might also be asked to reposition an entire paragraph, but these questions are less common.

LOOK FOR CLUES
The

clues will be words that suggest

something must come before. These clues may either be

in the sentence that you're moving (if you're moving a whole paragraph, look at the sentence of that paragraph) or in the sentence that

first

follows a

potential placement.

For example, if you see any

pronoun (including a possessive pronoun),

such as

he, them, its,

or

these,

there's a good chance the previous sentence must mention the noun that the pronoun is

referring to:

. · ·············... . ·
.

[1] The first World Championship was organized by Englishman Joe Davis. [2] His efforts moved the game from a pastime to a professional sport.

······ ..--·············· ....... ::::::::::::::::::····· ·· · · · ·· · becoming Snoo l(er·s [1] New compan .are

��

: : : : : : : : : :::::::

::::

Pf>-.D,;?,.�rs all the time, and the game is

showing huge growth in the Far East and China. [2] These are all signs that the future of Snooker is bright.

In both examples above, clue words "His" and "These" reveal the order of the sentences.

Here's another example. Let's say the first sentence of a paragraph is:

Th i s ranking system for Snookers may be confusing, but most agree that it's fair.

The clue words here are 'This ranking system." It's very likely that the preceding sentence (perhaps the last sentence of the preceding paragraph) has something to do with this ranking system.

Always look for clue words when you're dealing with organization questions.

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Let's look at an Organization question. First, read the paragraph below:

[1] The Snooker World Championship, the most important event in Snooker, is held annually in Sheffield, England. [2] It is televised throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, and the Far East [3] He or she walks away with status, fame, and riches. [4] The prize money is impressive--over $500,000 goes to the winner.

[ill

8.

®

For the sake of logic and coherence, Sentence 3 should be placed:

F. where it is now. G. before Sentence 1. H. after Sentence 1.
J. after Sentence 4.

Question 8 focuses on Sentence 3. Look for clue words in Sentence 3.

First, you hopefully notice the pronouns "He or she." Whatever sentence precedes Sentence 3 should probably mention a person (someone for "He or she" to refer to). Also, notice the mention of "status, fame, and riches." This sentence would logically follow a discussion of fame and money. Considering these clues, what's the best place for Sentence 3?

Keeping the sentence where it is now is incorrect. While Sentence 2 touches on possible fame for the winner because the Championship is widely televised, at this point no particular person has been mentioned, and there is no mention of money. Sentence 4 mentions "the winner" and discusses money ("$500,000'). Thus, moving Sentence 3 after Sentence 4 is the correct choice. The answer is J.

MAIN IDEAS
Besides clue words, you might have to consider main ideas (something you should be thinking about anyway; see Section 1). Make sure ideas flow sensibly from one to another. Look at the following example, which relates to the paragraph on the Snooker World Championship above.

RHETORICAL SKILLS

117

Question 9 asks about the preceding paragraph.

9. Upon reviewing this paragraph and realizing that some information has been left out, the writer composes the following sentence: The event is held at the Crucible Theater, which holds less than 1 ,000 people, but that doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of viewers. The most logical placement for this sentence would be:

@

A before Sentence 1. B. after Sentence 1. C. after Sentence 2.
D. after Sentence 3.

Once again, look for clue words in the sentence.

'
You might not see anything obvious (no pronouns, for example). At least, from the words "The event," you know that the Championship has already been introduced (eliminate A). So now you have to think about the main idea of the sentence. It's talking about it's also talking about the fact that there are a lot of try answering the question.

where the event is held,

and

viewers.

Now look back to the passage and

'
Sentence 1 talks about where the event is held. Sentence 2 says that the event is "televised throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, and the Far East." The added sentence would go great in between these two sentences. It touches on the main ideas of both Sentence 1 and Sentence
2. The answer is B.

1 18

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS
As with other English questions, check your answers. Quickly read the part of the passage that you reorganized, making sure that the sentence order sounds sensible and fluid. If you hear obvious awkwardness with your answer, then you should take a look at the other answer choices.

9

To id�Qfify orgaQ!�qfl questions� lopk �2LSI!J,t:J$fipns th�ttilsls YQU to move� add a sent�g�,�r: paragrap�Jp the ll�§�:. :
· ... . . '"""'"""' ,"""''""""''" ,,��+'·�, � · ' '

real"���. pr'
·· · · ·

RHETORICAL SKILLS

1 19

4. MEANING QUESTIONS
Meaning questions are

sometimes the most difficult questions on the test. They require you to

go beyond a general understanding of grammar, structure, and main ideas; you must consider the
meaning of

part of a passage.

These questions can take many forms, but they usually ask you to consider one of two situations: 1. 2. What happens if something is What happens if something is
deleted

from the passage? the passage?

added to

Let's go back to Paragraph 1 from the sample passage at the beginning of this chapter to look at an example: [1] Snooker, a table sport where each opponent uses a cue to hit colored balls into table pockets, has been around for over a hundred years. If you've watched a game of pool or Billiards, then you have some idea about Snooker. In fact, the game likely originated in India in the late 1800's when British Army officers made variations to traditional Billiards. The word
snooker was

a

slang military term for an inexperienced military man. It is claimed that Colonel Sir Neville Chamberlain was playing this new game when his opponent failed to "pot"-or sink-a ball. [IQJ Chamberlain called his opponent a "snooker." The sport soon took this as its name. 10. The writer is considering deleting the following phrase from the preceding sentence: -or sinkIf the writer were to make this deletion, the essay would primarily lose: an anecdote about the naming of a sport. G. a brief explanation of a term. H. an explanation of why a player is unskilled. J. an important distinction of Snooker.
F.

@

1 20

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

To answer Question 10, consider the function (or meaning) of the words "or sink." What's the best answer?

'
The word "sink" probably helps the reader understand the meaning of the word "pot," a word that most readers are probably unfamiliar with in this context. So G is the best answer-the essay would Jose "a brief explanation of a term," that term being "pot."

Let's go back to Paragraph II from the sample passage to look at one more example. ( Recall that Question 2 replaced the topic sentence, as shown below.): [2] Snooker may have gotten its name from an unskilled player, but the game is not easy: The goal of Snooker is to score more points than the opponent. The game includes 15 red balls, one white ball, or cue ball, o:::IJ and six balls of different colors. Points are scored by potting balls. But the hard part is that the balls must be potted in a predetermined order. If you miss a shot on the desired ball, then your turn is done and the next player takes over. Imagine the challenge of having to hit one specific ball with all of the other balls scattered around. 1 1. At this point, the writer is considering adding the following phrase: which the player strikes with a stick called the cue, Given that it is true, would this be a relevant addition to make here?
A. Yes, because it helps the reader

understand the term cue and better visualize the play of the game. B. Yes, because it helps explain why the game is so difficult. C. No, because it is inconsistent with the essay to go into detail about the play of Snooker at this point. D. No, because this information would be a better addition in Paragraph 3.

As discussed in the Main Ideas section, try to answer Yes or No questions before looking at the answer choices. Would the added sentence be a relevant addition? Yes or no?

'
The phrase does add some relevant information-it's certainly as informative as mentioning the kinds of balls found in the sport. You can always go back if you don't like your two options, but at this point, go with yes, and eliminate C and D.

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12 1

So you're left with A and B, right? What's the better answer choice?

You can eliminate B because it is false. The phrase really doesn't explain why the game is difficult. It does help the reader understand the term cue and better visualize how Snooker is played. The answer is A.

As you see, we used some techniques from the Main Ideas section (Yes or No questions, false answer choices). In fact, having a sense of main ideas-both of the paragraph in question and of the whole essay-will often help you on meaning questions.

1 22

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

5. ANSWER THE QUESTION
This lesson may sound obvious, but make sure you carefully read Rhetorical Skills questions. Sometimes, if you read a question too quickly, more than one answer choice seems to work. The ACT sometimes asks very what the question is asking.
specific

questions, so read them carefully and answer exactly

Let's go back to Paragraph Ill from the sample passage at the beginning of the chapter to look at an example. ( Recall that Question 4 replaced the last sentence, as shown below.):

[3]
Of the many great Snooker players, Stephen Hendry stands out. Born in January 13, 1969 in Scotland, Hendry became the youngest player to become a Snooker World Champion­ at the age of 21. He went on to win six more World Championships, and he was Snooker's number one player for eight consecutive years, between 1990 and 1998. Hendry's skill as a player lead to amazing riches and fame for him, and helped popularize the sport of Snooker around the world. It's hard to imagine that Snooker, a sport with such humble beginnings, could become what it is today.
12

12. Given that all of the choices are true, which one would conclude the essay by giving credit to Snooker players for the popularity of Snooker?
F.

@

NO C HA NGE

G . could become the international

phenomenon it is today. could become, thanks to competitors like Hendry, what it is today. J. could provide such wealth to its champions.
H.

First of all, notice that every answer choice is true. According to the passage, Snooker "international phenomenon" ( H) and
does

is an

"provide such wealth" to its players (J). But look
Snooker players

carefully at the question. It asks you to find an answer that credits Snooker's popularity. Which one does that?

for

'
RHETORICAL SKILLS

1 23

Only H works. In fact, even if you hadn't read the passage, by reading the question carefully you would have probably been drawn to H.

As you can see, if you didn't read the question carefully, choosing the correct answer would be difficult, if not impossible. By reading the question carefully, the problem becomes straightforward.

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

6. STYLE
The last Rhetorical Skills topic to consider is style.

FORMAL VS. INFORMAL
Style questions ask you to consider consistency of style. For example, if an essay is written as a formal essay, then make sure the answers to questions reflect this formality.

Besides the World Championship, there are a number of other Snooker tournaments held throughout the world. The UK Championship is right behind the World Championship in importance, and The Masters is also a prestigious tournament.
13

@

13. Which of the following alternatives to the
underlined portion would NOT be acceptable?
A.

a celebrated event

B. definitely a lot of fun C. high on the list of renowned
tournaments.

D. highly-acclaimed
The paragraph above is formally written (as is the entire passage on Snooker). Do any of the answer choices contradict this formality?

You probably spotted B. The words "a lot of fun" work grammatically, but the style is too informal for this paragraph.

POINT OF VIEW
The point of view of a passage describes the narrative voice of the writer. Each offers a different style of writing.

Some passages are written in the first person, using/, the writer, as the narrator. This allows the writer to tell a personal, and perhaps intimate, story.

RHETORICAL SKILLS

125

YOU
Some passages are written in the second person, directly addressing

you the reader.

These

passages give a sense of advising the reader, often in an informal way.

ONE
Some passages are written in the third person, where the writer, as an observer, discusses a thing or person

(one).

These passages are the most formal of the three points of view.

All of the above are viable stylistic options for an essay. Just make sure the essay stays consistent. Don't choose an answer choice that deviates from the point of view set by the rest of the passage.

1 26

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

7. RHETORICAL SKILLS SUMMARY
The following summarizes the techniques that will help you tackle Rhetorical Skills questions: 1. Main Ideas
• • • •

Look for keywords in the passage that capture main ideas. Watch out for answer choices that are off-topic. Understand the function of topic sentences. Eliminate half of the answer choices on Yes or No questions before looking at the answer choices.

Eliminate false answer choices.

2.

Transitions
• •

Learn the three types of transitions. Sometimes, no transition is best.

3. Organization
• •

Look for clues. Consider main ideas.

4.

Dig beneath the surface of the passage for meaning questions. Answer the question. Keep style consistent.

5. 6.

RHETORICAL SKILLS

12 7

Absolute Values
The absolute value of a number is defined as the distance of that number from zero. Thus, an absolute value must always be positive. An absolute value is denoted by two vertical bars: x is the notation for the absolute value of x. When x is zero or positive, x = x. When x is negative,

x = -x, since -x is a positive value when x is negative. For example, 4 = 4, and  4 = 4.
1)  8  10 = 2 = 2 Be careful to always perform all the operations within the absolute value before making anything positive. Students sometimes make the mistake of making everything positive before performing the operation within the absolute value, and doing so typically leads to an incorrect answer. Think of absolute value bars as special parentheses: perform all the operations inside the absolute value first, and then make any negative results positive. 2) x  7 To solve an absolute value equation for a variable, you must split the equation into two separate equations. The first equation is formed by dropping the absolute value and keeping everything else as is: x = 7. The second equation is formed by dropping the absolute value and making the right side of the equation negative: x = -7. In this case, no further math is necessary: x = 7 and x = -7 are the two solutions. This problem could also be solved simply by thinking about it in terms of the definition of an absolute value. This equation would translate to “x is 7 units from zero.” Obviously, 7 and -7 are the two values that fit this condition. 3) x  4  9 To solve, split the equation into two separate equations using the method described in question 2. x – 4 = 9 and x – 4 = -9. Now solve each of these equations individually. x – 4 = 9 x = 13. x – 4 = -9 x = -5. Therefore, x = 13 and x = -5 are the two solutions. This problem could also be solved simply by thinking about it in terms of the definition of an absolute value. This equation would translate to “the difference between x and 4 is 9 units from zero.” More loosely translated, you have “x and 4 are 9 units apart.” 13 and -5 are the two numbers that are 9 away from 4. Another way to solve this problem is graphically. Begin by setting the equation equal to zero: x  4 – 9 = 0. Now you can graph the left side of the equation and find the x-intercepts, which represent the solutions. Graph y = x  4 – 9. (On a TI calculator, the absolute value function can be found under math number abs.) The x-intercepts are 13 and -5.

4) 2 x  5  17 Again, split the equation into two separate equations using the method described in question 2. 2x + 5 = 17 and 2x + 5 = -17. Now solve each equation individually. 2x + 5 = 17 2x = 12 x = 6. 2x + 5 = -17 2x = -22 x = -11. Therefore, x = 6 and x = -11 are the two solutions. Again, this problem could also be solved simply by thinking about it in terms of the definition of an absolute value. This equation would translate to “the difference between 2x and -5 is 17 units from zero.” More loosely translated, you have “2x and -5 are 17 units apart.” Therefore, 22 and 12 are the values that work for 2x, so -11 and 6 are the values that work for x. On more complex problems such as this one, this type of intuitive, non-algebraic approach probably becomes more difficult than it is worth, so if this method seems confusing on this problem, don’t worry about it. Perhaps the best way to solve difficult absolute value problems is graphically. Begin by setting the equation equal to zero: 2 x  5 – 17 = 0. Now, you can graph the left side of the equation and find the x-intercepts, which represent the solutions. Graph y = 2 x  5 – 17. (On a TI calculator, the absolute value function can be found under MATH intercepts are -11 and 6. NUM abs.) The x-

Absolute values are frequently featured in inequalities, as is demonstrated in the following examples. 5) x  5 As in absolute value equalities, you must solve absolute value inequalities by splitting them into two separate equations. The first equation is formed simply by dropping the absolute value and keeping everything else as is: x 5. The second equation is formed by dropping the absolute value, making the right side of the equations negative, and flipping the inequality sign: x -5. In this case, no further math is needed: x 5 and x -5. This solution can be graphed on a number line as follows.

Absolute value inequalities can also be solved by thinking about them in terms of the definition of an absolute value. This equation would translate to “x is less than 5 units from zero.” Therefore, x must be between 5 and -5. 6) 4 x  8  24 Begin by splitting this inequality into two separate inequalities as demonstrated in question 5. 4x + 8 24 and 4x + 8 -24. Solve each inequality algebraically. 4x + 8 24 4x 16 x 4. 4x + 8 -24 4x -32 x -8. Therefore, x 4 or x -8. The solution can be graphed on a number line as follows.

This problem could also be solved simply by thinking about it in terms of the definition of an absolute value. This equation would translate to “the difference between 4x and -8 is at least 24 units from zero.” More loosely translated, you have “4x and -8 are 24 units apart.” Therefore, 4x must be less than or equal to -32 or greater than or equal to 16, so x must be less than or equal to -8 or greater than or equal to 4. On more complex problems such as this one, this type of intuitive, non-algebraic approach probably becomes more difficult than it is worth, so if this method seems confusing on this problem, don’t worry about it. Perhaps the best way to solve most absolute value inequalities is graphically. Begin by algebraically manipulating the inequality to get zero on the right-hand side: 4 x  8 – 24

0.

Now, you can graph the left side of the equation and find x-values for which the y-values are in fact greater than or equal to zero. Graph y = 2 x  5 – 17. (On a TI calculator, the absolute value function can be found under MATH NUM abs.) The x-intercepts are -8 and 4. Only for x-values less than or equal to negative 8 or greater than or equal to 4 are the y-values greater than or equal to zero, so x 4 or x -8.

7) You are manufacturing an auto part that must be 20mm in diameter. The tolerance is mm, which means that the diameter of the part can be no more than .01 mm greater than or less than the target of 20mm. Describe the range of acceptable diameters of the auto part, x, using an absolute value inequality. x and 20 must be at most .01mm apart. Therefore, you could state that the positive difference between x and 20 is less than or equal to .01. Hence x  20 .01. Note that 20  x .01 would also be an acceptable answer, since the two inequalities have the same meaning. ( x  y = y  x for all x and y, since they both refer to the positive difference of x and y.)

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Absolute Values

Solving Absolute Value Equations

ACT Math to Memorize
Right Triangles Pythagorean Theorem relates the sides, a, b, and c, of a right triangle, where c is always the hypotenuse: The special right triangles listed below account for close to two thirds of all right triangles on the ACT: Pythagorean triples: Integer ratios that work in the Pythagorean Theorem and therefore form the side ratios of right triangles. For instance, 3-4-5 is a Pythagorean triple since 9 + 16 = 25. 3-4-5 (also its multiples, like 6-8-10, 9-12-15, and 15-20-25) 5-12-13 7-24-25 8-15-17 Other special right triangles: 30-60-90: ratios of sides are x, x√ , 2x (hypotenuse)

45-45-90 (the isosceles right triangle): ratios of sides are x, x, x√ (hypotenuse)

Trigonometry sin2x + cos2x=1 sinx / cosx = tan sin = o/h cos = a/h tan = o/a secant (sec) = 1/cos = h/a cosecant (csc)= 1/sin = h/o cotangent (cot)= 1/tan = a/o

Standard Form of a Circle in the (x, y) Coordinate Plane (x – h)2 + (y – k)2 = r2 (h, k) = center point r = radius Quadratic Identities Perfect squares: (x + a)2 = x2 + 2ax + a2 (x – a)2 = x2 – 2ax + a2 (perfect squares are the quadratics with exactly one solution) Examples: (x + 5)2 = x2 + 10x + 25 (x – 4)2 = x2 + 8x + 16 2 Difference of two squares: (x + a)(x – a) = x – a2 Example: (x + 3) (x – 3) = x2 – 9 Area of a Parallelogram base • height (note that the height is an altitude, which is by definition perpendicular to the bases) Area of a Trapezoid (avg of bases) • height Number of Diagonals in an n-sided figure n • (n-3)/2 Sum of Interior Angles in an n-sided figure (n-2) • 180 Logarithms logax = y can also be written as ay = x (by far the most important logarithm property to memorize, since this property allows you to convert equations from logarithmic to exponential form.) logax + logay = logaxy logax – logay = loga(x/y) logaxy = ylogax logax = (logx)/(loga) (note that logx refers to log10x) Circles A = r2 C=2 r= d Triangles A = (½)bh Triangle Inequality: The sum of the lengths of two sides of a triangle must be greater than the length of the third side. For instance, if a triangle has sides of lengths 3 and 7, the following inequality describes the possible lengths of the third side, x: 7 – 3 x 7 + 3 4 x 10.

Advanced Trigonometry
Radians vs. Degrees
Radians and degrees are two different units of measurement for angles. Conversion: 2 π radians = 360 degrees
It is essential to have your calculator in the correct mode when calculating trig functions. If the problem features any degree measurement, you must be in degree mode. If you see π anywhere in the problem, you are likely in radian mode. To change the mode on a TI calculator, hit the MODE button, and select radians or degrees.

Beyond the First Quadrant
When you first learn about trig functions, you learn about them only with respect to actual right triangles. Specifically, you learn to take the trig functions of non-right angles of right triangles. Because the non-right angles of right triangles are greater than 0˚ and less than 90˚, you learn only to take the trig functions values that fall into that limited domain. However, trig functions can be taken of values outside this domain. As is shown in the sin, cos, and tan graphs in the Graphing Trig Functions section, the domain (the possible x values or inputs) of sin and cos is all real numbers, and the domain of tangent is all real numbers with the exception of the points at which vertical asymptotes occur. But if trig functions are calculated from ratios in right triangles, how does it make sense to take trig functions of angles that do not fall between 0˚ and 90˚? The answer can be seen by observing the behavior of right triangles in the coordinate plane. Before plotting any triangles, however, it is necessary to understand how angles are measured in the coordinate plane. The positive x-axis is always the starting point for the purpose of angle measurement, and the positive direction is always counter-clockwise. Therefore, we can label the positive and negative x and y axes in terms of their degree or radian measurements in the counterclockwise direction from the positive x-axis, as is shown in the following diagram. Note that a full revolution around the coordinate plane is 360˚ or 2π radians. Depicted here is only the first revolution around the coordinate plane in the positive direction, since values beyond this first revolution do not commonly come up on the ACT, nor do values in the negative direction.

When you deal with trig functions outside the coordinate plane, you deal with angles between 0˚ and 90˚ (0 and π/2 radians). These real world triangles are triangles that can be graphed in the first quadrant (the upper-right) quadrant of the coordinate plane. This quadrant makes sense for real world triangles, since such triangles also involve only positive values for the lengths of their sides, and all values in the first quadrant are positive. However, in the coordinate plane you can plot triangles beyond just the first quadrant. Below are right triangles drawn in each of the four quadrants of the coordinate plane.

The most frequent type of problem that involves this concept occurs when the ACT gives you the value of one trig function of a certain angle and asks you to find the value of another trig function of the same angle. If no specific domain for the angle is specified, or if the first quadrant is specified, the problem is relatively easy, and is covered in Basic Trigonometry. If, however, a different quadrant is specified, the problem is more complicated, as negative values of trig functions are possible in other quadrants. To determine whether the trig function is positive or negative, you must first identify the correct quadrant and then plot a triangle resembling the ones in the above graph. It is crucial that one of the legs of the triangle is against the x-axis, as shown above. Label the non-right angle against the x-axis as the relevant angle, typically x or . (Note: this angle isn’t actually x or if you are outside the first quadrant; instead it is known as the reference angle. For the purpose of these problems, however, you can simply treat the reference angle as x or Label the parts of the triangle you know using the trig function you are given. Use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the missing side, being

careful to mark the value as positive or negative as makes sense in that quadrant. (Note: the hypotenuse is always positive). At this point, you should be able to determine the value of the trig function in question. The above paragraph is fairly abstract and admittedly somewhat confusing. The following two examples should help to clarify the process described above. 1) sinx = 3/5. If π/2 < < π, what is the value of cosx? The problem tells you that , the angle in question, is between π/2 and π, which means it is in the second quadrant (the upper left quadrant), as is shown in the above diagrams. Therefore, you should draw your triangle in the second quadrant with the hypotenuse extending from the origin and one leg against the x-axis. Next label the angle closest to the origin “ .” (Although this angle is technically not , it is known as a reference angle for , which means that you can treat it as if it were for these purposes.) Now, label the opposite side 3 and the hypotenuse 5. Because you have a 3-4-5 Pythagorean triple (or based on the Pythagorean Theorem), the adjacent side is 4. However, because the adjacent side is going in the negative x direction, you must label it -4. Therefore, cosx = -4/5.

2) cos = -12/13. If π< < 3π/2, what is the value of tan ? The problem tells you that , the angle in question, is between π/2 and π, which means it is in the third quadrant (the lower left quadrant), as is shown in the above diagrams. Therefore, you should draw your triangle in the third quadrant with the hypotenuse extending from the origin and one leg against the x-axis. Next label the angle closest to the origin “ .” (Although this angle is technically not , it is known as a reference angle for , which means that you can treat it as if it were for these purposes.) Now, label the opposite side -12 (which makes sense because the opposite leg extends in the negative y direction) and the hypotenuse 13. Because you have a 5-12-13 Pythagorean triple (or based on the Pythagorean Theorem), the adjacent side is 5. However, because the adjacent side is going in the negative x direction, you must label it -5. Therefore, tan = -5/-12 = 5/12.

Graphing Trig Functions
In addition to the triangles used to derive trig functions, the trig functions themselves can also be graphed in the coordinate plane. The x-values from 0 to 2π represent the first positive revolution around the coordinate axes in the above graphs. Amplitude: the “height” of a trig function, measured from its center to its top or bottom. ½(maximum – minimum) Period: the distance on the x-axis covered by one complete “cycle” of the graph. On a sine or cosine function, the period is most easily found by measuring the horizontal distance between two consecutive maximums. Below are the graphs of sine, cosine, and tangent. The graphs are in radians. y = sinx period = 2π amplitude = 1

y = cosx period = 2π amplitude = 1

y = tanx period = π (the dashed vertical lines represent vertical asymptotes, which occur at x-values where the function is undefined)

Transformations of Trig Functions
Some questions require you to recognize the effect of different constants on the graph of a trig function. The following functions are described as transformations of y = sinx. The same principles apply to the effect of constants on cosine and tangent graphs. y = sinx + a shifts up a units y = sin (x + a) shifts left a units y = asinx stretches vertically by a times. Because the amplitude of y = sinx is 1, the amplitude of y = asinx is 1 • a = a. y = sin(ax) stretches horizontally by 1/a times. Because the period of y = sinx is 2π, the period of y = sin(ax) is 2π/a. y = -sinx reflects vertically across the x-axis y = sin(-x) reflects horizontally across the y-axis 3) What is the period of y = 7sin(4x)? The period of y = sinx must be divided by 4 to find the period of this function. Because the period of y = sinx is 2π, the period of this function is 2π/4 = π/2. The 7 in the equation has no effect on the period of the function. 4) What is the maximum of y = 3cos(5x) + 4? The maximum of a function is the highest point reached by the graph. The maximum of y = cosx is 1. Because the 3 in the equation stretches the graph vertically by 3 times, y = 3x would reach a maximum of 3. The 4 represents a shift up of 4 units, so this function has a maximum of 7. The 5 has no effect on the maximum.

Trigonometric Identities

The only two identities that appear with any frequency on the ACT are shown below. You should memorize these identities and learn to recognize them in their algebraically manipulated forms. For instance, if sin2x + cos2x=1, then 1 – sin2x = cos2x. sin2x + cos2x = 1 sinx/cosx = tan 5) Simplify the following: √ 1 – cos2x = sin2x, so you have (√ 6) sinx = 4cosx. What is x? sinx/cosx = 4 tanx = 4 x = tan-1(4) )/cosx )/cosx = sinx/cosx = tanx

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The Other Trig Functions
Three other trig functions (other than sin, cos, and tan) occasionally appear on the ACT. While you will never use these functions to solve a problem, you should know their ratios and be able to recognize them. secant (sec) = 1/cos = h/a cosecant (csc) = 1/sin = h/o cotangent (cot) = 1/tan = a/o 7) If sinx = 7/25, what is cotx? Begin by drawing a right triangle. Label one of the non-right angles x. Label the side opposite that angle 7 and the hypotenuse 25. Recognizing that you have a 7-24-25 Pythagorean Triple (or using the Pythagorean Theorem), you find that the adjacent side is 24. Label this side. Because cotangent is adjacent/opposite, cotx = 24/7.

Trigonometry Videos

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

Example: Figure out the trig function Determining the equation of a trigonometric function Inverse Trig Functions: Arcsin Inverse Trig Functions: Arccos Inverse Trig Functions: Arctan Example: Calculator to evaluate inverse trig function Trigonometric Identities Proof: sin(a+b) = (cos a)(sin b) + (sin a)(cos b) Proof: cos(a+b) = (cos a)(cos b)-(sin a)(sin b) Trig identities part 2 (parr 4 if you watch the proofs) Trig identies part 3 (part 5 if you watch the proofs) Trigonometry word problems (part 1) Trigonometry word problems (part 2) Law of cosines Navigation Word Problem Proof: Law of Sines Ferris Wheel Trig Problem Ferris Wheel Trig Problem (part 2) Fun Trig Problem Polar Coordinates 1 Polar Coordinates 2 Polar Coordinates 3 Trigonometry Identity Review/Fun Tau versus Pi IIT JEE Trigonometry Problem 1 IIT JEE Trigonometric Maximum IIT JEE Trigonometric Constraints Trigonometric System Example 2003 AIME II Problem 11.avi 2003 AIME II Problem 14

Averages
Average of a set = (sum of items in set)/(number of items in set) In other words, to find the average of a set of numbers, add the numbers together and divide the sum by how many numbers are in the set. 1) Find the average of 79, 85, 95, and 97. Add the items in the set together to find the sum of the items in the set. Then divide by the number of items in the set, in this case 4. (79 + 85 + 95 + 97)/4 = 356/4 = 89

Frequently, the ACT gives you the average of a set and ask you to find a missing item in the set, as in the following example: 2) You have an 85, an 88, and a 91 on three tests. What do you need to get on the fourth test to have an overall average of a 90? To solve, set up the equation for an average, using x to represent the unknown test. (85 + 88 + 91 + x)/4 = 90 85 + 88 + 91 + x = 90 • 4 = 360 x = 360 – (85 + 88 + 91) = 96 Another way of doing this problem is to think through the situation conceptually rather than setting up an equation. If you need an average of 90 after 4 tests, you need the same number of points you would have if you got a 90 on each of the 4 tests. Therefore, you need a total of 90 • 4 = 360 points. Subtract the points you already have to get the points you need to get on the fourth test. 90 – (85 + 88 + 91) = 96. When you do the problem this way, you do the same mathematical steps that you do when using the equation, but you use the situation, not the equation, to guide you through the steps. The fastest but to many people the most confusing way of doing this problem involves thinking of averages in terms of balancing. 85 is 5 below 90, 88 is 2 below 90, and 91 is 1 above 90, so you are a net of 6 below 90. Therefore, for your average to be 90, you need the fourth number to be 6 above 90 to balance things out, so 96 is the correct answer.

3) A set of 6 numbers has an average of 34. A seventh number is added to the set, increasing the average of the set to 37. What is the seventh number? Again, you can solve this problem in one of three ways. To successfully use the average equation, you must realize that the sum of the six numbers in the first set is equal to 6 • 34 and that the sum of the numbers in the second is therefore 6 • 34 + x. With this in mind, the equation is set up as follows. (6 • 34 + x)/7 = 37 (204 + x) = 7 • 37 = 259 x = 259 – 204 = 55 Alternatively, you could think through the problem by considering totals. The sum of the first set is 6 • 34 = 204, and the sum of the second set is 7 • 37 = 259. Because the addition of the

unknown number is solely responsible for the change in the sum from the first set to the second set, the missing number is equal to 259 – 204 = 55. Again, this method involves the same steps as you would use solving with the equation, but a different thought process to guide you through the steps. Finally, you could use balancing principles. The six numbers of the first set are each an average of 3 below the average of the second set. Therefore, the first set is 6 • 3 = 18 below 37, so the missing number must be 18 above 37 to balance things out. 37 + 18 = 55.

Watch out for weighted average problems, in which not all the numbers count for the same amount. 4) A running back averaged 120 yards per game for the first 4 games of the season and 90 yards per game for the last 12 games of the season. How many yards did he average per game? In this problem, you cannot simply add 90 and 120 and divide this sum by two, since the 90 needs to be weighted more than the 120. Stick to the formula for an average. Find the sum of his yardage by doing 90 • 12 + 120 • 4. Then divide this sum by the total number of games, 16. (90 • 12 + 120 • 4)/16 = 1560/16 = 97.5 yards per game.

A brief note on vocabulary: Mean = the average, as we have been doing in the above examples. If the problem asks simply for the average, it is asking for the mean. Median = The “middle” number in a set. To find the median of a set, cross off the greatest and the least items in the set. Repeat this process until you are down to the one or two middle terms. If there is one term left, it is the median. If there are two terms left, their mean (average) is equal to the median. Mode = The most frequently occurring item in a set.

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Basic Trigonometry
Trigonometry involves ratios between the different sides of a right triangle, relative to a specific non-right angle. The sine (sin), cosine (cos), and tangent (tan) of a non-right angle are ratios involving the side opposite (across from) that angle, the side adjacent to (next to) that angle, and the hypotenuse. These specific ratios are described below and can be remembered by sounding out the word SohCahToa.

SohCahToa
Sin = Opposite/Hypotenuse Cosine = Adjacent/Hypotenuse Tangent = Opposite/Adjacent

Below are the three types of problems that make up the somewhat subjectively defined category of basic trigonometry. For more advanced trig problems, see Advanced Trigonometry.

Problem Type 1: Find the Missing Side
1)

On this type of trig problem, always begin by setting up a trig equation featuring three parts: an angle and two sides. To figure out which trig function to use, see which two of the three sides (opposite, adjacent, and hypotenuse) you are dealing with (meaning a side you are given or are trying to find) in relation to the angle you are given. In this case, you are given the side opposite the 40˚ angle, and you are trying to find the hypotenuse. Therefore, set up a trig

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Basic Trigonometry Basic Trigonometry II Example: Using soh cah toa Example: The six trig ratios Example: Using trig to solve for missing information Example: Solving a 30-60-90 triangle Introduction to radians Radian and degree conversion practice Example: Radian measure and arc length Example: Converting degrees to radians Example: Converting radians to degrees Radians and degrees Using Trig Functions Using Trig Functions Part II Unit circle definition of trig functions Example: Unit circle definition of sin and cos Example: Using the unit circle definition of trig functions Example: Trig function values using unit circle definition Example: The signs of sine and cosecant Example: Calculator to evaluate a trig function Example: Trig to solve the sides and angles of a right triangle Example: Graph, domain, and range of sine function Example: Graph of cosine Example: Intersection of sine and cosine Example: Amplitude and period Example: Amplitude and period transformations Example: Amplitude and period cosine transformations Graph of the sine function Graphs of trig functions Graphing trig functions More trig graphs

equation using sine, which is equal to opposite/hypotenuse. 4/sin40˚ 6.22. 2)

sin40˚ = 4/x

xsin40˚ = 4

x=

Begin by setting up a trig equation featuring three parts: an angle and two sides. You are given the side adjacent to the 20˚ angle, and you are trying to find the side opposite the 20˚ angle, so you should set up a trig equation in terms of tangent, which is equal to opposite/adjacent. tan20˚ = x/9 x = 9tan20˚ 3.28.

Problem Type 2: Find the Missing Angle: Inverse Trig Functions
3)

To find an angle using trigonometry, begin by setting up a trig equation much in the same way as in the above problems. First, consider which two sides you have (opposite, adjacent, and hypotenuse) relative to the angle you are trying to find. In this case, you have the opposite side and the adjacent side. Determine which trig function relates those two sides. In this case, tangent is the appropriate function, since tangent relates the opposite and adjacent sides. Set up an equation using tangent. tanx = 4/7. To solve, take the inverse tangent (tan-1) of both sides of the equation. tan-1(tanx) = tan-1(4/7). Because inverse tangent is the inverse function of tangent, the tan-1 and the tan on the left side of the equation cancel each other out, leaving you with x = tan-1(4/7) 29.74. 4)

Begin by setting up a trig equation. First, consider which two sides you have (opposite, adjacent, and hypotenuse) relative to the angle you are trying to find. In this case, you have the opposite side and the hypotenuse, so cosine is the appropriate function. Set up an equation using cosine. cos = 3/8. To solve, take the inverse cosine (cos-1) of both sides of the equation.

cos-1(cosx) = cos-1(3/8). Because inverse cosine is the inverse function of cosine, the cos-1 and the cos on the left side of the equation cancel each other out, leaving you with x = cos -1(3/8) 67.98.

Problem Type 3: Given one Trig Function, Find another Trig Function
5) sinx = 5/13. Find cosx. Begin by drawing a triangle for which sinx = 5/13. Draw a right triangle and label one of the non-right angles “x.” Since sin = opposite/hypotenuse, label the side opposite angle x “5” and the hypotenuse “13.” Your diagram should look something like this. The unknown side has been labeled a, since it is adjacent to angle x.

Find a by using the Pythagorean Theorem. a2 + 52 = 132 a2 + 25 = 169 a2 = 144 a = 12. Alternatively, you could have avoided the Pythagorean Theorem if you had recognized that you had a 5-12-13 Pythagorean Triple. Either way, once you have found that a = 12, it is easy to figure that cosx = 12/13, since cos = a/h. 6) cosx = 2/5. What is tanx. Begin by drawing a triangle for which cosx = 2/5. Draw a right triangle and label one of the nonright angles “x.” Since cos = adjacent/hypotenuse, label the side adjacent to angle x “2” and the hypotenuse “5.” Your diagram should look something like this. The unknown side has been labeled o, since it is opposite angle x.

Find a by using the Pythagorean Theorem. o2 + 22 = 52 Because tan = o/a, tanx = √ /2.

o2 + 4 = 25

o2 = 21 o = √

.

Circles
Radius: The distance from the center of a circle to any point on the circle. Can also refer to a line from the center of a circle to any point on the circle. Diameter: Twice the radius of a circle: the distance from one side of a circle to the other, passing through the center point. Can also refer to a line from one side of a circle to the other that passes through the center point. Tangent: A line, line segment, ray, or curve that intersects a circle in exactly one point.

Circumference: the distance around the outside of a circle C = 2πr = πd Area: A = πr2 Arc: A portion of the circumference of a circle. A minor arc is equal to less than half the circumference of a circle, and a major arc is equal to more than half the circumference of a circle. For instance, in the diagram below, minor arc AB represents the short distance around the circle from point A to point B, while major arc AB represents the long distance around the circle from point A to point B.

Sector Problems (Slice of Pizza Problems) A sector of a circle is a region enclosed by two radii and an arc. The best way of thinking about sector problems is in terms of a slice of pizza. Apologies for offending your intelligence with such a juvenile analogy, but it is an intuitive and often helpful way of thinking about sector problems. If you eat 1/3 of a pizza, you have eaten 1/3 of the area of the pizza, you have eaten 1/3 of the crust (the circumference), and you have taken a piece out of the pizza that forms an angle of 1/3 the total 360˚ of the circle. By thinking about sectors in terms of the juvenile, yet intuitive, analogy of a pizza, it becomes apparent that the part/whole ratio remains constant for area, circumference, and angle. In other words, (area of sector)/(area of circle) = (length of arc)/(circumference of circle) = (degree measure of central angle)/360˚. On most sector problems, you will not need to use all three parts of this proportion. Instead, figure out which

two parts are relevant in terms of what you are given and what you need to find. Observe the following two examples. 1) What is the length of minor arc AB?

Because you are given the measure of the interior angle and asked to find the length of minor arc AB (the short distance around the circle from A to B), you should use angle and circumference in setting up your part/whole = part/whole proportion. (length of arc)/(circumference of circle) = (degree measure of central angle)/360˚. You already have the degree measure of the central angle, and you already know that the entire circle represents 360˚. Find the total circumference of the circle by using the formula c = 2πr. c = 2π • 12 = 24π. Now you can set up your proportion to solve for the length of minor arc AB, which will be referred to as x. x/24π = 60/360. Multiply both sides by 24π to get x = 4π. 2) Assuming the measure of minor arc AB is 2π, what is the area of the shaded region?

Because you are given the length of minor arc AB (the arc that forms a boundary of the shaded region) and asked to find the area of the shaded region, you should use area and circumference in setting up your part/whole = part/whole proportion. (area of sector)/(area of circle) = (length of arc)/(circumference of circle). You already have the arc length, but before you set up the proportion, you must figure out the area and circumference of the circle. Find the total circumference of the circle by using the formula c = 2πr. c = 2π • 5 = 10π. Find the total area of the circle by using the formula A = πr2. A = π52 = 25π. Now you can set up your proportion to solve for the area of the shaded region, which will be referred to as x. x/25π = 2π/10π. Multiply both sides by 25π to get x = 5π. Equation of a circle (x – h)2 + (y – k)2 = r2 (h, k) = center point r = radius For more information on the equation of a circle, see Coordinate Geometry.

Coordinate Geometry
Coordinate geometry involves graphs in the (x, y) coordinate plane. You should be especially proficient with the coordinate geometry of linear functions. You should also know the basics about the graphs of quadratics. You should also know the basics of other conic sections: circles, ellipses, and hyperbolas.

Linear Functions
A Linear Function forms a straight line when graphed in the coordinate plane. Although linear functions can be written in several forms, slope intercept form is the most common and the most useful. Slope intercept form: y = mx + b, where m = slope and b = y-intercept Slope = rise/run = (change in y)/(change in x) = (y2 – y1)/(x2 – x1) The slope of a vertical line is undefined. The slope of a horizontal line is zero. Parallel lines have the same slope. Perpendicular lines have negative reciprocal slopes. For instance, a line with a slope of 3 would be perpendicular to a line with a slope of -1/3, and a line with a slope of -4/7 would be perpendicular to a line with a slope of 7/4. y-intercept = The y-coordinate at which the line intercepts the y-axis. To find the y-intercept, put the equation in slope intercept form; the y-intercept is equal to b. Alternatively, you can find the y-intercept by substituting 0 for x in the equation and solving for y. x-intercept = The x-coordinate at which the line intercepts the x-axis. To find the x-intercept, substitute 0 for y in the equation and solve for x. 1) What is the equation of a line that contains the points (2, 4) and (-2, 6)? Solve this problem by using the slope formula to find the slope. (6 – 4)/(-2 – 2) = 2/-4 = -1/2. Plug this slope in for m in y = mx + b, and plug in the x and y coordinates from one of the two points into the equation for x and y, respectively: 4 = (-1/2)(2) + b Solve algebraically for b. 4 = -1 + b b = 5. Now that you know both m and b, you can write the equation of the line in yintercept form: y = -1/2x + 5. 2) What is the equation of a line that is perpendicular to 4y = 16x – 5 and passes through the point (1, -4)? This problem is almost identical to problem 1. The only difference is in how you find the slope. First, you must find the slope of 4y = 16x – 5. To find the slope of this line, put it into yintercept form and the slope will be equal to m. y = 4x – 5/4, so the slope of this line is 4. Because the line you are trying to find is perpendicular to this line, its slope must be the negative reciprocal of 4, which is -1/4. Plug in this slope for m in y=mx + b, and plug in the x and

y coordinates of the point (1, -4) for x and y, respectively: -4 = (-1/4)(1) + b. Solve this equation for b, the y-intercept. b = -15/4. Now that you know both m and b, you can write the equation of the line in y-intercept form: y = -1/4x – 15/4. Midpoint of a Line Segment: ((x1+x2)/2, (y1+y2)/2), where (x1, y1) and (x2, y2) are the two endpoints. The above formula is important, but you can probably avoid memorizing it if you understand it conceptually. To find the midpoint of a line segment, all you need to do is average the xcoordinates of the two endpoints to get the x-coordinate of the midpoint and average the ycoordinates of the two endpoints to get the y-coordinate of the midpoint. 3) What is the midpoint of the line segment with endpoints (1, -3) and (-7, -1)? To solve, use the midpoint formula, or simply average the x’s to get the x-coordinate of the midpoint and average the y’s to get the y-coordinate of the midpoint. Either way, you get (1 + 7)/2 = -3 for the x-coordinate and (-3 + -1)/2 = -2 for the y-coordinate. Therefore, the midpoint is (-3, -2). 4) One endpoint of a line segment is (3, 8) and the midpoint is (-1, 15). What is the other endpoint? Be careful on this problem, since it gives you one endpoint and the midpoint and asks for the other endpoint. It would be easy to mistakenly find the midpoint of the two points given. One way to find the other endpoint is to use the formula. (3 + x)/2 = -1 and (8 + y)/2 = 15. Solving these equations, you get x = -5 and y = 22, so the other endpoint is (-5, 22). You could also do this problem without using the equation just by realizing that the midpoint is halfway between both endpoints. Therefore, because 3 is 4 more than -1, the x-coordinate of the other endpoint must be 4 less than -1, so it must be 5. Because 8 is 7 less than 15, the y-coordinate of the other endpoint must be 7 more than 15, so it must be 22. Distance formula: The distance between the points (x1, y1) and (x2, y2) can be calculated using the following formula. D=√ However, it is not necessary to memorize this formula if you can understand it conceptually. This formula is simply the Pythagorean Theorem, . To find the distance between two points in the coordinate plane, conceptualize a right triangle. If you understand this concept, you should not need to actually draw the triangle. One leg of this triangle is the difference of the x-coordinates of the two points. The other leg of the triangle is the difference of the y-coordinates of the two points. Find these two differences, and plug them into the Pythagorean Theorem for a and b. The distance between the two points is equal to the hypotenuse of the triangle you have conceptualized, so use the Pythagorean Theorem to solve for c, the distance between the two points. 5) What is the distance between the points (4,-3) and (9, 5)?

To solve, you could plug into the distance formula: √ =√ = 9.434. Alternately, you could conceptualize it as a triangle. One leg is the difference of √ the x’s, the other leg is the difference of the y’s, and the hypotenuse is the distance between the two points. Hence, 52 + 82 = d2 d = √ 9.434.

Conic Sections
Parabolas, hyperbolas, circles, and ellipses are known as conic sections. The ACT requires students to have some familiarity with all conic sections.

Parabolas Standard form: y = ax2 + bx + c The most common conic section tested on the ACT is the parabola, which is the graph of a quadratic equation. Quadratics and parabolas are not discussed in depth in this discussion of conic sections. See quadratics for more information. For the purposes of this discussion, just recognize that any equation that contains an x 2 but no y2 is a parabola and that an equation that contains an x2 and a y2 can be a circle, an ellipse, or a hyperbola.

The conic sections below, Circles, Ellipses, and Hyperbolas are tested on the ACT only. Unless you are trying to get a 32 or higher on the ACT math, it is probably not worth worrying about ellipses or hyperbolas. All ACT takers, however, should be comfortable with circles in the coordinate plane. Circles Standard form for a circle: (x – h)2 + (y – k)2 = r2 (h, k) = center point r = radius

Other than parabolas, circles are the conic section that appears most frequently on the ACT. They appear frequently enough that you should definitely memorize the equation above; most circle problems are very easy if you just know this equation, as they involve little more than plugging in values for the center and radius. Note that the equation for a circle is essentially

the Pythagorean Theorem. Indeed, a circle that is centered at the origin (0, 0) has the equation x2 + y2 = r2. It is important to be able to recognize a circle based on its equation even if it is not in standard form. If an equation contains both an x2 and a y2, and they contain the same coefficients and the same sign (positive or negative) while on the same side of the equation, the graph is a circle. For example, x2 + y2 = 16 and 3x2 + 3y2 = 25 are both circles. Ellipses Standard form for an ellipse:

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Hyperbolas come up only on rare occasion on the ACT. The only thing you will likely have to do regarding hyperbolas is be able to recognize one based on the equation, even if it is not in

standard form. If an equation contains both an x2 and a y2, and these terms have opposite signs (one is positive and one is negative) while on the same side of the equation, the graph is a hyperbola. For example, x2 – y2 = 9 and -2x2 + 5y2 = 12 are both hyperbolas. 6) What is the equation of a circle with center point (3, -4) and a radius of 8? Plugging r, h, and k into the proper places in the equation for standard form of a circle: (x – 3)2 + (y + 4)2 = 64 7) The graph of the equation 2x2 + 3y2 = 8 would be which of the following? The graph of this equation is an ellipse. To determine this, you do not need to put this equation into standard form; you only need to recognize that any equation that contains an x 2 and a y2 with different coefficients but the same sign (positive or negative) while on the same side of the equation will form an ellipse when graphed.

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Counting Problems
Counting problems ask you how many ways an event can occur or how many possible outcomes there are to a situation. Specifically, counting problems often deal with permutations (order matters) or combinations (order does not matter). Combinations come up only on rare occasion on the ACT. On any counting problem, you should write out one “slot” for each event that is occurring, populate these slots with the number of ways each event can occur, and multiply these numbers together, as is demonstrated in the examples below. 1) A cafeteria offers students a choice of one of three entrees, one of two salads, and one of four desserts. How many different meals consisting of one entrée, one salad, and one desert can a student create? Three events are occurring (an entrée, a salad, and a dessert are each chosen). Therefore, you should draw out three “slots” with multiplication signs in between them. __ • __ • __ Populate each slot with how many ways that event can occur: 3 • 2 • 4 = 24 different possible meals. 2) How many ways can five students arrange themselves in a line? Five events are occurring (one for each spot in the line being filled). Therefore, you should draw out five “slots” with multiplication signs in between them. __ • __ • __ • __ • __ Populate each slot with how many ways that event can occur. There are five options for the first spot in line. No matter which student is chosen for the first spot in line, only four options are left for the second spot. By the same logic, the third spot has three options, the fourth spot has two options, and the fifth spot has only one option. Therefore, the slots can be populated as follows: 5 • 4 • 3 • 2 • 1 = 120 ways the students can arrange themselves in line. 5 • 4 • 3 • 2 • 1 is also known as 5! (pronounced “5 factorial”). The factorial function on your TI calculator can be found under Math Probability 3) How many four digit numbers can be formed using only odd digits? Four events are occurring because a digit must be chosen for each of the four digits in the four digit number. Therefore, you have __ • __ • __ • __. Because there are five odd digits, 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9, there are five options for each of four events occurring, so you have 5 • 5 • 5 • 5 = 54 = 625. 4) How many four digit numbers contain the digits 5, 6, 7, and 8? At first, this problem seems very similar to problem 3. However, problem 3 did not specify that numbers could not be chosen twice, so four digit numbers like 5,753 or 7,777 were acceptable outcomes and had to be counted. In this problem, however, it is specified that the number must contain the digits 5, 6, 7, and 8. In order for a four digit number to contain each of four unique digits, it can only use each digit once. Therefore, the four events that are occurring, __ • __ • __ • __, can be populated as follows: 4 • 3 • 2 • 1 = 24 four digit numbers that contain

the digits 5, 6, 7, and 8. This question is in fact much more similar to question 2 than question 3. 5) There are 50 people entered in a raffle in which the grand prize winner wins a car and the second prize winner wins a bike. How many possible outcomes are there for the raffle, assuming that one person cannot win both prizes? Two events are occurring, so __ • __. There are 50 possible grand prize winners, leaving only 49 possible winners for the second prize because the same person cannot win both prizes, as specified in the problem. Therefore, you have 50 • 49 = 2450 possible outcomes. 6) There are 50 people entered in a raffle in which two grand prize winners will each win identical cars. How many possible outcomes are there for the raffle, assuming that one person cannot win both prizes? Although this problem might look very similar to problem 5, it is actually quite different. Problem 5 was a permutation, since order mattered. It would be a very different outcome if Tommy won the car and Suzy won the bike than if Suzy won the car and Tommy won the bike. This problem, on the other hand, is a combination because order does not matter. If Tommy and Suzy win, the outcome is settled, as they both win identical cars. Begin by calculating 50 • 49. However, as is demonstrated in problem 5, this calculation assumes that order does matter, which is incorrect in this situation. To select out for overlap, you must divide by the number of ways the two winners can be arranged among themselves: 2! Therefore, you have (50 • 49)/2! = 1,225. 7) Three student council members are to be chosen from a class of 100 students. How many combinations of students are possible for the three council members? This problem, like question 6, is a combination problem. Order is unimportant because each seat on student council is identical. By the reasoning described in question 6, you have (100 • 99 • 98) / 3! = 161,700.

Probability
The general formula for probability is (# of desired outcomes) / (# of possible outcomes). The possible outcomes are usually figured out by using the processes described above for counting problems. The desired outcomes are sometimes figured out using these same processes and are sometimes more easily counted manually. The probability of consecutive events occurring is found by multiplying their individual probabilities. 8) A dice is rolled. What is the probability that a 6 is rolled? Because a dice has 6 sides, there is 1 possible outcome and 6 desired outcomes, so the probability is 1/6. 9) Two dice are rolled. What is the probability that two 6’s are rolled? When two dice are rolled, there are 6 ways the first can land and 6 ways the second can land, so there are a total of 6 • 6 = 36 possible outcomes. There is only one desired outcome (both

rolls are 6’s), so the probability is 1/36. Another way of thinking about it is that there is a 1/6 probability of the first roll being a 6 and a 1/6 probability of the second roll being a 6, so the probability of both being 6’s is 1/6 • 1/6 = 1/36. 10) Two dice are rolled. What is the probability that a one lands a 5 and the other lands a 6? As established in question 9, there are 36 possible outcomes. In this problem, there are two possible outcomes: dice A is a 5 and dice B is a 6, or dice A is a 6 and dice B is a 5. Therefore, the probability of this event is 2/36 = 1/18. Another way of thinking about it is that the probability of a desired outcome on the first roll is 2/6 since a 6 or a 5 would be desired. Either way, there is one desired outcome for the second roll, since a 5 must be paired with a 6 and a 6 must be paired with a 5, so the probability of a desired outcome on the second roll is 1/6. Therefore, the overall probability of getting one 5 and one 6 is 2/6 • 1/6 = 2/36 = 1/18. 11) You roll two dice. What is the probability that the sum of the two numbers rolled is greater than 8? As established in question 9, there are 36 possible outcomes. The easiest way to find the number of desired outcomes (the outcomes with a sum greater than 8) is to count them by hand: (1) 6, 6; (2) 6, 5; (3) 6, 4; (4) 6, 3; (5) 5, 6; (6) 5, 5; (7) 5, 4; (8) 4, 6; (9) 4, 5; (10) 3, 6. Since there are 10 desired outcomes, the probability is 10/36 = 5/18. 12) You flip a coin four times. What is the probability that you get exactly 3 tails? Here you have four events occurring, each of which can occur two possible ways. Therefore, the possible outcomes are as follows: 2 • 2 • 2 • 2 = 24 = 16. The easiest way to find the number of desired outcomes (the number of ways you could get exactly 3 tails) is to count them manually. There are 4 desired outcomes: ttth, ttht, thtt, httt. Therefore, the probability is 4/16 = 1/4. 13) There are 8 red marbles, 10 white marbles, and 4 blue marbles in a jar. What is the probability that you draw two red marbles in a row without replacing the marble after your first draw? The probability of the first draw being a red is 8/22. To calculate the probability of the second draw being a red given that the first draw was a red, you must subtract a red marble from the number of red marbles and the total number of marbles in the jar, giving you 7/21. Therefore, the probability of drawing two red marbles in a row without replacement is 8/22 • 7/21 = 56/462 = 4/33.

Equation Building
The most effective way of approaching many word problems is to find the equation or equations that are implied by the words. To do so effectively, you must know what operations are implied by certain common words. a number x (the unknown to be solved for) of multiplication out of division per usually division but sometimes multiplication, depending on the situation/context is equals the same equals how many x (the unknown to be solved for) sum addition difference subtraction product multiplation times multiplication quotient division exceeds addition greater than addition or less than subtraction or 1) Three times a number is 75. 3x = 75 2) 75% of a number is 60. .75 x = 60 3) You had a dozen donuts. You ate 5/6 of them. How many donuts did you eat? 12 • 5/6 = x 4) There are 12 donuts in a box. If you have three boxes of donuts, how many donuts do you have? 12 • 3 = x 5) You drove 210 miles in three hours. How many miles per hour did you average? 210/3 = x 6) The length of a rectangle exceeds twice the width by 10. If the perimeter of the rectangle is 44 feet, what is the length? l = 2w + 10 2l + 2w = 44 Once you have the initial equations, use substitution to get 2(2w + 10) + 2w = 44.

7) The height of a triangle is 5 less than three times the length of its base. If the triangle’s area is 14 square inches, what is the height of the triangle? h = 3b – 5 ½b • h = 14 Once you have the initial equations, use substitution to get ½b(3b – 5) = 14. After solving for b, plug into either of the initial equations to find h. 8) Three times a number is 2 less than 4 times the number. 3x = 4x – 2 9) What number is 20% greater than 55? x = 55 + .2 • 55 or x = 1.2 • 55 10) 98 is 40% greater than what number? 98 = x + .4x or 98 = 1.4x In building linear equations, it is important to keep in mind that the y-intercept is always equal to the fixed amount and the slope is equal to the variable or “per something” amount. 11) At the beginning of year one of a study, the height of a tree is 15 feet. If the tree grows at a rate of 3 feet per year, what is the height of the tree after x years? h = 3x + 15 12) One airplane begins descending from an altitude of 21,000 feet at a rate of 1,000 feet per minute. At the same time the first airplane begins its descent, another airplane takes off and gains altitude at a rate of 2,000 feet per minute. After how many minutes will the two planes be at the same altitude? a = 21,000 – 1,000m a = 2,000m Because the questions ask when the two planes will be at the same altitude, we know that the “a” in each equation must be equal, so you can get the following equation via substitution: 21,000 – 1,000m = 2,000m

Exponents and Radicals
Exponents
= = = = = = = =

= 16 =

= (x + y) (x + y) = = = = =1 =x = = =

+ 2xy +

Be careful, though. The above way of simplifying fractions involving exponents does not work when there is addition or subtraction going on in the numerator or denominator unless the addition or subtraction is in parentheses, in which you can cancel like factors. When addition or subtraction is going on in the numerator or denominator, factor and then simplify. = = = =

Radicals
√ √ =√ •√ =√ • √ = 4√

The above property can be used to simplify radicals. • √ = 4√ √ =√ √ = √ • √ = 3√ √ √ √ = √ = √ = √ √ √ √ = = = = = √ /√ √ +√ (cannot be simplified)

Exponents and radicals Videos
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37.

Understanding Exponents Understanding Exponents 2 Exponent Rules 1 Exponent Rules 2 Level 1 Exponents Level 2 Exponents Negative Exponent Intuition Zero, Negative, and Fractional Exponents Level 3 exponents Exponent Rules Part 1 Exponent Rules Part 2 Exponent Properties 1 Exponent Properties 2 Exponent Properties 3 Exponent Properties 4 Exponent Properties 5 Exponent Properties 6 Exponent Properties 7 Exponent Properties Involving Products Negative and Positive Exponents Exponent Properties Involving Quotients Rational Exponents and Exponent Laws More Rational Exponents and Exponent Laws Simplifying Expressions with Exponents Multiplying and Dividing Rational Expressions 1 Multiplying and Dividing Rational Expressions 2 Multiplying and Dividing Rational Expressions 3 Simplifying Expressions with Exponents 2 Simplifying Expressions with Exponents 3 Fractional Exponent Expressions 1 Fractional Exponent Expressions 2 Fractional Exponent Expressions 3 Pythagorean Theorem 1 Pythagorean Theorem 2 Pythagorean Theorem 3 Evaluating exponential expressions Evaluating exponential expressions 2

38. 39. 40. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36.

Evaluating exponential expressions 3 Scientific notation 1 Scientific notation 2 Scientific notation 3 Scientific Notation I Scientific Notation Example 2 Scientific Notation 3 (new) Scientific Notation Examples Multiplying in Scientific Notation Significant Figures More on Significant Figures Addition and Subtraction with Significant Figures Multiplying and Dividing with Significant Figures Understanding Square Roots Approximating Square Roots Square Roots and Real Numbers Simplifying Square Roots Simplifying Square Roots Comment Response Finding Cube Roots Simplifying Cube Roots Radical Equivalent to Rational Exponents Radical Equivalent to Rational Exponents 2 Simplifying radicals Simplifying Radical Expressions1 Simplifying Radical Expressions 2 Simplifying Radical Expressions 3 More Simplifying Radical Expressions Radical Expressions with Higher Roots Adding and Simplifying Radicals Subtracting and Simplifying Radicals Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions Multiply and Simplify a Radical Expression 1 Multiply and Simplify a Radical Expression 2 How to Rationalize a Denominator Solving Radical Equations Extraneous Solutions to Radical Equations Solving Radical Equations 1 Solving Radical Equations 2 Solving Radical Equations 3

Function Notation
f(x) is a notation that can be used instead of y in the equation of a function. f(x) refers to a yvalue at a particular x-value. For instance, f(3) refers to the y-value when x = 3. A good way of thinking about it is that f(x) corresponds with the ordered pair (x, f(x)). For instance, f(3) corresponds with the ordered pair (3, f(3)). To solve problems involving function notation, substitute whatever is inside the parentheses in f(x) for every x in the expression. For problems 1-8, let f(x) = 2(x) + 3 and g(x) = x2 – 1 1) f(5) 2(5) + 3 = 13 2) f(x+7) 2(x+7) + 3 = 2x + 14 + 3 = 2x + 17 3) g(4) – 1 = 15 4) g(x+3) –1= + 6x + 9 – 1 = + 6x + 8

On problems that feature functions within functions, work from the inside out. 5) f(g(5)) Begin by finding g(5). g(5) = 52 – 1 = 24. Because g(5) = 24, you can substitute 24 for g(5) in the initial equation, giving you f(24) = 2(24) + 3 = 51. 6) g(f(2)) Use the same process described in the previous problem. f(2) = 2(2) + 3 = 7. Therefore, g(f(2)) = g(7) = – 1 = 48 7) f(g(x)) f(g(x)) = f(x2 – 1) = 2( 8) g(f(x)) g(f(x)) = g(2x + 3) =

– 1) + 3 = 2

–2+3=2

+1

–1=4

+ 12x + 9 – 1 = 4

+ 12x + 8

Occasionally, a question will require you to use tables instead of equations to make calculations. The following tables refer to different functions f(x) and g(x) than those used in the previous questions. x f(x) x g(x) 2 -8 2 -6

3 4 5

-3 2 7

3 4 5

-1 6 15

9) What is the value of g(f(4))? To solve, work from the inside out just as in the problems above. Remember that f(4) refers to the y-value of function f when x = 4. According to the table, f(4) = 2. Therefore, g(f(4)) = g(2), which according to the table is equal to -6.

Inequalities and the Number Line
The inequality signs you must know are as follows: “greater than.” For example x 3 means “x is greater than three.” “less than.” For example x 8 means “x is less than eight.” “greater than or equal to.” For example x -2 means “x is greater than or equal to negative two.” “less than or equal to.” For example x 1 means “five is less than or equal to one.”

Plotting Inequalities on the Number Line
The ACT frequently ask students to graph inequalities on the number line as shown in the following examples. A closed (shaded) circle at the endpoint of the shaded portion of the number line indicates that the graph is inclusive of that endpoint, as in the case of or . An open (unshaded) circle at the endpoint of the shaded portion of the number line indicates that the graph is not inclusive of that endpoint, as in the case of or . 1) x

2) x

3) x

-1

Sometimes you will be asked to plot multiple inequalities on a number line. Other times you will be asked to describe the inequality or inequalities indicated by the shaded part(s) of a number line. In problems that deal with multiple inequalities on one number line, it is crucial to understand the difference between and and or. And indicates that the both inequalities must be true for values in the solution set. This corresponds with one shaded region on the number line that is bounded on both sides. Two inequalities joined by and can also be written as a single statement. For instance, x and x can also be written as 3 x 5. Or indicates that only one of the inequalities must be true for a given value in the solution set. This corresponds with two shaded regions on the number line which typically go to infinity and negative infinity, respectively. Two inequalities joined by or cannot be written as a single statement as can be done with those joined by and. 4) x and x -2

Here, both conditions must apply because of the and, so the shaded region is the region that is less than 8 while at the same time greater than -2. Both endpoints are left unshaded because the inequality is noninclusive of the endpoints. 5) x or x

Here, because of the or, there are two separate shaded regions: one representing the values that are greater than 5, and the other representing the numbers that are less than or equal to 1. The 1 is shaded and the 5 is unshaded because the inequality is inclusive of the 1 but not the 5. 6) -3 x

Because these two inequalities are written as a single statement, it is an and situation, and is therefore represented by the single bounded interval in which both inequalities are true. The easiest way of reading a statement like this is “x is in between -3 and 4 (inclusive).” Both endpoints are shaded because the inequality is inclusive of both endpoints. 7) x or x

Here, because of the or, there are two separate shaded regions: one representing the values that are greater than -1, and the other representing the numbers that are less than -7. Both endpoints are left unshaded because the inequality is noninclusive of either endpoint.

Solving Inequalities Algebraically
Sometimes, inequalities must be solved algebraically for a variable. Solve inequalities just like you solve normal equations. The only other thing you must remember is to flip the inequality sign when multiplying or dividing both sides of an equation by a negative number. A good justification for why you must do this is that 2 , but -2 -1. 8) 3x x 6 9) x + 8 x -20 10) 2x + 5 2x 12 x 6 17 18

11) -4x 20 x -5 (Remember to flip the inequality sign when multiplying or dividing both sides by a negative number.)

12) -x – 3 5x + 15 -6x 18 x -3 (Remember to flip the inequality sign when multiplying or dividing both sides by a negative number.)

Linear Systems
Linear systems involve solving two linear equations for two variables (or, occasionally, three linear equations for three variables, etc.). When you are given a single linear equation containing an x and a y, you cannot solve for either variable because there are infinite (x, y) ordered pairs that work, consisting of all the (x, y) points on the line defined by the equation. Without knowing one of the variables, you cannot solve for the other. With two linear equations, however, you can solve for both variables. The (x, y) pair that is the solution to the linear system represents the point of intersection between the two lines. Hence, you can always solve linear systems graphically by setting both equations equal to y (in other words, putting them both into slope-intercept form), graphing both equations on your graphing calculator, and calculating the intersection. However, you can also solve linear systems algebraically. The two methods of doing so are combination and substitution.

Combination
Combination is the most common approach to solving linear systems. To solve a linear system via combination, add or subtract one equation from the other to get one of the variables (either the x or the y) to cancel. Then solve for the other variable. 1) 2x + 3y = 17 2x – 2y = 2. Solve for x and y. 2x + 3y = 17 – [2x – 2y = 2] 5y = 15 y=3 Now plug 3 back into either equation for y and solve for x. Using the first equation, 2x + 3(3) = 17 2x + 9 = 17 2x = 8 x = 4 2) Find the point at which the following two lines intersect: 4x – 7y = 18 and 3x + 7y = -11. 4x – 7y = 18 + [3x + 7y = -11] 7x = 7 x=1 Now plug 1 back into either equation for x and solve for y. Using the first equation, 4(1) – 7y = 18 4 – 7y = 18 - 7y = 14 y = -2. Therefore, the two lines intersect at the point (1, -2). In order to combine the two equations in a way that makes one of the variables cancel, it is necessary that one of the variables has the same (or the opposite) coefficient in both equations. Therefore, it is often necessary to multiply both sides of one of the equations by a number before you can combine the two equations. 3) 3x – 5y = 11 6x + 2y = 46. Find the y-coordinate at which these two lines intersect. Begin by multiplying both sides of the first equation by 2. 2[3x – 5y = 11] = 6x – 10y = 22. Now subtract the one equation from the other. 6x + 2y = 46 – [6x – 10y = 22]

12y = 24 y=2 When neither equation has a variable with a coefficient that is a factor of the same variable in the other equation, it is necessary to multiply both equations by different numbers to get variables with the same coefficient. Specifically, you want to multiply each equation by the coefficient of the variable in the other equation. 4) 3x + 8y = -16 4x – 5y = 57. Solve for x and y. Multiply both sides of the first equation by 4 and both sides of the second equation by 3 so that both equations include a 12x. Then you will be able to subtract one equation from the other to get the x’s to cancel. 4[3x + 8y = -16] = 12x + 32y = -64 3[4x – 5y = 57] = 12x – 15y = 171 Now subtract one equation from the other. 12x + 32y = -64 – [12x – 15y = 171] 47y = -235 y = -235/47 y = -5 Plug -5 into either equation for y and solve for x. Using the first equation, you get 3x + 8(-5) = 16 3x – 40 = -16 3x = 24 x = 8.

Substitution
Substitution is another effective way of solving linear systems. To solve a linear system via substitution, solve one of the equations for one of the variables in terms of the other. Then substitute the equivalent expression for that variable into the other equation to end up with a single equation with one variable. Typically, substitution is a better approach than combination when one of the variables has no coefficient, as that variable is then easy to solve for. 5) 4x + y = 15 2x – 3y = -17. Find the point at which these two lines intersect. Isolate y in the first equation to get y = 15 – 4x. Then substitute (15 – 4x) into the second equation for y. 2x – 3(15 – 4x) = -17 2x – 45 + 12x = -17 14x = 28 x = 2. Now plug in 2 for x in either of the equations to solve for y. The easiest equation to use is the algebraically manipulated form of the first equation, y = 15 – 4x y = 15 – 4(2) = 15 – 8 = 7. Therefore, the two lines intersect at (2, 7). 6) y = 2x – 8 y = 8x + 10. Solve for x. Because both equations are set equal to y, they are already perfectly set up for substitution. Simply substitute the right side of either equation for the y in the other equation to get 2x – 8 = 8x + 10 -18 = 6x x = -3. Sometimes, when you solve a linear system, all the variables cancel and you are left with a mathematical truth, such as 2 = 2 or 0 = 0. This indicates that the variables don’t matter

because there are infinite solutions to the system. Graphically, the two lines intersect in infinite points, so they are really the same line. 7) x + 5y = 21 3x + 15y = 63. Solve this linear system. Working with the first equation, you get x = 21 – 5y. Substitute (21 – 5y) into the second equation for x and solve. 3(21 – 5y) + 15y = 63 63 – 15y + 15y = 63 63 = 63 0 = 0. Because this system leads to a mathematical truth, there are infinite solutions, so the two lines are really the same line. Alternatively, you could have recognized that this was the case simply by noticing that the second equation is equal to three times both sides of the first equation. Therefore, the two equations are identical, so the two lines are one and the same, meaning that there are infinite solutions. Other times, when you solve a linear system, all the variables cancel and you are left with a mathematical falsehood, such as 1 = 5 or 3 = 0. This indicates that the variables don’t matter because there are no solutions to the system. In other words, the solution set is the null set or the empty set. Graphically, the two lines never intersect, so they are parallel. 8) 2x – 9y = 12 6x – 27y = 20. Describe the solution set to this linear system. To solve via combination, multiply both sides of the first equation by 3. 3[2x – 9y = 12] = 6x – 27y = 36. At this point, it may be obvious that the two lines have no solutions because 6x – 27y cannot equal both 11 and 36. Another way of thinking about it is that the two lines would have the same slope and different y-intercepts, so the lines would therefore be parallel. If you do not see this, however, you can continue solving by combination. 6x – 27y = 36 –[6x – 27y = 20] 0 = 16 Because this linear system leads to a mathematical falsehood, it has no solutions and therefore consists of two parallel lines.

Systems of equations and inequalities Videos
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

Trolls, Tolls, and Systems of Equations Solving the Troll Riddle Visually Solving Systems Graphically Example 1: Graphically Solving Systems Example 2: Graphically Solving Systems Example 3: Graphically Solving Systems King's Cupcakes: Solving Systems by Elimination Simple Elimination Practice How many bags of potato chips do people eat? Systems with Elimination Practice Example 1: Solving systems by elimination Example 2: Solving systems by elimination Example 3: Solving systems by elimination Talking bird solves systems with substitution Practice using substitution for systems Example 1: Solving systems by substitution Example 2: Solving systems by substitution Example 3: Solving systems by substitution Inconsistent systems of equations Infinite solutions to systems Practice thinking about number of solutions to systems Why we do the same thing to both sides basic systems Problem Solving Word Problems 2 Graphing systems of inequalities Graphing systems of inequalities 2 Graphing systems of inequalities 3 System of Inequalities Application Systems of Three Variables Systems of Three Variables 2 Solutions to Three Variable System Solutions to Three Variable System 2 systems of equations Officer on Horseback Patterns and Equations

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33.

Two Passing Bicycles Word Problem Passed Bike Word Problem Passing Trains Overtaking Word Problem U06_L1_T1_we1 Solving Systems by Graphing Solving Systems of Equations by Elimination Solving Systems of Equations by Multiplication Systems and rate problems Systems and rate problems 2 Systems and rate problems 3 Mixture problems 1 Mixture problems 2 Mixture problems 3 Graphing Systems of Equations Testing a solution for a system of equations Consistent and Inconsistent Systems Independent and Dependent Systems Graphical Systems Application Problem The Substitution Method Substitution Method 2 Substitution Method 3 Addition Elimination Method 1 Addition Elimination Method 2 Addition Elimination Method 3 Addition Elimination Method 4 Three Equation Application Problem Solving Linear Systems by Graphing Solving Linear Systems by Substitution Special Types of Linear Systems U06_L3_T1_we3 Graphing Systems of Inequalities CA Algebra I: Systems of Inequalities Graphical System of Inequalities Testing Solutions for a System of Inequalities

Number Properties
Number Definitions
Real numbers: All numbers that do not involve i or the square root of a negative number. In other words, all numbers other than complex or imaginary numbers. Real numbers include all positive numbers, negative numbers, and zero, and include decimals and fractions. Integers: Positive and negative whole numbers and zero. …-2, -1, 0, 1, 2… Rational numbers: Numbers that can be expressed as the ratio of two integers. Another way of saying the same thing is that rational numbers include all integers, all fractions, and all numbers that include a terminating or repeating decimal. 8, -3, 0, -.555…, 4/3, -1/2, 3.489489489… Irrational numbers: Numbers that do not fit the above definition for rational numbers. When written as a decimal, irrational numbers neither terminate nor repeat. In other words, the decimal goes on infinitely with no repeating pattern. Irrational numbers fall into two main categories: (1) special numbers such as and e, and (2) roots of numbers that do not resolve to integers such as √ , √ , 3√ , and√ . Prime numbers: Numbers greater than one that have no factors other than itself and one. Two is the only even prime number. Prime numbers include 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, and 17. Imaginary numbers: Numbers involving i, such as i, 3i, and -2i. By definition, i = √ that i2 is a real number because i2 = -1. . Note

Complex numbers: Numbers that have a real component and an imaginary component, such as 3 + 4i and 5-2i. Non-negative numbers: All positive numbers and zero. Non-positive numbers: All negative numbers and zero. Factors: Numbers that another number can be evenly divided by to form an integer. Factors of a number include the number itself and 1. For instance, the factors of 24 are 1, 24, 2, 12, 3, 8, 4, and 6. Multiples: A multiple of a number can be formed by multiplying the number by any positive integer. For instance, multiples of 8 include 8, 16, 24, 32, 40, and so on.

Number Properties
even even even = even odd = odd

odd odd = even even • even = even even • odd = even odd • odd = odd even number raised to any integer power is even odd number raised to any integer power is odd positive • or positive = positive positive • or negative = negative negative • or negative = positive positive number raised to any power is positive negative number raised to an even power is positive negative number raised to an odd power is negative Find the Even When asked which expression must be even for all integer values of x, your target is x or a positive integer power of x multiplied by an even number, since an even number times any integer must be even. It is optional to then add or subtract an even number, as doing so will keep the expression positive. Do not make the common mistake of assuming that x2 must always be even; remember that odd numbers squared are odd. Examples of expressions that must be even for all integer values of x include 4x, 6x2, 2x3, 8x5 – 2, and 12x3 + 20. Find the Odd When asked which expression must be odd for all integer values of x, begin by finding an expression that must be even by multiplying x or a positive integer power of x by an even number. Then, add or subtract an odd number to make the expression odd. Examples of expressions that must be odd for all integer values of x include 2x – 1, 4x2 + 3, 6x5 – 7, and 8x + 5. Find the Positive When asked which expression must be positive for all values of x, your target is x raised to an even power, since any nonzero number raised to an even power must be positive. It is optional to then multiply or divide by a positive number, as doing so will keep the expression positive. Examples of expressions that must be positive for all nonzero values of x include x2, x4, 6x20, 10x2, and x2/4. Find the Negative When asked which expression must be negative for all values of x, begin by finding an expression that must be positive by raising x to an even power. Then, multiply or divide by a negative number to make the expression negative. Examples of expressions that must be negative for all nonzero values of x include -3x2, -5x6, -x10, and -3x24/5. Find the expression that must be true given another equation or inequality. Often, you are asked to find which expression must be true given a certain equation or inequality in the question. On this type of problem, think carefully about what you know given

the equation or inequality in the question before looking at the answer choices. Usually, you should know exactly what your target is before ever looking at the answer choices. Often, an algebraic manipulation of the initial expression is useful in figuring out your target. Observe the following two examples. Example: If 8a6b5 0, which of the following statements must be true? Before looking at the answer choices (not included here as they are not truly relevant to how you should approach the problem), figure out a target based on the inequality in the question. The expression on the left hand side of the inequality must be negative. Because a 6 must be positive for all a, 8a6 must be positive too. Therefore, b5 must be negative, so b itself must be negative. Your target answer is going be b 0 or some variant thereof, such as 6b 0 or 8b3 0. Example: If a4 + 5 is odd, which of the following statements must be true? Just as in the previous example, before looking at the answer choices (not included here as they are not truly relevant to how you should approach the problem), figure out a target based on the information in the question. If a4 + 5 is odd, a4 must be even, which is only the case when a itself is even. Therefore, your target answer is either “a is even” or some other statement that must be true if a is even, such as “a – 4 is even” or “a3 + 1 is odd.”

Percentages
Percentages can be written as fractions or decimals. To write a percent as a fraction, put the percent in the numerator and 100 in the denominator, and reduce it if needed. After all, “percent” means per 100. To write a percent as a decimal, simply move the decimal two spots to the left. Observe the examples below. 20% = 20/100 = 1/5 = .2 75% = 75/100 = 3/4 = .75 3% = 3/100 = .03 5.8% = 5.8/100 = 58/1000 = 29/500 = .058 370% = 370/100 = 37/10 = 3.7 100% = 100/100 = 1 It is important in percentage problems to remember that the word “of” typically indicates multiplication (not to be confused with “out of,” which typically indicates division). 1) Find 5% of 80. .05 • 80 = 4 2) What is 40% of 70? .4 • 70 = 28 3) What number is 150% of 24? 1.5 • 24 = 36 In problems in which a certain percentage is being added to or subtracted from a number, it is important to remember that 100% or 1 is the starting point, since taking 100% of a number, or multiplying a number by 1, does not change its value. 4) What number is 30% greater than 50? 1.3 • 50 = 65 The 1 in the 1.3 represents the initial 50, and the .3 represents the 30%. Of course, you could also do this problem by finding 30% of 50 by multiplying 50 by .3, then adding this number to 50. However, the method demonstrated above is far more streamlined. 5) What number is 10% more than 180? 1.1 • 180 = 198

6) What number is 20% less than 350? .8 • 350 = 280 The .8 represents .2 less than 1, since 1 represents the initial 50. Another way of thinking about it is that 20% less than a number is equal to 80% of the number. Of course, you could also do this problem by finding 20% of 350 by multiplying 350 by .2, then subtracting this number from 350. However, the method demonstrated above is far more streamlined. 7) What number is produced when 20 is increased by 40%? 20 • 1.4 = 28 8) What number is produced when 90 is decreased by 10%? 90 • .9 = 81 Any time a percentage problem refers to an unknown number, call that number “x” in your equation. Remember that “is” indicates an equal sign. 9) What number is 15% of 20? x = .15 • 20 = 3 10) What number is 15% greater than 20? x = 1.15 • 20 = 23 11) What number is 15% less than 20? x = .85 •20 = 17 12) 20% of what number is 30? .2x = 30 x = 30/.2 = 150 13) 30 is 20% greater than what number? 30 = 1.2x x = 30/1.2 = 25 14) 30 is 20% less than what number? 30 = .8x x = 30/.8 x = 37.5 15) A certain number is decreased by 20% and the result is 30. What was that number? 30 = .8x x = 30/.8 x = 37.5. In this example and the example above (since they are different versions of the same problem), it is important not to attempt to find the unknown number by adding 20% of 30 to 30. Doing so would leave you with 36 rather than the correct answer of 37.5. Increasing 30 by 20% of 30 does not have the desired effect because you need to add 20% of the larger unknown number (which you now know is 37.5) to 30, and 20% of the larger number is greater than 20% of 30.

It is crucial in multi-step percentage problems to do the multiple steps as separate steps rather than attempting to combine them into one single step. 16) The price of a pair of skis is normally $800. These skis are discounted by 20% and a customer has a coupon that offers 30% off the sale price. What does the customer pay for the skis? $800 • .8 • .7 = $448 Had you incorrectly combined these two discounts into one single discount of 50% instead of applying them separately, you would have gotten $400, which is not the correct answer. The reason you cannot combine the separate discounts into one discount is that the second discount applies to an already discounted price, and 30% of an already discounted price is less than 30% of the original price. 17) The price of a stock increases by 40% the first year and decreases by 20% the second year. By what percent did the price of the stock increase over the two year period? x • 1.4 • .8 = 1.12 1.12 represents an increase of 12% from the original (1), so the price of the stock increased by 12%

Percent Videos
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Describing the Meaning of Percent Describing the Meaning of Percent 2 Identifying Percent Amount and Base Representing a number as a decimal, percent, and fraction Converting decimals to percents (ex 1) Converting decimals to percents (ex 2) Solving Percent Problems Solving Percent Problems 2 Solving Percent Problems 3 Growing by a percentage Representing a number as a decimal, percent, and fraction 2 Ordering numeric expressions

Plane Geometry
Angles
Complimentary Angles: Two angles that add to 90˚

Supplementary Angles: Two angles that add to 180˚

Acute Angle: Any angle greater than 0˚ and less than 90˚

Obtuse Angle: Any angle greater than 90˚ and less than 180˚

Right Angle: A 90˚ angle

Parallel Line Properties: When two parallel lines are cut by a transversal, two types of angles are formed: big angles and little angles. All the big angles are equal and all the little angles are equal, and the big angles are supplementary to the little angles. In school, you likely learned this in terms of each of the individual properties (alternating interior angles, corresponding angles, etc.), but it is much easier to think of parallel line properties as one property, as described above.

Vertical Angles: When two lines intersect, four angles are formed. Each pair of opposite, or “vertical,” angles are equal.

Polygons
Number of Diagonals in an n-sided figure n • (n-3)/2 Sum of Interior Angles in an n-sided figure (n-2) • 180

Triangles
Triangle Inequality: The sum of the lengths of any two sides of a triangle is greater than the length of the third side. In other words, if a triangle has sides of length a, b, and c, a + b c, a + c b, and b + c a. Therefore, if a triangle has one side of 5 inches and another side of 9 inches, the third side would have to be less than 13 inches (the sum of 9 and 5) and greater than 4 inches (the difference of 9 and 5). Note that 4 and 13 themselves are not possible values for the third side, as the inequality is non-inclusive. Sum of Angles: The sum of the angles in any triangle is 180˚. Area: A = (1/2)hb where h is the triangle’s height and b is the triangle’s base. Note that the height, or altitude, of a triangle is by definition perpendicular to its base. Sometimes, the altitude is outside the triangle itself.

Right Triangle: A triangle with one right angle

Equilateral Triangle: A triangle in which all three sides are of equal length. Equilateral triangles are also, by definition, equiangular: each angle of an equilateral triangle is equal to 60˚.

Isosceles Triangle: A triangle with two sides of equal length. The base angles (the angles opposite the equal sides) of an isosceles triangle are also equal.

Quadrilaterals
Sum of Angles: The sum of the angles in any convex quadrilateral is 360˚. Square: A quadrilateral with four sides of equal length and four angles of 90˚ each. A = s2 P = 4s, where s = side length.

Rectangle: A quadrilateral with four angles of 90˚ each. A = lw P = 2l + 2w, where l = length and w = width

Rhombus: A quadrilateral with four sides of equal length. A = bh, where b = base and h = height. The height is by definition perpendicular to the base. P = 4s, where s = side length. Opposite sides of a rhombus are parallel. Opposite angles of a rhombus are equal, and consecutive angles are supplementary.

Parallelogram: A quadrilateral with two sets of parallel sides.

A = bh where b = base and h = height. The height is by definition perpendicular to the base. P = 2S1 + 2S2, where S1 and S2 are adjacent sides. Opposite sides of a parallelogram are equal in length. Opposite angles of a parallelogram are equal, and consecutive angles are supplementary.

Trapezoid: A quadrilateral with one set of parallel sides. A = .5h(b1 + b2), where h = height and b1 and b2 are the two bases. The area of a trapezoid can also be thought of as A = height • (the average of the bases). P = S1 + S2 + S3 + S4, where S1, S2, S3, and S4 are the four sides.

Congruent: Same size and shape
Two angles are congruent if and only if they have the same measure. Two line segments are congruent if and only if they have the same length. Two shapes are congruent if and only if they are the same size and the same shape. Triangle Congruence Triangle congruence can be proven in the following ways: SSS (Side-Side-Side): Two triangles are congruent if they have three pairs of congruent sides.

SAS (Side-Angle-Side): Two triangles are congruent if they have two pairs of congruent sides and the angle in between the two congruent sides is also congruent.

AAS (Angle-Angle-Side), ASA (Angle-Side-Angle): Two triangles are congruent if they have two pairs of congruent angles and one congruent side.

HL (Hypotenuse Leg): Two right triangles are congruent if they have congruent hypotenuses and one pair of congruent legs.

Similar: Same shape, but not necessarily the same size.
Triangle Similarity AAA (Angle-Angle-Angle): Two triangles are similar if they have three pairs of congruent angles. In reality, only two pairs of congruent angles are needed to establish the congruence of the triangles, since if two pairs of angles are congruent, the third pair of angles is necessarily congruent.

Angles Videos
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Angle Basics Introduction to angles (old) Measuring Angles in Degrees Using a Protractor Measuring Angles Angle-a-trons Acute Right and Obtuse Angles Acute Obtuse and Right Angles Complementary and Supplementary Angles Identifying Complementary and Supplementary Angles Angles (part 2) Proof - Sum of Measures of Angles in a Triangle are 180 Triangle Angle Example 1 Angles at the intersection of two lines Proof-Vertical Angles are Equal Angles (part 3) Angles formed between transversals and parallel lines Proof - Corresponding Angle Equivalence Implies Parallel Lines Angles of parallel lines 2 Triangle Angle Example 2 Triangle Angle Example 3 Finding Missing Angles Finding more angles The Angle Game Angle Game (part 2) More on why SSA is not a postulate Angles Formed by Parallel Lines and Transversals Point Line Distance and Angle Bisectors Two column proof showing segments are perpendicular Angle Bisector Theorem Examples Angle Bisector Theorem Proof Inscribed and Central Angles Perpendicular Radius Bisects Chord Inradius Perimeter and Area

Quadratics
Quadratic equations are equations that can be written in standard form as y = ax 2 + bx + c, where a, b, and c are constants. When graphed, a quadratic equation forms a parabola. For the purposes of the ACT, you should be familiar with solving quadratics by factoring and by graphing. Typically, you should attempt to solve a quadratic by factoring if the a term is 1. If a quadratic has an a term other than one, you should probably just solve it graphically and be done with it. The one exception to this is when a quadratic has an a term that is a factor of the b and c terms, in which case you can divide both sides of the equation by a, thereby reducing the a term to 1. This method is demonstrated in example 4.

Solving by Factoring
To solve a quadratic by factoring, begin by putting the quadratic into standard form by setting the entire equation equal to zero. Then find two numbers that add to the b term and multiply to the c term. These numbers will allow you to write the factored form of the quadratic, which will in turn allow you to figure out the solutions. Observe the following examples. 1) x2 + 7x + 12 = 0 To solve for x, find two numbers that add to 7 and multiply to 12. The two numbers that meet these criteria are 3 and 4. Therefore, the factored form of this equation is (x + 3)(x + 4) = 0. To make this equation true, the left side of the equation must equal 0, which happens when either of the two factors is equal to zero. x + 3 = 0 when x = -3, and x + 4 = 0 when x = -4, so x = -3 and x = -4 are the two solutions to this quadratic. 2) x2 – 2x – 24 = 0 To solve for x, find two numbers that add to -2 and multiply to -24. The two numbers that meet these criteria are -6 and 4. Therefore, the factored form of this equation is (x – 6)(x + 4) = 0. To make this equation true, the left side of the equation must equal 0, which happens when either of the two factors is equal to zero. x – 6 = 0 when x = 6, and x + 4 = 0 when x = -4, so x = 6 and x = -4 are the two solutions to this quadratic. 3) x2 = 9x – 18 Begin by getting the quadratic into standard form by setting it equal to zero. x 2 – 9x + 18 = 0. Then, find two numbers that add to -9 and multiply to 18. The two numbers that meet these criteria are -3 and -6. Therefore, the factored form of this equation is (x – 3)(x – 6) = 0. To make this equation true, the left side of the equation must equal 0, which happens when either of the two factors is equal to zero. x – 3 = 0 when x = 3, and x – 6 = 0 when x = 6, so x = 3 and x = 6 are the two solutions to this quadratic. 4) 2x2 + 16x + 30 = 0

Begin by dividing both sides of the equation by 2 so that the a term is equal to 1. x2 + 8x + 15 = 0. Then, find two numbers that add to 8 and multiply to 15. The two numbers that meet these criteria are 3 and 5. Therefore, the factored form of this equation is (x + 3)(x + 5) = 0. To make this equation true, the left side of the equation must equal 0, which happens when either one of the two factors is equal to zero. x + 3 = 0 when x = -3, and x + 5 = 0 when x = -5, so x = -3 and x = -5 are the two solutions to this quadratic.

Expanding Quadratics: FOIL
You should also be familiar with how to move from the factored form of a quadratic to standard form. To do so, you must expand the polynomial by multiplying the two factors together. This is most easily done via the FOIL method. Multiply the two First terms, the two Outer terms, the two Inner terms, and the two Last terms. Then simplify. 5) Write (x + 4)(x – 8) = 0 in standard form. To expand, use the FOIL method described above. Multiply the two First terms, the two Outer terms, the two Inner terms, and the two Last terms, and then simplify. x • x + x • -8 + 4 • x + 4 • -8 = x2 – 8x + 4x – 32. Combine like terms to get x2 – 4x – 32 = 0. 6) Expand (x + 7)2. Avoid making the common mistake of thinking that (x + 7)2 = x2 + 72. Instead, (x + 7)2 = (x + 7)(x + 7). Using the foil method, this expression expands to x 2 + 7x + 7x + 49 = x2 + 14x + 49. Because this expression was a perfect square (see below), you alternatively could have expanded this expression without using FOIL by knowing the identity that (x + a)2 = x2 + 2ax + a2.

Solving Quadratics Graphically
Any quadratic that can be solved algebraically can also be solved graphically. Typically, if you are proficient at solving quadratics via factoring, factoring is the quickest and easiest approach on problems that are easy to factor. However, on problems that are difficult or impossible to factor, graphing is the best approach. Graphing is also the best approach on all quadratics if you are not proficient at factoring. To solve a quadratic graphically on your graphing calculator, set the equation equal to zero, then enter it into the “y =” field on your graphing calculator. Once you have it graphed, find the x- intercepts (the x-values where the graph crosses the xaxis). These x-intercepts represent the solutions to the quadratic. If the answer choices are reasonably far from each other, you can use the trace function to get an approximate value of the x-intercepts. If you need greater precision, use the CALC zero tool on a TI calculator, since a zero is another term for an x-intercept. 7) 3x2 + 5x – 8 = 0 This is an ugly quadratic which could not be factored with integers. It is a perfect example of a quadratic that is most easily solved graphically. Enter 3x 2 + 5y – 8 into the “y =” field on your graphing calculator, and find the x- intercepts (the x-values where the graph crosses the x-axis). Using the CALC zero tool on a TI calculator, you get that the two intercepts are -8/3 and 1. Therefore, -8/3 and 1 are the two solutions.

Quadratic Formula
The quadratic formula allows you to plug in the a, b and c values from standard form, y = ax2 + bx + c, to find the two solutions of a quadratic. The quadratic formula is as follows: . If you are familiar with using the quadratic formula to find the solutions of a quadratic, it is another good approach. If you are not familiar with this equation, you are probably better off learning to solve quadratics graphically instead of memorizing this equation.

Quadratic Identities
The following quadratic identities are featured very frequently on both the ACT. It is worth memorizing these identities. Perfect squares: (x + a)2 = x2 + 2ax + a2 (x – a)2 = x2 – 2ax + a2 (perfect squares are the quadratics with exactly one solution) Examples: (x + 5)2 = x2 + 10x + 25 (x – 4)2 = x2 + 8x + 16 Difference of two squares: (x + a) (x – a) = x2 – a2 Example: (x + 3) (x – 3) = x2 – 9
8) If x2 + 16x + k = 0 and there is only one possible solution for x, what is the value of k?

If there is only one possible solution for x, this quadratic must be a perfect square. Because the b term is positive, it must be of the form (x + a)2 = x2 + 2ax + a2. Therefore 2a = 16, so a = 8. k = a2, so k = 82 = 64. 9) If x + y = 8 and x2 – y2 = 24, what is the value of x – y? When the ACT asks you to solve for an expression like “x – a” rather than just solving for one variable or the other, it is very likely that you can solve for that expression without ever finding the value of the individual variables. In this case, you can solve directly for x – a by using the difference of two squares. The difference of two squares states (x + a) (x – a) = x2 – a2. Therefore, x – a = (x2 – a2)/(x + a). In this problem, x – y = (x2 – y2)/(x + y) = 24/8 = 3.

Factoring to Simplify Rational Expressions

When you are asked to simplify a rational expression (an expression that contains a polynomial in the numerator and a polynomial in the denominator), you should factor any quadratics and look to cancel common factors between the numerator and the denominator.
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To solve this problem, factor both the numerator and denominator, and then cancel like factors.
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11) To solve this problem, factor both the numerator and denominator, and then cancel like factors.
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Quadratic functions Videos
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Factoring Quadratic Expressions Solving Quadratic Equations by Square Roots Completing the square Graphing a Quadratic Function Graphs of Quadratic Functions Quadratic Functions 3 Quadratic Equations in Standard Form Quadratic Formula 1 Proof of Quadratic Formula Complex Roots from the Quadratic Formula Discriminant for Types of Solutions for a Quadratic Solving Quadratic Equations by Factoring Solving Quadratic Equations by Factoring 2 Solving Quadratic Equations by Factoring 3 CA Algebra I: Factoring Quadratics Solving a quadratic by factoring Applications Problem Factoring Quadratics Algebra II: Quadratics and Shifts Algebra II: Shifting Quadratic Graphs Completing the Square 1 Completing the Square 3 Completing the Square 2 Completing the Square 4 Completing the Square to Solve Quadratic Equations CA Algebra I: Completing the Square Solving Quadratic Equations by Completing the Square Completing Perfect Square Trinomials Introduction to the quadratic equation Quadratic Equation part 2 Quadratic Formula 2 Quadratic Formula 3 CA Algebra I: Quadratic Equation CA Algebra I: Quadratic Roots Simple Quadratic Equation Applying the Quadratic Formula Application Problem with Quadratic Formula Discriminant of Quadratic Equations

Ratios and Proportions
The ratio of a to b can be written as a:b or a/b. Generally, it is preferable to write all ratios the latter way, since a fraction bar has more intrinsic mathematical meaning than a colon. When given a ratio, it is often wise to set up a proportion, which is one ratio set equal to another ratio. One way to check to make sure you have set up a proportion correctly is to make sure the units line up. In other words, this/that = this/that. If you ever get this/that = that/this, you know you made a mistake. Setting up proportions is particularly useful in problems that involve recipes, similar figures, and rates. One way to solve a proportion is to cross multiply and then divide. Let’s say 7/9 = 42/x. To cross multiply, multiply the numerator of each fraction by the denominator of the other fraction and set these two products equal to each other: 7x = 42 • 9. Then divide both sides by 7 to isolate x. x = 54. Although all proportions with a single variable can be solved by cross multiplying and dividing, be aware that this method is inefficient when the variable is in the numerator. For instance, if 3/8 = x/40, you could isolate x simply by multiplying both sides by 40. x = (3/8) • 40 = 15. Because the math is slightly easier when the variable is in the numerator, set your proportions up with the variable in the numerator whenever possible. Observe the following sample problems: 1) There are 40 students in a class. If 5/8 of the students are girls, how many girls are in the class? 5 girls/8 students = x girls / 40 students. Multiply both sides by 40 to get x = 25 girls. 2) If 2 sticks of butter are needed to make 28 cookies, how many sticks of butter are needed to make 49 cookies? 2 butter/28 cookies = x butter/49 cookies x = 3.5 sticks of butter 3) Jim drove 70 miles per hour for a distance of 180 miles. How long did it take him to drive the 180 miles? 70 miles/1 hour = 180 miles/x hours 180 = 70x x = 180/70 = 18/7 hours Be careful, because sometimes a problem gives you part:part instead of part:whole. 4) There are 26 students in a class. If the ratio of girls to boys is 5 to 8, how many girls are in the class? Compare this problem to problem 1. Although they appear similar, they are in fact very different. Problem 1 gives you part to whole (girls to students), while this problem gives you part to part (girls to boys). When given part to part, add the parts together to get the whole. 8 + 5 = 13, so 5/13 of the students are girls. Now set up a proportion. girls/students = girls/students 5/13 = x/26 x = 10.

5) There are 36 musicians in an orchestra. If the ratio of strings to horns to drums is 3:2:1, and each musician plays strings, horns, or drums, how many musicians play horns? You are given part to part to part, so you must add the three parts together to get the whole. 3 + 2 + 1 = 6, so there are 2 horn players out of every 6 musicians. Now set up a proportion. horns/musicians = horns/musicians 2/6 = x/36 x = 12. 6) A recipe for a juice drink calls for 3 parts apple juice to 1 part cranberry juice. How much cranberry juice is needed to make 8 liters of juice drink? Again, you have been given part to part, so you must add the parts together to get the whole. Setting up the ratio as cranberry/total = cranberry/total, you have 1/4 = x/8. x = 2. Proportions can also be useful in similar figure problems. 7) The side lengths of a triangle are 18, 24, and 30 units. The shortest side of a similar triangle is 12 units in length. What is the longest side of the smaller triangle? Similar parts of similar figures are in proportion. Therefore, (shortest side)/(longest side) for the big triangle is equal to (shortest side)/(longest side) for the small triangle. 18/30 = 12/x 12 • 18 = 30x x = 20. 8) A rectangle has a length of 8 and a width of 6. Assuming that a similar rectangle has a perimeter of 14, what is the length of the similar rectangle? Again, you can set up a proportion using the corresponding parts of similar figures. Length/perimeter = length/perimeter. The perimeter of the first rectangle is 2 • 8 + 2 • 6 = 28, so 8/28 = x/14 x = 4. Sometimes proportions can be tricky because they involve more than one variable. This is OK, because when there is more than one unknown and only one equation, you will not be expected to solve for a numeric value. You will only be expected to solve for one variable in terms of the other(s). 9) If a car travels 180 miles in h hours, how many hours does it take the car to travel 100 hours? Set up a proportion. miles/hours = miles/hours 180/h = 100/x 180x = 100h x = 100h/180 = 5h/9. It is important in this problem to avoid the common mistake of calling the unknown “h,” as students frequently do because they are uncomfortable having a proportion with two different variables. “h” has already been taken, and because you cannot use the same variable for two different things, you must choose a new variable. 10) If a machine makes x computer chips in y hours, how many computer chips does it make in 12 hours? Set up a proportion. chips/hours = chips/hours x/y = c/12 c = 12x/y. Just as in the previous problem, you must make sure to use different variables to stand for each of the different unknowns.

Ratio and Proportion Videos
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Introduction to Ratios (new HD version) Understanding Proportions Ratios as Fractions in Simplest Form Simplifying Rates and Ratios Find an Unknown in a Proportion 2 Finding Unit Rates Finding Unit Prices Unit conversion Converting units of length Conversion between metric units U.S. Customary and Metric units Converting within the metric system Converting Gallons to quarts pints and cups Converting pounds to ounces Comparing Celsius and Farenheit temperature scales Converting Fahrenheit to Celsius Speed translation

Right Triangles
Pythagorean Theorem
The Pythagorean Theorem relates the sides, a, b, and c, of a right triangle, where c is always the hypotenuse: . The Pythagorean Theorem can be used to solve for a leg or the hypotenuse of a right triangle if the lengths of the other two sides are known. 1) Solve for x.

Plug the lengths of the two legs into the Pythagorean Theorem for a and b, and solve for the hypotenuse. 52 + 72 = x2 25 + 49 = x2 x2 = 74 x = √ 8.6. 2) A right triangle has a hypotenuse of length 15 and one leg of length 11. What is the length of the other leg? Make sure to plug in 15 for c in the Pythagorean Theorem, since c always represents the hypotenuse, whether the hypotenuse is a known or unknown value. 112 + b2 = 152 121 + b2 = 225 b2 = 104 b = √ 10.2.

Special Right Triangles
The special right triangles listed below account for close to two thirds of all right triangles on the ACT. Pythagorean Triples Pythagorean triples are integer ratios that work in the Pythagorean Theorem and therefore form the side ratios of right triangles. For instance, 3, 4, 5 is a Pythagorean triple since 9 + 16 = 25. These triples are important to memorize on the ACT. 3-4-5 (also its multiples, like 6-8-10, 9-12-15, and 15-20-25)

5-12-13

7-24-25

8-15-17

Other special right triangles These right triangles are important to memorize for the ACT.

30-60-90 ratios of sides are x, x√ , 2x (hypotenuse)

45-45-90 (the isosceles right triangle) ratios of sides are x, x, x√ (hypotenuse)

3) What is the hypotenuse of a right triangle with legs of 6 and 8 inches? The hypotenuse is 10 inches long, since it is a 3-4-5 Pythagorean Triple (6-8-10).

4) Solve for x.

x = 24. The hypotenuse is 25, and one leg is 7, so this triangle must be a 7-24-75 Pythagorean Triple. 5) Solve for x.

Because this triangle is a 45-45-90 with legs of 5 units, its hypotenuse must be 5√ units long. The hypotenuse of a 45-45-90 triangle is always √ times the length of its legs. 6) Solve for x.

Because this is a 30-60-90 triangle, the shorter of the two legs is multiplied by √ to get the longer of the two legs. Therefore, the longer of the two legs is divided by √ to get the shorter of the two legs, so x = 8/√ . An algebraic justification is that, as shown above, the short leg of a 30-60-90 triangle is x and the long leg is x√ . Therefore, x√ = 8. Solve for x by dividing both sides by √ . x = 8/√ . To simplify, rationalize the denominator by multiplying 8/√ by √ /√ . 8/√ • √ /√ = 8√ /3. 7) If sinx = 3/5, what is cosx? (ACT ONLY) If sinx = 3/5, the opposite side must be 3 and the hypotenuse must be 5. Without even needing to draw the triangle, it should be clear that you have a 3-4-5 triangle and that the adjacent side must be 4. Therefore, cosx = 4/5. See basic trigonometry. 8) What is the distance between the points (-3, 5) and (2, 17) in the coordinate plane? As described in coordinate geometry, to find the distance between two points in the coordinate plane, find the difference between the x-values and the difference between the y-values. These two differences represent the two legs of a right triangle and the distance between the two points is equal to the hypotenuse of the triangle. Typically, you would use the Pythagorean Theorem to find this hypotenuse. However, in this situation, using the Pythagorean Theorem is

unnecessary. Because the x-coordinates are 5 apart and the y-coordinates are 12 apart, you know that the distance between the two points (the hypotenuse of the triangle) must be 13, since you have a 5-12-13 Pythagorean Triple.

Triangles Videos
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

Proof - Sum of Measures of Angles in a Triangle are 180 Triangle Angle Example 1 Triangle Angle Example 2 Triangle Angle Example 3 Challenging Triangle Angle Problem Congruent and Similar Triangles Congruent Triangles and SSS SSS to Show a Radius is Perpendicular to a Chord that it Bisects Other Triangle Congruence Postulates Finding Congruent Triangles More on why SSA is not a postulate Congruent Triangle Proof Example Congruent Triangle Example 2 Congruent legs and base angles of Isosceles Triangles Equilateral Triangle Sides and Angles Congruent Equilateral and Isosceles Example Problems Another Isosceles Example Problem Example involving an isosceles triangle and parallel lines Figuring out all the angles for congruent triangles example Triangle Area Proofs Area of an Equilateral Triangle Koch Snowflake Fractal Area of Koch Snowflake (part 1) - Advanced Area of Koch Snowflake (part 2) - Advanced Similar Triangle Basics Similarity Postulates Similar triangles Similar triangles (part 2) Similar Triangle Example Problems Similarity Example Problems Application of Similar Triangles Challenging Similarity Problem Similarity example where same side plays different roles Finding Area Using Similarity and Congruence Introduction to the Pythagorean Theorem

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The Pythagorean Theorem Pythagorean Theorem II Pythagorean Theorem Proof Using Similarity 45-45-90 Triangles 45-45-90 Triangle Side Ratios Intro to 30-60-90 Triangles 30-60-90 Triangles II 30-60-90 Triangle Side Ratios Proof 30-60-90 Triangle Example Problem Heron's Formula Part 1 of Proof of Heron's Formula Part 2 of the Proof of Heron's Formula Area of Inscribed Equilateral Triangle (some basic trig used) Right Triangles Inscribed in Circles (Proof) Area of Diagonal Generated Triangles of Rectangle are Equal Triangle Medians and Centroids Triangle Medians and Centroids (2D Proof) Circumcenter of a Triangle Circumcenter of a Right Triangle Incenter and incircles of a triangle Medians divide into smaller triangles of equal area Exploring Medial Triangles Proving that the Centroid is 2-3rds along the Median Median Centroid Right Triangle Example Proof - Triangle Altitudes are Concurrent (Orthocenter) Review of Triangle Properties Euler Line Euler's Line Proof Common Orthocenter and Centroid Basic Triangle Proofs Module Example Basic Triangle Proofs Module Example 2 Fill-in-the-blank triangle proofs example 1 Wrong statements in proofs example 1 Fill-in-the-blank triangle proofs example 2

Series and Sequences
A series is a progression of numbers that progresses according to a defined pattern. A sequence refers to the sum of all the terms in a series. For the purposes of the ACT, you should be familiar with arithmetic and geometric series and sequences.

Arithmetic Series
An arithmetic series is a series in which a certain number is added to or subtracted from each term to produce the next term. The number that is added to each term to produce the next term is known as the common difference. If you subtract the previous term from any term in the series, the result is equal to the common difference. For instance, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15… is an arithmetic series with a first term of 5 and a common difference of 2. 10, 7, 4, 1, -2, -5… is an arithmetic series with a first term of 10 and a common difference of -3. The terms of an arithmetic series progress as follows: a, a + d, a + 2d, a +3d where a is the first term and d is the common difference. The nth term of an arithmetic series is calculated as follows: a + d(n-1), where a is the first term and d is the common difference. The common difference is multiplied by (n-1) rather than n because you add the common difference the first time to create the second term, the second time to create the third term and so on. The sum of the first n terms in an arithmetic sequence can be calculated as follows: n(2a + d(n-1))/2 where a is the first term, d is the common difference, and n is the number of terms. This formula works by taking an average of the first term and the nth term and multiplying this average by the number of terms. Because the series increases by regular intervals, the average of the first term and the last term is equal to the average of all the terms, so the sum of the sequence can be found by multiplying the average of the first and last terms by n, the number of terms in the sequence. Think about this formula in terms of the formula for the nth term of an arithmetic sequence and your knowledge of averages to fully understand why it works. 1) What is the 30th term of the following series: 8, 15, 22, 29…? You can tell this series is arithmetic because the same number (7) is being added to every term. Thus, 7 is the common difference. Plug the first term, 8, and the common difference, 7, into the formula for the nth term of an arithmetic sequence: a + d(n-1). 8 + 7(30 – 1) 8 + 7(29) = 211. 2) What is the 12th term of the following series: 5, -1, -7, -13…? You can tell this series is arithmetic because the same number (-6) is being added to every term. Thus, -6 is the common difference. Plug the first term, 5, and the common difference, -6, into the formula for the nth term of an arithmetic sequence: a + d(n-1). 5 + -6(12 – 1) 5 – 6(11) = -61.

3) What is the sum of the first 15 terms of the following sequence: 6, 10, 14, 18…? You can tell that this sequence is arithmetic because the same number (4) is added to each term to get the next term. Thus, 4 is the common difference of this sequence. Plug the first term, 6, and the common difference, 4, into the formula for the sum of the first n terms of an arithmetic sequence, n(2a + d(n-1))/2. 15(2 • 6 + 4(15 – 1))/2 = 15(12 + 4 • 14)/2 = 15(68)/2 = 510. You could also do this problem conceptually. To do so, find the last term in the arithmetic sequence using the formula for the nth term in an arithmetic sequence. The 15 th term is equal to 6 + 4(15 – 1) = 6 + 56 = 62. Now take the average of the first term, 6, and the nth term, 62. (6 + 62)/2 = 34. Because this series is arithmetic and therefore increases at a constant rate, the average of the first and last terms is equal to the overall average of all the terms, so you can multiply this average by n to find the sum of the sequence. 34 • 15 = 510. 4) A pizza shop sells 10 pizzas its first day in business. Each day after the first day, the pizza shop sells 7 more pizzas than it did the day before. How many pizzas does it sell on the 18 th day? This question is asking you to find the 18th term of an arithmetic series with a first term of 10 and a common difference of 7. Plugging these numbers into the formula for the nth term of an arithmetic sequence, you get 10 + 7(18 – 1) = 10 + 7(17) = 129. You could also conceive of this problem conceptually, realizing that you add the first 7 on the second day, the second 7 on the third day, and so on. Therefore, on the 18th day, you must add the 17th 7, so the answer is 10 + 7(17) = 129. 5) A pizza shop sells 10 pizzas its first day in business. Each day after the first day, the pizza shop sells 7 more pizzas than it did the day before. How many pizzas does it sell in the first 18 days? It is crucial to recognize the subtle difference in wording between this problem and problem four, since this difference completely changes the problem. Problem 4 involved finding the n th term of the sequence, while this problem involves finding the sum of the first n terms. To find the sum of this sequence, plug the first term of 10, the common difference of 7, and the total of 18 terms into the formula for the sum of the first n terms of an arithmetic sequence. 18(2 • 10 + 7(18-1))/2 = 18(20 + 119)/2 = 1251. You could also do this problem conceptually. To do so, find the last term in the arithmetic sequence using the formula for the nth term in an arithmetic sequence. As demonstrated in problem 4, the 18th term is equal to 129. Now take the average of the first term, 10, and the nth term, 129. (10 + 129)/2 = 69.5. Because this series is arithmetic and therefore increases at a constant rate, the average of the first and last terms is equal to the overall average of all the terms, so you can multiply this average by n to find the sum of the sequence. 69.5 • 18 = 1251.

Geometric Series
A geometric series is a series in which each term is multiplied or divided by the same number to produce the next term. The number that each term in the series is multiplied by to produce the next term is known as the common ratio. If you divide any term by the previous term, the

result is equal to the common ratio. For instance, 10, 20, 40, 80… is a geometric series with a first term of 10 and a common ratio of 2. 405, 135, 45, 15… is a geometric series with a first term of 405 and a common ratio of 1/3. The terms of a geometric series progress as follows: a, ar, ar2, ar3 where a is the first term and r is the common ratio. Note that only r (and not a) is being raised to a power. The nth term of a geometric series is calculated as follows: ar(n-1), where a is the first term and d is the common difference. The common difference is multiplied by (n-1) rather than n because you multiply by the common difference the first time to create the second term, the second time to create the third term, and so on. The sum of the first n terms in a geometric sequence can be calculated as follows: a(1-rn)/(1r). This concept is not truly essential to learn, as it comes up almost never on the ACT. The sum of an infinite geometric sequence can be calculated as follows: a/(1-r). This concept is seen more frequently on the ACT than the partial sum described above. On the ACT, you will typically be given this formula if you need to use it. 6) What is the 9th term of the following series: 3, 12, 48, 192…? You can tell this series is geometric because each term is multiplied by the same number (4) to produce the next term. Thus, 4 is the common ratio. Plug the first term, 3, and the common ratio, 4, into the formula for the nth term of a geometric sequence: ar(n-1) 3 • 49-1 = 3 • 48 = 196608. 7) What is the 15th term of the following series: 1,-2, 4, -8…? You can tell this series is geometric because each term is multiplied by the same number (-2) to produce the next term. Thus, -2 is the common ratio. Plug the first term, 1, and the common ratio, -2, into the formula for the nth term of a geometric sequence: ar (n-1) 1 • (-2)15-1 = 1 • (2)14 = 16384. 8) What is the sum of the first 8 terms of the following sequence: 2, 6, 18, 54…? You can tell this sequence is geometric because each term multiplied by the same number (3) to produce the next term. Thus, 3 is the common ratio. Plug the first term, 2, the common ratio, 3, and the number of terms, 8, into the equation for the sum of the first n terms of a geometric series, a(1-rn)/(1-r). 2(1-38)/(1-3) = 2(-6561)/-2 = 6561. 9) What is the sum of the following infinite geometric sequence: 28, 14, 7, 3.5…? You can tell this sequence is geometric because each term multiplied by the same number (1/2) to produce the next term. Thus, 1/2 is the common ratio. Plug the first term, 28, and the common ratio, 1/2, into the equation for the sum of an infinite geometric sequence, a/(1-r). 28/(1 – ½) = 28/.5 = 56.

Repeating Number Patterns
Occasionally, ACT will test you on repeating number patterns. Technically, these are not series or sequences, but they are worth mentioning in the discussion of series and sequences. Observe the following example. 10) What is the 53rd digit to the right of the decimal place in the following decimal: .387538753875…? To figure out a problem involving repeating numbers, first figure out how many digits are in each repetition of the pattern. The pattern in this problem repeats every 4 digits. Therefore, any multiple of 4 digits to the right of the decimal must be equal to the last digit in the pattern, which is 5. The next step is to find a multiple of 4 that is close to (preferably just under) 53. 52 is a multiple of 4, so the 52nd digit to the right of the decimal place must be a 5. Therefore, the 53rd digit to the right of the decimal place must be the digit in the pattern that comes right after 5, which in this case is 3.

1. PROBABILITY
BASIC PROBABILITY
Probability is a way of describing the mathematical likelihood of a particular event occurring. It

is usually written as a fraction and is always a number between 0 and 1 ( 0 :::;; P :::;; 1 ). Memorize the following equation:

Probability =

Outcomes giving a desired result . Total poss1ble outcomes

Probability prQ~ms wiH include one qf th.e fo chance; or odds.

@ If a fair die is rolled one time, what is the probability of rolling a 6? @ If a fair die is rolled one time, what is the probability of rolling an even
number?

@ If a fair die is rolled one time, what is the probability of rolling a prime
number?

~ (2,3,
and5)

Try the following lesson problem. Answers to all lesson and homework problems in this chapter

start on page 4 79. 6. A box contains 30 marbles. If the chance of drawing a red marble from the bag is %, how many marbles in the bag are not red?
A. 5 B. 10

c.

D. 20 E. 25

15

390 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

PROBABILITY OF MULTIPLE EVENTS

The following method can be used to find the probability of multiple events: 1. 2. Find the probability of each event. Important: Make sure to consider how the
occurrence of one event may affect the probability of another event.

Multiply the probabilities to find the probability of multiple events occurring together.

@ If the probability of winning a game of bingo is 21,what is the probability of winning two
games of bingo in a row?

A.
B.

c.
D.

E.

1 625 1 125 1 50 1 25 2 25

(J) The probability of each event is given as - 1 25
(2)P= - · - = - A . Notice that the events are independent. The probability of winning the second game is the same as the probability of winning the first game.

1 1 25 25

1 625

2.

A bag contains 5 green marbles, 6 blue marbles, and 7 yellow marbles. If a marble is selected at random from the bag, what is the probability that the marble selected will be blue?
A.
5

B.

18
.1

c.
D.

18
2
1

3 7

6 E. 7

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 391

55. The target below is made up of three circles with the same center. The radius of the small circle is one-third of the radius of the middle circle and one-fifth of the radius of the large circle. If an archer hits the target, what is the probability that he hits the shaded region?

F.

25
17

1

G.
H.
J. K.

35

1_

5

25 26 35

17

57. In a game, 100 cards are labeled 1-100. A player draws 2 consecutive cards at random, without returning the first card. If both cards have the same tens digit, the player is a winner. If the first card Grant draws is a 12, what is the probability that he will be a winner on the next draw?
A.
-

1

B.

8 1

c.
D. E.

1 10 1 11 1
-

9

99

392 • THE

ACT TUTORIAL

2. PRINCIPLE OF COUNTING
The principle of counting allows you to figure out the number of different ways multiple

independent events can occur together. When events are independent, the occurrence of one
event does not affect the occurrence of another event. When one event can happen in m ways and a second event can happen in

n ways, the total ways in which the two events can happen

can be found by the expression: m x n. If there are more than two events, simply multiply the number of ways that any additional events can occur.

9
@Mike has 5 dress shirts and 3 ties. How many different shirt-tie combinations are possible?
A. 8 B. 14

There are 5 ways Mike can pick a shirt and 3 ways he can pick a tie:

15 D. 16 E. 17

c.

m xn

=5 x 3 = 15

C.

Try the following lesson problem: 14. Luigi's Pizzeria is offering a 1-topping special. Each pizza can be ordered with 1 of 2 types of bread, 1 of 2 types of sauce, 1 of 3 types of cheese, and 1 of 8 toppings. How many types of 1-topping pizzas can you order?
A. 96

92 D. 15 E. 4

c.

B. 94

18. Company employees are given a two-digit 10 code, AB, where A represents the 151 digit and B represents the tld digit. If 1 ::::; A ::::; 6 and 1 ::::; B ::::; 6 , how many different codes are possible?
A.

B. 15 c. 25 D. 30

12

E. 36

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 393

394 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

3. COMPLEX NUMBERS
IMAGINARY NUMBERS (1)
Try finding

.J- 25

using your calculator. You'll get an error message (unless your calculator is

smarter than most). There is no real number solution to

.J- 25 , but there is what is called an

imaginary solution, which uses the variable ito refer to ~ . First, make sure you are
comfortable with the following property of radicals:

.Jab= JB.Jb
Using this property, we can write:

.J-25

=~25(-1) =J25~ =5i

That's all i is-just a way for us to refer to the square roots of negative numbers.

WORKING WITH i
Notice what happens when we take some simple powers of i:

i1

=i

i2=
j3

(~)= -1
j2-j

=

= (-1)(1) = -i

i 4 = j2-j2 = (-1)(-1) = 1
If we go on to find i 5 , you'll see that the pattern begins to repeat:

i 5 =i·i 4 =i·1 =i
This is an important pattern to memorize: {i, -1, -i, 1, i, -1, -i, 1 ... }. It allows us to find ito the power of large numbers, using the following rules: 1. 2. If the power is divisible by 4, ito that power is 1. If the power is NOT divisible by 4, find the nearest power that IS divisible by 4, and count up or down to the power in question. Look at the following example: @what is the value of i 45?

A. -1 B. 0 c. 1
D. -i

45 is not divisible by 4, but 44 is. i 44 i, so: i45 = i E.

= 1. The next term in the pattern is

E.

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 395

ALGEBRA WITH i
Nearly all of the ACT problems that involve i have to do with basic algebraic operations. When you're solving equations with i, you can pretend that i is just like any other variable, but with one exception: You must remember the power rules fori. For example, if you get an F, you have to remember to turn it into -1. Simplify the following expressions:

1. 2.
3.
4.

3i + 7i = 24i 5

(3t)(7t)

= =
',·.::..~:':

--12i

(2 + 1)(3 - t)

5.

(x - t)(2x + 2t)
)
" '

f0 ' , to !ell you tt;~i3:= -1, $t;ii~:I'Jr that,
27. For
j2

''' 1 tti~se problems will obvigwsly,1illQluQectbe ~f"@~J~.J.:the ACTtenet~ to ~~tce'enough
tci().i"i1! 1;: > ·

=-1, what is the value of 2i

4

+ 2F?

A. 4 B. 3

c. 2

D. 1 E. 0

COMPLEX NUMBERS
A complex number is the sum (or difference) of a real number and an imaginary number. If a and bare real numbers, a complex number takes the form:

a+ bi
An example of a complex number is 3 + 5i. The real number part is 3; the imaginary part is 5i. You should be able to convert an expression into a complex number, which, remember, has the form a+ bi. You can use the algebra rules, as described before. @Which of the following is equivalent to 6 ~ gj ?

A. -1 B. 2+3i c. 2 + 9i D. 9+12i E. 18 + 9i

6+9i 6 9i 2 3 . B -3-=J+J= + I •

396 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

i IN THE DENOMINATOR
Problems that require you to simplify a fraction with i in the denominator are rarely found on the ACT, but in case one shows up, there are two tricks: 1. If i (or a term including i, such as 31) is alone in the denominator, multiply the numerator and denominator by i. This will give you an i 2 in the denominator (and thus, because F

= -1, the i goes away). Now you can put the number in complex form, as in the
example above. 2. If the denominator is a complex number, multiply the numerator and denominator by the

complex conjugate of the complex number. The complex conjugate of a complex
number is simply the complex number with the i term multiplied by -1. For example: 2 -

3i is the conjugate of 2 + 3i. Multiplying by a complex conjugate gets rid of the imaginary
number when you FOIL the two expressions. Look at the example below: @Which of following is equivalent to
A. 1 + i B. 1- i

~
6+21

?

c.

D. 3- i

2- i

E. 4- i

Multiply the numerator and denominator by the complex conjugate (6 2i), and use FOIL in the denominator: ~- 6-2i = 120-40i = 120-40i = 120-40i = 3 -i D. 2 6+2i 6-2i 36-12i+12i-4i 36-4(-1) 40

THE COMPLEX PLANE
If you're comfortable with the (x,y) coordinate plane, you should be fine with the complex plane. The real part of the complex number is graphed on the horizontal axis of the complex plane, and the imaginary part is graphed on the vertical axis. The complex number 3 + 5i is graphed below: imaginary numbers (1)

·-····T3.5)
---1-+-1-+++++-H-+-• real numbers -5

-5

THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF A COMPLEX NUMBER
If you can graph a complex number on the complex plane, and if you remember the Pythagorean Theorem, you should have no problem finding the absolute value of a complex number. Think of the absolute value as the "distance from the complex number to zero." (This is actually the same way we thought about absolute values in Chapter 1.) Draw a line from the complex number "point" to the origin ("0") and find the length of the line. See the following example:

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 397

® l2+3il =?
A.

c. J10
D.
E.

B.

.J5 .J6

Graph 2 + 3i. Remember, the 2 is graphed on the horizontal real axis, and the 3 is graphed on the vertical imaginary axis. Use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the distance to the origin (call this distance: c):
_. ~

2.J3

• (2,3)

J13

22 + 3 2 = c 2 -7 13 = c 2 -7 c = l2+3il =

J13

E.

Note: Once you understand the basic concept, you might recognize the shortcut:

Ia + bil = ~a 2 + b 2

46. For F

= -1, (3- 5tY =

A. -16- 30i

c. 9 + 25i

B. -16

D. 9- 25i E. 9- 30i

58. For j2 = -1, which of the following is equivalent to

~
2+1

?

J.

G. 5- i H. 4- i

F.

10- i

K. 2- i

3- i

60. Five complex numbers are graphed in the complex plane below. Which of the complex numbers has the greatest absolute value?
B
i


D • E

A

C

A. A B. B

c. c
D. 0 E. E

398 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Complex numbers videos
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Number Sets Number Sets 1 Number Sets 2 Number Sets 3 Introduction to i and Imaginary Numbers Calculating i Raised to Arbitrary Exponents Complex Numbers Complex Numbers (part 1) Complex Numbers (part 2) i as the Principal Root of -1 (a little technical) IIT JEE Complex Numbers (part 1) IIT JEE Complex Numbers (part 2) IIT JEE Complex Numbers (part 3) Algebra II: Imaginary and Complex Numbers Imaginary Roots of Negative Numbers Complex Conjugates Example Adding Complex Numbers Subtracting Complex Numbers Multiplying Complex Numbers Dividing Complex Numbers Complex Roots from the Quadratic Formula

4. LOGARITHMS
The following rules should cover any logarithm problems that you may see.

DEFINITION OF LOGARITHM
Logarithms (or logs) are just tools that allow us to solve exponential equations. The basic definition is:

FLASH CARDS

loga X = y

+-+

cr = X

/:?

The way you say this is: "the log of base a of xis y." Notice how the two equations compare:
/.---··;.:::::::::::::::~····~

loga

\

X= y ~

\ ••...•..••..............•.."'./

cl =X ~

Perhaps the easiest thing to remember is that the "base," which is the lowered "a" following the word "log," is also the base in the exponential part of the equation. Here's how you may be asked to use this equation: @Which of the following values of x satisfies logx 27

=3 ?

A. 3 B. 6
D. 12 E. 13.5

c.

9

Rewrite the log equation as a conventional exponential equation: logx 27 3 ~ X 3 27 What number cubed equals 27? The answer is 3 (if necessary, Pick Answers). A.

=

=

LOGRITHMIC PROPERTIES
The three following properties allow you to simplify logarithmic equations. Use flashcards to memorize them:

FLASH CARDS

/?

THE PRODUCT RULE
logx (ab)

=logx a+ logx b

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 399

THE QUOTIENT RULE

log, (:)

=log, a - log, b

THE POWER RULE

@What is the value of the log2 (AB) if log2 A = 5 and the log 2 B = 6 ?
A. 10 B. 11 Using the product rule, we can write log2 (AB) as log 2 A + log2 B. These values are given, so: log2 (AB) = log2 A + log2 B = 5 + 6 = 11 B.

c.

D. 30 E. 60

12

Try the following lesson problem: 51. If logp a= q, then logp a3 =?
A.

B. 9q

3q

c.~

D. 3q 3 E. 9q3

When a log has a base of 10, you can write it without the base-the 10 is implied.

log1o x = log x

THE BASE-CHANGE RULE
This rule will probably only come in handy if you want to type logs into your calculator (something you would never have to do on the ACT, but something you might choose to do if you're stuck on a problem). Notice the "LOG" key on your calculator. Your calculator accepts logs that have a base of 10. So if you wanted to calculate, say, log2 32, you could use the basechange rule:
/····················-v

log b= - a loga

\

Iogb

·...

·········-·············

1'

Notice that the number on top goes to the numerator and the base number goes to the denominator. This is what you might visually expect.

400 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

So what is log 2 32? You can use your calculator: lo 32 = log32 92 log2

= 1.505149978

0.3010299957

=5

8
F.

LOGARITHMS HOMEWORK
A.

31. What is the value of log 4 64 ?

c.

B. 2
3

1

D. 16 E. 24

34. Which of the following values of x satisfies log 2x 4 = 2 ?

G. 8 H. 4 J. 2 K. 1

16

58. If loga 10 = A and loga 5 = B, then loga 2 = ?

A B B. A+B c. A-8
A.

E.

D. 2A-4B

AB

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 401

5. MATRICES
Matrices problems generally take one of two forms. They either provide you information in a word problem, just as tables do, or they test matrix operations.

MATRICES AS TABLES
Matrices may look difficult, especially if you haven't spent much time working with them in school, but most matrices problems are really just table problems. Once you understand how the information is displayed, you can find your answer. Let's look at an example. @At a track meet, 10 points are awarded for a 1st place finish, 5 points are awarded for a 2"d place finish, and 2 points are awarded for a 3rd place finish. The matrices below show the number of 15\ 2"d, and 3rd place finishes for two schools: Richmond and Oakville. How many more points did Richmond score than Oakville in the track meet? 1st 2nd 3rd Richmond [4 1st 2nd 3rd Oakville [3

5

2]

6

4]

A. 1 B. 2

c.

3 D. 4 E. 5

math is straightforward. Remember: 10 points for 181, 5 points for ZW, and 2 points for :fd: Richmond: 4· 10 + 5· 5 + 2· 2 Oakville: 3· 10 + 6· 5 + 4· 2
~

The matrices simply provide you information, just as a table would. The

=68 points

=69 points

69-68= 1 A.

Try the following lesson problem: 15. The Manatee Shirt Store sells four styles of a particular shirt (A, B, C, and D). The matrices below display the numbers of each style of shirt sold last month and the cost of each style of shirt. What was the total dollar amount that the store charged for these shirts last month?

A

B

C

D
20]

Cost

[10 15 5

Al$5.00 B $10.00

c

$7.50

D $12.50

l

A. $477.50 B. $480.00 c. $482.50 D. $485.00 E. $487.50

• THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

MATRIX OPERATIONS
Sometimes you might have to add, subtract, or multiply matrices. Unlike the previous matrices problems, these matrix operations problems are usually not word problems.

ADDING AND SUBTRACTING MATRICES
You can only add or subtract matrices that are the same size. The process is straightforward. Simply add or subtract elements in the same position of each matrix. For example:

3 6] 5+3 2+ 8 4 [ 5 - 62] + [ -4 4 = [ 3+(-4) -6+46] = [ -1 10] 3

MULTIPLYING A MATRIX BY A NUMBER
This operation is also straightforward. Simply multiply each element in the matrix by the number in front. For example:

5[3 - 3] = [5 . 3 5 . (-3 )] 2 1 5·2 5·1

= [15 -15]
10 5

MULTIPLYING MATRICES
Now that the easier stuff is out of the way, let's look at multiplying matrices. First, let's refer to the size of a matrix as m x n, where m is the number of rows and n is the number of columns. Don't forget: the number that comes first refers to the number of rows. There are two rules that you should know before we get into actually multiplying matrices: Rule 1: To multiply two matrices, the number of columns in the first matrix must equal the number of rows in the second matrix. For example, we can multiply matrices A and 8 below:
A1 X 2 =
~.... ···

[-1 2]
·········· 2=2
,

.'J12x4-

8

- [ 3

0 -1 3] -2 1 2 0

........-··

Rule 2: The product of two matrices will result in a matrix with the same number of rows as the first matrix and the same number of columns as the second matrix.
A1
x

A

x2

82 x 4

··.............................:::..::::~......... .

A 1\1\

= c1

x4

= [? ?

? ?]

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 403

So how do we actually multiply matrices? Most graphing calculators can perform matrix multiplication; you may want to learn how to do this; check your calculator's manual. If you don't have a graphing calculator, use the following method. Follow along with the example below: 1. Draw a circle around each row in the first matrix and each column in the second matrix. You should have the same number of circled elements in each row of the first matrix as circled elements in each column of the second (2 = 2; see rule 1 above.) 2. Draw a blank matrix with the same number of rows as the first matrix and the same number of columns as the second matrix (see rule 2 above). This will become the final product matrix. 3. To find the first element in row 1 of the product matrix, multiply each element in row 1 of the first matrix by each related element of column 1 of the second matrix, and add these products together. This sounds confusing, but it's not that hard. See step 3 in the example below. 4. To find the second element in row 1 of the product matrix, multiply each element in row 1 of the first matrix by each related element of column 2 of the second matrix, and add these products together. Repeat these steps until you have constructed the product matrix.

~ ~What is the matrix product
A.

[-1 2] [

0 -1 ? -2 1 2 0

3

3]

[-7 B. [-3 c. [-3

2 5 0 1

0 -4 2 4

-3] -3] 1 -3]
0

(J) Circle the row of the first matrix and the columns of the
second matrix, as shown below. (2) The product matrix will have 1 row and 4 columns.

D. -[_64

E. -3

0 -2 2 4

~]

ki

il[(l; (~) f{;{~ =~

[? ? ? ?l

Q) To find the first element in row 1 of the product matrix,
multiply each element in row 1 of the first matrix by each related element in column 1 of the second matrix, and add together: -1·3 + 2·-2

=-3-4 = -7

@Here are the calculations for the other elements: row 1, column 2: -1·0 +2·1 = 2 row 1, column 3: -1·(-1) +2·2 = 5 row 1, column 4: -1·3 +2·0 = -3

~ So the final product matrix is: [- 7 2 5 - 3] A.

404 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Try the following lesson problem:

1 2]·[-1 _ 4 _ 3 -2]? 47. Whatis the matrix product of [3 4

~ [~ ~]
B.

[-7 -10] -15 -22 c. [10 -10] D. [- 7 -10 -15 E. 0

-22]

34. Seii-U-Phone Company makes three types of phones (X, Y, and Z). The matrix below shows the number of phones of each type manufactured last week at two Seii-U-Phone factories (A and B).

X
A [500

Y

Z

B 600

300 160] 0 900

If a manufactured phone cannot be sold, it is called a "failure." Quality control at Seii-UPhone provides estimates of the failure rate for each type of phone, as shown in the matrix below.

y 0.01

X[0.02] 0.05

z

Based on the matrices, what is the estimate for the total number of failures at both factories last week?

A. 72
76 D. 78

c.

B. 74

E. 80

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 405

6. LOGIC
Logic problems are not common, but it's not a bad idea to be familiar with them. The best

approach on logic problems is to keep track of information by writing it down. Also, be on the lookout for answer choices that are easy to eliminate. This will help you focus on the other answer choices.

Let's look at an example: @Consider the following three logical statements: All squares are rectangles. Quadrilateral ABCD is NOT a square. Quadrilateral EFGH is a square. Which of the following statements is necessarily true?
A.

B.

C.
D. E.

Quadrilateral ABCD is NOT a rectangle. Quadrilateral ABCD is a square. Quadrilateral EFGH is a rectangle. Quadrilateral EFGH is NOT a rectangle. Quadrilateral EFGH is NOT a square.

First, let's eliminate the easy ones. Notice that 8 and E both directly disagree with the given statements. Eliminate them. Answer choice A may be the most difficult to eliminate, but just because ABCD is not a square does not mean that it couldn't be squares. You can also eliminate D. EFGH must be

a rectangle. Many rectangles are not a rectangle if

it's a square. The answer is C. If EFGH is a square, then, as stated in the first given logic statement, it is also a rectangle.

Try the following lesson problem: 2. Consider the following two logical statements to be true. If Bob goes shopping at Al's Groceries, he buys a comic book. Bob did NOT buy a comic book. Which of the following statements is necessarily true?
A. Bob did NOT go shopping at Al's Groceries. B. Bob went shopping at Al's Groceries. C. Bob did NOT go shopping. D. Bob went shopping at another store. E. Bob bought a comic book at another store.

406 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

7. DIRECT AND INVERSE VARIATION
You should memorize two simple equations for direct and inverse variation problems.

DIRECT VARIATION
If two positive numbers are directly proportional, then as one number increases (or decreases) the other number also increases (or decreases). To help remember the following equation, notice that girect variation and givision start with the same letter-the equation for direct variation shows that the givision of two numbers

1x will always equal a constant number k:

y=k
X

'""''"'"'"'"mention th~words directly pro~nirl;· coufq also say: x variation, and yare in prOJ1orliolJ~,,fi:i::i'varies directly Withy.

x

INVERSE VARIATION
If two positive numbers are inversely proportional, then as one number increases the other number does the opposite-it decreases, or if one number decreases the other number increases. The equation for inverse variation shows that the product of two numbers xy will always equal a constant number k:

xy=k
These problems usually mention the words inversely propQ(:tiomn, vanes indiffjctly .with y,:~~~:!< , · ····

btirt.'&;~ld also say x
·

SOLVING VARIATION PROBLEMS
To solve these problems, you will usually be given initial values for x and y. 1. 2. Using the correct equation above with the given values of x and y, solve for k. Once you know the value for k, you can solve for y (for any given value of x) or solve for

x (for any given value of y).

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 407

@ If y is directly proportional to x and y =-5 when x =5, what is the value of y when x =15?
A. 15 B. 5

Direct variation: (J) -

D. -5 E. -15

c. 0

y
X

-5 = - = -1
5

(so k - -1) -7 (2) 15

-

y

= -1 -7 y = -15

E.

Note: Since x is positive andy is negative, k < 0 and y decreases as x increases (the opposite of what you might expect in a direct-proportion problem). As you can see, just make sure to use the correct equation, and you will find the correct answer.

Try the following lesson problem: 6. If x varies indirectly with y and x
A. -40

=20 when y =2, what is the value of y when x =-2?

c.

B. -20 D. 10 E. 20

-X
y
and x

26. If x varies indirectly with
F. 50 G. 40

=200 when y =2, what is the value of y when x =8?

J. 20 K. 10

H. 30

38. If x is directly proportional to y and x

= >;;

when y

=4, what is the value of Vx

when Y =2 x

108 ?
A. 2 B. 8 C. 2x10 8

D. 4x 108
E.

8 x 108

408 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

51 . The cost to use Sound Ideas Studios varies directly with the square root of the time the studio is used. If a band pays $60 for 36 minutes of studio time, how much would 15 hours of studio time cost?

J. $144

G. $640 H. $300
K. $12

F. $1,500

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 409

8. SETS AND GROUPS
SETS
A set is a collection of items. These items are called elements or members of the set. A set is usually represented by brackets, for example: setA= {1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9} set B = {2, 4, 6, 8, 10} You may be asked to find the intersection or the union of two or more sets. It may be helpful to look at sets as circles and the members of the sets as numbers inside the circles. These are called Venn diagrams.

Intersection- the common elements of the sets. The intersection of sets A and B above is {4,
8} since 4 and 8 are common members of both sets:

A

B

Union - consists of the elements that are in either set or in both sets (in other words-all the
elements). The union of sets A and B above is {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10} since these numbers are in either set (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10) or in both sets (4 and 8):

A

B

410 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Try the following lesson problem: 7. Sets M and N are shown below. How many numbers are in the intersection of sets M and N? set M ={all prime numbers less than 10} set N ={all odd numbers less than 10}

A. 1

c. 3
E. 5

B. 2
D. 4

GROUPS
These problems are not very common, but if one does show up, use the following formula:

FLASH . CARDS Total = Members of Group 1 + Members of Group 2 + Ne1ther- Both
D

It might help to visualize group problems using a Venn diagram. Notice that when you add Group 1 and Group 2, the "Both" region is counted twice. This is why "Both" is subtracted in the formula above. Both

Group 1

Group 2

@If at a school of 200 students, 75 students take Spanish and 25 students take Latin. 10 of the students who take Latin also take Spanish, how many students are not taking Spanish or Latin?

A. 80 B. 90

100 D. 110 E. 120

c.

=Group 1 + Group 2 + Neither- Both 200 =75 + 25 +Neither- 10
Total
~Neither=

110 D.

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 411

Try the following lesson problem: 52. At a school of 90 students, all of the students take Spanish, Latin, or both. If 75 students take Spanish and 25 students take Latin, how many students take Spanish or Latin but not both?

A. 10 B. 70

c. 80

8

D. 90 E. 100

SETS AND GROUPS HOMEWORK
31. The figure below is a Venn diagram for sets X, Y, and Z. The number in each region indicates how many elements are in that region. If there are 20 elements common to sets X and Y, what is the value of a?

X

y

A. 2 B. 5 c. 11 D. 17 E. 20

z

52. Of the 120 international students at a camp, 90 spoke Spanish and 40 spoke French. What is the least possible number of campers that could speak both Spanish and French?
F.

G. 10
H. 40 J. 50 K. 80

0

412 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

9. SYMBOL PROBLEMS
Symbol problems use unfamiliar symbols to represent some mathematical operation or expression. These problems are usually not as difficult as they look-they tend to be easier than the problem numbers indicate-so be confident and aggressive.

Use the following method: 1. The first step is to make sure you completely understand the symbol's definition. The symbol will always be clearly defined somewhere in the question. The definition will tell you what to do with one or more variables. 2. Rewrite the problem without the symbol by following the rules of the symbol's definition. The definition may tell you where to put the question's numbers or variables in a mathematical expression, or you may be asked to apply some operation on a number or variable. 3. Use basic math to answer the question.

The following examples display the most common type of symbol problem, where the symbol represents a mathematical expression: For all numbers p and q, where p --=6 - - =-6 qxp q-p @lf2 • b
::F-

q, p • q = pxq. p-q

3·2 3-2

@

(x - y) • (x + y)

=

(x-y)·(x+y) (x-y)-(x+y)

2·3 2-3

=-4, what

_l_!!_ =-4
2-b

0·0 0-D

is the value of b?

7 2b =-8+4b

7 -2b=-8
7 b=4

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 413

Try the following lesson problems:

Use the following information to answer questions 13 and 14. For all numbers p and q, where p t:- q, p ~ q = pxq. p-q 13. (6
~

4}- (8

~

6} =

A. -24 B. -12 c. -4 D. 12 E. 24

Remember that the following question relates to the symbol defined above: 14. If p t:- 0 and q t:- 0, which of the following is (are} necessarily true?

I.
II.

p~q=q~p

(*~~r1 = q- p
~

Ill. (-p}

(-q} = -(p

~

q}

F. I only G. II only H. I and II only J. II and Ill only K. I, II, and Ill

414 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

The following example displays another type of symbol problem, where the symbol represents a mathematical operation:

@ Let !£

be defined as the largest prime number that is a factor of x. What is the value of

10x16?
A. 4 B. 10 c. 25 D. 40 E. 160

(j) The symbol has to do with prime factors. You might want to review factor trees in Chapter 1.
(2) "Let 10 be defined as the largest prime number that is a factor of
10". (J) The prime factors of 10 are 5 and 2. ~ 10 Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the number 16:

=5

(2) "Let 16 be defined as the largest prime number that is a factor of
16". (J) The prime factors of 16 are 2, 2, 2, and 2. ~ 16
~

10 X 16

=5 X 2 =10

=2

B.

SYMBOLS IN THE ANSWER CHOICES
Some symbol problems are made more difficult by including the symbol in the answer choices. In these problems, make sure you apply the symbol to the numbers in the answer choices. Try the following lesson problem: 30. Let tn be defined for any positive integer n as the number obtained by adding the digits of n. For example, +5
A. B.

= 5,

+25

= 7, and

+550

= 10.

What is the value of +25 ++50?

c. +12 D. +66 E. 75

+7

+5

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 415

6.

For all integers n, where n :f. -1, let n• = n - 1 . What is the value of (-3)•? n+1

A. -2

c.

B. -1

E. 2
38. Let F.

D. 1

0

ft be defined by aftb =ab.
7

If x

=2ltp, y =2ltq, and p + q = 5, what is the value of xy?

H. 25 J. 32 K. 128

G. 10

416 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

10. CONSECUTNE INTEGERS
Consecutive integers (for example: -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3) can be written algebraically as:
X, X+

1,

X+

2 ...

Consecutive even or odd integers (for example: 2, 4, 6, 8 or 1, 3, 5, 7) can be written algebraically as:

x, x+ 2, x+ 4 ...

'L ,,,

lhese problerris . almost. always include the words eonsecutive intege ·· odd integers, or consecutive even integers.· Some problems may i terms are one more than the preceding term or two more than
is justanother way of saying that terms are consecutive.

Usually on the ACT, you will not have to express consecutive integers algebraically. The
following method is faster. The consecutive integers in these problems are usually given as a

sum.
1. 2. Divide the sum of the consecutive integers by the number of consecutive integers. If there is an odd number of integers, this technique will give the actual middle integer. It is worth noting that this number is also the average and the median of the consecutive integers. (Look at the 181 example below.) 3. If there is an even number of integers, the above technique will give a value exactly

halfway between the two middle integers. This is also the average and the median of
the consecutive integers. Once you know this value, you can find the two middle consecutive integers. (Look at the
2nd

example below.)

4.

Once you know the middle integer or integers, count to the term in question. (Look at the last example.)

@What is the middle integer of three consecutive even integers if the sum of these integers is 12?

(j) 12 = 4 -7 (2) The number 4 is the middle integer. 3

~

2, 4, 6

@What are the two middle numbers of four consecutive integers if the sum of these integers is 26?

4 two middle integers, so the middle integers must be 6 and 7. ~ 5, 6, 7, 8

(j) 26 = 6.5 -7 @The number 6.5 is exactly halfway between the

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 417

@ What is the largest of 5 consecutive odd integers if the sum of these integers is 75?
(j)

~ == 15

7 (2) The number 15 is the middle integer.

@Since there are 5 odd integers, we have 1.1,ll,J..Q, 1L 19

LESSON PROBLEMS
4. What is the smaller of 2 consecutive even integers if the sum of these integers is 290?

A. 142

c. 144
D. E.

B. 143 145 146

19. Which of the following is the sum of two consecutive integers? F. 90 G. 91 H. 92 J. 94 K. 100

31. A set of 20 consecutive integers has a sum of 50. If xis a member of this set, and if xis less than the median of the set, what is the greatest possible value of x?

A. 0 B. 2 c. 3

D. 19
E. 24

418 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

11. GREATEST/LEAST POSSIBLE VALUES
Some problems may ask you to find the greatest possible value (GPV) or least possible value (LPV) of a number or group of numbers.

Be familiar with the following rules:

GREATEST AND LEAST VALUES
Students often forget that if a variable is negative (for example: -x), then the greater the value of x, the lesser the value of -x. Alternatively, the lesser the value of x, the greater the value of

-x. Look at the following example:

@ If -2 s x s 3, what is the maximum value of -2x?
A. -6

c. 2
D. 4

B. 0

Since the variable is negative, the maximum value for -2x will occur when xis minimized (-2): Maximum value of -2x = -2(-2)

E. 6

=4

D.

GPV OF NUMBERS MULTIPLIED TOGETHER
Some problems ask you to find the GPV of a product of two numbers. These problems typically give you the sum of the numbers. The GPV of two number multiplied together will occur when the values of the two numbers are equal or as close to each other as possible. Look at the following example:

@ If the sum of two positive int~gers is 12, what is the greatest possible value of the product of
the two integers?

A. 12 B. 32

x+ y= 12
x

35 D. 36 E. 144

c.

=6, y = 6 (6 and 6 are as close as you can get!)
6x6=36 D.

~

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 419

LPV OF NUMBERS MULTIPLIED TOGETHER
You might also see a problem that gives you the difference of two numbers and asks for the LPV of the product of the numbers. The LPV will occur when: 1. 2. One value is negative and one value is positive (to get a negative product). The absolute values of the two numbers are equal or as close to each other as possible. For example:

@ What is the least possible value for the product of 2 integers that differ by 7?
A. -49 B. -12
Let's call the two numbers x andy. Think of some numbers that have a difference of 7. Remember, one of the numbers should be negative and one should be positive: -1 and 6, -2 and 5, -3 and 4, etc. Now, which pair of numbers has the closest absolute values? Since

c.

E. 8

D. 0

-8

1-41 = 4 and 131

= 3, this pair has the closest absolute value

(they're only 1 apart). Sox= 3 andy= -4 -7 3 x -4 = -12 B. Note: You could have also used the numbers x = 4 andy= -3. The answer is the same.

LESSON PROBLEMS
42. The sum of three positive integers is 40. If one of the integers is 11, what is the greatest possible value of the product of the other two integers?
A.

D. 225 E. 400

c.

B. 200
210

29

50. If xis a member of the set {-2, 0, 2} andy is a member of the set {-3, -1, 1, 3}, what is the greatest possible value of x - y?
F. 5 G. 4 H. 3 J. 2 K. 1

420 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

54. If 0 s x s 3 and -3 s y s 0, what is the maximum value of 12y- xl? A. 12

6 D. 3

c.

B. 9

E. 0

60. If x and yare real numbers and x- y
G. -21 H. 0 J. 1 K. 11
F. -25

=10, what is the smallest possible value for xy?

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 421 .

12. MATH ODDS AND ENDS PROBLEMS
PRACTICE PROBLEMS
The following worksheet tests techniques taught in this chapter. It is very important to look back to the lessons in this chapter and review the techniques while completing these problems. Try to determine which technique relates to each problem and apply the methods taught in the tutorial. Do not time yourself on these problems. These problems are provided to give you an opportunity to practice, and hopefully master, the techniques in this tutorial before you apply them on real ACTs in a timed setting.
o

Math Odds and Ends Worksheet

PRACTICE TEST
30-hour program: Now is a good time to take Test 3 in the ACT book. You've now covered most of the topics tested on the ACT. Good luck!

TEST CORRECTIONS
After each practice test is graded, you should correct Math Odds and Ends problems that you missed or left blank. There are three steps to correcting the practice tests: 1. The Math Odds and Ends questions for each test are listed below. Go back to your answer sheet for the corresponding test and circle the question numbers below that you missed (or guessed on, if you kept track of your guesses). o o o
30 40

Test 1: 1230 , 1340 , 1830 ,4840 , 5040 Test 2: 2430 , 42 40 , 5940 Test 3: 540 , 1330 , 29 40 Questions marked with a "30" are covered by the 30 and 40-hour programs. Questions marked with a "40" are covered by the 40-hour program.

2.

Correct the problems in The Real ACT Study Guide. As you correct the problems, go back to the tutorial and review the techniques. The idea is to: (1) identify techniques that have given you trouble, (2) go back to the tutorial so you can review and strengthen these techniques, and (3) apply these techniques to the specific problems on which you struggled.

3.

If you have trouble identifying the best technique to use on a problem, see the Techniques Reference information in Chapter VIII, starting on page 429.

422 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Problem numbers represent the approximate level of difficulty for each problem (out of 60). * 30-hour program: You may choose to only complete 7, 28, 47, and 55. 5. Consider the 3 statements below to be true. All lizards on Island A are blue-bellied lizards. Lizard X is a blue-bellied lizard. Lizard Y is a green-bellied lizard. Which of the following statements is necessarily true?

MATH ODDS AND ENDS WORKSHEET*

A. Lizard X does NOT live on Island A. B. Lizard X lives on Island A. C. Lizard Y does NOT live on Island A. D. Lizard X and Lizard Y live on the same island. E. Lizard X and Lizard Y do NOT live on the same island.
7. If a player plays one game on a slot machine, the probability that she will win is 0.01. What is the probability that she will NOT win if she plays one game?

F. 0.01 G. 0.09 H. 0.19 J. 0.90 K. 0.99
22. The annual membership fee at a country club varies indirectly with the number of years that you have been a member, up to the point where membership is free. If you pay $4,000 for your 2nd year of membership, how much will you pay for your 1Oth year of membership?

A. $400 B. $700

c. $800 D. $2,000 E. $20,000
Continued

+

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 423

28. Floyd starts at City A. He must pick up a package at City B and deliver the package to City
C. If there are 7 possible routes between City A and City B and 8 possible routes between City B and City C, how many routes are possible for Floyd to travel from City A to City B to CityC?
F.

G. 48

15

H. 52 J. 56 K. 150

30. Which of the following values of a satisfies loga 1,000 = 3 ?
A. 1 B. 10

c. 100

D. 1,000 E. 10,000

34. The integer 15 is to be expressed as a sum of n consecutive positive integers. Which of the following can NOT be a value for n?
F. 2 G. 3

J. 5 K. None of these

H. 4

38. At a car repair shop, 10 of the cars have mechanical problems and 16 of the cars have
electrical problems. If there are 20 cars at the shop and all of the cars have either mechanical problems, electrical problems, or both, how many cars have both mechanical and electrical problems?
A. 6

c. 16
D. 20 E. 26
39. For i 2 = -1, what is the value of (4 + 1)(-3- 1)?
F. G. H. J. K.

B. 8

-7- 7i -11-7i -11 - i -12-7i -12- 8i
Continued

-+

424 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

42. For all numbers where
A. 1
B.

a* -1, let ai = a+ 1 .

a

If a* 1 and

a* 2, then (a- 2)ix (1 - a)i =?

1 a+1 a+1 c. - a-2 a-1 D. - 2 E. -a2 + 3a- 2

45. What
F.

is the matrix product [x

y

z]Hl?

[6x+6y+6z] G. [3x+2y+z] H. [x+2y+3z]

J.

lfl

K.l:~
A.

47. A kitchen drawer is filled with forks, spoons, and knives. The probability that a spoon is selected at random is }';; , and the probability that a knife is selected at random is ,Ys . If all of the forks are removed from the drawer, what is the probability of selecting a knife at random?
1 B. 4 1

l

6

c.

3

1

1 D. 2 3 E. 4

Continued

-+

MATH ODDS AND ENDS • 425

55. A bag contains exactly 7 blue marbles. If there are 21 marbles in the bag, what is the probability that the first three marbles drawn at random will be blue if the marbles are not replaced after they are drawn?

F.

G.
H.
J.

3

1 1 1

9

27
1 38 1 46

K.
A.

58. Which of the following values of x satisfies log 5 1252 = 2x?

D. 15 E. 25

C. 6

B. 5

3

426 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

PROSE FICTION
Some students find these passages more difficult to understand because they are often written in a stylized language. Furthermore, things are not always as they seem. Be on the lookout for literary tools such as

sarcasm, satire, metaphor,

and

irony as you read fiction passages.

These

are ways that an author may say one thing but mean something else.

Sarcasm- a form of irony in which apparent praise conceals another, scornful meaning. Satire- the use of witty and sometime humorous language to convey insults or scorn. Metaphor - a figure of speech in v,vhich a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of
object or idea is used in pla them (as in

�J of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between

drowning in money).

Irony- a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or
attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.

Tones and emotions are particularly important in Prose Fiction passages. How does the author feel about the characters? How do the characters feel about the other characters in the passage? How do these emotions create mood in the passage?

SOCIAL STUDIES
These passages are typically a result of gathered research. Be prepared to see dates, events, and names of people, places, and concepts. Things can get confusing, so make sure to keep track of the specific details. As discussed in the next chapter, you'll do a lot of marking up on the Social Studies passages.

HUMANITIES
Humanities passages, unlike Prose Fiction passages, are non-fictional. They tend to be written in a straightforward prose. As in Prose Fiction passages, the author's tone is important How does the author feel about the topic? How does the author feel about the people in the passage? Can you predict the author's likely response to some hypothetical situation or event?

NATURAL SCIENCE
These passages are often difficult to read because of technical-sounding language and concepts. You will very likely read about some scientific topic with which you are not familiar. And you can expect to see unfamiliar words. But don't worry about it! Stay aggressive. Because the questions are often based on concrete details in the passage, they are usually easier than those of other types of passages. You might find the reading a challenge, but that doesn't mean the questions will be-and you score points answering

questions,

not reading passages.

490

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

1. THE PASSAGE
LOOK AT THE INTRODUCTION
There is one or two important pieces of information found in the introduction (the small type at the beginning of each passage):

1. 2.

The type of passage (Prose Fiction, Social Science, Humanities, or Natural Science) Possibly some information that may assist you in reading the passage

Since your approach to each type of passage will vary, make sure you know what kind of passage you're about to read. The ACT keeps the order of the four passages consistent (in the order shown above). Information, if there is any, that follows the parenthetical date and publisher is important. Read it carefully.

READ

CD

After looking at the introduction, read the passage. With few exceptions, do not read the

questions first

-

they will distract you from getting the main ideas of the passage. Some

educators argue that reading the questions first and then skimming the passage is the best approach, and if time is a major issue, this might work. However, this approach almost guarantees that you will struggle through the harder main-idea questions. In addition, the easier, more-specific questions become no easier. So even if at first you are not able to finish the Reading sections, through practice, it is important to work toward the goal of reading the passages completely and then answering the questions. If you don't practice this approach, you can never reach this goal.

MAIN IDEAS OF PARAGRAPHS
As you read each paragraph, try to determine its main idea. Focus on the first and last

sentences of a paragraph. One or both of these sentences are often topic sentences­
sentences that reveal the topic of a paragraph.

492

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

MAIN IDEA OF THE PASSAGE
After you finish reading the passage, think about its main idea. Nearly every passage has at least one question relating to the main idea. Usually, the main ideas of each paragraph will tie into the main idea of the passage.

FIRST THIRD
The main idea will almost always be introduced in the first third of the passage. Don't wait until the end of the passage to start thinking about its main idea.

LAST PARAGRAPH
Pay close attention to the last paragraph. Writers usually work toward their most important points, so what comes at the end of the passage will often help you confirm the author's main idea.

Sometimes, an author will throw a twist into this last paragraph. Perhaps the author questions a point made earlier, acknowledges a lack of certitude, or introduces an alternate viewpoint. Take note of how this twist affects the main idea.

MARK UP THE PASSAGE AS YOU READ
There are two reasons why it is essential to mark up the passages:

1.

Underlining and circling key terms will often help you establish important ideas about the passage.

2.

You can use your markings to go back and find important information once you start answering the questions.

The following topics will have specific markings.

TONE
It is important to consider the author's tone while you read the passage, particularly on Prose Fiction and Humanities passages. Tone helps reveal the author's argumen t
-

his or her opinion

CD

on the topic. Often one or two answer choices for a question can be eliminated because

they contradict the author's tone.

READING TEST STRATEGIES

493

TONE WORDS
Tone words convey feeling, sometimes positive and sometimes negative. Some examples of tone words are: stubborn, envious, irritated, pleased, and groundbreaking. Do you see how these words each convey an emotion? The first three are negative; the last two are positive.
Darkly underline tone words as you read.

@ Darkly underline tone words in the following paragraph:
The result of this tedious and relentless atten­ tion to detail may seem well and good, but even the most accomplished editor has the tendency to lose the forest for trees, as the saying goes. Yes, of course one must take care, cross his fs and dot his fs. Let us not forget, however, why we do this-to bring about art from a tangle of letters and words.

•--"'

l"'ffen you see the hand sym�.
····

· ...

low the direction

.. iQQ atthe solutiofl. , " ,
�"''''·'· "

•.\�',\T�:!;l�>�R�::<"'"'�'-'t':;-''1".'-"""'''"'·"·>:

...... > ...

The tone words are "tedious," "relentless," "well," "good," and perhaps "tangle."

CONTRAST SIGNALS
A great way to recognize the author's tone is to look for contrast signals. Contrast signals are
words that signal a change in the flow of a sentence. The following are examples: although but despite even though even so however in contrast in spite of instead of nevertheless on the contrary on the other hand rather than still yet

What comes after these words is usually something that the author feels is very important-this will help you determine his or her tone, not to mention the most important ideas

in the passage. Darkly circle contrast signals as you read.

@ Go back to the example paragraph above and circle contrast signals. Can you identify the
author's tone? How does he or she feel about the "relentless attention to detail"?

494

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

@ Underline the easy stuff in the following paragraph. Can you determine its main idea?
One must wield his mighty sword against the manifest bureaucracy surrounding him, the sweeping malfeasance of our day. To not bridle. To not defer. But no shining shank or cutlass will do. No. Rather, put your pen to paper, and write, with anger, yes, and with resolve. Write.

'
This paragraph is potentially confusing, using words such as "manifest," "bureaucracy," "malfeasance," "shank," and "cutlass." But did you find some easy stuff? Hopefully you underlined the last two sentences. The main idea of the paragraph probably has something to do with writing to express some anger or grievance. The pen is mighty (and mightier than the sword).

READING TEST STRATEGIES

495

IDENTIFIERS
Knowing where to look for information while you answer questions is one of the most important parts of the Reading Test. Sometimes a question gives line numbers, but oftentimes questions only gives clues about where to find information. You will not have time skim the passage for every question, so it's important to look for and circle identifiers while you read. These will be words that stand out for a particular part of the passage. There are many possible identifiers:

Proper nouns, such as the name of a person (last names are fine) or a place Titles, such as that of a book, publication, or movie A specific name or classification of a concept or idea Any common noun that seems important and relates to one small part of the passage Dates

• •

Caution: A word, however important or specific, that shows up frequently in the passage is not
a good identifier. For example, the word "airplane" is likely not a good identifier for a passage on

airplanes because it's probably used throughout the passage. Similarly, "George Washington" is
not a good identifier for a passage focusing on George Washington.

@ Circle identifiers in the following paragraph:
The discovery of penicillin is popularly attrib­ uted to the Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming in

1928, but its use was reported far earlier. The use of blue mold from bread (presumably penicillin) as folk medicine to treat suppurating wounds dates back to Europe's Middle Ages. Much later, in 1875, the first published reference appears in the Royal Society publication by John Tyndall. An 1897 paper by Ernest Duchesne documented the potential positive side effects of penicillin. Between 1915 and 1927, Costa Rican doctor Picado Twight studied the inhibitory actions of penicillin in his home country, and eventually reported these to the world at the Paris Academy of Sciences. This all suggests that perhaps it is the development of penicillin as a medicine, not its discovery, that is Fleming's great achievement.

496

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Focus on proper nouns, important words, and dates. You might circle the following words: 1928, Middle Ages, Royal Society, 1875, Tyndall, 1897, Duchesne, 1915 and 1927, Twight, and Paris Academy of Sciences. Social Science passages and Natural Science passages (like the one above) tend to have more identifiers than Prose Fiction and Humanities passages. Note that "Fleming" is not a great identifier (even if you marked him as such) because he appears in different parts of the passage. Similarly, you may have been tempted to circle "penicillin," but you'll quickly realize that this word is used too frequently to be a good identifier.

IDENTIFIER OVERKILL
Don't go overboard looking for identifiers. The above paragraph is about as dense as you'll ever see. If you end up circling too many identifiers, you'll j ust make it difficult to find the one that you're looking for on a particular question. Never lose sight of the point of identifiers: to
help you quickly find information after you've read the passage.

Take a moment now to read Passage I on the following pages. Make sure to do the following:

Darkly underline tone words Darkly circle contrast signals Underline the easy stuff (especially main ideas ) Circle identifiers

• •

READING TEST STRATEGIES

497

NATURAL SCIENCE: Slippery Statistics

This passage is adapted from by Kire Salks (© 2007 Pull Press).

Another example includes inappropri­ ate samples. Swiss physician H.C.

driving his car, would alway� accele �ate

There was this statistician who, when

55 Lombard once looked at the life expec­
tancy of several professions, one o these being research students, by analyztng the ages at the time of death. He found that research students, with an average of only

quickly before coming to an t� tersectton,

. drive straight through 1t as qutckly as he he'd gotten safely to the other side. One

5 could, and then slow down again once
day, he took a passenger, who w�s u ­ . derstandably unnerved by the statistlctan s

00 20.7 years, had the earliest age of
of all professions, lower than coal firemen, or test pilots. How could The problem is For that one, the inappropriate. most

� tners, thts b�?
1s

?eath

driving style. The passenger asked him 10 why he drove so fast through the in­ tersections. The statistician replied, "Well, statistically speaking, one is far more likely to have an accident in an intersection, so I just make sure that I spend as little time

sample

research

65 students happen to be relatively young.
For two, because the study focused on the ages at time of death, all of the students included in the study

died.

Being

a

15 there as possible." I told this joke to my
first semester students a few weeks ago, and it was met with the usual laughter, perhaps as much directed at my willingness to poke fun at my profession

research student is not more dangerous

70 than being a policeman-it just means that if you die, you'll probably be young.
Careless statisticians often employ

20 as the joke itself. In the words of Historian
Andrew Lang, some people use statistics "as a drunken man uses lampposts-for support rather than illumination." The abuse of statistics, that is, the presentation

small samples. In a study designed to emphasize the widespread prevalence of

75 student suspensions in one small region in
America, found were the Children's Defense who Fund were times. that among at students least

25 of data in ways that are intentionally or
innocently misleading, is employed in equal measure by the sports fan and the politician, the business owner and the real estate agent. The number of ways these

suspended at least once, 67% of them suspended three

00 What the study failed to mention was that
only three students were part of the sam­ ple. Loaded questions can steer survey participants in one direction or another.

30 abuses can occur is an unfortunate statis­
tic in itself. The use of bad samples is a signifi­ cant source of misleading data. The culprit is typically the dreaded self-selected 35 survey, one in which the respondent de­ cides whether to be included or not. Think about the "How'd we do?" notes on the tables of restaurants or hotels. The prob­ lem with these surveys is that most of us

85 For example, in a recent survey of eligible voters in Washington, 47% of the
respondents felt that the "Glines Canyon Dam should be removed." When the words "to restore stocks of Pacific Salmon

00 and trout species to the Elwha River
watershed" were added to the survey, the number jumped to 86%. Needless to say, the farmer who would like the dam to stay put might prefer the first survey question.

40 choose to ignore them. For the most part,
people with strong opinions choose to respond, so the responses are generally not representative of the population as a whole. A survey at a Midwest restaurant

95

Consumers are often misled by partial pictures. A car company once famously quipped that "ninety percent of the cars we've ever made are still on the road." Understandably, consumers might believe

45 chain found that over 7 0% of the respon­
dents were dissatisfied with their service. . When upper management considers that less than 1% of the restaurant chain's customers actually chose to take the sur50 vey, it may not be particularly alarmed. Very likely, most of the customers were content.

100 that this company's cars could last a
lifetime. What the consumers were not told was that nearly ninety percent of the company's cars were sold in the past three years. The claim was correct, tech1<E nically, but clearly misleading. All we real-

READING TEST STRATEGIES

499

ly know is that most of the cars sold in the

In Darrell Huff's classic book How to

past three years are still on the road. Not
much of a claim at all.

Lie with Statistics, he states: "There is

125 110
A colleague of mine once gleefully
exclaimed that

terror in numbers." This terror can translate to a blind acceptance of the so-called experts. We must understand the prac­ tices of statistical abusers to protect our­ selves from their half truths and lies. Huff sought to break through "the daze that follows the collision of statistics with the human mind." Only through our edifica­ tion and skepticism can we find real sta­ tistical truth.

"92.6

percent of all statis­

tics are made up." This is an example of the precise number dupe. If I told you that the length of my car is

14.53 125

feet, you

131

115

might believe that I studiously measured it using laser beams and a micrometer. But

I could just as well have used a household
ruler, using my thumb to mark my place as I clumsily set the ruler, over and over again, along the length of the car. My number is precise, but not necessarily accurate.

12J

MARK-UPS FOR THE PASSAGE
TONE WORDS
A number of tone words can be found in the passage. You might have darkly underlined:
"laughter" (line

18),

"abuse" and "abusers" (lines

24, 3 0, 127), "misleading" and "misled" 32),
"dreaded" {line

(lines

26, 33, 95, 1 05), 53-54, 64) 128),
,

"unfortunate" (line

3 0),

"bad" (line

34),

"inappropriate" (lines

"gleefully'' (line

1 09),

"dupe" (line

112),

"terror" (lines

124),

"half truths and lies" {line

and "daze" (line

129).

CONTRAST SIGNALS
There are just a few of these. The word "but" is found in lines

1 05, 116, 121.

Even though there are a few positive tone words ("laughter," "gleefully''), you probably have a sense of the overall tone of the passage. The author feels negatively about the abuse of statistics (how else would one feel about the abuse of something?). Notice that the information following two of the contrast signals clearly reflects this tone: ... but clearly misleading." (line
"

1 05)

and "... but not necessarily accurate." (line

121).

THE EASY STUFF
Probably the greatest challenge to this passage is the quantity of information, not necessarily the complexity of the language. However, you may have underlined some important phrases that are easy to understand and also seem to reflect the passage's main idea. The last two sentences of the first paragraph are important:

500

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

"The abuse of statistics, that is, the presentation of data in ways that are intentionally or innocently misleading, is employed in equal measure by the sports fan and the politician, the business owner and the real estate agent. The number of ways these abuses can occur is an unfortunate statistic in itself." You might also recognize the sentence beginning on line 126 as particularly clear and important:

"We must understand the practices of statistical abusers to protect ourselves from their half truths and lies."

IDENTIFIERS
As stated earlier, Natural Science passages (like the one above) and Social Science passages tend to have more identifiers than Prose Fiction and Humanities passages. There are many identifiers in this passage. You may not have circled all of these, and you may have found some of your own. That's fine. You'll get better at recognizing good (and not-so-good) identifiers as you practice. At this point, make sure you have most of these circled:

1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8:

Lang, sports fan and politician, business owner and real estate agent self-selected survey, Midwest restaurant chain inappropriate samples, Lombard, research students, coal miners, firemen, and test pilots small samples, Children's Defense Fund Loaded questions, Washington, Glines Canyon Dam, Elwha River, farmer partial pictures, car company precise number dupe, car, accuracy Huff, How to Lie with Statistics

We circled all names of people and organizations and general names of each type of statistical abuse. You might also notice a few other strategic choices, such as the professions mentioned in the first and third paragraphs and the words "farmer" and "car." Will all of these help? We won't know until we get to the questions, but at least we're prepared to quickly find information when we see these words later.

READING TEST STRATEGIES

501

2. THE QUESTIONS
READ THE QUESTIONS CAREFULLY
It is very important to understand and carefully examine a given question before it can be effectively answered. Oftentimes there are answer choices that are absolutely true according to the passage yet don't properly answer the question. In addition, the question may give important hints about the correct answer.

CD ANSWER QUESTIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE PASSAGE
Context -the parts before or after a statement that can influence its meaning, or the
circumstances that surround a particular situation. You must answer questions in the context of the passage, or contextually. This is the most important technique in the Reading section of the tutorial. The answers must be clearly stated or supported by the text. You must use the information in the passage-and the passage only-to answer the questions.

CD

TRY TO ANSWER QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU LOOK AT THE ANSWER CHOICES
This is one of the best ways to answer questions contextually. This approach will force you to use the information in the passage to find your answer, and it will eliminate the temptation of picking answer choices that sound correct out of the context of the passage.

BROAD OR GENERAL QUESTIONS
You will not always be able to answer questions before looking at the answer choices. When the question is broad or if it covers a large part of the passage, you will have to look at the answer choices first and then use the context of the passage. See the following figure.

502

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

• 1. Answer
questions in context of passage
...

I 2. Look at
answer choices

• 1. Look at
answer choices.
_.

I 2. Check
passage for context

Questions with line

Broad questions and most main idea questions

Q)

numbers or identifiers

Remember, regardless of whether you look at the answer choices before or after answering the question, you will still answer all questions in the context of the passage.

USE BRACKETS TO KEEP TRACK OF WHAT TO REREAD
If the question gives line numbers, use a bracket to the left of the passage (like the one to the left) to indicate these lines. This is faster than underlining and won't interfere with the underlines you may have already drawn. However, don't be surprised if you have to read several lines
above or below the line numbers given in the question to find your answer. Why?

Because you must consider the main idea and tone (that is, you are looking at.

context) of the part of the passage

The following outline summarizes the approach for tackling the passage and the Next up will be the

questions.

answer choices.

THE PASSAGE:
• • • • • • • •

Read the introduction Read carefully Find the main idea of each paragraph Find the main idea of the passage Darkly underline tone words Darkly circle contrast signals Underline the easy stuff (especially main ideas) Circle identifiers

THE QUESTIONS:
• •

Read the questions carefully
Answer questions in the context of the passage

READING TEST STRATEGIES

503

3. FINDING CORRECT ANSWERS
Now, it's time to start looking for the correct answers. There are a number of techniques that will help you find the correct answers (Section 3) and eliminate incorrect answer choices (Section 4)-we will use the questions from the previous passage to illustrate these techniques. Tear the passage out of this tutorial for easy reference.

MAIN IDEA QUESTIONS
Main idea questions may focus on the passage as a whole or one paragraph. Hopefully, after reading the passage, you have some sense of its main idea. When you look at the answer choices, watch out for ones that may be partially correct yet don't reflect the author's main idea, such as an answer choice that focuses on only one part of the passage.

@ 1.

The main purpose of the passage can best be described as an effort to:

What is the main idea of the passage? Think about the role of each paragraph and how each paragraph ties into the main idea. Try answering the question before you look at the answer choices.

When we were reviewing "the easy stuff," we focused on two parts of the passage. In the first paragraph: 'The number of ways these abuses can occur is an unfortunate statistic in itself" And in the last paragraph: "We must understand the practices of statistical abusers to protect ourselves from their half truths and lies." The main purpose of the passage is to display a "number of ways" that statistics are abused; this will hopefully allow us to "protect ourselves."

Continue this question on the next page -+

504

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Now, look at the answer choices below. Which one best reflects the main idea of the passage?

A.. B. C. D.

warn students about the perils of trying to lie with statistics. humorously discuss the challenges of learning statistics in school. list the negative consequences of statistical manipulation. explain a number of ways that statistics can be misleading.

'
The best answer is D. None of the other answer choices reflect the main purpose of the passage as a whole.

REASONING AND INFERENCES
As stated earlier, the most important part of answering Reading passages is using context. Sometimes the answer to a question will draw directly from details within the passage. We'll see many examples of these soon. Other times, you will have to use reasoning, or make an inference, to interpret the answer to a question. These questions may be more difficult.

@ 2.

It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that the author lists the professions of

"coal miners, firemen, and test pilots" (lines

61-62)

because these professions:

Once again, let's try to answer the question before we look at the answer choices. Line numbers are given, so go back to the passage. Why do you think the author lists these professions?

The author asks the rhetorical question: "How could this be?" (lines 62-63). It is, no doubt, surprising that the age of death is lower for research students than for these other professions. Why?-because these other professions are dangerous; we would expect them to have relatively young ages of death.

Now, look at the answer choices below. Which one best reflects your contextual answer?

F. are typically considered dangerous. G. have lower rates of death than research students. H. are professions that most students will find difficult to prepare for. J. are professions that rarely employ young people.

READING TEST STRATEGIES

505

The answer is F. Note that the passage never explicitly states that these other professions are dangerous. We had to make an inference from the information given in the passage. If you were tempted to pick G, read the question and the passage carefully. Research students had a younger average age at the time of death. The passage does not discuss the rates of death. You can see how important every word in the answer choices is. {In any case, it's unlikely that these other professions have lower rates of death than research students.)

CAMOUFLAGED ANSWERS
The ACT likes to camouflage the correct answers with words that are different from and often more difficult than the words used in the passage. For lack of understanding, students are often tempted to eliminate these answer choices. Let's look at an example:

@ 3.

According to the author, which of the following will lead to finding "real statistical truth"

(lines 132-133)?

As usual, answer the question before looking at the answer choices.

'
The passage states: "Only through our edification and skepticism can we find real statistical truth" (lines 131-133).

Wouldn't it be great if one of the answer choices included the words "edification and skepticism"? Take a look:
A. B. C. D.

blind acceptance and authority study and belief education and suspicion learning and gullibility

The correct answer is camouflaged. The words have been changed. The word "edification" from the passage may not be easy, but do you know what "skepticism" means? Can you find an answer choice that has a synonym to "skepticism"?

'
The best answer is C-the words "edification" and "skepticism" from the passage are camouflaged in the answer with the words "education" and "suspicion," respectively.

506

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

VOCABULARY QUESTIONS
Vocabulary questions test your ability to define a word or group of words in context.

There are three steps to these problems:

1. Define the original word. Read the sentence from the passage that contains the word or
phrase in question, and define the word or phrase using context. Even if you know what the word means, use context, not the dictionary in your head. Keep your definitions short and simple. Also, be on the lookout for the definition of the word somewhere else in the passage (probably close to the word in question); this can save you some time.

2. Choose an answer and check. Substitute your answer for the original word, and read
the original sentence. The correct answer should sound correct.

3. Eliminate answer choices. If you do not spot the correct answer right away, eliminate
the answer choices that do not match your definition from step 1. If you are not sure about an answer choice, plug it into the actual sentence and trust your ear-when you read the passage with the answer choices plugged in, incorrect answer choices will often sound awkward or obviously wrong.

Let's try an example:

@4.

As it is used in line 97, the word quipped most nearly means:

How would you define the word "quipped"? We're going to discuss tone in the next section, but you might consider how tone colors the meaning of "quipped." Would the author feel positively or negatively toward the action of the car company?

'
You might have come up with a simple definition such as stated or claimed. Keep in mind that the car company's claims were "clearly misleading" (line 1 05)-consider this negative tone as you look at the answer choices.

Continue this question on the next page -+

READING TEST STRATEGIES

507

Which answer choice works best?

F. deceptively announced G. strongly disagreed H. oddly advertised J. dishonestly joked

'
The words "advertised" (H) and "dishonestly" (J) may be tempting, but the best answer is F. The car company made a deceptive announcement.

USING IDENTIFIERS
The following example does not include line numbers. Let's see if we can quickly find the information in the passage using our identifiers.

@ 5.

The author questions the accuracy of which of the following claims?

You might be tempted to look at the answer choices-the question is pretty broad-but first, look at the word "accuracy" in the question. Do you recall a discussion of accuracy in the passage? Do you remember that we circled "accuracy'' as an identifier? The second-to-last paragraph discusses accuracy (and the "precise number dupe"). The author claims: "My number is precise, but not necessarily accurate." What number is the author referring to? Do you see the correct answer?

A. B.

At a Midwest restaurant chain, 70% of the respondents to a survey were dissatisfied with their service. The average age of death for research students is 20.7 years. In a small region in America, 67% of the students who were suspended once were suspended at least three times. The length of the author's car is 14.53125 feet.

C. D.

'
The author is referring to the length of his car (14.53125 feet) . The answer is D. All of the other answer choices are misleading, but not necessarily inaccurate.

508

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

FINDING CORRECT ANSWERS SUMMARY
The following outline summarizes the approaches to finding the correct answers to Reading questions:

Make sure you can recognize main idea questions. Watch out for answer choices that are true but don't capture the main idea of the passage.

Be prepared to make inferences from information in the passage. In other words, the passage may not provide the details to directly answer the question. You must use your ability to reason.

Many correct answers are camouflaged, that is, they use words not found in the passage.

Make sure you are comfortable with vocabulary questions. Use context to define the word before you look at the answer choices.

Use identifiers to quickly find information in the passage.

READING TEST STRATEGIES

509

4. ELIMINATING INCORRECT ANSWERS
Sometimes, you might not be able to identify the correct answer, but do not fear-usually there will be anywhere from one to three answer choices that can be eliminated. The following techniques will address using a process of elimination to find correct answers.

ELIMINATE ANSWER CHOICES THAT ARE NOT MENTIONED
This is a commonly used technique for eliminating answer choices. Especially look for specific references in the answer choices that are not mentioned in the passage. Answer choices that are vague or broad are more difficult to eliminate using this concept.

ELIMINATE FALSE ANSWER CHOICES
Oftentimes the ACT includes an answer choice that is absolutely false, according to the passage. Of course, make sure to eliminate these answer choices.

Continue using the previous passage for the following examples.

@ 6.

In the context of the passage, the author refers to self-selected surveys as "dreaded"

(line 34) because:

Once again, do not hesitate to go back to the passage and answer the question. Why does the author dislike self-selected surveys?

The context immediately following the mention of "self-selected surveys" indicates that the surveys are voluntary. This may have something to with why the author considers them "dreaded."

Continue this question on the next page +

510

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Now look at the answer choices below. Let's try to eliminate some of them. Do you see one that is not mentioned in the passage? Do you see one that is false?

F. G. H. J.

these surveys are often time-consuming to complete. a small percentage of people choose to ignore the surveys. most of the participants have strong feelings about their service. the results often show that customers are dissatisfied.

First, look at F. There is no mention that the surveys are "time-consuming." Eliminate F. Now, look at G carefully. According to the passage, a small percentage of people choose to take, not ignore, the survey. G is false.

So we've narrowed it down to H and J. Both sound pretty good. Which one do you think is better?

The author says: "For the most part, people with strong opinions choose to respond, so the responses are generally not representative of the population as a whole" (lines 40-44). The best answer is H. The fact that the respondents in the example were generally dissatisfied is probably not what the author felt was "dreaded" about the survey. The author would likely be just as concerned if the majority of the respondents were satisfied with their service. J is not the best answer.

ELIMINATE ANSWER CHOICES THAT CONTRADICT THE AUTHOR'S TONE
As stated before, often one or more answer choices can be eliminated simply because they contradict the author's tone. The author's tone is fairly clear for this passage-the author feels negatively about the abuse of statistics. Let's see how this helps answer the following example:

@7.

According to the passage, the author states that those who mislead others with

statistical data:

Continue this question on the next page +

READING TEST STRATEGIES

511

This is a broad question. It is not clear where in the passage we should look to find the answer, so let's look at the answer choices. As you look at them, see if you can identify some that violate the author's negative tone toward the abuse (and abusers) of statistics.

A.

are usually well-intentioned statisticians.

B. are more concerned with illuminating the truth than supporting their causes. C. may not always know what they are doing. D. always intend to dupe the public.

'
Answer choices A and 8 both sound positive. Eliminate them. They contradict the author's tone.

So we're left with C and D. Before we pick an answer, consider another rule:

WATCH OUT FOR ANSWER CHOICES THAT ARE TOO STRONG
Answer choices that are too strong may take one of two forms. The first type uses extreme words such as always, only, without exception, completely, or perfectly. These answer choices are usually incorrect.

The second type uses words that are nearly correct but too strong. An author may be
disappointed but not devastated. He may be upset but not furious. He may be surprised but not shocked. Watch out for answer choices that seem to overly exaggerate the attitude of an author

or character in a passage-the ACT may be trying to trick you.

Now, go back to the remaining answer choices for example 6. Do you see one that is too strong?

'
The word "always" in D suggests that this answer choice is too strong. You can probably eliminate it. The author states: "The abuse of statistics, that is, the presentation of data in ways that are intentionally or innocently misleading ... " (lines

23-26).

The key word is "innocently."

Sometimes, abusers do not intend to mislead others-they are innocent, or don't know what they're doing. The answer is C.

512

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

WATCH OUT FOR EVE CATCHERS
Eye catchers are words or phrases that come directly from the passage but are not part of the
correct answer. Students tend to be attracted to answer choices with eye catchers because they recognize these words or phrases from the passage.

But, as discussed in the last section,

correct answers will often not be written with the exact words of the passage (they may be camouflaged). Before you select an answer choice with an eye catcher, be absolutely sure it answers the question correctly.

@ 8.

Which of the following statements best reflect the main point, as expressed in the

passage, of Andrew Lang?

Go back to the passage (hopefully you circled "Lang" as an identifier ) and try to answer the question.

'
The quote uses a "drunken man" as a metaphor for a person who abuses statistics. His point is that some people use statistics to support their cause rather than to illuminate the truth.

Can you eliminate any eye catchers in the answer choices below? Does this help you identify the correct answer?

A.

A drunken man is more concerned about support than illumination. Statistics are often used to illuminate the truth. Many people use statistics to further their own causes. Statisticians who abuse statistics are more concerned about their professions than about illuminating the truth.

B.
C.
D.

'
There are several eye catchers among the answer choices. In A, you'll see "drunken man," "support," and "illumination" (all words from Lang's quote in the passage); in B, you'll see "illuminate':· and in D you'll see "Statisticians" (the subject of much of the passage up to this point), "professions" (line

19),

"abuse" (line

24),

and "illuminating." The best answer is C even

though many of its key words are not found in the passage.

READING TEST STRATEGIES

513

WATCH OUT FOR "EXCEPT" OR "NOT" QUESTIONS
These types of questions can be tricky. You'll usually have to look for an answer choice that is
not true or not found in the passage, the reverse of the typical ACT question.

9
@ 9.
The passage discusses all of the following types of statistical abuses EXCEPT: You'll still use the passage for context, but these NOT/EXCEPT questions tend to require looking at the answer choices before you answer the question. As you look them over, eliminate answer choices that are discussed in the passage.

A. loaded questions. B. enlarged sample sizes. C. partial pictures. D. the precise number dupe.

"Loaded questions" are discussed in the frfth paragraph, "partial pictures" are discussed in the sixth paragraph, and "the precise number dupe" is discussed in the seventh paragraph. The remaining answer choice is B. eye catcher.)

( The word

"samples," discussed in Paragraphs 2-4, is a potential

ELIMINATE DOUBLE ANSWERS ONE PART AT A TIME
When there are two answers in each answer choice, try eliminating one part at a time. If
you can eliminate any half of an answer choice, you can eliminate the whole thing.

@ 10. Which of the following would the author most likely agree intentionally misled the public
using statistics? Continue this question on the next page -+

514

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

This question is broad. Look at the answer choices. This question is a good test of identifiers­ you should have circled (in the passage) many of the answer-choice words. Try eliminating parts of answer choices that are clearly incorrect. Are you left with one answer choice?

F. G. H. J.

the sports fan and the politician the Midwest restaurant chain and H.C. Lombard The Children's Defense Fund and the car company the author's colleague and Darrell Huff

'
Did you identify some easy names or words to eliminate? Certainly "the Midwest restaurant chain" wasn't trying to mislead anyone when the results of its survey showed that people were dissatisfied. Eliminate G. Darrell Huff wrote a book about statistical lies-he "sought to break through 'the daze that follows the collision of statistics with the human mind"' (lines 129-131). He wasn't trying to mislead anyone. Eliminate J.

You might be left with F and H. It may seem that all four of these groups (the sports fan, the politician, The Children's Defense Fund, and the car company) might intentionally mislead the public. The key word in the question is "intentionally." Go back and review the answer to Example 7. Does this help you answer Example 1 0?

We focused on the part of the passage for Example 7 where the author states: "The abuse of statistics, that is, the presentation of data in ways that are intentionally or innocently misleading, is employed in equal measure by the sports fan and the politician..." (lines 23-28). Again, the key word is "innocently." The sports fan and the politician may not intentionally mislead the public. Eliminate F. The passage suggests that the Children's Defense Fund wanted to "emphasize the widespread prevalence of student suspensions" (lines 74-75). The passage also suggests that the car company "misled" (line 95) consumers, probably to sell more cars. The answer is H.

READING TEST STRATEGIES

515

ELIMINATING INCORRECT ANSWERS SUMMARY
The following outline summarizes the approaches to eliminating incorrect answers:
• • • • • • •

Eliminate answer choices that are not mentioned in the passage. Eliminate false answer choices. Eliminate answer choices that contradict the author's tone. Watch out for answer choices that are too strong. Watch out for eye catchers. Eliminate answers on "EXCEPT" or "NOT" questions. Eliminate double answers one part at a time.

516

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

2. DIRECT QUESTIONS
Most questions on the Science Test directly test the material found in graphs or tables. We'll call these direct questions. Let's look at an example, using the previous graph:

4
--..,

I ..L

c E> 2
(I) c (I)
u >. --

.,....

6

3

potassium

I

c :52

0)

1

0
0 5 10

15

frequency {x 1014Hz}
Figure 1

A NOTE TO SELF STUDY STUDENTS ABOUT EXAMPLE PROBLEMS
Example problems are indicated with an EX symbol:

You will see an italicized solution following each example. The solutions display various approaches to the questions found on the Science Test. Make sure you understand these solutions. You do not need to solve these example problems on your own.

@ According to Figure 1, the photoelectric kinetic energy for potassium in a light frequency of
10
x

14 10 Hz is closest to:
X X X X

A. B. C. D.

3.0 3.3 3.6 3.9

19 1019 1019 1019 10-

J J J J

Focus on the labels of the graph. Frequency is along the bottom (the x-axis). Kinetic energy is along the side (they-axis). Look what's given in the question. The value 10
x

1014Hz is a
x

frequency. The corresponding kinetic energy, according to the given line, is 3.6 answer is C. (Note that the vertical grid lines are spaced 0.2
x

10-19 J, so the

10-19 J apart.)

576

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

RESTATING THE QUESTION
Direct questions can get harder by the way they are worded. Sometimes you need to restate the

question in a way that makes sense. Look at the following example:

@ A student wants to determine if a metal sample is potassium. If she uses a light frequency
of 7x 10 is potassium?

14 Hz, what photoelectric kinetic energy should she expect to measure if the metal

A. 1.2x10-19J 19 B. 1.6 X 10- J 19 C. 2.0 X 10- J 19 D. 2.4 X 10- J
This question may sound harder than the previous one, but it's not that different. Restate the question to make it simpler: "What is the photoelectric kinetic energy for potassium in a light frequency of 7x 10

14Hz?" Using the graph, you should get 1.2x 10-19 J. The answer is A.

Try the following direct question. Answers to all lesson problems in this chapter start on page

652: 1.
Based on the data in Figure 1 , which of the following frequencies of light would potassium emit no photoelectric kinetic energy?

A. B. C. D.

14 5.4 x 10 Hz 14 6.6x 10 Hz 14 7.8x10 Hz 14 9.0x 10 Hz

DATA REPRESENTATION

57 7

3. INTERPOLATION/EXTRAPOLATION
Sometimes, you will be asked to find a value that isn't directly given to you in the figure. These types of questions can take two forms: interpolation and extrapolation.

INTERPOLATION
Interpolation means that you estimate a value between known values. We're going to use a graph similar to the one we've been working with. Notice that some of the grid lines have been removed. This can make the graph more difficult to read.

Figure 2 shows how the kinetic energy varies for a range of light frequencies for titanium.

4 � 6
...... -, ' '

I

I I I ,

3
,
I

I I

3(I) c (I) 0 :z:; (I) c :s::
>0) ....

:

'

I

2

1
I

/ :

I I

I I I I I I I I I

:

0 0 5

10

15

frequency (x 1 014 Hz)

Figure 2

@ Based on the information in Figure 2, if titanium is exposed to a light with frequency of 11x
1014 Hz, then the photoelectric kinetic energy would likely be closest to: A. B. C. D. 1.0x10-19J 2.0 X 10-19J 3.0 X 10-19J 4.0 X 10-19J

Notice that we know the approximate kinetic energy for a fight frequencies of 10 x1014Hz (0.0 x 10-19 J). You might also notice that about halfway between 10 x1014Hz and 15 x1014Hz (12.5

x1014 Hz), the kinetic energy is about 2.0 x1 o-19 J. Since 11 falls between 10 and 12.5, the
kinetic energy at 11 x1014Hz must be between 0.0 x10-19 J and 2.0 x10-19 J. The only answer that works is 1.0 x10-19 J, A. See the following graph.

578

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

4 -,-----,-----.---, 6 3+---�---+-�.�·� �
"' '

Cl 2 +----+----+-+--1

�:: ::;.·.� �-···············
32


c

.

.... .. . ..........

..

J

!

I� 0+---+---�k--� 0 5 10 \. 15 frequency (x 1 014 Hz) \. ........... ... ... !.11.0.! ..
·· ··

# .

/�

EXTRAPOLATION
Extrapolation means that you estimate a value outside the observed or tabulated range. Look at the following example. Figure 2 is reprinted below:
4
..,

6
......

3


>. C) ....

2

I I

I I I I I '

I I

l

'

I I ' I

(I) c (I) u

:w
:52
c

1
t

/

I I I I

'

/

I I I I I ,

0 0 5

10 1014 Hz)
Figure 2

15

frequency {x

@ Based on the information in Figure 2, a sample of titanium exposed to a light with frequency
20
x

10 14 Hz will exhibit photoelectric kinetic energy:
x x x x

A. B.

C. D.

10-19 and 3.5 between 3.5 x 10-19 and 4.0 19 between 4.0 x 10- and 4.5 19 J. over 4.5 x 10between 3.0

10-19 J. 10-19 J. 10-19 J.

The highest frequency given for titanium is 15 kinetic energy for a frequency of 20
x

x

1014Hz. Just extend the line and estimate its
x

1014Hz. The value will clearly be over 4.5

10-19 J (in

fact, it appears to be around 8 x 10-19 J). The answer is D. See the following graph.

DATA REPRESENTATION

579

(;,4_5··,,........................................................... .

. .

4 ..,

/ T------.---r--,;'
+---+---+---.i--< +---+---+--1-/ -I
/

,/I / I
/
1


3 2

:2


c

g

1 0

+---+---...J.-...,i / f:._
/

-�

/ +---+---+---1···············.
0 5

frequency (x 1014Hz)

10

15

20

Try the following lesson problem. Notice that Figure

3 below shows three different metals:
I

4
-,

,

I

6
..-

3
I '
J

,
I

.?$.
(]) c (])
(.) » C) .....

--

potassium

2
7

I '
I t

I

---beryllium
-------

tita n i um

c :.:;:

:as

1
T
I

!

I

0 0 5 10 frequency (x 1014Hz)
Figure

15

3

2.

A scientist wants to determine whether a sample of metal is potassium, beryllium, or titanium. The scientist exposes the sample to light at a frequency of 12 x 1014 Hz and measures a photoelectric kinetic energy emission of 5.2 x 10-19 J. Based on the information in Figure 3, the sample is most likely: A. B. C. D.
potassium only. beryllium only. titanium only. potassium or beryllium only.

580

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

4. NEW INFORMATION
Sometimes, a question will add information that is not found in the passage.

NEW STUFF
Many questions add some new item or material, one that is not found in the passage. Look at the following example:

4
"""") m '

' ' ' '

6
.....

3
1/
I

If

I

�·
:>. C) .... (I) c Cl) tJ :.;:::; Cl) c

' ' I ' ' I ' ' '

----

potassium
beryl l iu m

2

-------titanium

1

I
'

II

:2

0 0

_L

II

5

10

15

frequency (x 1014 Hz)
Figure 3

@A student tested a sample of magnesium in a light frequency of 1 0
x

14 Hz and found that x 10 19 J. Based on Figure 3, which of the the emitted photoelectric kinetic energy was 2.0 1 014 following correctly lists the 4 metals by their photoelectric kinetic energy at 1 0 x 10 Hz

from least to greatest?

A. titanium, magnesium, beryllium, potassium B. titanium, beryllium, magnesium, potassium C. potassium, magnesium, beryllium, titanium D. potassium, beryllium, titanium, magnesium

Magnesium is not found on the graph. The question states that at 10 photoelectric kinetic energy of Magnesium is 2. 0 move up the graph at 10
x x

x

1014Hz, the

10-19 J. Mark this point on the graph. As you

1014Hz (from lower to higher kinetic energy) , you'll get the following

order: titanium, beryllium, magnesium, potassium. The answer is B. See the following graph.

DATA REPRESENTATION

581

4
m

=; 3

f-·· f-- r- -

b

-+-

--

·-

r-

If
-- pota;sium -- -beryllium 1

I

-------titanium

-f--f--·

0 0 5 15

frequency (x 1014 Hz)

NEW DEFINITIONS
Another way the ACT may throw new information into a question is by introducing a new term or formula. Before we look at an example, a quick lesson on yes or no questions:

YES OR NO QUESTIONS
Glance at the answer choices for the following question. Two are Yes's and two are No's. After you read one of these types of questions, first decide whether the answer is yes or no, and eliminate answer choices accordingly. Then you can focus on only two answer choices. Now, to the question...

4
....., iY; I

II _I
'
I

'
I

6
T""

3
I
I•

-�

I
I •

1/
--

potassium

:>. 0) .... Q) c (l) (j

2

I

J
I I

'

---beryllium
-------

tita n i u m

ill
:i:
c

1
I '

'

:

0 0

5

10
Hz) Figure 3

15

frequency (x 1 Q14

@ The slope of a line in the frequency-kinetic energy graph is defined as the ratio of the

change in kinetic energy to the corresponding change in frequency. The value of the slope for a given material is called Planck's Number. Based on the information in Figure 3, would one be justified in concluding that Planck's Number is constant for potassium, beryllium, and titanium?

A. Yes, because all three lines start at a kinetic energy of 0 J. B. Yes, because the slopes of all three lines are equal. C. No, because the frequency ranges of all three lines are different. D. No, because the information provided is insufficient to determine Planck's Number. 582 THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

New information can be disorienting, but as usual, the bark of these problems tends to be worse than the bite. Planck's Number, which sounds complicated, is just the slope of a line. If you're comfortable with slope (an important part of the ACT Math Test), then you can see that all three lines have the same slope. Thus, Planck's Number is constant for these three materials. Eliminate the "no" answers: C and D. Only B gives the correct reason.

Try the following lesson problem. Figure 3 is reprinted below:

4
_,.....

....,

I

' '

'

'

6
T""

3
I 1/ I
I

c
>. Cl ._

l1_
I --

potassium

2
I

Q) c Q)
()

I ' '

'

---beryllium -------titanium

c :52

1
'

I

0 0 5 10

I

15

frequency (x 1Q14 Hz)
Figure 3

3.

A metal alloy is a material composed of two or more metals. A student hypothesizes that a
metal alloy will have a higher photoelectric kinetic energy emission rate at a given light frequency than the greater of the kinetic energy emission rates of the composite metals tested separately. To test the hypothesis, the student uses a titanium-be exposed to light at a frequency of 11
x

1014 Hz, and measures 1.2 x 10-1 J of emitted kinetic energy. Does the data in Figure 3 support the student's hypothesis?

rd'llium sample,

A. B. C. D.

Yes, because the emitted kinetic energy is greater than the sum of the kinetic energies emitted by each material separately. Yes, because the emitted kinetic energy is greater than the kinetic energy emitted by titanium separately. No, because the emitted kinetic energy is less than the kinetic energy emitted by beryllium separately. No, because the emitted kinetic energy is less than the sum of the kinetic energies emitted by each material separately.

DATA REPRESENTATION

583

5. TRENDS
It is important that you recognize trends as you analyze data on the ACT. Think about what happens to one variable as another variable changes. As one variable increases, does the other also increase? Does it decrease? Does it stay the same? Does it go up and then down? Down and then up? And so on. You might keep track of trends using arrows (j or!), as you'll see in the following example. Arrows will especially help when you're dealing with more than two variables. Let's look at an example. We'll continue to use the previous subject of photoelectric emissions, with some added information.

The threshold frequency of a metal is defined as the maximum frequency of light that emits no photoelectric kinetic energy.

4
""")
a> I

' I
I I

I

.

6
,.... X » OJ .... <D c (!) 0

3
I II ' ' '
I

----

potassium beryl l i u m

2
I
'

-------titanium

=as
32
c

1

I ,

II

t I

0 0 5

I

II

10

15

frequency (x 1 Q14 Hz) Figure 3

@ Figure 3 shows that the photoelectric kinetic energy increases:
A. B. C. D.
more slowly for metals with higher threshold frequencies. more quickly for metals with higher threshold frequencies. at the same rate for different metals as frequency decreases. at the same rate for different metals as frequency increases.

What is the relationship between frequency and kinetic energy? Do you see a trend? The graph clearly shows that as frequency increases, kinetic energy a/so increases. Use arrows: Fj Kj. Now look at the answer choices. Remember the previous example? The rates of change for kinetic energy (as displayed by the lines' slopes) are constant for all three metals. You can eliminate A and B. The threshold frequency was just meant to throw you off. The answer is D.

We'll see more trends problems in the next sections.

584

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

6. TWO OR MORE FIGURES
Oftentimes you will have to deal with multiple figures (graphs, tables, etc.). If you recall in the introduction, one of the things to look for in multiple figures is repeated labels (and units). Make sure to circle these labels and connect them with a line. These connections are the key to questions that require you to look at more than one figure. Let's add a figure to the example on photoelectric emission.

Figure 3 shows how the kinetic energy varies for a range of light frequencies for three types of metals.

-...., m ...-

4
t t

'

6

3
_1_

.L .L
1

'


>. 0) .... G.l c (!) u

2
I

_L I I I ' I '

,,

'
I

--

potassium

-- -beryllium
-------

tita n iu m

::w
:52
c

1

I

0 0

I

1/

5

10
Figure 3

15

frequency (x 1014Hz)

Light is visible if it falls in the visible frequency spectrum. Table 1 shows the frequency of six visible colors. Table 1 Color red orange yellow green blue violet Frequency 14 (x 10 Hz) 4.3-4.8 4.8-5.1 5.1-5.4 5.4-6.1 6.1-6.7 6.7-7.5 Wavelength (nm) 700-635 635-590 590-560 560-490 490-450 450-400

Which label is repeated in both figures?

'
The label "frequency" is found in both Figure 3 and Table 1? This is your repeated label.
Try the example on the next page:

DATA REPRESENTATION • 585

@ According to Figure 3 and Table 1, photoelectric emission occurs in the visible light
spectrum for which of the following metals?

A. potassium and beryllium B. potassium only C. beryllium only D. titanium only
The first step is to look at the range of the visible light spectrum and indicate this range on Figure 3. According to the table, the range is 4.3 x 10 below:

14

14 -7.5x 10 Hz. This range is shown

"'

:::;-

6 3
I

--f-r-

i

----

potassium berylli um
ti tanium

1

-------

visible light spectrum

0
·-

....

p
··

··

···· ·······

····

·

·

_;1Tv-'

10 freq ue nc y (x 1 014Hz)

15

According to the graph, only potassium has photoelectric emission in the visible light spectrum. The answer is B.

Sometimes, new figures will be introduced in the questions or the answer choices. Try the following example.

@ Based on the information in Figure 3 and the table below, which of the following statements
best describes the relationship, if any, between a material's atomic number and its emitted photoelectric kinetic energy at a light frequency of 1 0 x 1 0 Material beryllium potassium titanium

14

Hz?

Atomic number

4 19 22

A. As the atomic number increases, B. As the atomic number increases, C. As the atomic number increases, D. There is no apparent relationship
photoelectric kinetic energy.

the kinetic energy increases. the kinetic energy decreases. the kinetic energy does not change. between a material's atomic number and its emitted

Pay attention to the order of the materials in the table. Beryllium has the lowest atomic number, but its kinetic energy at 10 x 10

14

Hz is between the other two materials. Apparently, there is no

relationship between a material's atomic number and its emitted kinetic energy at a given frequency. The answer is D. This is another example of a trend question.

586

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Try the following lesson problem, which uses the same data as the previous examples. The information is reprinted below:

Figure 3 shows how the kinetic energy varies for a range of light frequencies for three types of metals.

4
-,
0) I

f

I

. I I '

'

6
.,....

3
I
t


(]) l: (J) l: :52
(.) :;:::; (J) >. Cl .....

----

potassium beryllium tita nium

2
I II

' I ' ' ' I ' II ' ' '

-------

1

0 0 5

I

IT

10

15

frequency (x 1Qi4 Hz.)
Figure 3 Light is visible if it falls in the visible frequency spectrum. Table 1 shows the frequency of six visible colors. Table 1 Color red orange yellow green blue violet Frequency (x 10

Hz) 4.3-4.8 4.8-5.1 5.1-5.4 5.4-6.1 6.1-6.7 6.7-7.5

14

Wavelength (nm)

700-635 635-590 590-560 560-490 490-450 450-400

4.

Based on the data, which of the following best describes the change in emitted kinetic energy as light wavelength increases?

A.
B.

The emitted kinetic energy increases. The emitted kinetic energy decreases. The emitted kinetic energy remains constant for a given material. The information provided is insufficient to determine the relationship between wavelength and kinetic energy.

C. D.

DATA REPRESENTATION

587

FOCUS ON THE RELEVANT FIGURE(S)
When passages have multiple figures, it is easy to lose your focus. Keep in mind that many questions only ask about
one

of the figures. Usually the questions make clear which figures you

need to focus on. Of course, sometimes, on a problem, you'll have to deal with multiple figures, but don't make easier problems more difficult by focusing on too much information. There are usually only a few problems per test that require the use of multiple figures.

588

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

7. EXTRA VARIABLES
Graphs can get confusing when extra variables are included. Take a look at the following graphs below. Do you see the common label?

Figure 1 shows the average change in temperature (in degrees Celsius) at various altitudes.

30

� 25
Q5 E 20
0 Q)

8
Q) "0

10 5 0 -, -80 -60 40
-,--

.3

:;:::;

Cii

-20
temperature (0C)

0

20

40

Figure 1 Figure 2 shows the average change in wind speed (in knots) at various altitudes.

30 ...-.. 25
Q) Q) 0 0 0

--

-

E 20 15 10 5 0

I


Q) "0 ::;;) :;:::;

l-=._ wi�d s peed_ j
----------·---

Cii

----,---

,-------

I -

0

20

40

60

80

100

wind speed (knots) Figure 2

DATA REPRESENTATION • 589

The ACT may combine these two graphs into one. Use the information below for the following example: The troposphere is the lowest layer of the atmosphere, ranging in elevation from sea level
(0 meters) to a height of 10,000-12,000 meters above sea level.

The figure shows average change in temperature (in degrees Celsius) and wind speed (in knots) at various altitudes. wind speed (knots)
0 20 40 60 80 100

--+-- ---+--

---� --�
-80 -60 -40 -20 0 20 40

--o- temperature ,

- -

-

·

-

-l

wind speed
----

-·-

-

j

temperature (0C)

@ Based on the information provided, which of the following best describes the behavior of
temperature and wind speed within the troposphere?

A. B. C. D.

As altitude increases, both temperature and wind speed increase. As altitude increases, both temperature and wind speed decrease. As altitude increases, temperature increases and wind speed decreases. As altitude increases, temperature decreases and wind speed increases.

The first thing you might note is that the altitude variable is multiplied by 1,000. So, for example, the number 5 on the y-axis is really 5,000. The next thing to note is that the temperature axis is at the bottom of the graph and the wind speed axis is at the top. Now, remember that the question focuses on the troposphere, which has a maximum altitude between 10,000 and

12,000 meters above sea level (as stated in the introduction). Look at one variable at a time.
Temperature, which uses the circle symbols, decreases as altitude approaches 12,000 meters. Wind speed, which uses square symbols, increases as altitude approaches 12,000 meters. (Don't forget to use arrows: Aj n Wj). The answer is D.

590

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Try the following problem, which uses the previous figure:

5.

A scientist wants to estimate the height of a weather balloon. If instruments on the balloon measure a temperature of -62oC and a wind speed of 8 knots, then the balloon's altitude is
most likely:

A. B. C.
D.

2,000-4,000 meters above sea level. 12,000-14,000 meters above sea level. 19,000-21,000 meters above sea level. 25,000-27,000 meters above sea level.

DATA REPRESENTATION

591

8. TABLES
Of course, graphs aren't the only figures that show up on the test. We've already seen tables in some of the previous examples. Tables can be more difficult to read than graphs because you don't have the advantage of a visual representation. Let's look at the following example:

Atmospheric pressure reflects the average density and thus the weight of the column of air

above a given level. The pressure at a point on the earth's surface must be greater than the pressure at any height above it because of differences in the weight of the air. A pressure
gradient is the vertical difference in pressure between two points.

Table 1 shows the percent of sea-level density and atmospheric pressure (in kilopascals) at various altitudes. Table 1 Altitude

( x 103m)
0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Percent of sea-level density

Atmospheric pressure (kPa)

100 70 42 25 20 14 10

101 65 38 22 13 10 7

The following formula gives the air density (d) in kg/m3at -40'C for pressure (

P)

in kPa:

d=

p 84.108

@ According to Table 1 , the density of air at about what altitude is 50% of the density of air at
sea level?

A. 8,000 meters B. 17,000 meters C. 30,000 meters D. 50,000 meters
Focus on the first two columns. We must interpolate because 50 is not found in the second column. The density of air at 10,000 meters is 70% of the density of air at sea level, and the density of air at 20,000 meters is 42% of the density of air at sea level. So the altitude must be between these values. The answer must be B.

592

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

FIND THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN VALUES
More difficult problems will ask you to visually interpret the information in a table. Oftentimes, finding the differences between adjacent vertical values in a table will reveal the general shape, or trend, of the data. Look at the following example.

@ According to the information in Table 1, a plot of atmospheric pressure versus altitude is
best represented by which of the following graphs?
A.

'; 20


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First, determine the general trend. You can see that as altitude increases, pressure (the third column) decreases (Aj P!). You can eliminate C and D. Now, the more difficult question: Is the relationship exponential (as in A) or linear (as in There are two ways you can tackle the problem. (1) Try calculating the differences between values in the pressure column. It's OK to just estimate (remember, you won't have a calculator). Write them to the right of the numbers next to the table. Do you see how they start bigger (around

B)?

35)

and get smaller (3)? The rate of

change is slowing down as atmosphere increases. This means that the relationship is

exponential. (The differences would be roughly equal if the relationship were linear.) The
answer is A.

(2)

You could also simply check a point or two. For example, according to the table, when the the pressure is 22 kPa. In answer choice 8, the pressure appears to The answer must be A.

altitude is

30,000 meters,

be well over

40 kPa at 30,000 meters.

DATA REPRESENTATION

593

CALCULATIONS
Sometimes, you will have to make some calculations. You are NOT permitted to use a
calculator on the Science Test of the ACT, so don't expect any of the calculations to be too difficult. Try the following question, based on the previous table:

Table 1 shows the percent of sea-level density and atmospheric pressure (in kilopascals) at various altitudes. Table 1 Altitude ( x 1()3 m) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 The following formula gives the air density Percent of sea-level density 100 70 42 25 20 14 10 Atmospheric pressure (kPa) 101 65 38 22 13 10 7 -40'C for pressure (

(d) in kg/m3 at
p
84. 108

P)

in kPa:

d=
6.

Using the information in the passage, which of the following expressions could be used to calculate the density at sea level, in kg/m3, if the temperature at an altitude of 30,000 meters is -40'C?

A B. c. 0.

22 (84.108) (0. 25)(22) (84.108) 22 (0.25)(84.108) 25 0. 25

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Let's try one more question involving tables. The information below is the same as that for the previous examples, but now we've added a second table:

Atmospheric pressure reflects the average density and thus the weight of the column of air
above a given level. The pressure at a point on the earth's surface must be greater than the pressure at any height above it because of differences in the weight of the air. A

pressure

gradient is the

vertical difference in pressure between two points.

Table 1 shows the percent of sea-level density and atmospheric pressure (in kilopascals) at various altitudes. Table 1 Altitude 103m) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 The following formula gives the Percent of sea-level density 100 70 42 25 20 14 10 Atmospheric pressure (kPa) 101 65 38 22 13 10 7 in kg/m3at -40'C for pressure (

(x

air density (d) d=

P)

in kPa:

p
84.108

The maximum migratory altitude of birds in clear weather is determined primarily by atmospheric pressure. Table 2 shows the maximum migratory altitude of various types of birds. Table 2 Bird type Maximum migratory altitude ( x 103m) 1 5 10 16 22

Swifts and swallows Robins and crows Most songbirds Ducks and geese Eagles, vultures, and hawks 7.

Based on the information provided, the minimum atmospheric air pressure in which vultures can migrate is about:

A. B. C. D.

41 kPa. 35 kPa. 22 kPa. 11 kPa.

DATA REPRESENTATION

595

STAY FOCUSED
This is a good time to remind you to stay focused. These passages tend to give you
a

lot of

information, most of which you won't use for any one question. Some of it, in fact, you won't use on any of the problems. This is one of the main reasons why you should scan the passage instead of reading it. Otherwise, you might spend 5 minutes trying to understand something that's never actually tested.

Look at the lesson problem you just completed. It had nothing to do with air density. So the middle column of Table 1 and the given formula are not used for this question. Put this unneeded information out of your head and focus on the information you do need. Also notice that a pressure gradient was defined in the passage introduction, but this term never came up in any of the questions! Aren't you glad you didn't worry too much about it? Just make sure you circle terms such as this, just in case they do show up.

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9. OTHER FIGURES
Not all figures on the ACT are line graphs or tables. Here's an example that incorporates an illustration and a bar graph.

soil samples were taken at four locations, as shown in Figure 1 .

To measure the concentrations of hydrocarbon pollutants near or within the Cook Wetlands,

Figure 1 sample, are shown in Figure 2.
-

The concentrations of pollutants, measured as parts-per-million by total weight of the

E

s "E

a.

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 o Propyl-benzine 1

-�
.!:

(!)

"0 (!) UJ UJ c 0 ro u

ylene oo-X
[] m-Xylene

mToluene
• Benzene

-e

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e

sample sample sample sample

1

2

3
Figure 2

4

Try the following lesson problems:

8.

According to the data, which hydrocarbon pollutant or pollutants showed an increase in concentration as the sample locations decreased in elevation?

A. B. C. D.

Propyl-benzine only Propyl-benzine and Benzine only a-Xylene and Toluene only m-Xylene, a-Xylene, and Toluene only

DATA REPRESENTATION

597

9.

If a fifth sample was taken in water deeper than that of sample 4, based on the data, which of the following hydrocarbon pollutants would most likely NOT be found in concentrations greater than 10 ppm?

F. G. H. J.

Benzine only Benzine and Propyl-benzine only Benzine, Propyl-benzine, and m-Xylene only o-Xylene and Toluene only

You've now seen a number of different kinds of diagrams, but you should expect to see other types as you work your way through the practice problems and practice tests found in this tutorial and in the ACT book. Hopefully you're starting to feel prepared to tackle whatever may be thrown your way, no matter how strange or complicated it may look.

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DATA REPRESENTATION SUMMARY
The following outline summarizes the approaches to Data Representation passages:

Scan the passage before looking at the questions.
• •

Circle identifiers. Underline definitions. Read the labels and units for each figure. Look for repeated labels in separate figures. Look at variables (independent and dependent).

• • •

Most questions on the Science Test directly test the material found in graphs or tables. Make sure you can interpolate and extrapolate when information is not directly given. Some questions add information that is not given in the passage, including:

New "stuff' New definitions

• • •

Eliminate two answer choices on yes or no questions. Then focus on the remaining two. Look for trends as you analyze data on the ACT. Use arrows

(i

or t) to keep track of trends.

Make sure you are comfortable with multiple figures. Look for repeated labels and units. Only focus on the figures mentioned in the question.

Make sure you are comfortable with graphs that have extra variables. These graphs are just two (or more) graphs rolled into one.

• • •

To identify trends in tables, look at the differences between adjacent values. Expect to do some calculations, but you won't need your calculator. Stay focused. The passages usually have more information that you will ever use, and each question usually only tests one small part of a passage.

Be prepared to see figures that aren't line graphs or tables.

DATA REPRESENTATION

599

3. RESEARCH METHODS
TERMS
In addition to the terms defined in the previous chapter (independent and dependent variables), there are a few more terms that you should be familiar with:

Hypothesis - a statement that explains a set of facts or principles, usually forming a basis for
possible experiments to confirm its viability. A hypothesis is not yet proven.

Control - a group-sometimes called the control grou,r-in a scientific experiment where the
factor being tested is not applied. The control group serves as a standard for comparison against another group where the factor is applied. For example, if a drug tablet is tested on a group of subjects, another group-the control group-would receive drug- free tablets. Note: do not confuse the control group with a controlled variable (an independent variable).

Constant variable - a variable that is not changed throughout a series of experiments.
Scan Experiment 3 and look at the following example:

@ Which of the following sets of plants served as the control group in the experiments?
A. B. C. D.
The plants in the O'C chamber of Experiment 1 The plants in the O'C chamber of Experiment 2 The plants in Experiment 3 There were no sets of plants that served as the control in the experiments.

The control group for these experiments was one where the temperature and thermoperiod mirrored natural conditions-in other words, temperature was not controlled. Remember, the purpose of the experiments was to measure the effects of temperature on com and soybean plants. It makes sense to have some plants that were not subjected to controlled temperatures or thermoperiods. The plants in Experiment 3 served this purpose. The answer is C.

Try the following question:

2.

Which of the following factors was NOT directly controlled by the scientist in Experiment 2? A. B. C. D.
The low temperature of the thermoperiod. The high temperature of the thermoperiod. The number of seeds planted in each pot. The amount of sunlight received by the plants.

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EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES
Most method questions ask about the procedures of the experiments. These questions often require a general understanding of scientific method. In other words, the answers are not always found directly in the passage. Here are some examples: Why would a scientist wait several minutes before analyzing the results of a chemical reaction? (To make sure the reaction has run to completion.) Why would a scale be tared (reset to zero) after a container is placed on it but before a substance is added to it? (To measure the weight of the substance alone, without the weight of the container.) Why are many subjects tested rather than just one? (To increase the accuracy of the results.) If you can answer these questions, you're ahead of the game.

Other procedure questions ask about variables. Think about why certain variables are varied and other "variables" are held constant. For example, in the study of temperature and plants it was important to keep the soil concentrations constant in all experiments. Why? Because the study was testing the effects of temperature, not soil concentrations.

Look at the following example:

@ The experiments were performed concurrently in the same laboratory to ensure:
A. B. C.
D.

identical planting methods for all samples. identical soil concentrations for all samples. that the plants were tested in an ideal growing season and location. identical sunlight and air conditions, other than temperature, for all samples.

Since the effects of planting methods conditions (other than temperature)

(A), soil concentrations (B), and sunlight and air

(D) were not being tested, it was important to keep them the

same for all experiments. Only D, however, would require concurrent experiments (done at the same time) in the same laboratory.

Try the following question:

3.

Which of the following temperature chambers presumably had the same variable effect on the corn and soybean plants?

A. B. C.
D.

The O'C chambers of Experiments 1 and 2. The 1O'C chambers of Experiments 1 and 2. The 20'C chamber of Experiment 1 and the O.O'C cha mber of Experiment 2. The O'C chamber of Experiment 1 and the 10.0'C cha mber of Experiment 2.

RESEARCH SUMMARIES

613

PROCEDURE MISTAKES
Some procedure problems focus on mistakes in the procedure. Typically, you'll be asked how a mistake might have affected the results.

@ Which of the following, if it had occurred, would probably have caused an error in
interpreting the results of the experiments?

A. B. C.
D.

The eggs of an insect considered harmless to soybean plants were found on some of the soybean plants but none of the corn plants. The temperature chambers were found to reflect some incoming light. The weather conditions were cloudy for most of the 40 days of the experiments. The equipment used to control temperature in Experiment 1 was different from the equipment used in Experiment 2.

Other than temperature, the test variable of the experiments, all variables (water, soil, sunlight, etc.) should be kept constant for each experiment; that is, these untested variables should be the same in all three experiments. However, if the level of sunlight varied between Experiments

1 & 2 and Experiment 3, then Experiment 3 would no longer be a good control group. The best
answer is B.

Try the following question:

4.

If the goal of Experiment 2 was to find the ideal thermoperiod for corn plants and soybean plants, did the scientist meet this goal?

A.
B.

Yes, because the data shows the ideal thermoperiods for both corn plants and soybean plants. Yes, because the data shows that as thermoperiod increases, plant mass also increases. No, because the corn plants were not tested at high enough thermoperiods to find the maximum mass. No, because the soybean plants were not tested at high enough thermoperiods to find the maximum mass.

C.
D.

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

EQUIPMENT
Some questions focus on the equipment or materials used in the experiment. Usually, there is a scientific reason for the choice of equipment. These questions can usually be answered with a general scientific knowledge. Look at the following example:

@ The scientist in Experiment 1 likely used temperature chambers that allowed for free
exposure to sunlight and air because:
A.

the plants in Experiment 1 were part of a control group. a transparent enclosure allowed for visual monitoring of the plants. plants would otherwise overheat at some of the temperatures tested in Experiment 1. plants require sunlight and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis to take place.

B. C. D.

Answer choice A is false, but the other answer choices sound possible. Think about what you know about plants. Why would they need free exposure to sunlight and air? The correct answer is D. This is an example of a question whose answer is not explicitly found in the passage. If you know the answer for a question like this, great. If not, take a guess.

CHANGES TO EQUIPMENT OR CONDITIONS
Some method problems focus on changes to the equipment or materials used in the experiment. They ask how changes might affect the results of the experiment. Again, you can often answer these questions using a general understanding of science.

Try the following question:

5.

If the plants used in Experiments 1 and 2 had been grown in an enclosure with artificial lighting, which of the following changes in procedure would be necessary?
A.

The lighting brightness would have to be measured and labeled in Tables 1 and 2. The lighting brightness would have to be varied depending on the temperature of the temperature chambers. The plants in Experiment 3 would also have to be grown in an enclosure with artificial lighting. The plants in Experiment 3 would have to shaded when the artificial lighting is turned off.

B. C.
D.

RESEARCH SUMMARIES

615

LABORATORY EQUIPMENT
You might come across a question that requires you to identify types of equipment used in the experiment. You might want to review some of the typical laboratory apparatus, including:
graduated container or beaker - a glass container marked with units of measurement. test tube- a hollow cylinder of thin glass with one end closed. flask- a bottle, usually of glass, having a rounded body and a narrow neck. stopper- a plug, cork, or other piece for closing a bottle, tube, drain, or the like. valve- any device for halting or controlling the flow of a liquid, gas, or other material

through a passage.
syringe -a small device consisting of a glass tube, narrowed at its outlet, and fitted with a

piston for drawing in a quantity of fluid or gas or for ejecting fluid or gas in a stream.
plunger- another name for the piston of a syringe. dropper - a glass tube with a hollow rubber bulb at one end and a small opening at the

other, for drawing in a liquid and expelling it in drops

If you have trouble visualizing any of the above equipment, you can find pictures easily online. Note that any less-common equipment introduced in a passage will be described for you.

NEW SUBJECTS
Some questions might introduce a new subject. These are similar to Data Representation questions that introduce something that was not part of the original study.

@ Suppose that a scientist planted 1 0 unknown seeds in the conditions of Experiment 1 at a
of the experiments, what prediction, if any, about the type of plant could be made?

temperature of 20'C. If the weight of the plant after 40 days was 6.4 g, based on the results

A. B. C. D.

The plant is a soybean plant. The plant is a corn plant. The plant is not a soybean or a corn plant. No prediction can be made on the basis of the results.

First of all, the weight of the unknown plant roughly matches the average weight of the soybean plant in Experiment 1 at 20'C. But think about the purpose of the studies: the scientist wanted to measure the effects of temperature on corn and soybean plants. The scientist was not trying to determine one plant from another. In addition, just because a plant weighs the same as another plant, they are not necessarily the same. You may be tempted to go with A, but the best answer is D. This question challenges you to think clearly about scientific method. All we know about the unknown plant is that it could be a soybean plant, but we don't know this for sure.

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4. SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE
In the Science Introduction, we said: "For the most part, this test does not directly test science." The key words are "For the most part." In fact, there may be some questions that require scientific knowledge. While some tests won't have any, other tests we've seen have up to three questions that test scientific knowledge. In any case, there won't be many.

It's beyond the scope of this tutorial to get into the nitty gritty of all branches of science (we'd probably quadruple the size of the book). So if you're looking for the highest score possible, you might want to review some of the basic scientific principles in your science books. Here are some topics that have shown up on recent ACTs:

Chemistry:
• • •

Balancing a chemical equation General behavior of gasses, liquids, and solids Atomic structure

Physics:
• •

Newton's Laws of motion Fluid mechanics

Biology:

Cellular biology

USE COMMON SENSE
For many students, it may not make sense spending hours reviewing science textbooks for anywhere from 0-3 problems. However, don't mindlessly guess on problems that seem to demand scientific knowledge. Usually, a little common sense will lead you to the correct answer. Stay aggressive, and guess wisely if you have to.

RESEARCH SUMMARIES

617

RESEARCH SUMMARIES SUMMARY
The following outline summarizes the approaches to Research Summaries passages:

Work on one experiment at a time.

Next to each question, write the experiment number or numbers tested by that question before you start scanning the passage.

Underline the purpose in the introduction.

About 75% of the Research Summaries questions test information found in tables, graphs, and other figures, just like the Data Representation questions.

Memorize terms that have to do with experimental methods

(hypothesis, control, constant

variable). You might also review independent (controlled) variables and dependent variables (see Chapter II).

Be familiar with standard experimental procedures, including likely consequences of procedural

mistakes.

Be familiar with experimental equipment.

Some questions focus on experiment.

changes to the equipment or materials used in the

Review the common types of laboratory equipment.

Be prepared to see questions that introduce new subjects. These are similar to questions in the Data Representation section that introduce something that wasn't part of the original study.

You may see a few questions that (seemingly) require scientific knowledge. Stay aggressive, and try to use common sense and guess wisely if you don't know the answer.

CONFLICTING VIEWPOINTS PASSAGES
If you're following the 30-hour program, you probably won't have time to cover the next chapter (Conflicting Viewpoints), but now that you've completed the Research Summaries chapter, you'll be ready to tackle 33 of the 40 questions on the Science test. You should still plan to tackle the

7 Conflicting Viewpoints questions when you take the test. As stated before, you can approach
them as you would the passages on the Reading Test. These Conflicting Viewpoints passages tend to be less about tables, graphs, and numbers and more about You'll hopefully get some of the easier ones correct.

reading. So give them a try.

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1. CONFLICTION VIEWPOINTS INTRODUCTION
Conflicting Viewpoints passages are visually different from Data Representation and Research Summaries passages because they typically don't rely on figures-no graphs or tables. The passages are mostly text, with few, if any, figures. This can make them more difficult, especially if the preceding chapters have you feeling comfortable interpreting the data found in figures. Conflicting Viewpoints passages don't display results. Rather, they introduce usually two theories or hypotheses based on some specific observable phenomenon.

There is a simple way to identify Conflicting Viewpoints passages:

To get a feel for what these passages look like, go ahead and check out some of the Conflicting Viewpoints passages in the ACT book. You should notice the following:

1. 2.

An introduction, which will usually clearly explain what the scientists are debating. Two or more viewpoints.

IDENTIFY THE SUBJECT OF THE DEBATE
For most Conflicting Viewpoints passages, the specific subject of the "debate" is clearly written in the introduction, often near its end. Underline it. Understanding the subject of the debate will give you a head start toward understanding the viewpoints.

READ THE PASSAGE
Here's another big difference between Conflicting Viewpoints passages and the other passages on the Science Test. Up until now, we've done a lot of scanning but not much actual reading. On Conflicting Viewpoints passages, however, you should expect to read. This doesn't mean you'll have time to slowly read every word, making sure you understand every detail. Rather, read quickly, and don't expect to understand everything right away. While you read, circle identifiers and underline any defined terms. We'll get to some other things to look for in the following sections.

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READ IN PARTS
Just as with the Research Summaries passages, you should not read the whole passage right

CD

away. Most of the questions on Conflicting Viewpoints passages relate to only viewpoints. Use the method below:

one

of the

ONE PART AT A TIME
1.
Before you read the introduction, quickly look through the questions. Nearly every question has a clue about which viewpoint or viewpoints are tested. Look for references to the scientists ("Scientist 1 ,""Scientist 2," etc.). If you don't see a clear clue in the question, look at the answer choices. Some questions will refer to both (or all) of the scientists involved. Next to each question, write the number of the scientist. If two (or more) scientists are tested by a question, write both (or all) of the numbers (write "1-2" for example). If none of the scientists are tested for a question, put an "N"for none. This whole process should take only about 15-20 seconds.

2.

Read the intro. Don't forget to underline the subject. If the intro is long, don't be surprised if it is directly tested by some of the questions. Answer the questions marked with "N" (for none).

3. 4. 5.

Read Scientist 1. Tackle questions that apply only to Scientist 1. Read Scientist 2. Tackle questions that apply only to Scientist 2. Finally, answer questions that relate to both Scientists. This will usually be the remainder of the questions (assuming there are only 2 viewpoints presented).

6.

If there are more than 2 viewpoints, continue the process above.

Again, this approach should help you focus your attention on the relevant information in the passage.

EXCEPTIONS
Just as with the Research Summaries questions, if you ever find that you've mislabeled a question when you get to it, just skip it and come back to it after you've read the pertinent part of the passage.

A WORD OF WARNING
Because you will be going out of order, don't forget to be very careful when you fill in the bubbles on your answer sheet. Always match the question number in your test booklet with the question number on the answer sheet.

CONFLICTING VIEWPOINTS

625

THE FIRST VIEWPOINT
FIND THE MAIN ARGUMENT
When you read the first viewpoint (Scientist 1 ), the most importa

n't thing to look for is the main

argument. What is the scientist's position on the subject? Usually, the scientist's main point is
found in the first sentence. Underline it.

EVIDENCE AND ASSUMPTIONS
The scientists generally support their arguments with evidence. As you're reading the passage, think about how the scientist uses specific evidence to support his views. Also, take note of any

assumptions that are made. For example, a scientist might say: "It is raining because water is
falling past my window." The evidence is the falling water. The assumption is that the water is rain. (But the water could be coming from his upstairs neighbor watering plants off a balcony. You can see how assumptions may weaken a scientist's argument.)

OTHER MARKUPS
You should also circle identifiers and underline statements that you think are particularly important. By now, after going through the Reading section of the tutorial and scanning other types of Science passages, you should be comfortable identifying and marking important information while you read.

THE SECOND VIEWPOINT
Don't forget, you won't read the second viewpoint until you've answered all questions that refer only to the introduction or the first viewpoint. As you read, as described above, look for and underline the main argument of the viewpoint, consider evidence and assumptions, and mark up identifiers and other important parts of the passage. In addition, now you can start to

compare the two viewpoints.

SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
When you get to the second viewpoint, you have already read the first viewpoint, so, as you read, start thinking about similarities and, more importantly, differences between the two viewpoints. How are the main arguments different? What are the differences in evidence used by the two scientists? Are the viewpoints the same in any way? Is some of the evidence the same but the interpretation of the evidence different? These are good questions to ask yourself while you read. You can bet that some of the questions will require you to compare the viewpoints.

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Remember, you'll read these passages in parts. For convenience, the questions and examples following the passage will go in the order of the passage {Introduction � Scientist 1 � Scientist

2 �Both}. Keep in mind that the questions on the ACT will not be in any particular order, which
is why you'll have to skip around. For now, just read the introduction below and move on. You might want to tear this page out so you can refer to the passage for future questions in this chapter.

The Doppler effect describes the perceived shift in frequency of acoustic or electromagnetic radiation emitted by a source moving relative to an observer. The shift is to higher frequencies when the source approaches and to lower frequencies when it recedes. Two scientists discuss how the Doppler effect helps reveal the nature of the Universe.

Scientist 1
The Universe is expanding. Observations show that there is a Doppler shift in the light spectra from distant stars and galaxies. Just as the frequency of sound decreases as two objects depart, decreasing the sound's pitch, the frequency of light decreases, creating what is known as a red shift of the light. No matter what direction we aim our telescopes, the light from distant stars is "seen" at a lower frequency than what would be seen from a static star. So the Universe must have started as a point in space. And at this beginning, a "big bang" sent all matter expanding in all directions.

Scientist 2
The Universe is contracting. The idea of our three-dimensional Universe expanding indefinitely in all directions creates the uncomfortable mathematical notion of infinity. Also problematic is the idea that the Universe stops {what would be on the "other side"?). The most likely scenario is that our three-dimensional Universe is bent into a fourth dimension that we are unable to observe. To help imagine this scenario, consider a two-dimensional Universe in the shape of a globe, a Universe with a finite size and no ends. The tiny two-dimensional beings on this globe have no sense of the third-dimension Gust as we have no sense of the fourth-dimension). Now imagine that a "big bang" occurred in the North Pole of this globe. All matter would begin heading to the South Pole. One might think that as an object approaches the South Pole, the objects around it would appear to draw closer together, but this in not the case. Because of the gravitational pull of the slowly-accumulating objects in the South Pole, objects closer to the pole will accelerate faster than objects farther away. So in a contracting, post-"big bang" Universe, the Doppler effect would still show stars and galaxies moving away from us in all directions.

CONFLICTING VIEWPOINTS

627

2. DIRECT QUESTIONS
As we said, most of the questions test just one part of the passage (usually one of the two viewpoints, and sometimes the intro). These passages are similar to Reading Test passages in that you must answer questions using context, that is, the information given in the passage. Like most of the ACT Science Test, the subject will often sound very complicated. But, again, don't worry about your knowledge of science. Just worry about the information given on the test. The information you need to answer direct questions is found in the passage. Let's look at an example. Make sure you've read the introduction from the previous passage.

@ Which of the following figures best represents the relationship of movement and perceived
frequency described by the Doppler effect?

A.
perceived frequency

c.
perceived frequency

B.
perceived frequency

D.
perceived frequency

Notice that this question doesn't mention either scientist. There's a good chance that the answer is found in the introduction, so it would make sense to answer it before you read either of the two viewpoints. The intro describes the Doppler effect: "The shift is to higher frequencies when the source approaches and to lower frequencies when it recedes." Now let's understand the graphs. To the right of the y-axis, the rate of approach is positive, and to the left of they-axis, the rate of approach is negative (the objects are departing). The actual frequency (when there is no movement) would be found at the point where the line crosses the y-axis. Notice that in B, the frequency is greater during approach and less during departure, as described in the introduction.

CONFLICTING VIEWPOINTS

629

Now read the first viewpoint and try Question 1. Answers start on page 654:

1.

Which of the following does Scientist 1 suggest is evidence of an expanding Universe?

A. B. C. D.

The light from nearby stars is perceived at a lower frequency than the light from more distant stars. The light from distant stars is perceived at a higher frequency than the light from closer stars. The light from distant stars is perceived at a lower frequency than the light from a theoretical star not moving away from the Earth. The light from distant stars is perceived at a higher frequency than the light from a theoretical star not moving away from the Earth.

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3. INDIRECT QUESTIONS
Some questions will require you to interpret information given in the passage. These are similar to the reasoning/inference questions found in the Reading Test. The information is still in the passage, but you might have to interpret that information to find the correct answer. Look at the following example. This one refers to the second viewpoint, so go ahead and read it now:

@ Scientist 2 likely uses a two-dimensional world to illustrate his views because:
A.
B.

the Earth-space is actually two-dimensional. all matter in the Universe moves only in two dimensions. a three-dimensional space would have to extend infinitely in all directions. readers would not be able to imagine the added dimension in a three-dimensional world.

C. D.

Scientist 2 describes the fourth dimension as one that we are "unable to observe"-one that we "have no sense of." Thus, it makes sense that he uses a two-dimensional model so that his readers can understand and hopefully visualize his points. The answer is D. The passage does not directly support the answer; rather, the support is indirect. If the answer is not clear, you might have more luck eliminating answer choices. Eliminate:

A B. G.

False-you hopefully know that this isn't true. In any case, Scientist 2 does not mention this. False-Scientist 2 uses a two-dimensional model as just that: a model. He never states that all real matter moves in two dimensions. False-Scientist 2 finds the idea of infinite expansion "problematic." The author states that rather than extending infinitely, the "three-dimensional Universe is bent into a fourth dimension."

Try the following question:

2.

According to Scientist 2, which of the following affects the relative speed of two objects?

A. B. C. D.

The initial velocity of objects after a "big bang." The relative proximity to a gravitational pull. The distance between the two objects. The number of space dimensions in which the objects are found.

CONFLICTING VIEWPOINTS

631

4. COMPARISONS
DIFFERENCES
The ACT calls these passages Conflicting Viewpoints, so it's no surprise that some of the questions will ask you to identify differences between the viewpoints. Some questions will ask about differences in the main arguments of the scientists. Harder questions will focus on specific details, such as the specific evidence used by the scientists. Look at the following example:

@ One of the primary differences between the two viewpoints is that:
A. B. C. D.
Scientist 1 uses direct observations while Scientist 2 uses a theoretical model. Scientist 1 uses evidence of a Doppler shift to explain his viewpoint while Scientist 2 considers the evidence false. Only Scientist 1 believes that all matter originated from a "big bang." Only Scientist 2 believes that a multi-dimensional Universe exists.

Scientist 1 uses direct observations (the Doppler shift in the light frequency) while Scientist 2 uses a theoretical model ("a two-dimensional Universe in the shape of a globe'). The answer is

A. If the correct answer doesn't jump out at you, try eliminating answer choices.
Eliminate:

liJ. G.

False-Scientist 2 says, "the Doppler effect would still show stars and galaxies moving away from us in all directions." False-Scientist 1 explicitly states that a "big bang" occurred. Scientist 2 implies that a "big bang" occurred by using it in the theoretical model. In any case, there is certainly no evidence suggesting that Scientist 2 does not believe in a "big bang." False-Scientist 2 may be the only one who believes in a fourth-dimension. Both scientists undoubtedly believe in multi dimensions (more than one).

.Q.

SIMILARITIES
Some questions will ask you to identify similarities in the viewpoints. Try the following question:

3.

The views of both scientists are similar in that they both agree that:

A. B. C. D.

the Universe is expanding. the Universe is contracting. stars and galaxies appear to be moving away from us. because there is no observable fourth dimension, the Universe must be infinite.

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

5. STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
WEAKNESSES
You might be asked to identify weaknesses in a viewpoint. These could be a result of
assumptions, as discussed in the introduction, or you might be asked to look at evidence that

weakens a viewpoint. Look at the following example:

@ According to Scientist 2, a major flaw in Scientist 1's viewpoint is the notion that:
A.

the shift in light frequency between departing objects is red.

B. the Universe must have started with a "big bang." C. the Universe is infinite. D. stars that appear static are actually moving away from us.
Scientist 1 's Universe is infinite, with "all matter expanding in all directions." Scientist 2 considers this scenario mathematically "problematic." The answer is C. Scientist 2 would most likely agree with all of the other answer choices.

STRENGTHS
Alternatively, you might be asked to discuss the strengths of a viewpoint, or to identify evidence that supports a viewpoint. Try the following question:
4. In 1965, two radio astronomers discovered a background "hiss" of stray microwaves in whatever direction they aimed their receiver. Scientists at the time said that these background microwaves were evidence of radiation left over from the "big bang." If this

discovery were true, would it support the primary viewpoint of Scientist 1?
A.

Yes, because background microwaves would show measurable Doppler shifts just as light does. Yes, because the discovery provides evidence that all matter originated at a point in space. No, because Scientist 1 uses light waves, not microwaves, to provide evidence of a "big bang." No, because the discovery weakens the idea of an expanding Universe.

B. C. D.

CONFLICTING VIEWPOINTS • 633

CONFLICTING VIEWPOINTS SUMMARY
The following outline summarizes the approaches to Conflicting Viewpoints passages:
• • •

Identify the subject of the debate in the introduction. Plan to read the passage (don't just scan). Read in parts.

Next to each question, write the number or numbers of the scientists (if any) tested by that question before you start reading the passage.

• •

Scientist 1: Look for the main argument, evidence, and assumptions while you read. Scientist 2: Look for the above, and also look for similarities and differences between the viewpoints.

• • • •

Answer direct questions using context. Answer indirect questions by interpreting the context. Be prepared to compare the viewpoints. Think about similarities and differences. Be prepared to identify strengths and weaknesses in the viewpoints. Consider assumptions and evidence in the passages.

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

I
WRITING INTRODUCTION
The Writing section is divided into five chapters: I. II. Ill. IV. Introduction Prewriting Writing the Essay Eloquence Writing Practice

V.

The Writing Test, which involves writing an essay, is written during a separate 30-minute section, the last section of the ACT. It tests your ability to understand and write about a given topic, express your ideas and opinions in an effective and clear way, organize your thoughts according to a sensible plan, and write correctly and tastefully-following the rules of standard English.

THE WRITING TEST IS OPTIONAL
Or is it? The ACT calls the Writing Test optional because you don't have to take it. (You have to take the other four tests on the ACT.) On the other hand, if you're applying to schools that require the Writing Test, then it's not really optional for you. Check out the schools that you're interested in. You can either go to each school's website to see if the test is required, or try this ACT webpage: http://actrs19.act.org/app3/writPrefRM/. A good college counselor should also be able to help you figure out if you should take the Writing Test.

While many schools don't require the Writing Test, taking the test may still be a good idea. The following chapters provide clear steps that should quickly get you comfortable writing essays. And if you are petrified of writing, then these lessons might be especially important to you because they will help you beyond the ACT-writing is an important part of most college curriculums. So our recommendation for most students is: study this section of the tutorial and take the Writing Test.

WRITING INTRODUCTION

659

SCORING
The essay is scored on a scale or between

1

(worst) to 6 (best) by two graders, so your total score will be

2 and 12

(assuming you write on the assigned topic-if you don't, you'll get a

0).

The

ACT asks official graders to focus on the aspects below. We'll talk about these in more detail in the following pages (chapters indicated).

According to the official ACT scoring guide, an essay that scores a perfect 6 displays:
• • •

Clear understanding of the topic (Chapter II) A position, or thesis (Chapter II) Different perspectives, implications/complications, or counterarguments (Chapters II & III)

• • •

Logical, specific, and fully-elaborated ideas (Chapters II & Ill) Clear focus (Chapters II & Ill) Clear organization, with an introduction, conclusion, sensible transitions, and a logical sequence of ideas (Chapters II & Ill)

• • •

Good command of language (Chapter IV) Varied sentences and varied and precise word choices (Chapter IV) Few, if any, errors (Chapter Ill)

THE THREE STAGES
Writing the essay involves three basic stages. We'll cover these in detail in the following chapters, but here's a quick intra:

1.

Prewriting (3
• • • • •

-

5

minutes)

Read and analyze the topic. Determine your argument, or thesis. Consider supportive ideas. Consider opposing ideas or different perspectives. Prepare an outline.

2.

Writing the Essay
• • •

(22-25 minutes)

Introduce your topic and thesis in an introduction. Support your thesis with examples and other evidence. Conclude the essay with a conclusion.

3.

Revising and Proofreading
• •

(2-3

minutes)

Check for errors in grammar, spelling, etc. Rearrange a sentence or two.

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

LENGTH
There is no required length for your essay. In general, quality is more important than quantity. An essay written succinctly and to the point will score higher than a needlessly wordy one. However, it is unlikely that a single-paragraph essay will score well. The essay should generally be between four and five paragraphs long.

HANDWRITING
It is obviously important to write neatly and legibly. You cannot effectively convey your points and opinions if the reader is not able to understand what you have written. In addition, a neatly written essay may put the graders in a better frame of mind, perhaps gaining you a point or two.

WHERE TO WRITE
Each writing topic is presented as a prompt in a test booklet. In the test booklet, there will be plenty of space (more than enough) for you to plan your essay. When you start writing the actually essay, you'll use the lined pages in an answer folder. Keep the following in mind:

1.

You must use a "soft lead pencil." Complete your practice essays with a pencil so you get used to it. Most students are more comfortable writing non-mathematical material with pens, so practice with a pencil.

2.

You must stay within the rectangular box on each answer sheet. Do not write in the margins, even if you're writing corrections or additions. Only the writing within the box will be graded. (Check out an answer sheet in the ACT book, near the end of each practice test, or turn to page 686 in this tutorial.)

3.

You may write between the lines of your essay for corrections or additions. Try to keep it neat.

WRITING INTRODUCTION

661

II
PREWRITING
The prewriting stage includes:
• • • • •

Understanding the topic. Developing a thesis. Thinking of specific examples to support your thesis. Considering other viewpoints (opposition and different perspectives). Creating a brief outline.

The prewriting stage should take you approximately 3 to 5 minutes.

PREWRITING

663

1. TOPIC AND THESIS
THE TOPIC
The topic of the essay will generally reflect the interests and experiences of high school students; in fact, the topic usually has something to do with high school itself ( grading, curriculum, policies, etc. ). The topic will usually be presented with four sentences:

1. 2. 3. 4.

The first sentence will introduce the topic. The second sentence will give you a supporting viewpoint for the topic. The third sentence will give you an opposing viewpoint for the topic. The fourth sentence will be a clear question that asks you to take a position on the topic.

Read the example topic below:

Example Writing Test Prompt
Many high schools in the United States have decided to do away with letter grades, opting for a pass/no-pass grading criteria. Some educators support a pass/no-pass system of grading because they think that there's enough pressure put on high school students as they prepare for college. Other educators worry that, without a letter-grade system, students will become lazy or apathetic toward their school work. In your opinion, should high schools do away with letter grades?

In your essay, take a position on this question. You may write about either one of the two points of view given, or you may present a different point of view on this question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.

Read the last paragraph above carefully because this is the last time you should ever read it. It's the same every time. Focus on the topic presented in the first paragraph. Make sure you understand the topic. Consider the two viewpoints. Sometimes they'll give you some good ideas.

THE THESIS
Once you understand the given topic, it is time to take a position-your thesis. A thesis clearly answers the topic question. It is what you must support and defend in the body of your essay.

664

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Before you determine your thesis, think about how you might support it. If you think one viewpoint will be much easier to support than another, you might consider taking the easier one. On the other hand, there's a good chance that your most effective essay will be the one that explores your own, true opinion on the topic, so consider answering the question honestly.

Regardless of what position you choose, you must take one, even if you have no strong opinion. While you may not care deeply about the topic, you must create the impression to the graders that you do. You will not be graded down for having an unpopular or politically incorrect opinion. In general, how you support your opinion is more important than the opinion itself. (It's worth mentioning, however, that it's probably not a good idea to write something incredibly politically incorrect-if you upset the graders, they may subconsciously lower your score.)

FOCUS THE THESIS
It is usually a good idea to focus your thesis. Consider the topic introduced in the previous section. A general thesis might read like this:

A focused thesis will tackle the issue differently by focusing on a specific aspect of letter grades:

fetter-gr:zde systeM o.f' gr:zdi.()g gu:tr:Z()tees th:zt stude()ts wiff be prep:zred .Por coffege :t()d .Puture c:zreers by e()cour:tgiflg us to COMpete ()Ow.
AThis thesis makes clear that the writer supports letter grades, but it also focuses on a specific idea regarding letter grades: competition in high school will prepare students for the future.

Plan to quickly write down your thesis, and stick with it throughout the essay. It is important to

CD

always keep your thesis in mind while you write the essay. Let it guide you from your introduction to your last sentence, and eliminate any information that wanders from your main argument.

PREWRITING

665

2. SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION
SUPPORT FOR YOUR THESIS
A clear thesis is obviously only the beginning of creating an excellent essay. You must provide evidence to effectively and sensibly support your thesis, including examples, facts, ideas, or observations. As stated earlier, the ACT essay topics generally reflect the interests and experiences of high school students. Thus, you should plan to support your thesis with your own knowledge and experiences.

WRITE DOWN 2-4 SUPPORTIVE IDEAS
Remember, we're in the prewriting stage. We're not actually writing the essay yet; we're just coming up with ideas. The following are some ideas that support our focused thesis from the previous section. (The notes you write during the prewriting stage will be written in the "plan your essay'' portion of the ACT test booklet. Look at one of the Writing Tests in the ACT book to see how much space you'll have-there's plenty.)

• • •

Leiier grades proMoie coMpeicicon en high schools. Lei-ter grades ensure -thai s-tuden-ts well be ready .Por college. Co,..,pe-tcng now prepares us .Por .Pcndcng jobs when we en-ter -the work .Porce.

Q)

COME UP WITH SPECIFIC EXAMPLES
Always strive to think of specific examples. This is one of the keys to success on the Writing
Test. For example, don't talk about other students in general. Talk about your specific friends, and mention them by name. Don't talk about colleges in general. Talk about Stanford or Berkeley. Don't talk about companies in general. Talk about specific companies, such as Ford or Walmart. The following are a few specific examples for the supportive statements above. Remember, these are just notes. We'll turn them into clear sentences later.

Lei-ter grades proMo-te coMpeieiCon en high schools. -7 My own coMpe-tc-tcon wcih A-rc. Bo-th irycng -to ge-t -the bes-t grades. Lei-ter grades ensure -thai s-tuden-ts well be ready .Por college. -7 [ war')i -to ge-t Cr')io S-ta�ord ar')d Berkeley. A-dvanced calculus iesi. CoMpeiL.r'>g ()Ow prepares us .Por .Pcndiflg jObs when we enter ihe work .Porce. -7 U.,e,..,ployMefli Cs up. Ford a()d WafMar-t are -turt')Ct1g -to foreign workers who are wcrrct')g -to work .Por less.

666

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

CRITICAL THINKING (OPPOSITION)
The ACT wants you to think critically. You must think about at least some of the following:
• • •

Counterarguments to the topic Implications or complications related to the topic
Different perspectives on the topic (may not always be opposing perspectives )

Try to think of at least two opposing ideas or different perspectives for the topic. Oftentimes, each idea will relate to a specific supportive statement, but you can think of other opposing ideas.

Suppor-t: Le-t-ter gr-a.cles promo-te compe-ti-tetm in high schoofs. Opposi-ti.Dr'): -roo much pressure Otl s-tudetJ-ts. Suppor-t: Le-t-ter gr-a.cles et)sure -th-a.-t s-tudetJ-ts wiff be re-a.cly for coffege. Opposi-ti.Dr'): S-tudetJ-ts -tocl-a.y pu-t -too much focus Ot1 gr-a.cles 'a.tld ge-t-titJg itJ-to -a. good coffege. Suppor-t: C.ompe-titJg tJOw prep-a.res us for fitlditlg jObs whetl we etJ-ter -the work force. Opposi-ti.Dr'): MDf'le':J 'a.tld c-a.reers -a.retJ'-t every-thitJg.

In the next chapter, you'll see examples of how to respond to these opposing viewpoints in your essay.

PREWRITING

667

3. THE OUTLINE
THE OUTLINE
So far, we have a focused thesis statement, 3 supportive ideas with specific examples, and 2 or

3 opposing ideas. When you write these ideas down (before you start writing the actual essay),
it's a good idea to put them in an outline form with two columns. Set up your outline as shown below. Use a
"+"

sign for a support column and a "-" sign for an opposition column:

1"hesis: A- fe-t-ter-grttde sys-tem

&P

grttdit1g guttrat')iees ihtt-t s-t�.<det')is wiff be prepared

for

coffege a01d

fu-t�.<re
+

careers by et')CD�.<ragit1g us -to compe-te t')Dw.

Lei-ter grades promo-te compe-tiiiDt1 it1 high schools.

1"oo m�.<ch pressure 011 si�.<de01is.

ex) My DWt'l compeiL.iiDt1 wi-th A-fi. Bo-th -tryit1g -to ge-t -the bes-t grades.

Le-t-ter grades et')sure -thai s-t,.det')is wiff be ready

S-t,.det')is -today p�.<i -too m�.<ch

focus

Dt1

for

coffege.

grades a01d ge-tiit"'g it'){D a good coffege.

ex) I wat1i -to ge-t it1iD S-ta�ord tt11d Berkefey. A-dva01ced cafc�.<f�.<s -tes-t.

C.ompeiit1g t')Ow prepares �.<s

for

1'-lo01ey a11d careers ttren'-t everyihit1g.

fcndcng force.

jobs whe11 we en-ter -the work

ex) llrJemploymen-t is "'P· Ford a11d Wafmari are -turt1it1g -to

foreCgt1 for

workers who fess.

ttre wiffZt1g -to work

Notice that we wrote specific examples for each supportive idea under each idea. If you come up with all of your ideas first (before thinking of specific examples), make sure to leave room beneath each one. Also, notice that each opposing idea is written to the right of the relevant supportive idea.

668

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

PARAGRAPHS
Divide your essay into an introduction paragraph, body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. Each supportive idea above will probably be the topic of a body paragraph. Most of the perfect-scoring essays we've seen have three body paragraphs (that's why we recommend three supportive ideas), but two body paragraphs can work. Even one body paragraph is OK, but it better be the best paragraph ever (or close to it).

ORGANIZATION
Consider the logical order of your paragraphs. The idea you come up with first isn't necessarily the one that should go first in your essay. There are two things to consider:

1.

Think about a logical sequence to your ideas. Does one idea naturally flow to the next? Is there an element of time in your ideas? In the example above, the ideas logically move from high school to college and finally to career. This will be the order of the paragraphs.

2.

If a logical sequence to the paragraphs does not present itself, then you need to consider the likely quality of each paragraph. You might feel great about one of your ideas (in terms of how good your specific examples are, for instance, or perhaps your own knowledge about the idea). On the other hand, you might be dreading writing about another idea (maybe one without very good examples). A good rule of thumb is to have your most effective body paragraph last and your least effective body paragraph in the middle. This way, the reader will hopefully remember what came last (and forget, to some extent, about the idea in the middle).

Before you start writing the essay, next to each idea put a number that refers to the appropriate body paragraph.

PREWRITING

669

III
WRITING THE ESSAY
You have 25-27 minutes to write, revise, and proofread your essay, depending on how much time you spent on the prewriting stage. As we said, the essay should include an introduction, a body of 2-3 paragraphs, and a conclusion.

WRITING THE ESSAY

671

1. THE INTRODUCTION
The introduction is usually a short paragraph that states the thesis and grabs the reader's interest. While the thesis should be clear to the reader, don't phrase it as an announcement, such as: "In this essay, I will... " Give some general idea of how you will support your thesis, but don't go into too much detail.

FOCUS THE INTRODUCTION
Remember that we focused the thesis by referring to competition? Make sure to reflect that focus in your introduction. Here's an example:

A- leiier sysiell'!
wha-t at')
If A \\ ff

c{)
I

gradit1g has beet') arout')d .Per get1eraiiot')s. E'very()t')e kt1ows
{\ , {\
If

ll'!eat')s, at')a, l>t'' CDL<rse, we re arr -t-•all'!.::l.::ar w.::ih ihe dreaded

F.

\\

Lei-ter

gradit1g goes .Par beyot1d ed�.<caii()t'). A- Cf_L<ick ot1ICt1e search reveals leiier grades .Per s-tores, busit')esses, a11d et')ieriait111'!et1i. 14at1y c.::iies rectuire res-taura11is io show a glarCt'Jg blue leiier Ct1 ihe .Prot')i wC.,dow, ieffit1g cusioll'!ers ihai .::-t's sa.Pe io eai -there (or, -:zliemaii:Vely, rut1 .Por hiffs). So whai do aff

c{)

-these leiier grades h-:zve

io do wiih ed�.<caii:ot1? D11e word: coll'!pei.::iiot1. A- leiier-gr-:zde sysiell'! wiff prepare si1.<det1is .Por ihe re-:zl world, ()t')e where coll'!peiCiiot') le-:zcis io .schol-:z.siic at1d career success.
This introduction states the thesis (in the last sentence), gives some hints about how it will be supported ("scholastic and career success"), and reflects the focus of the essay ("competition").

COUNTERPOINT INTRODUCTION
Remember that the ACT loves critical thinking, which means you're considering the opposition. For this reason, we recommend writing a counterpoint introduction. This introduction begins by discussing the primary counterargument of the topic before revealing the writer's true opinion.

14at1y people-educ-:zior.s, p-:zret')i.s, "<!t1ci especi-:zlly .siuciet')is--:zre it1 .P-:zvor cioit1g aw-:zy wiih "<l leiier .sy.sie;>J pre.ss�.<res

c{)

of

c{)

gr-:zdit1g- Cot')cert')eci abou-t ihe ;>JOut')iit1g

coffege prep-:zraiCOt1, -they ihit1k ih-:zi a p-:z.s.sl.,o-pa.ss gr-:zdit1g crcierc-:z

wiff help si�.<cie()i.s jL<ggle school work, .spor-ts, cfub.s, "<!t1ci COMII'Iut1.::i y .service, w.::ihoui losit1g iheir Mit')d.s i:t1 ihe process. A-.,cJ II'I"<Zybe ihe.se siudet1i.s wcfl .Pi.,cJ "<l lii·tfe iiMe leot-i over io h-:zve
{\
,,

(\ \\ "<l li-t-·e. BL<i a p-:z.s.s/t')o-p-:z.s.s sysieM, which s-:zy.s ihai

average is good er)oL<gh, i.s t')oi ihe at1.swer. D.,I y a leiier-gracie sy.siell'! wiff prepare .si�.<det1i.s .Por ihe real world, Dt')e where coll'!peiCiCot1 leads io .scholas-tic at1d career .SL<cces.s.

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THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

This introduction achieves the same things as the first one (clear thesis, hints about how it will be supported, focus), but it also presents clear critical thinking by considering a

counterargument.

AVOID PERSONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Personal announcements can make an otherwise college-level essay suddenly feel like a high
school essay. Consider the following examples:

Weak:

I belieVe ih-:zi Dt'lf!} ":l (eiier-gr-:zcle sysiem .vi(( prep-:zre siucle()is
..vorfcl.

for

ihe re-:z(

Of course you believe this; you wouldn't write it otherwise.
Weak:

14!) -thesis is ihai I belieVe -th-:zi O()(!} a fe-tier-gracle S!}sieM ..v;;ff prep-:zre s-tucle()is

for

-the re-:zf wor(cl.

Your thesis should be clear without you announcing it.

Weak:

IfJ ihis ess-:zy1 I ..viff ex.pf":li() why Ofl(y a (eiier-gracle sysieM .vi(( prep-:zre siucle()is

for

ihe re-:zf worfcl.

Don't announce to the reader what you're going to do; just do it.

Strong:
Or,fy ":l (eiier-gr-:zcle sysieM .vi(( prep-:zre siude()is

for

ihe re-:z( ..vor(d.

WRITING THE ESSAY

673

2. THE BODY
Now we get into the meat of the essay: the body. The body is the most important part of the essay. The body's function is to support your thes i s
-

to convince the reader that your

argument is appropriate and sound. The best way to do this is with specific evidence,
examples, facts, data, arguments, or whatever else you can think up.

Think about the outline we came up with in the last chapter. We had three ideas for supporting the thesis, each with some specific examples. Each one, in this case, also had an opposing idea. Now it's time to tum these ideas into paragraphs. Let's start with the first one:

+ •

Letter grades proft'Jote COfYipetctco() i() high .schools.

roo fYJUCh pre.s.sure D() .stude()t.s.

ex.) My ow() coft'lpetctcD() wcth A-le. Both tryit'lg to get the be.st grades. Letter grades C()Veie coft'lpetctCo()1 at1d coft'lpetctCD() pu.she.s u.s to be our best. I've know() fYI!:J

.Prce()d

A-le

.Por

nai.P fYI!:J lc.Pe. We .spe()i fYJO.St

of

juY)COr high .school

playCYlg oY)e-oY)-D()e basketball i() fYI!:J drcveway. When the weather turY)ed1 we'd i()Ve.st the .saft'Je COfYJpetctcve .spirit i()to A-lc'.s Super Marco Cart vcdeo gaft'le) throwCYlg turtle shells at1d lcghtYliYlg bolts a-t each other with ft'laY)Cacal glee. Now iYl high school1 we're puttCYlg our coft'lpetctcve .spirit to a fYJOre us eful purpose: grades. . A-le at1d I are both iYl the honors prograft'l at Hcllhur.st Hcgh1 and fYJO.stly it'l the .saft'le cla.s.se.s. Letter grades gcve u.s a way to COft'Jpare our .scores/ and fYJOre ift'Jportantly to pu.sh our.selve.s to .stat1d ou-t

.Proft'l

the crowd. While .soft'le .say that letter grades

pu-t too fYJUCh pre.s.sure D() high school .studeY)t.s1 -the reality is that thC.s pressure pu.she.s us to .succeed. We're not if) ju()Cor high .school a()yft'lore. Playiift'le Cs over. There are some important things to notice:
• •

The first sentence is a clear topic sentence. Specific examples are used throughout: "Ali," "one-on-one basketball," "Super Mario Cart," "Hillhurst High," etc.

The writer introduces a counterargument ("too much pressure"), and responds to it: " ... the reality is that this pressure pushes us to succeed. We're not in junior high school anymore. Playtime is over."

The paragraph maintains the focus of the essay regarding the benefits of letter grades: "Letter grades give us a way to compare our scores, and more importantly to push ourselves to stand out from the crowd."

674

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Let's look at the next one:
+ •

Leiter grades er')stcre thai si�.cder')is wcff be ready

S-t�.cder')is today ptci too Mtcch

.Poctcs

Dr')

.Per

coffege.

grades ar')d geiitr'lg Cr')iD a good co{{ege.

ex) I war')i to get Cr')iD S-ta�ord ar')d Berkefey. A-dvar')ced cafctcftcs test.

My goaf Cs to get Cr')io a grea-t schoof. S-ta�ord ar'lcJ Berkefey are a-t the top M!:) fest. B�.c-t ge-titr'lg Cr') Cs Dr'lf!:) pari

of

of

the process-a sMaff par-t. I war'li to exce{

wher'l I'M ihere1 ar')d a fetter-grade systeM Cr') htgh schoo{ wcff hefp Me prepare. A­ pass/r')o-pass systeM does r')Di prepare si�.cder')is
(I \\

.Per

the rcgors

of

co{fege. No
{\

schoo{s I ia)ow1 especcaffy acadeMic powerhD�.cses1 tciC{C�e a pass/r')o-pass systeM. IMagtr')e the shock wher') a cafctcftcs test. A-rr pass/r')o-pass si�.cder')i has to take his -t-�Crsi advanced

of

a stcdder')1 fetter grades Mea(} a fo-t. Whcfe I've heard soMe say

thai too Mt<Ch eMphases Cs placed Dr') grades ar')d ge-titr'lg Cr')iD a good coffege1 the rea{Ci!:) Cs thai there Cs r')D stcbsiCitcie Cn coffege1 a beg pari

for

advar')cecJ fearr')Cr')g. Learr')Cr'lg Cs ftfel and

of fcfe

Cs the fetter grade.

Notice the following:

The topic is introduced in the third sentence: "I want to excel when I'm there, and a letter grade system will help me prepare."

• •

Again specific examples are used: "Stanford," "Berkeley," and "advanced calculus test." The writer introduced a counterargument ("too much emphasis is placed on grades and getting into a good college"), and responded to it: " ... the reality is that there's no substitute for advanced learning."

The paragraph maintains the focus of the essay (" ... in college, a big part of life is the letter grade.").

And the last body paragraph:

+ •

C.oMpeitr')g r')Dw prepares tcs

.Per

.Pcr')dtr')g force.

JDbs wher') we er')ier the work

ex) llneMpfoyMer')i Cs tcp. Ford ar')d WafMar-t are itcrntr'lg to are wellCr')g to

.Poretgr'l workers work .Per ress.

who

WRITING THE ESSAY

675

/here Cs. more competeiCO() ()Ow Lt") the A-merCc:lf) job m:trket th:tt") ever be.Pore. lifJempfoyme()t Ls. hCgh. [() :z tcme whet") Ford Ls. bw:fdLt")g c:trs. it') Mexico :tt")d W:zfm:zrt is. buyit'lg most ()eVer bee()

Cis. products.

.Prom

Chit1-:t1 competeiiot")
{\

.Por
II

jobs. C.() A-meric:t h:ts.
\\

.P c.ercer.
I

Wh:zt do fetter gr:tdes h:zve to do with th.:s.? O.,ce ag:ti()J Ait') Biology tod:zy

f\ we' re b:zck to the Cae:z o-t-· competitio(). My struggle -t-or :tt")

prep:zres. me

.Por

the struggle to

.P c.t")d

a job1 ye:zrs

.Prom

t")ow1 :zs. :z M:zri()e Biologist.

/he fetter gr:tde h:ts. Ct")s.tcffed Ct1 me :z drCVe to s.ucceed1 :z drive th:zt will hope.Puffy hefp me rC.se :zbove the fettle job seekers..

.Pc.s.h

Lt") :Zt1 ever more competct.:ve pot1d

Notice the following:

The paragraph stays on topic: "My struggle for an "A" in Biology today prepares me for the struggle to find a job, years from now, as a Marine Biologist."

Once again specific examples are used: "Ford," "Walmart," "Biology," and "Marine Biologist."

The writer chose not to include a counterargument. You don't always end up putting everything in your essay that you wrote down in your outline. That's fine. For this essay, the writer already considered alternate viewpoints a few times.

TRANSITIONS
The only thing missing from these body paragraphs (specifically the second two) are transitions, something the ACT graders look for. Transitions logically move the reader from one idea to the next. Look at the main ideas of the three body paragraphs:

1. 2. 3.

Letter grades promote competition in high school. Letter grades ensure that students will be ready for college. Competing now prepares us for finding jobs when we enter the work force.

The first sentence of each paragraph should logically and effectively move the reader from one idea to the next. Look at the following transitions added to the beginnings of the second and third body paragraphs:

Body Paragraph 2:

J.P

grades ;Ire iJt?pod;:lr)t if) high SChoo(J they're eVer) Jt?Ore iJt?pori;znt if)

colfege. My go:zf is. to get it")to a gre:zt .schoof. ..

676

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

Body Paragraph 3: For II'IO.S-t

..p

IA.SJ -the cdea l.s -to go -to a good collegel r.)Drk hard} gradwa-tel 3f)d

.Pend

a rer.)ardcng jOb. But there is more compeiiiiot1 no..v L.n the .4-meric:zn job

m:zrket th:zn ever be.Pore ...

Each transition (in bold) mentions the previous paragraph's main idea and prepares the reader for what's to come. The first transition moves the reader from "high school" to "college." The second transition moves the reader from "a good college" to "a rewarding job."

There are some simple ways to create transitions:

1.

The examples above show that mentioning the previous topic and then the next topic can be effective. You can often use contrast words, such as "but" or "not," as in the following examples:

Body Paragraph 2: 6n,de.s are lll'lpor-fiar>t U') hlgh .schoofl hu-f; -they're eVet') 111ore lll'!por-fiar>-t lf) college. My goal is to get en-to :z gre:zt school... Body Paragraph 3: 5-tr.cdet')-fi.S do @i .s-triVe -fio ge-f; good grades U') college jW.S-fi l-t.sei.P-everyl)f)e' .s hoping

.Por

{he grade

.Por

a rer.)ardit1g job. But there is more competi-tion

r>ow i.t1 -the .4-meric:Z() job m:zrket ih:m ever be-Pore...

2.

You could create a simple topic sentence with a word such as also or similarly: Body Paragraph 2: brade.s are 1f.so lmpor-tar>-t en coHege. My go:zl cs -to get ir>-to :z gre:z-t

school...
Body Paragraph 3: ihe drcve

.fYor

good grades en coHege c.s .scmlfar -to -the drcve

.fYor

a -trwfy

rer.)ardcng job. But -there ls more compeii.ii.ot1 t')ow i.n the .4-merlc:Zn job m:zrket

th:zr> ever be.f'ore...

No matter which approach you take, make sure your paragraphs are linked with effective transitions.

WRITING THE ESSAY

677

3. THE CONCLUSION
The concluding paragraph should review your essay's thesis and wrap things up. A good way

to do this is to restate the important points in the introduction using different words.
Here's an example:

A- pass!()trp-ass sys-tet>?

of'

gr-adi.()g i.() hi.gh school se()ds
'3.

'3.

t>?ess-age -that -aver-age

Cs good e()ough. I-t i.()spi.res -ap-athy at

ii.t>?e whe() s-tude()-ts should be i.()spCred -to

ex.cef. SureJ fe-tter gr-ades ca() add pressure -to hCgh school s-tude()isJ but c-t's ihi.s pressure -that pushes us -to succeed iot>?orrow i.() coffegeJ a()d -to CDt>?pe-te -the ()ex.i d:z !:J i.() -the sob t>?arke-t.

Notice how the writer brought some of the most important points of the introduction to the conclusion: Introduction
"

Conclusion SureJ fe-tter gr:tdes
C:Zfl
\I

:zdd pressure iD

high schcof s-tude()is.
(f

...cot>?pe-tL-ti.o() fe:zds -to schcf:zs-ti.c ...
\\

"

...pushes us -to succeed iDt>?Orrow i.()
\\

success.
If

coffege ...
"

...cot>?pe-t£-tCo() leads -tc ... c:zreer
\\

...COt>?pe-te -the ()ext d:z !:J
\\

[()

-the jOb

success ...

t>?:trke-t.

If you can, find a creative way to end your essay unforgettably. This can be done with humor, a quote, a metaphor, or any other creative idea, but remember that the conclusion's main purpose is to wrap up the essay by confirming your thesis one final time. Adding the following sentence to the conclusion above would have been a nice touch:

The leiter grade gets :t()

"

A-.

\\

The final product is on the next page.

678

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

M:zny people-ecluc:z-tors1 p:tren-ts1 :zncl especi:tlly s-tuden-ts-are Ctl lei-ter sys-tem

.P:zvor o.f'

clocng :lw:ty wi.ih #

bs, :tnd -thi.nk ih:z-t :z p:zsslno-p:tss gr:zdcng crHeri.<J wi.ll help s-tuden-ts juggle school work1 sporis1 clu b commU()i.-ty serVi.ce1 wi.-thoui (osi.ng ihei.r minds i.f) -the process. And m:ty e -these s-tuden-ts will .Pend
;z

o.f'

gr:zclcng. C.Of)cernecl 2boui -the moun-tcng pressures

o.f'

college prep:tr2iiof)J -they

fe-t-tle -ti.111e fet-·-t over -to n:tve

{\

/1

2 lit-e.

{\

\\

.L _/ Bu-t :z p:Zsstf)o-p:tss sysie1111 which s:tys -th#-.. 2Ver2ge cs

good enough1 i.s no-t -the <Jf)swer. Dnly 2 le-t-ter-grtde sys-te111 will prep:tre studen-ts world1 Of)e where co,.,pe-tC-tiof) le2ds -to scho(;zs-tic :lf)d c:zreer success.

.Por

the re2l

Leiter gr:zdes cnvt-te co111pe-ti.ii.of)1 2nd compe-ti.-ti.Of) pushes us -to be our bes-t. I've kf)o..Jf) my

.Prcencl

A-li

.Por

h2I.P my lc.Pe. We spen-t most

o.f'

juf)i.or high school pl:tyCtlg Of)e-0()-0f)e b:zsketb:zll i.f)

my clriVew:ty. When -the we2ther -tumec/1 we'cl i.f)Vesi -the s2me co111peiL-ti.Ve spirit i.f)io A-le's Super M:tri.o C2ri vee/eo g:tme1 throwi.ng -turtle shells :zncl li.gh-tncng bolts 2-t e:tch o-ther wi.ih m:tf)i.2c:tl glee. Now if) high school1 we're pu-ttcng our compeii.ii.Ve spiri-t to 2 111ore us e-Pul purpose: gr:zdes. A-le 2nd I 2re bo-th if) -the hO()ors progr:tm 2-t Hcllhurs-t High} 2f)d II'IOstly Cf) the s2me ci<Jsses. Le-tter gr2des gcve us
;z

w2y -to co111p2re our scores1 :lf)cl more i.111por-t2f)tly to push ourselves -to s-t2f)d oui

.Prom

ihe

crowd. While some s2y ih2t letter gr:tdes pu-t ioo 111uch pressure Of) high school s-tuden-ts/ ihe re:tli-ty i.s -th:z-t ihi.s pressure pushes us -to succeed. We're Y)o-t if) juf)i.or high school 2f)y111ore. Pl2ytcme is over. I.P gr2cles :zre impor-t:zn-t if) high school, -they're eVer) more impori:lf)-t Cf) college. My go:zl is -to ge-t en-to :z gre:z-t school. S-t:tYJ.f'ord :zncl Berkeley 2re :z-t -the top p2ri

o.f'

my lis-t. But ge-t-tcng if) i.s Of)(y

o.f'

-the process-a s111all pari. I w:lf)i -to excel when I'111 -there1 :lf)d :z lei-ter-grade sys-tem i.f)

hi.gh school wi.ll help me prep2re. A- p2ss/no-p:tss sys-tem does not prep2re students

.Por

-the ri.gors

o.f' o.f'

college. No schools I kf)ow1 especially 2c2clemic powerhouses1 utili�e 2 p:tsslno-p2ss sys-tem.
/1

Im2gine -the shock when 2

p2ss/no-p2ss

\I

s-tuden-t h#s -to t:zke hi.s

{\ t- i.rs-t

aclv:lf)ced calculus tes-t. A-ll

:z sudden1 letter gr:zcles me:lf) 2 lo-t. Whi.le I've he<Jrd so111e s:ty th2t too much emph2sis i.s pl:zcecl

on grades and gettcng en-to 2 good college1 -the re2li-ty is -th2-t -there is no subs-ti.-tuie le:trf)i.f)g. Le:Zrf)i.f)g is lc.Pe1 :zncl i.f) college1 a beg p2r-t For mosi

.Por

adv:tnced

o.f' lc.Pe

i.s the letter gr:zde.

o.f'

us1 -the idea i.s io go to :z good college1 work h2rd1 gr:zdu:z-te1 :tnd

.Pend

:z rew:zrdcng

job. Bu-t -there i.s more co,.,pe-titi.Of) ()Ow i.f) -the A-meri.c<lf) job 111arke-t than ever be.Pore. Une,.,ploymen-t i.s hi.gh. In a -time when Ford i.s buclclcng cars Cf) Mexico :lf)d Walmar-t i.s buyi.ng mos-t

o.f'

Lis produc-ts

.Prom
/I

C.hi.na1 co111peti.-ti0()

.Por

jobs if) A-merica h<ls never been

.f'cercer.

Wha-t do

lei-ter grades h:zve -to do wi-th -this? Dnce agacn1 we're b:zck to -the cclea struggle -r·or
{\

A- ll

o.f'

co,.,pe-ti.ii.of). My

2()

{\ i.f) Biology today prepares 111e t-·or -the s-truggle -to Hncl a job1 years -r·roll'l f)ow1 {\ {\

hope.Pully help 111e rise :zbove -the Ie-t-tie A- p2sslno-pass system

as <l Marine Bcologcs-t. 'fhe le-t-ter gr:zcle h2s i.f)siilred Cf) me a clri.Ve -to succeec/1 a dri.Ve -tha-t wi.ll

.Pcsh

if)

o.f'

#f)

ever 111ore compe-tcti.Ve pO()d

o.f'

job seekers.

gr:zclcng i.f) high school sends a message ih2i aver2ge Cs good enough.

I-t Cnspi.res apa-thy 2-t a -ti.me when studen-ts should be Cf)spi.recl -to excel. Sure1 letter gr:zdes can 2clcl pressure -to hi.gh school s-tuclenis1 bu-t c-t's -this pressure -thai pushes us -to succeed -tomorrow if) college1 2nd -to compe-te the next d2y if) -the job marke-t. 'fhe letter gr:tde ge-ts
an 11 A- 11

.

WRITING THE ESSAY

679

4. ENGLISH REVIEW
We generally recommend working on the Writing Test after you've completed most of the lessons in the English section of this tutorial because many of the lessons that support the English Test will help you become a better writer.

GRAMMAR
The first step in avoiding grammar errors is to become familiar with them. If you've gone through the Grammar chapter (Chapter II of the English section), you'll be well on your way. As you read over your practice essays, look for grammar errors the same way you have been on the English Test's multiple choice questions. Try to determine which grammar errors you have a tendency to make, and work on avoiding them in your own writing.

USAGE/MECHANICS REVIEW
Review the guidelines below, taken from the Usage/Mechanics chapter (Chapter Ill) of the English section. Some of these will be discussed in further detail in the Eloquence chapter:
• •

Avoid needless words. Write succinctly and watch out for redundancies. When possible, avoid -ing words, especially being and having. While not always incorrect, -ing words are often awkward.

Avoid the passive voice. Make sure the subjects of your sentences are performing the actions.

RHETORICAL SKILLS REVIEW
The Rhetorical Skills chapter (Chapter IV) of the English section offers some important lessons about constructing an essay.
• •

Each paragraph should have a clear main idea. Make sure transitions between sentences are logical. If necessary, review the following transitions:

Contrast transitions Support transitions Cause and effect transitions

• •

As discussed, make sure your transitions between paragraphs are effective and logical. Each paragraph should support your thesis.

680

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

5. PROOFREAD
Always leave yourself 2 to 3 minutes to read over your essay. Look for mistakes in spelling and grammar that are a common result of hurried writing. You may also decide to rearrange some ideas or sentences if you notice obvious awkwardness. Remember, you only have a few minutes, so you won't have enough time for major revisions. However, if you catch a few spelling or grammar errors, your essay will likely give a better impression to the reader. Try to correct the 6 errors in the following paragraph before you look at the answers below:
MClt'ly people-educcziors1 pczret')-ts1 Clt')d especcally siudet')is-Ct') wCih Cl lei-ter-grade sys-terrJ

.Pczvor o./)

doCI')g Clwel y

o./)

grczd.:t'Jg. Cot')cert')ed czboui -the rrJouniit'lg pressures

o./)

college prepczrcz-t.:on1 Cl pczss/t')o-pczss grczd.:ng cr.:-ter.:cz will help each s-tuden-t juggle -their school work1 spor-ts, clubs, cznd corrJrrJunc-ty service, weihoui losing iheCr rrJCI')ds in -the process. A-nd rrJClybe -these s-tuden-ts wCif lc-t-·e.
(\ "

./)Ct')d

Cl fe-t-tle iCrrJe le.P-t over -to have have

ucz

Bu-t Cl passIno-pczss sys-terrJ1 whCch says ihczi czverczge is good enough, czre no-t -the

Clt')swer. 01'){ y Cl lei-ter-grade sysierrJ will prepare s-tuden-ts

.Por

-the real world, one

where corrJpeic-tCot') leads io scholczsiCc1 Clt'ld career success.

'
1 Many people-educcziors1 pczren-ts1 cznd especcczlly s-tuden-ts-are it') away weih a lei-ter-grade sys-terrJ

.Pavor o./)

docng

o./)

grading. CD()cerned czboui -the rrJoun-tcng pressures a pczsslno-pczss gradcng crc-terccz wCII help

o./)

college prepczrcz-tcon1

-they -thcnk -tha·fl

sir.t.den-t.i
(\

juggle ihecr school work1 spor-ts, clubs, cznd corrJrrJunc-ty servCce1 wC-thou-t

losCI')g -their rrJCnds en -the process. And rrJczybe -these s-tuden-ts well fe-t-·-t over io

4

have

If

.Pend

cz fe-t-tle iCtt'le

a lc-t-·e.

fl

"

Bu-t a passlt')o-p-ass sys-terrJ1 which says -thai aver:zge

Cs good et')ough1

Cs5

no-t ihe answer. Dt'lly a lei-ter-grade sysiett'l will prepare siudet')is

.Por
1.

-the re-al world, ot')e where corrJpeiCiCot') leads -to

schol:u:-tcc6

and c-areer success.

The first sentence was a fragment, with the subject "people" missing a verb. Add "are." This was an improper modifier. Who was concerned? Certainly not "a pass/no-pass grading criteria." Add the correct group {"they'').

2.

3.

Pronoun agreement errors are very common. Notice the two plural pronouns ("their") later in this sentence. Change the singular "each student" to the plural "students" to fix the error.

4.

Sometime when you pause to think, you may accidentally repeat a word. Proofread carefully to catch these errors.

5. 6.

Watch out for subject-verb agreement errors. The word "system" is singular. The comma following "scholastic" was unneeded.

WRITING THE ESSAY

681

6. TIMING
You have 30 minutes to write the essay. Nothing's worse than being in the middle of the greatest essay ever written only to hear the dreaded words "times up!" You should have some general timing strategy in place to make sure you'll finish the essay and have a few minutes left over to proofread.

Let's break the essay down into 6 timed sections:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Prewriting: 5 minutes Introduction: 5 minutes Body Paragraph 1: 5 minutes Body Paragraph 2: 5 minutes Body Paragraph 3: 5 minutes Conclusion and proofreading: 5 minutes Total time
=

30 minutes

These are all rough estimates. You might finish the prewriting stage in only 3 minutes. You'll probably take more than 5 minutes to write one of your body paragraphs (the one with the most info ). You'll hopefully take less than 5 minutes for your easiest or shortest body paragraph. While you'll undoubtedly see variations in your times, the above plan gives you a straightforward way to see if you're really starting to fall behind. For example, if you're still writing the introduction and 12 minutes have passed, you'll need to wrap up that introduction and move on to the body paragraphs.

682

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

7. IMPROVE YOUR SCORE, NOW
All of the previous techniques have one thing in common: they can be applied to your essay writing now. The next chapter will discuss writing style, which will take some time to develop, but for now just focus on the techniques discussed on the previous pages. By following these techniques and guidelines as you practice writing essays, most students will quickly see immediate and sometimes dramatic score increases. The following summarizes the previous sections:

THE THREE STAGES
1.
Prewriting
• •

(3-5

minutes}

Read and analyze the topic. Come up with a thesis.

Focus your thesis.

Write down 2-4 supportive ideas. Come up with specific examples for your ideas. Think critically-consider the opposition and different perspectives. Prepare an outline.

2.

Writing the Essay

(22-25

minutes}

Introduction
• • •

Focus it.

Consider writing a counterpoint introduction . Avoid personal announcements.

Body
• •

Support your thesis with 2-3 body paragraphs. Include transitions between the body paragraphs.

Conclusion
• •

Restate the introduction using different words. If you can, end your essay creatively.

3.

Revising and Proofreading

(2-3

minutes}

Check for errors in grammar, spelling, etc. Rearrange ideas or sentences (but not too much}.

WRITING THE ESSAY

683

IV
ELOQUENCE
Eloquence is what separates a good essay from an average essay. An eloquent essay will
support the thesis in clear and effective ways, and it will be enjoyable to read, smoothly and logically moving from one sentence to the next. This section will explore a number of topics that relate to eloquence. These topics will allow you to create a personal writing style, let a bit of you come through in your writing, and create an essay that stands out as a welcome oasis in a monotonous desert of drab and dreary writing that the ACT graders must certainly face.

The following topics are roughly in order of importance. If you do not have time to cover all them, start with the first topic and go in order. You could also look over your past essays with a tutor and identify the topics that would benefit you the most.

ELOQUENCE

691

1. VARY SENTENCE STRUCTURE
Many beginning writers use several sentences of similar structure in repetition. For example:

I h:zd.,(t yet .see() ":J. .science
lights dimmed. .speci":J.{,

.Pictiof)
the

movee.

I didn't kf)o.v .vh:zt to expect.

1"he

1"he movie .st:zrted.

I kf)e.v immedi:ztefy I .v:z.s if)
.scene.

.Por

.somethiflg

I .v:z.s hooked

.Prom

.Pcr.st

Another example would include nothing but compound sentences, with two independent clauses:

I h:zdn't ye-t .seen ":J. .science

.PcctiDfl

movie1 :znd I dcdn't kf)o.v .vh:zt to expec-t.

/he lights dcmmed1 :znd the moVie .st:zrted. .someihcng .speci:zf1 :znd I .v:z.s hooked

I kne.v Cmmedc:ztefy I .v:z.s ifl
the

.Por

.Prom

.Pir.si

.scene.

To create interest, avoid excess mechanical symmetry by varying your sentence structure. Besides the occasional short, simple sentence, include sentences with dependent clauses and modifying phrases, as well as compound sentences. Turn back to the Punctuation section in the English section, if necessary, to review these topics. The following paragraph displays a variety of sentence structures:

Bec:zu.se I h:zdn't yet .seen :z .science

.Pictcon
the

movie1 I didn' i kno.v .vh:zt -to expect.

A-.s the lights dimmed1 the movie .st:zrted1 :znd I kne.v immedc:ztely I .v:z.s if) .something .specc:zl.

.Por

I .v:z.s ht>t>ked

.Prom

.Pir.st

.scene.

Rewrite the short passage on the next page using a variety of sentence structures. For the following and all writing exercises in this section, you are encouraged to be creative with your revisions. Possible answers start on page 706:

692

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

S-t:zr W:trs w:ts rele:tsed kc.nd. /he success

in

�"'(7-7-.

5-t:zr �rs w:ts the most popul:tr movc.e

of

L.is

of

S-t:zr �rs brought on :t b:zrr:tge Young lhese

of

toys :znd other lhese

movc.e-rel:z-ted merch:zndc.se. L.iems L.ncfuded :tciL.on

.P:zns .P:zns

collected countless L.iems.

.Pc.guresl

colorL.ng books/ lunch box..esl and :tnyihL.ng else :tre much older now. Some

fans h:zve kepi iheL.r S-tar Wars toys en prcs-tcne condc.-tc.on. of these L.iems to corteciors .Por ihous:znds of doff:trs.

be:zrc.ng the 5-t:zr �rs fogo.

of

these

/hey can self some

ELOQUENCE

693

2. WRITE SUCC/NCTL Y
It is important to write in a concise and succinct manner, avoiding all needless words. This can be accomplished in a number of ways:

COMBINE SENTENCES
Writing succinctly does not mean sentences must be short and simple; in fact, succinct writing often includes combining simple sentences into more complex ones through the use of dependent clauses and modifying phrases.

Wordy:
rhe

kk�;trd � !)� is :l s-tory -th:z-t -te((s
£-t ..u:zs ol')e

o-P o-P

-the :ldVel')-tures

o-P

Doro-thy :ll')d

her dog 1"o-to.
Succinct:
rhe

o-P

a series

books wri-t-tel') by L. Fr:zl')k B:zutt'J.

Wt:�;trd

� t)-eJ o-P

ol')e

o-P

:: series

o-P o-P

books wri-t-tel') by L. Fr:ZI')k Bautt'IJ is :l Doro-thy :ll')d her dog 1" o-to.

s-tory -th:z-t -te((s

-the :ldVel')-tures

MINIMIZE THE USE OF PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES
When possible, eliminate prepositional phrases (review Subject-Verb Agreement in the English section). This will lead to more succinct writing.

Wordy:

:Sord:ll') ..u:zs deligh-ted ;t}Jou-t his boss's decisiol') -to el')d -the d:Zy }J!J cfosil'lg -the doors �-the .P::c-tory :ll')d (e-t-til'lg everyDI')e go hott1e e:zr(y.
Succinct:
:Sorchl'l

..vas cJefigh-tecJ -th:z-t his boss closed -the .P::c-tory doors :ll')d (e-t

everyol')e go hott1e e:zr(y.
In the example above, four prepositional phrases were removed, yielding a more succinct sentence.

694

THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

USE YOUR VOCABULARY TO SHORTEN PHRASES
Many common expressions can be easily shortened using different words in place of wordy phrases. Wordy: In SfJt:te

of! the

IItct th:tt c-t C.s raC()Cflg ou-t}

r

-thCflk

rll leave tt1!J Lltl'lbrella a-t hoti'Je.

Succinct: A-fthOI.t!Jh Ci C.s r:lCflCflg ou-tJ [ ihC()/c

r11

leave

ti'I!J utt1brella a-t

hoti'Je,

Wordy: rhe .f:tct th:tt he h:td not succeeded C() rac.sc()g hC.s -te.s-t .scores cat') be a-t-trcbu-teJ
-to a Jea-th Cfl hC.s .Patt1CI y.

Succinct: Jl£s .f:tdure -to raC.se hC.s -te.s-t .scores cat') be a-t-trcbu-teJ -to a Jea-th C() hC.s .Patt1Ciy. Wordy:
Le-t tt1e

c:t/1 !JOur :tttet?i£01'} to -the tt1a-t-ter a-t hafld.

Succinct:
Focus
Of)

-the tl'la-t-ter a-t h:lfld,

There are countless ways to use vocabulary to shorten wordy phrases. Look for opportunities to do this in your writing.

AVOID REDUNDANCIES
Review the Redundancies section (English Test). Avoiding redundancies will certainly help your writing become more succinct.

WRITE SUCCINCTLY, A SUMMARY
• • • • Combine sentences Minimize the use of prepositional phrases Use your vocabulary to shorten phrases Avoid redundancies

ELOQUENCE • 695

Try using any of the preceding succinct-writing guidelines to improve the following wordy

examples:
"-· S-teve .vas a rich mafJ. He gave gef)ercusfy -to charity. He s-teff had millicf)s -to his

flame whefl he clcecl fas-t February.

'J.

My a-t-temp-t -to ruf) -to -the -top

of'

-the Hafeakafa vcfcaf)D Dfl -the Cs{afJcl

cu-t shor-t by blis-ters Dfl -the soles

of'

of'

Maui .vas

my fee-t.

'!..

1"he .Pac-t -tha-t i:ffcc-t is fJD-t presef)-t wi-th us -tcclay shcufcl fJDi s..vay your vo-te

-tc..varcl his compe-te-tor.

~.

C.c{{cfl is usuaHy a 'Juie-t mafJ.

fas-t game
before.

of'

1"he .Pac-t -tha-t he missed -the sho-t a-t -the f::f)d

of'

-the

-the champicf)ship series caused him -to scream {eke I've f)eVer hearcl

696 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

3. WRITE WITH AUTHORITY
Writing with authority means your ideas are imbued with power and passion. The following lessons introduce a number of ways to make your writing more forceful and thus more effective.

USE THE ACTIVE VOICE
This topic was introduced in the English section of the tutorial. In general, make sure the subject of the sentence performs the action. For example: Passive: 'fhe .Pirs-t -time I saw S-tar Wars is some-thiflg I will always remember. Active:
I will always remember -the .Pirs-t -time I saw S-tar Wars.

Passive:
'fhere were mafly excited .Pa(}s a-t -the -thea-ter.

Active:
Excited .Pa(}s filled -the -thea-ter.

Passive: ..4s -the cur-taifl opefled1 -the cheer

of

-the audie()ce could be heard.

Active: ..4s -the cur-taifl ope()ed1 -the audie()ce cheered. The active voice has two other advantages: • • Sentences become shorter and more succinct. Action verbs (such as remember, filled, and cheered) take the place of weaker to be verbs (such as is, were, and could be). Rewrite the following sentences in an active voice:
1-.

'fhe rebels' decisio() -to a-t-tack -the Dea-th S-tar was gree-ted wi-th approval by -the audie()ce.

?.

'fhere were more -thafl a .Pew .Pa(}s waitiflg ou-tside -the -thea-ter .Por -ticke-ts -to -the ()ex-t show.

ELOQUENCE • 697

USE CONCRETE LANGUAGE
To use concrete language means to be specific and definite rather than general and vague. The best writers are successful because they write about particular things and report details that create pictures in the minds of their readers. The following examples are first written with general and vague words and then with concrete language. Notice how the concrete examples, which are taken from the previous example essay, are far more effective at conveying information and creating interest for the reader: Vague:
We spen-t ti'IOsi

of

ju()ior high school playiflg spor-ts. Whe() ihe wea-ther iur()ed1 we'd

i()Vesi ihe sat11e co,.,peiiiive spiri-t i()io video ga,.,es.

Concrete:
We spefli t11osi

of ju()ior

high school playiflg D()e-o()-D()e bask.e-tba((

if)

""Y driVeway.

Whe() ihe wea-ther iur()ed1 we'd i()Vesi -the sat11e cot11peiiiiVe spiri-t i()io A-li's Super Mario C.ari video ga,.,e1 ihrowiflg iurile. sheffs a()d lighi()iflg bol-ts a-t each o-ther wiih tl'la()iacal glee.

Vague:
1Jnet11ploytl'le()i is high. I() a iitl'le whe() CDt11pa()ies are ouisourci()g -their work.

overseas1 co,.,peii-tiD() .Por jobs i() A-t11ercca has ()eVer bee() .Piercer.

Concrete:
IJne,.,ploy,.,eoi Cs high.

r()

a iitl'le whe() Ford Cs bucfdi()g cars i() Mexico a()d Walti'Jar-t

is buycflg ,.,osi

of i-ts

produc-ts .Pro,., C.hifla1 co,.,peiiiio() .Por jobs i() A-,.,ercca has

()eVer bee() .Pcercer.

Using concrete language also involves showing your readers rather than telling them. The following examples illustrate the point: Telling:
1'he wea-ther was u~avorabie.

Showing: ~ai() .Perr .Prot~'~ dark. s-tort11 clouds. Telling:

r

was happy abou-t ""Y grade.

Showing:

698 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

In the two "showing" examples above, notice that the writer did not actually say that the weather was bad or that she was happy. The writer showed these qualities. Practice using concrete language by rewriting the following vague sentences. Feel free to be creative. Remember to
show, don't tell:

~

ihe mcvi.e we s:Zw w:Zs gre:z-t.

?.

ihe swcrdsm:zn shewed ccur:zge whi.(e b:z-t-t(i.flg -the be:zs-t.

USE THE POSITIVE FORM
It is often advantageous to avoid the word not. Readers are not interested in what is not; they want to know what is. Create sentences in a positive form. For example: Negative:
She di.d 1111-t remember -to brt.flg her becks -to schccf.

Positive:
She ..Pcrgc-t -to brt.flg her becks -to schccf.

Negative:
He di.d 1111-t -thC()k -the mcv.:e w:Zs :zs geed :zs :zdver-ti.sed.

Positive:
ihe mcv.:e ..P:zcfed -to mee-t his ex.pec-t:z-tCc()s.

ELOQUENCE • 699

You may choose to use a negative phrase when it is in clear opposition to a positive phrase (as in the second sentence of this lesson). Here's one you've probably heard:

Rewrite the following sentences in a positive form:

~-

The speediflg drcver dcd ()oi pay afly a-t-te()iio() -to -the police car parked a-t -the side

of

-the road.

:2.

Marshall is ()oi -the player he o()ce .uas.

ADD IMPORTANCE TO WORDS (WORD PLACEMENT)
The word or words that the writer considers most important should usually be placed at the end of the sentence. What does the writer want to emphasize in the following example?

The writer likely wants to emphasize the fact that Bob quit. By placing these words at the end of the sentence, they are made more prominent:

In contrast, another effective way to add importance to words is to place them at the beginning of the sentence, particularly if the words are not the subject of the sentence. For example:
/Jec:e£-t :tl?d kes I could ()eVer forgive.
!lome is -the sailor.

Add importance to prominent words by changing their placement in the following sentences:

~- .Terry came i() fas-t eVe() a.P-ter -trai()iflg over -the summer afld .ueariflg ()ew1 figh-ter1
tl()d supposedly .Pas-ter ru()()iflg shoes.

700 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

AVOID QUALIFIERS
Some qualifiers are used to exaggerate words. Some examples are: very, really, extremely, incredibly, and totally. These words detract from the power of eloquent language. Use your vocabulary to replace the qualifier. Weak: I i ...>as Strong:
Ii
...>as a

:z

very hot day. scorchi.t'lg day.

Other qualifiers tend to weaken a sentence and create tentative writing. Some examples are: kind of, a little, pretty much, a bit, quite, and somewhat. Usually, the sentence is improved by simply deleting these weakening qualifiers. Weak: I k()e...> someihi.t'lg Strong: I k()e...> someihi.t'lg

...>:Zs ...>rDt'lg

because she because she

...>as

acii.t'lg acti.t'lg

ll

fet-tle

str:zt'lge.

...>as ...>rot1g

...>as

strat'lge.

Rewrite the following weak sentences:
-:1-.

lhe w:Zi.ier

...>as

very rude

as

he coolly i.g()ored my re'luesi

.for

more soup.

USE FIGURES OF SPEECH
The use of a figure of speech, such as a metaphor or synonym, is a valuable tool that you are encouraged to use. Did you catch the following metaphor in the sample essay?

ELOQUENCE • 701

1"he le-t-ter grade has e()s-tilled et1 ,.,e a drcve -to s~cceed1 a drcve -tha-t well

hope-P~IIy help ,.,e rese above -the fe-t-tle .Pesh e,
jOb seekers.

2fJ

sver ...,ore co...,pe-tc-tcve pDfJd of

This metaphor works especially well because the writer had just mentioned Marine Biology. An effective essay may introduce a metaphor in the introduction and come back to that same metaphor in the conclusion. Consider the following example, taken from an essay about history repeating: Introduction:
.To()e Me-te hell wro-te:
(\

11,

were cap-tcve Dt1 -the
II

caro~se(

o-t-· -t;e,.,e1
\\

(\

\\

a()a -thes es cer-ttJ.Cfl(y

J

-tr~e. 1"he hes-tory o-t-· -the world goes

ro~()d

at1d ro~()d

e() a cycleca( t1a-t~re. Fro,.,

-the cos,.,ec -to -the ,.,ecrocos,.,ec1 .Pro,., wars -to .PashL.o()1 at1d eVe() L.t1 b~se()ess1 -there

are clear ex.a,.,ples of hes-tory repea-tL.flg.

Conclusion:
Lcke -the pae()-t;ed horses of a caro~sel1 hL.s-tory ll'lOs-t certaL.t1fy goes ro~()d at1d ro~()d. Fro,., -the h~ge -to -the s,.,a(( at1d .Pro,., -the weL.gh-ty -to -the ll'l~t1dat1e1 we are C()capable of escapL.flg -the -tr~-th -tha-t -the hL.s-tory of -the world repea-ts.

Feel free to introduce figures of speech in your writing, but do so with caution. Repeated and disparate figures of speech sound awkward at best and illogical and confusing at worst. The conclusion above, which restates the metaphor introduced in the introduction, is much more effective than the following conclusion, which introduces three new metaphors:
L.c.ke a spet1t1et1g -top1 hes-tory ll'lOs-t cer-taet1fy goes ro~()d a()d ro~()d. Fro,., -the h~ge -to -the sll'lall at1d .Pro,., -the weegh-ty -to -the ll'l~t1dat1e1 we are L.()capable of j~ll'lpL.t1g of.P -the ll'lerry-gtrrO~t')d -the
s~().

o-P

fe.Pel a rede -tha-f; CL.rcfes e()d(essfy (L.ke -the p(a()e-f;s abo~-f;

EXPAND YOUR VOCABULARY
The ACT loves to see some nifty vocabulary words in your writing, as long as the words are used correctly. Unlike the SAT, the ACT does not directly test vocabulary on any of its tests, so this tutorial does not ask you to memorize long lists of vocabulary words. However, we encourage you to work on vocabulary outside of this tutorial's curriculum. Expanding your vocabulary will do more than just help your writing on the ACT. A good vocabulary will also help you prepare for future writing and reading in college and beyond.

702 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

4. ELOQUENCE ODDS AND ENDS
AVOID REPEATING WORDS
Unless you are intentionally trying to create an exaggerated emphasis, you should avoid frequent repetition of key words in your writing. Often, you can use pronouns to take the place of important nouns.
rhe Wt:?;;rd
"foio. rhe

of! 1)1! is :z s-tory ih:zi -tefls of -the :zdvef)iures of Doro-thy :zf)d her dog Wt:?;trd of! /)1! ..v:zs Of)e of :z series of books wriitef) by L fr:Zflk B:zum.

Use the pronoun it in the second sentence:
rhe Wt:?ard
"foio. [ t

of! 1)1! is :z story ih:zt -tells of the :zdvef)iures of Dorothy ..v:zs of)e of :z series of books ..vr.:itef) by L. Fr:Zf)k B:zum.

:zf)d her dog

Make sure you don't overuse pronouns. At some point you must reintroduce the noun to avoid ambiguity. In other cases, you can hopefully use words in your vocabulary to avoid awkward repetition. Look at the following example:

[.{1 gr:zdes :Zre

Cmpori:Zfli Cf) ht:gh schoof1 -they're eVe() more Cmpori:Zfli Cf) coflege.

/vfy go:zf .:s io ge-t Cf)io :z gre:z-t coflege. Si:z~ord :Zfld Berkeley :zre :z-t ihe iop
my coflege f.:s-t. Bui geiit:flg ifl .:s Ofl(':J p:zrt

of

of

ihe process-:z sm:zff p:zr-t. [ w:Zfli

to exce( whefl I'm Cf) co((ege1 :Zfld :Z feiier-gr:zde sysiem Cf) high schoo( .vi(( hefp me prep:zre.

This paragraph is greatly improved by replacing three of the co/lege's.

[.{1 gr:zdes :Zre

impori:Zf)t if) high schoo(l -they're eVe() more impori:znt if) co((ege.

fvfy go:z( is to ge-t if)io :z gre:zt .sc~oof. Si:zf)ford :Zf)d Berkeley :zre :zt ihe -top
fl.si. But geitiflg if) i.s of)(':) p:zrt

of

my

of

ihe process-:z sm:zrr p:zr-t. [ w:Zfli to ex.ce(

..vhef) [' m ihere1 :Zf)d :z feiier-gr:zde .sysiem if) ht:gh .school ..v.:ff help me prep:zre.

ELOQUENCE •

Improve the following brief passage that contains awkward repetition:

'1-.

Sco-t-t ..uas passCol')aie abou-t ihe charac-ters [I') hCs ..ureiCI'l~;

He .uas passCol')aie abou-t

deve(opCI'lg rea(CsiCc characiers1 bu-t he .uas also passCol')aie abou-t creaic11g charac-ters ihat .uere heroCc Cl') afr>?osi superhur>?al') .uays.

AVOID -lNG WORDS
As introduced in the English section of the tutorial, -ing words are often awkward and should often be avoided. For example:
. By h3Vt.)'J3 the best grades [I') hCs c(ass1 he L.s beli?!J persCstel')tly courted by several ui')L.VersL.tL.es.

By rewriting the sentence without the awkward words having and being, a much more eloquent
sentence is created:

SU'}ce he h:ts the best grades L.l') hL.s class, he h:ts been persL.ste11tly courted by

several ui')L.VersL.tL.es.

Underline and rewrite the parts of the following sentences containing awkward -ing words:
'1-.

1"he COr>?r>?Ciiee's JOb ..uas r>?aCI')taCI')CI'lg harr>?ol')y bet.ueel') -the developers al')d -the ei')V Crol')r>?el')ial Csis.

?.

Co,.,pletL.I'lg your Owl') taxes L.s

a relat.:vely easy task1 but the d.:f.{\culty be.:11g that

the t.:,.,e CI')Volved .:s usua{{y 'lu.:te great.

704 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

~.

I i becng ihe hoiiesi chty

of'

ihe year1 I deccded io go io ihe beach.

4.

A r.f' crr.

lhe company

Cs

dcvcded en-to severa( deparimenis 1 each havcng a specc.f'cc duiy io

SUMMARY OF ELOQUENCE TOPICS
• • Vary sentence structure. Write succinctly. • • • • • • • • • • • • • Combine sentences. Minimize the use of prepositional phrases. Use your vocabulary to shorten phrases. Avoid redundancies.

Use the active voice. Use concrete language. Use the positive form. Add importance to words (word placement). Avoid qualifiers. Use figures of speech. Expand your vocabulary. Avoid repeating words. Avoid-ing words.

ELOQUENCE • 705

5. ELOQUENCE ANSWERS
Answers may vary.

VARY SENTENCE STRUCTURE
Star Wars, released in 1977, was the most popular movie of its kind. The success of Star Wars brought on a barrage of toys and other movie-related merchandise. Young fans collected countless items, including action figures, coloring books, lunch boxes, and anything else bearing the Star Wars logo. These fans are much older now. Because many of them have kept their Star Wars toys in pristine condition, they can sell some of these items to collectors for thousands of dollars.

WRITE SUCCINCTLY
1.

2. 3. 4.

Although Steve, a rich man, gave generously to charity, he still had millions to his name when he died last February. My attempt to ascend Maui's Haleakala volcano was cut short by blisters on my feet. Elliot's absence today should not sway your vote toward his competitor. Collin, usually a quiet man, missed the last shot of the championship series' last game and screamed like I've never heard before.

USE THE ACTIVE VOICE
1.
2.

The audience greeted the rebels' decision to attack the Death Star with approval. More than a few fans waited outside the theater for tickets to the next show.

USE CONCRETE LANGUAGE
1.
2.

3. 4.

The movie was a brilliant collage of colors and sounds -1 couldn't stop smiling as /left the theater. The swordsman, bloody and exhausted, never wavered as he battled the monstrous beast. Steam rose from her head, her face turned a deep crimson, and her temples pulsed when Ellie's mom noticed the mess in the kitchen. Melodies soaring like eagles, relentless rhythms pounding like the heartbeats of the gods, harmonies richer than kings - I wanted the song to never end.

USE THE POSITIVE FORM
1. 2.

The speeding driver ignored the police car parked at the side of the road. Marshall is a shadow of his former self.

ADD IMPORTANCE TO WORDS (WORD-PLACEMENT IN SENTENCES)
1.

2.

Even after training over the summer and wearing new, lighter, and supposedly faster running shoes, Jerry came in last. Sadness and longing I noticed in your eyes. OR I noticed in your eyes sadness and longing.

AVOID QUALIFIERS
1. 2. The waiter was barbaric as he coolly ignored my request for more soup. Anna performed well on the exam, but she knew she could do better.

AVOID REPEATING WORDS
1.

Scott was passionate about the people in his writing. His primary concern was the development of realistic characters, but he also worked to create those that were heroic in almost superhuman ways.

706 • THE ULTIMATE ACT TUTORIAL

The Elements of Style
Oliver Strunk Contents
FOREWORD ix INTRODUCTION xiii I. ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE 1 1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding 's. 1 2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last. 2 3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas. 2 4. Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause. 5 5. Do not join independent clauses with a comma. 5 6. Do not break sentences in two. 7 7. Use a colon after an independent clause to introduce a list of particulars, an appositive, an amplification, or an illustrative quotation. 7 8. Use a dash to set off an abrupt break or interruption and to announce a long appositive or summary. 9 9. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb. 9 10. Use the proper case of pronoun. 11 11. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject. 13 II. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION 15 12. Choose a suitable design and hold to it. 15 13. Make the paragraph the unit of composition. 15 14. Use the active voice. 18 15. Put statements in positive form. 19 16. Use definite, specific, concrete language. 21

17. Omit needless words. 23 18. Avoid a succession of loose sentences. 25 19. Express coordinate ideas in similar form. 26 20. Keep related words together. 28 21. In summaries, keep to one tense. 31 22. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end. 32 III. A FEW MATTERS OF FORM 34 IV. WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED 39 V. AN APPROACH TO STYLE (With a List of Reminders) 66 1. Place yourself in the background. 70 2. Write in a way that comes naturally. 70 3. Work from a suitable design. 70 4. Write with nouns and verbs. 71 5. Revise and rewrite. 72 6. Do not overwrite. 72 7. Do not overstate. 73 8. Avoid the use of qualifiers. 73 9. Do not affect a breezy manner. 73 10. Use orthodox spelling. 74 11. Do not explain too much. 75 12. Do not construct awkward adverbs. 75 13. Make sure the reader knows who is speaking. 76 14. Avoid fancy words. 76 15. Do not use dialect unless your ear is good. 78 16. Be clear. 79 17. Do not inject opinion. 79

18. Use figures of speech sparingly. 80 19. Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity. 80 20. Avoid foreign languages. 81 21. Prefer the standard to the offbeat. 81 AFTERWORD 87 GLOSSARY 89 INDEX 97

Foreword* THE FIRST writer I watched at work was my stepfather, E. B. White. Each Tuesday morning, he would
close his study door and sit down to write the "Notes and Comment" page for The New Yorker. The task was familiar to him — he was required to file a few hundred words of editorial or personal commentary on some topic in or out of the news that week — but the sounds of his typewriter from his room came in hesitant bursts, with long silences in between. Hours went by. Summoned at last for lunch, he was silent and preoccupied, and soon excused himself to get back to the job. When the copy went off at last, in the afternoon RFD pouch — we were in Maine, a day's mail away from New York — he rarely seemed satisfied. "It isn't good enough," he said sometimes. "I wish it were better." Writing is hard, even for authors who do it all the time. Less frequent practitioners — the job applicant; the business executive with an annual report to get out; the high school senior with a Faulkner assignment; the graduate-school student with her thesis proposal; the writer of a letter of condolence — often get stuck in an awkward passage or find a muddle on their screens, and then blame themselves. What should be easy and flowing looks tangled or feeble or overblown — not what was meant at all. What's wrong with me, each one thinks. Why can't I get this right? It was this recurring question, put to himself, that must have inspired White to revive and add to a textbook by an English professor of his, Will Strunk Jr., that he had first read in college, and to get it published. The result, this quiet book, has been in print for forty years, and has offered more than ten million writers a helping hand. White knew that a compendium of specific tips — about singular and plural verbs, parentheses, the "that" — "which" scuffle, and many others — could clear up a recalcitrant sentence or subclause when quickly reconsulted, and that the larger principles needed to be kept in plain sight, like a wall sampler. How simple they look, set down here in White's last chapter: "Write in a way that comes naturally," "Revise and rewrite," "Do not explain too much," and the rest; above all, the cleansing, clarion "Be clear." How often I have turned to them, in the book or in my mind, while trying to start or unblock or revise some piece of my own writing! They help — they really do. They work. They are the way. E. B. White's prose is celebrated for its ease and clarity — just think of Charlotte's Web — but maintaining this standard required endless attention. When the new issue of The New Yorker turned up in Maine, I sometimes saw him reading his "Comment" piece over to himself, with only a slightly different expression than the one he'd worn on the day it went off. Well, O.K., he seemed to be saying. At least I got the elements right.

elements right. This edition has been modestly updated, with word processors and air conditioners making their first appearance among White's references, and with a light redistribution of genders to permit a feminine pronoun or female farmer to take their places among the males who once innocently served him. Sylvia Plath has knocked Keats out of the box, and I notice that "America" has become "this country" in a sample text, to forestall a subsequent and possibly demeaning "she" in the same paragraph. What is not here is anything about E-mail — the rules-free, lower-case flow that cheerfully keeps us in touch these days. Email is conversation, and it may be replacing the sweet and endless talking we once sustained (and tucked away) within the informal letter. But we are all writers and readers as well as communicators, with the need at times to please and satisfy ourselves (as White put it) with the clear and almost perfect thought. Roger Angell

Introduction* AT THE close of the first World War, when I was a student at Cornell, I took a course called English 8.
My professor was William Strunk Jr. A textbook required for the course was a slim volume called The Elements of Style, whose author was the professor himself. The year was 1919. The book was known on the campus in those days as "the little book," with the stress on the word "little." It had been privately printed by the author.
(* E. B. White wrote this introduction for the 1979 edition.)

I passed the course, graduated from the university, and forgot the book but not the professor. Some thirtyeight years later, the book bobbed up again in my life when Macmillan commissioned me to revise it for the college market and the general trade. Meantime, Professor Strunk had died. The Elements of Style, when I reexamined it in 1957, seemed to me to contain rich deposits of gold. It was Will Strunk's parvum opus, his attempt to cut the vast tangle of English rhetoric down to size and write its rules and principles on the head of a pin. Will himself had hung the tag "little" on the book; he referred to it sardonically and with secret pride as "the little book," always giving the word "little" a special twist, as though he were putting a spin on a ball. In its original form, it was a forty-three page summation of the case for cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity in the use of English. Today, fifty-two years later, its vigor is unimpaired, and for sheer pith I think it probably sets a record that is not likely to be broken. Even after I got through tampering with it, it was still a tiny thing, a barely tarnished gem. Seven rules of usage, eleven principles of composition, a few matters of form, and a list of words and expressions commonly misused — that was the sum and substance of Professor Strunk's work. Somewhat audaciously, and in an attempt to give my publisher his money's worth, I added a chapter called "An Approach to Style," setting forth my own prejudices, my notions of error, my articles of faith. This chapter (Chapter V) is addressed particularly to those who feel that English prose composition is not only a necessary skill but a sensible pursuit as well — a way to spend one's days. I think Professor Strunk would not object to that. A second edition of the book was published in 1972. I have now completed a third revision. Chapter IV has been refurbished with words and expressions of a recent vintage; four rules of usage have been added to Chapter I. Fresh examples have been added to some of the rules and principles, amplification has reared its head in a few places in the text where I felt an assault could successfully be made on the bastions of its brevity, and in general the book has received a thorough overhaul — to correct errors, delete bewhiskered entries, and enliven the argument.

entries, and enliven the argument. Professor Strunk was a positive man. His book contains rules of grammar phrased as direct orders. In the main I have not tried to soften his commands, or modify his pronouncements, or remove the special objects of his scorn. I have tried, instead, to preserve the flavor of his discontent while slightly enlarging the scope of the discussion. The Elements of Style does not pretend to survey the whole field. Rather it proposes to give in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style. It concentrates on fundamentals: the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated. The reader will soon discover that these rules and principles are in the form of sharp commands, Sergeant Strunk snapping orders to his platoon. "Do not join independent clauses with a comma." (Rule 5.) "Do not break sentences in two." (Rule 6.) "Use the active voice." (Rule 14.) "Omit needless words." (Rule 17.) "Avoid a succession of loose sentences." (Rule 18.) "In summaries, keep to one tense." (Rule 21.) Each rule or principle is followed by a short hortatory essay, and usually the exhortation is followed by, or interlarded with, examples in parallel columns — the true vs. the false, the right vs. the wrong, the timid vs. the bold, the ragged vs. the trim. From every line there peers out at me the puckish face of my professor, his short hair parted neatly in the middle and combed down over his forehead, his eyes blinking incessantly behind steel-rimmed spectacles as though he had just emerged into strong light, his lips nibbling each other like nervous horses, his smile shuttling to and fro under a carefully edged mustache. "Omit needless words!" cries the author on page 23, and into that imperative Will Strunk really put his heart and soul. In the days when I was sitting in his class, he omitted so many needless words, and omitted them so forcibly and with such eagerness and obvious relish, that he often seemed in the position of having shortchanged himself — a man left with nothing more to say yet with time to fill, a radio prophet who had out-distanced the clock. Will Strunk got out of this predicament by a simple trick: he uttered every sentence three times. When he delivered his oration on brevity to the class, he leaned forward over his desk, grasped his coat lapels in his hands, and, in a husky, conspiratorial voice, said, "Rule Seventeen. Omit needless words! Omit needless words! Omit needless words!" He was a memorable man, friendly and funny. Under the remembered sting of his kindly lash, I have been trying to omit needless words since 1919, and although there are still many words that cry for omission and the huge task will never be accomplished, it is exciting to me to reread the masterly Strunkian elaboration of this noble theme. It goes: Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell. There you have a short, valuable essay on the nature and beauty of brevity — fifty-nine words that could change the world. Having recovered from his adventure in prolixity (fifty-nine words were a lot of words in the tight world of William Strunk Jr.), the professor proceeds to give a few quick lessons in pruning. Students learn to cut the dead-wood from "this is a subject that," reducing it to "this subject," a saving of three words. They learn to trim "used for fuel purposes" down to "used for fuel." They learn that they are being chatterboxes when they say "the question as to whether" and that they should just say "whether" — a saving of four words out of a possible five. The professor devotes a special paragraph to the vile expression the fact that, a phrase that causes him to quiver with revulsion. The expression, he says, should be "revised out of every sentence in which it occurs." But a shadow of gloom seems to hang over the page, and you feel that he knows how hopeless his cause is. I suppose I have written the fact that a thousand times in the heat of composition, revised it out maybe five

I suppose I have written the fact that a thousand times in the heat of composition, revised it out maybe five hundred times in the cool aftermath. To be batting only .500 this late in the season, to fail half the time to connect with this fat pitch, saddens me, for it seems a betrayal of the man who showed me how to swing at it and made the swinging seem worthwhile. I treasure The Elements of Style for its sharp advice, but I treasure it even more for the audacity and selfconfidence of its author. Will knew where he stood. He was so sure of where he stood, and made his position so clear and so plausible, that his peculiar stance has continued to invigorate me — and, I am sure, thousands of other ex-students — during the years that have intervened since our first encounter. He had a number of likes and dislikes that were almost as whimsical as the choice of a necktie, yet he made them seem utterly convincing. He disliked the word forceful and advised us to use forcible instead. He felt that the word clever was greatly overused: "It is best restricted to ingenuity displayed in small matters." He despised the expression student body, which he termed gruesome, and made a special trip downtown to the Alumni News office one day to protest the expression and suggest that studentry be substituted — a coinage of his own, which he felt was similar to citizenry. I am told that the News editor was so charmed by the visit, if not by the word, that he ordered the student body buried, never to rise again. Studentry has taken its place. It's not much of an improvement, but it does sound less cadaverous, and it made Will Strunk quite happy. Some years ago, when the heir to the throne of England was a child, I noticed a headline in the Times about Bonnie Prince Charlie: "CHARLES' TONSILS OUT." Immediately Rule 1 leapt to mind. 1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding 's. Follow this rule whatever the final consonant. Thus write, Charles's friend Burns's poems the witch's malice Clearly, Will Strunk had foreseen, as far back as 1918, the dangerous tonsillectomy of a prince, in which the surgeon removes the tonsils and the Times copy desk removes the final s. He started his book with it. I commend Rule 1 to the Times, and I trust that Charles's throat, not Charles' throat, is in fine shape today. Style rules of this sort are, of course, somewhat a matter of individual preference, and even the established rules of grammar are open to challenge. Professor Strunk, although one of the most inflexible and choosy of men, was quick to acknowledge the fallacy of inflexibility and the danger of doctrine. "It is an old observation," he wrote, "that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. When they do so, however, the reader will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation. Unless he is certain of doing as well, he will probably do best to follow the rules." It is encouraging to see how perfectly a book, even a dusty rule book, perpetuates and extends the spirit of a man. Will Strunk loved the clear, the brief, the bold, and his book is clear, brief, bold. Boldness is perhaps its chief distinguishing mark. On page 26, explaining one of his parallels, he says, "The lefthand version gives the impression that the writer is undecided or timid, apparently unable or afraid to choose one form of expression and hold to it." And his original Rule 11 was "Make definite assertions." That was Will all over. He scorned the vague, the tame, the colorless, the irresolute. He felt it was worse to be irresolute than to be wrong. I remember a day in class when he leaned far forward, in his characteristic pose — the pose of a man about to impart a secret — and croaked, "If you don't know how to pronounce a word, say it loud! If you don't know how to pronounce a word, say it loud!" This comical piece of advice struck me as sound at the time, and I still respect it. Why compound ignorance with inaudibility? Why run and hide?

the time, and I still respect it. Why compound ignorance with inaudibility? Why run and hide? All through The Elements of Style one finds evidences of the author's deep sympathy for the reader. Will felt that the reader was in serious trouble most of the time, floundering in a swamp, and that it was the duty of anyone attempting to write English to drain this swamp quickly and get the reader up on dry ground, or at least to throw a rope. In revising the text, I have tried to hold steadily in mind this belief of his, this concern for the bewildered reader. In the English classes of today, "the little book" is surrounded by longer, lower textbooks — books with permissive steering and automatic transitions. Perhaps the book has become something of a curiosity. To me, it still seems to maintain its original poise, standing, in a drafty time, erect, resolute, and assured. I still find the Strunkian wisdom a comfort, the Strunkian humor a delight, and the Strunkian attitude toward right-and- wrong a blessing undisguised. 1979

The Elements of Style
I Elementary Rules of Usage
1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding 's. Follow this rule whatever the final consonant. Thus write, Charles's friend Burns's poems the witch's malice Exceptions are the possessives of ancient proper names ending in -es and -is, the possessive Jesus', and such forms as for conscience' sake, for righteousness' sake. But such forms as Moses' Laws, Isis' temple are commonly replaced by the laws of Moses the temple of Isis The pronominal possessives hers, its, theirs, yours, and ours have no apostrophe. Indefinite pronouns, however, use the apostrophe to show possession. one's rights somebody else's umbrella A common error is to write it's for its, or vice versa. The first is a contraction, meaning "it is." The second is a possessive.

It's a wise dog that scratches its own fleas. 2. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last. Thus write, red, white, and blue gold, silver, or copper He opened the letter, read it, and made a note of its contents. This comma is often referred to as the "serial" comma. In the names of business firms the last comma is usually omitted. Follow the usage of the individual firm. Little, Brown and Company Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette 3. Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas. The best way to see a country, unless you are pressed for time, is to travel on foot. This rule is difficult to apply; it is frequently hard to decide whether a single word, such as however, or a brief phrase is or is not parenthetic. If the interruption to the flow of the sentence is but slight, the commas may be safely omitted. But whether the interruption is slight or considerable, never omit one comma and leave the other. There is no defense for such punctuation as Marjories husband, Colonel Nelson paid us a visit yesterday. or My brother you will be pleased to hear, is now in perfect health. Dates usually contain parenthetic words or figures. Punctuate as follows: February to July, 1992 April 6, 1986 Wednesday, November 14, 1990 Note that it is customary to omit the comma in 6 April 1988 The last form is an excellent way to write a date; the figures are separated by a word and are, for that reason, quickly grasped. A name or a title in direct address is parenthetic. If, Sir, you refuse, I cannot predict what will happen. Well, Susan, this is a fine mess you are in. The abbreviations etc., i.e., and e.g., the abbreviations for academic degrees, and titles that follow a name are parenthetic and should be punctuated accordingly.

are parenthetic and should be punctuated accordingly. Letters, packages, etc., should go here. Horace Fulsome, Ph.D., presided. Rachel Simonds, Attorney The Reverend Harry Lang, S.J. No comma, however, should separate a noun from a restrictive term of identification. Billy the Kid The novelist Jane Austen William the Conqueror The poet Sappho Although Junior, with its abbreviation Jr., has commonly been regarded as parenthetic, logic suggests that it is, in fact, restrictive and therefore not in need of a comma. James Wright Jr. Nonrestrictive relative clauses are parenthetic, as are similar clauses introduced by conjunctions indicating time or place. Commas are therefore needed. A nonrestrictive clause is one that does not serve to identify or define the antecedent noun. The audience, which had at first been indifferent, became more and more interested. In 1769, when Napoleon was born, Corsica had but recently been acquired by France. Nether Stowey, where Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, is a few miles from Bridgewater. In these sentences, the clauses introduced by which, when, and where are nonrestrictive; they do not limit or define, they merely add something. In the first example, the clause introduced by which does not serve to tell which of several possible audiences is meant; the reader presumably knows that already. The clause adds, parenthetically, a statement supplementing that in the main clause. Each of the three sentences is a combination of two statements that might have been made independently. The audience was at first indifferent. Later it became more and more interested. Napoleon was born in 1769. At that time Corsica had but recently been acquired by France. Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at Nether Stowey. Nether Stowey is a few miles from Bridgewater. Restrictive clauses, by contrast, are not parenthetic and are not set off by commas. Thus, People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Here the clause introduced by who does serve to tell which people are meant; the sentence, unlike the sentences above, cannot be split into two independent statements. The same principle of comma use applies to participial phrases and to appositives.

People sitting in the rear couldn't hear, (restrictive) Uncle Bert, being slightly deaf, moved forward, (non-restrictive) My cousin Bob is a talented harpist, (restrictive) Our oldest daughter, Mary, sings, (nonrestrictive) When the main clause of a sentence is preceded by a phrase or a subordinate clause, use a comma to set off these elements. Partly by hard fighting, partly by diplomatic skill, they enlarged their dominions to the east and rose to royal rank with the possession of Sicily. 4. Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause. The early records of the city have disappeared, and the story of its first years can no longer be reconstructed. The situation is perilous, but there is still one chance of escape. Two-part sentences of which the second member is introduced by as (in the sense of "because"), for, or, nor, or while (in the sense of "and at the same time") likewise require a comma before the conjunction. If a dependent clause, or an introductory phrase requiring to be set off by a comma, precedes the second independent clause, no comma is needed after the conjunction. The situation is perilous, but if we are prepared to act promptly, there is still one chance of escape. When the subject is the same for both clauses and is expressed only once, a comma is useful if the connective is but. When the connective is and, the comma should be omitted if the relation between the two statements is close or immediate. I have heard the arguments, but am still unconvinced. He has had several years' experience and is thoroughly competent. 5. Do not join independent clauses with a comma. If two or more clauses grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon. Mary Shelley's works are entertaining; they are full of engaging ideas. It is nearly half past five; we cannot reach town before dark. It is, of course, equally correct to write each of these as two sentences, replacing the semicolons with periods. Mary Shelley's works are entertaining. They are full of engaging ideas. It is nearly half past five. We cannot reach town before dark.

If a conjunction is inserted, the proper mark is a comma. (Rule 4.) Mary Shelley's works are entertaining, for they are full of engaging ideas. It is nearly half past five, and we cannot reach town before dark. A comparison of the three forms given above will show clearly the advantage of the first. It is, at least in the examples given, better than the second form because it suggests the close relationship between the two statements in a way that the second does not attempt, and better than the third because it is briefer and therefore more forcible. Indeed, this simple method of indicating relationship between statements is one of the most useful devices of composition. The relationship, as above, is commonly one of cause and consequence. Note that if the second clause is preceded by an adverb, such as accordingly, besides, then, therefore, or thus, and not by a conjunction, the semicolon is still required. I had never been in the place before; besides, it was dark as a tomb. An exception to the semicolon rule is worth noting here. A comma is preferable when the clauses are very short and alike in form, or when the tone of the sentence is easy and conversational. Man proposes, God disposes. The gates swung apart, the bridge fell, the portcullis was drawn up. I hardly knew him, he was so changed. Here today, gone tomorrow. 6. Do not break sentences in two. In other words, do not use periods for commas. I met them on a Cunard liner many years ago. Coming home from Liverpool to New York. She was an interesting talker. A woman who had traveled all over the world and lived in half a dozen countries. In both these examples, the first period should be replaced by a comma and the following word begun with a small letter. It is permissible to make an emphatic word or expression serve the purpose of a sentence and to punctuate it accordingly: Again and again he called out. No reply. The writer must, however, be certain that the emphasis is warranted, lest a clipped sentence seem merely a blunder in syntax or in punctuation. Generally speaking, the place for broken sentences is in dialogue, when a character happens to speak in a clipped or fragmentary way. Rules 3, 4, 5, and 6 cover the most important principles that govern punctuation. They should be so thoroughly mastered that their application becomes second nature.

7. Use a colon after an independent clause to introduce a list of particulars, an appositive, an amplification, or an illustrative quotation. A colon tells the reader that what follows is closely related to the preceding clause. The colon has more effect than the comma, less power to separate than the semicolon, and more formality than the dash. It usually follows an independent clause and should not separate a verb from its complement or a preposition from its object. The examples in the lefthand column, below, are wrong; they should be rewritten as in the righthand column. Your dedicated whittler requires: a knife, a piece of wood, and a back porch. Understanding is that penetrating quality of knowledge that grows from: theory, practice, conviction, assertion, error, and humiliation. Your dedicated whittler requires three props: a knife, a piece of wood, and a back porch. Understanding is that penetrating quality of knowledge that grows from theory, practice, conviction, assertion, error, and humiliation. Join two independent clauses with a colon if the second interprets or amplifies the first. But even so, there was a directness and dispatch about animal burial: there was no stopover in the undertaker's foul parlor, no wreath or spray. A colon may introduce a quotation that supports or contributes to the preceding clause. The squalor of the streets reminded her of a line from Oscar Wilde: "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." The colon also has certain functions of form: to follow the salutation of a formal letter, to separate hour from minute in a notation of time, and to separate the title of a work from its subtitle or a Bible chapter from a verse. Dear Mr. Montague: departs at 10:48 P.M. Practical Calligraphy: An Introduction to Italic Script Nehemiah 11:7 8. Use a dash to set off an abrupt break or interruption and to announce a long appositive or summary. A dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parentheses. His first thought on getting out of bed — if he had any thought at all — was to get back in again. The rear axle began to make a noise — a grinding, chattering, teeth-gritting rasp. The increasing reluctance of the sun to rise, the extra nip in the breeze, the patter of shed leaves dropping — all the evidences of fall drifting into winter were clearer each day.

Use a dash only when a more common mark of punctuation seems inadequate. Her father's suspicions proved well-founded — it was not Edward she cared for — it was San Francisco. Violence — the kind you see on television — is not honestly violent — there lies its harm. Her father's suspicions proved well- founded. It was not Edward she cared for, it was San Francisco. Violence, the kind you see on television, is not honestly violent. There lies its harm.

9. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb. Words that intervene between subject and verb do not affect the number of the verb. The bittersweet flavor of youth — its trials, its joys, its adventures, its challenges — are not soon forgotten. The bittersweet flavor of youth — its trials, its joys, its adventures, its challenges — is not soon forgotten.

A common blunder is the use of a singular verb form in a relative clause following "one of..." or a similar expression when the relative is the subject. One of the ablest scientists who has attacked this problem One of those people who is never ready on time One of the ablest scientists who have attacked this problem One of those people who are never ready on time

Use a singular verb form after each, either, everyone, everybody, neither, nobody, someone. Everybody thinks he has a unique sense of humor. Although both clocks strike cheerfully, neither keeps good time. With none, use the singular verb when the word means "no one" or "not one." None of us are perfect. None of us is perfect. A plural verb is commonly used when none suggests more than one thing or person. None are so fallible as those who are sure they're right. A compound subject formed of two or more nouns joined by and almost always requires a plural verb. The walrus and the carpenter were walking close at hand. But certain compounds, often cliches, are so inseparable they are considered a unit and so take a singular verb, as do compound subjects qualified by each or every.

The long and the short of it is ... Bread and butter was all she served. Give and take is essential to a happy household. Every window, picture, and mirror was smashed. A singular subject remains singular even if other nouns are connected to it by with, as well as, in addition to, except, together with, and no less than. His speech as well as his manner is objectionable. A linking verb agrees with the number of its subject. What is wanted is a few more pairs of hands. The trouble with truth is its many varieties. Some nouns that appear to be plural are usually construed as singular and given a singular verb. Politics is an art, not a science. The Republican Headquarters is on this side of the tracks. But The general's quarters are across the river. In these cases the writer must simply learn the idioms. The contents of a book is singular. The contents of a jar may be either singular or plural, depending on what's in the jar — jam or marbles. 10. Use the proper case of pronoun. The personal pronouns, as well as the pronoun who, change form as they function as subject or object. Will Jane or he be hired, do you think? The culprit, it turned out, was he. We heavy eaters would rather walk than ride. Who knocks? Give this work to whoever looks idle. In the last example, whoever is the subject of looks idle; the object of the preposition to is the entire clause whoever looks idle. When who introduces a subordinate clause, its case depends on its function in that clause. Virgil Soames is the candidate whom we think will win. Virgil Soames is the candidate who we hope to elect. Virgil Soames is the candidate who we think will win. [We think he will win.] Virgil Soames is the candidate whom we hope to elect. [We hope to elect him.]

A pronoun in a comparison is nominative if it is the subject of a stated or understood verb. Sandy writes better than I. (Than I write.) In general, avoid "understood" verbs by supplying them. I think Horace admires Jessica more than I. Polly loves cake more than me. I think Horace admires Jessica more than I do. Polly loves cake more than she loves me.

The objective case is correct in the following examples. The ranger offered Shirley and him some advice on campsites. They came to meet the Baldwins and us. Let's talk it over between us, then, you and me. Whom should I ask? A group of us taxpayers protested. Us in the last example is in apposition to taxpayers, the object of the preposition of. The wording, although grammatically defensible, is rarely apt. "A group of us protested as taxpayers" is better, if not exactly equivalent. Use the simple personal pronoun as a subject. Blake and myself stayed home. Howard and yourself brought the lunch, I thought. Blake and I stayed home. Howard and you brought the lunch, I thought.

The possessive case of pronouns is used to show ownership. It has two forms: the adjectival modifier, your hat, and the noun form, a hat of yours. The dog has buried one of your gloves and one of mine in the flower bed. Gerunds usually require the possessive case. Mother objected to our driving on the icy roads. A present participle as a verbal, on the other hand, takes the objective case. They heard him singing in the shower. The difference between a verbal participle and a gerund is not always obvious, but note what is really said in each of the following.

Do you mind me asking a question? Do you mind my asking a question? In the first sentence, the queried objection is to me, as opposed to other members of the group, asking a question. In the second example, the issue is whether a question may be asked at all. 11. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject. Walking slowly down the road, he saw a woman accompanied by two children. The word walking refers to the subject of the sentence, not to the woman. To make it refer to the woman, the writer must recast the sentence. He saw a woman, accompanied by two children, walking slowly down the road. Participial phrases preceded by a conjunction or by a preposition, nouns in apposition, adjectives, and adjective phrases come under the same rule if they begin the sentence. On arriving in Chicago, his friends met him at the station. A soldier of proved valor, they entrusted him with the defense of the city. Young and inexperienced, the task seemed easy to me. Without a friend to counsel him, the temptation proved irresistible. Sentences violating Rule 11 are often ludicrous: Being in a dilapidated condition, I was able to buy the house very cheap. Wondering irresolutely what to do next, the clock struck twelve. On arriving in Chicago, he was met at the station by his friends. A soldier of proved valor, he was entrusted with the defense of the city. Young and inexperienced, I thought the task easy. Without a friend to counsel him, he found the temptation irresistible.

II Elementary Principles of Composition
12. Choose a suitable design and hold to it. A basic structural design underlies every kind of writing. Writers will in part follow this design, in part deviate from it, according to their skills, their needs, and the unexpected events that accompany the act of composition. Writing, to be effective, must follow closely the thoughts of the writer, but not necessarily in the order in which those thoughts occur. This calls for a scheme of procedure. In some cases, the best design

the order in which those thoughts occur. This calls for a scheme of procedure. In some cases, the best design is no design, as with a love letter, which is simply an outpouring, or with a casual essay, which is a ramble. But in most cases, planning must be a deliberate prelude to writing. The first principle of composition, therefore, is to foresee or determine the shape of what is to come and pursue that shape. A sonnet is built on a fourteen-line frame, each line containing five feet. Hence, sonneteers know exactly where they are headed, although they may not know how to get there. Most forms of composition are less clearly defined, more flexible, but all have skeletons to which the writer will bring the flesh and the blood. The more clearly the writer perceives the shape, the better are the chances of success. 13. Make the paragraph the unit of composition. The paragraph is a convenient unit; it serves all forms of literary work. As long as it holds together, a paragraph may be of any length — a single, short sentence or a passage of great duration. If the subject on which you are writing is of slight extent, or if you intend to treat it briefly, there may be no need to divide it into topics. Thus, a brief description, a brief book review, a brief account of a single incident, a narrative merely outlining an action, the setting forth of a single idea — any one of these is best written in a single paragraph. After the paragraph has been written, examine it to see whether division will improve it. Ordinarily, however, a subject requires division into topics, each of which should be dealt with in a paragraph. The object of treating each topic in a paragraph by itself is, of course, to aid the reader. The beginning of each paragraph is a signal that a new step in the development of the subject has been reached. As a rule, single sentences should not be written or printed as paragraphs. An exception may be made of sentences of transition, indicating the relation between the parts of an exposition or argument In dialogue, each speech, even if only a single word, is usually a paragraph by itself; that is, a new paragraph begins with each change of speaker. The application of this rule when dialogue and narrative are combined is best learned from examples in well-edited works of fiction. Sometimes a writer, seeking to create an effect of rapid talk or for some other reason, will elect not to set off each speech in a separate paragraph and instead will run speeches together. The common practice, however, and the one that serves best in most instances, is to give each speech a paragraph of its own. As a rule, begin each paragraph either with a sentence that suggests the topic or with a sentence that helps the transition. If a paragraph forms part of a larger composition, its relation to what precedes, or its function as a part of the whole, may need to be expressed. This can sometimes be done by a mere word or phrase (again, therefore, for the same reason) in the first sentence. Sometimes, however, it is expedient to get into the topic slowly, by way of a sentence or two of introduction or transition. In narration and description, the paragraph sometimes begins with a concise, comprehensive statement serving to hold together the details that follow. The breeze served us admirably. The campaign opened with a series of reverses. The next ten or twelve pages were filled with a curious set of entries. But when this device, or any device, is too often used, it becomes a mannerism. More commonly, the opening sentence simply indicates by its subject the direction the paragraph is to take.

opening sentence simply indicates by its subject the direction the paragraph is to take. At length I thought I might return toward the stockade. He picked up the heavy lamp from the table and began to explore. Another flight of steps, and they emerged on the roof. In animated narrative, the paragraphs are likely to be short and without any semblance of a topic sentence, the writer rushing headlong, event following event in rapid succession. The break between such paragraphs merely serves the purpose of a rhetorical pause, throwing into prominence some detail of the action. In general, remember that paragraphing calls for a good eye as well as a logical mind. Enormous blocks of print look formidable to readers, who are often reluctant to tackle them. Therefore, breaking long paragraphs in two, even if it is not necessary to do so for sense, meaning, or logical development, is often a visual help. But remember, too, that firing off many short paragraphs in quick succession can be distracting. Paragraph breaks used only for show read like the writing of commerce or of display advertising. Moderation and a sense of order should be the main considerations in paragraphing. 14. Use the active voice. The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive: I shall always remember my first visit to Boston. This is much better than My first visit to Boston will always be remembered by me. The latter sentence is less direct, less bold, and less concise. If the writer tries to make it more concise by omitting "by me," My first visit to Boston will always be remembered, it becomes indefinite: is it the writer or some undisclosed person or the world at large that will always remember this visit? This rule does not, of course, mean that the writer should entirely discard the passive voice, which is frequently convenient and sometimes necessary. The dramatists of the Restoration are little esteemed today. Modern readers have little esteem for the dramatists of the Restoration. The first would be the preferred form in a paragraph on the dramatists of the Restoration, the second in a paragraph on the tastes of modern readers. The need to make a particular word the subject of the sentence will often, as in these example