ACT Reading Test 1 (4 Passages and 40 Questions) with Answers

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ACT Reading Test 1 (4 Passages and 40 Questions) with Answers

Test Name ACT Test Prep
Category Free ACT Practice Test
Knowledge tested ACT Reading Test
Type of Question Sample Multiple Choice
Test No. I
Total Question (MCQ) 40
Total time duration 35 minutes
Answers Available YES
Recommended Devices Use a laptop or desktop
Printable PDF coming soon

In this test you will find four passages, each followed by several questions. Read each passage carefully and then select the best possible answer for each question.

ACT Reading Passage I—Prose Fiction

This passage is taken from Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis, 1922.

1 There was nothing of the giant in the aspect of
2 the man who was beginning to awaken on the
3 sleeping-porch of a Dutch Colonial house in
4 that residential district of Zenith known as Flo-
5 ral Heights.
6 His name was George F. Babbitt. He was
7 forty-six years old now, in April, 1920, and he
8 made nothing in particular, neither butter nor
9 shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the call-
10 ing of selling houses for more than people could
11 afford to pay.
12 His large head was pink, his brown hair
13 thin and dry. His face was babyish in slumber,
14 despite his wrinkles and the red spectacle-dents
15 on the slopes of his nose. He was not fat but he
16 was exceedingly well fed; his cheeks were pads,
17 and the unroughened hand which lay helpless
18 upon the khaki-colored blanket was slightly
19 He seemed prosperous, extremely mar-
20 ried and unromantic; and altogether unroman-
21 tic appeared this sleeping-porch, which looked
22 on one sizable elm, two respectable grass-plots,
23 a cement driveway, and a corrugated iron
24 Yet Babbitt was again dreaming of the
25 fairy child, a dream more romantic than scarlet
26 pagodas by a silver sea.
27 For years the fairy child had come to him.
28 Where others saw but Georgie Babbitt, she dis-
29 cerned gallant youth. She waited for him, in the
30 darkness beyond mysterious groves. When at
31 last he could slip away from the crowded house
32 he darted to her. His wife, his clamoring
33 friends, sought to follow, but he escaped, the
34 girl fleet beside him, and they crouched
35 together on a shadowy hillside. She was so slim,
36 so white, so eager! She cried that he was gay and
37 valiant, that she would wait for him, that they
38 would sail—
39 Rumble and bang of the milk-truck.
40 Babbitt moaned; turned over; struggled
41 back toward his dream. He could see only her
42 face now, beyond misty waters. The furnace-
43 man slammed the basement door. A dog barked
44 in the next yard. As Babbitt sank blissfully into
45 a dim warm tide, the paper-carrier went by
46 whistling, and the rolled-up Advocate thumped
47 the front door. Babbitt roused, his stomach
48 constricted with alarm. As he relaxed, he was
49 pierced by the familiar and irritating rattle of
50 someone cranking a Ford: snapah-ah,
51 snap-ah-ah, snap-ah-ah. Himself a pious
52 motorist, Babbitt cranked with the unseen
53 driver, with him waited through taut hours for
54 the roar of the starting engine, with him ago-
55 nized as the roar ceased and again began the
56 infernal patient snap-ah-ah—a round, flat
57 sound, a shivering cold-morning sound, a
58 sound infuriating and inescapable. Not till the
59 rising voice of the motor told him that the Ford
60 was moving was he released from the panting
61 He glanced once at his favorite tree,
62 elm twigs against the gold patina of sky, and
63 fumbled for sleep as for a drug. He who had
64 been a boy very credulous of life was no longer
65 greatly interested in the possible and improba-
66 ble adventures of each new day.
67 He escaped from reality till the alarm-
68 clock rang, at seven-twenty.
69 It was the best of nationally advertised
70 and quantitatively produced alarm-clocks, with
71 all modern attachments, including cathedral
72 chime, intermittent alarm, and a phosphores-
73 cent dial. Babbitt was proud of being awakened
74 by such a rich device. Socially it was almost as
75 creditable as buying expensive cord tires.
76 He sulkily admitted now that there was no
77 more escape, but he lay and detested the grind
78 of the real-estate business, and disliked his fam-
79 ily, and disliked himself for disliking them. The
80 evening before, he had played poker at Vergil
81 Gunch’s till midnight, and after such holidays
82 he was irritable before breakfast. It may have
83 been the tremendous home-brewed beer of the
84 Prohibition era and the cigars to which that
85 beer enticed him; it may have been resentment
86 of return from this fine, bold man-world to a
87 restricted region of wives and stenographers,
88 and of suggestions not to smoke so much.
89 From the bedroom beside the sleeping-
90 porch, his wife’s detestably cheerful “Time to
91 get up, Georgie boy,” and the itchy sound, the
92 brisk and scratchy sound, of combing hairs out
93 of a stiff brush.
94 He grunted; he dragged his thick legs, in
95 faded baby-blue pajamas, from under the khaki
96 blanket; he sat on the edge of the cot, running
97 his fingers through his wild hair, while his
98 plump feet mechanically felt for his slippers. He
99 looked regretfully at the blanket—forever a
100 suggestion to him of freedom and heroism. He
101 had bought it for a camping trip which had
102 never come off. It symbolized gorgeous loafing,
103 gorgeous cursing, virile flannel shirts.

ACT Reading Test: 1 Passage I (Question No. 1 to 10) Time Limit 8.25 Minutes

ACT Reading Practice Test 1

Passage I (Question No. 1 to 10)

Time Limit: 8.75 minutes

ACT Reading Passage II—Humanities

This passage is excerpted from “Leonardo da Vinci” from Knights of Art: Stories of the Italian Painters, by Amy Steedman, 1907.

1 On the sunny slopes of Monte Albano, between
2 Florence and Pisa, the little town of Vinci lay
3 high among the rocks that crowned the steep
4 hillside. Here in the year 1452 Leonardo, son of
5 Ser Piero da Vinci, was born. It was in the age
6 when people told fortunes by the stars, and
7 when a baby was born they would eagerly look
8 up and decide whether it was a lucky or
9 unlucky star which shone upon the child.
10 Surely if it had been possible in this way to tell
11 what fortune awaited the little Leonardo, a
12 strange new star must have shone that night,
13 brighter than the others and unlike the rest in
14 the dazzling light of its strength and beauty.
15 Leonardo was always a strange child. Even
16 his beauty was not like that of other children.
17 He had the most wonderful waving hair, falling
18 in regular ripples, like the waters of a fountain,
19 the color of bright gold, and soft as spun silk.
20 His eyes were blue and clear, with a mysterious
21 light in them, not the warm light of a sunny
22 sky, but rather the blue that glints in the
23 iceberg. They were merry eyes too, when he
24 laughed, but underneath was always that
25 strange cold look. There was a charm about his
26 smile which no one could resist, and he was a
27 favorite with all. Yet people shook their heads
28 sometimes as they looked at him, and they
29 talked in whispers of the old witch who had
30 lent her goat to nourish the little Leonardo
31 when he was a baby. The woman was a dealer in
32 black magic, and who knew but that the child
33 might be a changeling?
34 It was the old grandmother, Mona Lena,
35 who brought Leonardo up and spoilt him not a
36 little. His father, Ser Piero, was a lawyer, and
37 spent most of his time in Florence, but when he
38 returned to the old castle of Vinci, he began to
39 give Leonardo lessons and tried to find out
40 what the boy was fit for. But Leonardo hated
41 those lessons and would not learn, so when he
42 was seven years old he was sent to school.
43 This did not answer any better. The rough
44 play of the boys was not to his liking. When he
45 saw them drag the wings off butterflies, or tor-
46 ture any animal that fell into their hands, his
47 face grew white with pain, and he would take
48 no share in their games. The Latin grammar,
49 too, was a terrible task, while the many things
50 he longed to know no one taught him.
51 So it happened that many a time, instead
52 of going to school, he would slip away and
53 escape up into the hills, as happy as a little wild
54 goat. Here was all the sweet fresh air of heaven,
55 instead of the stuffy schoolroom. Here were no
56 cruel, clumsy boys, but all the wild creatures
57 that he loved. Here he could learn the real
58 things his heart was hungry to know, not
59 merely words which meant nothing and led to
60 nowhere.
61 For hours he would lie perfectly still with
62 his heels in the air and his chin resting in his
63 hands, as he watched a spider weaving its web,
64 breathless with interest to see how the delicate
65 threads were turned in and out. The gaily
66 painted butterflies, the fat buzzing bees, the lit-
67 tle sharp-tongued green lizards, he loved to
68 watch them all, but above everything he loved
69 the birds. Oh, if only he too had wings to dart
70 like the swallows, and swoop and sail and dart
71 again! What was the secret power in their
72 wings? Surely by watching he might learn it.
73 Sometimes it seemed as if his heart would burst
74 with the longing to learn that secret. It was
75 always the hidden reason of things that he
76 desired to know. Much as he loved the flowers
77 he must pull their petals off, one by one, to see
78 how each was joined, to wonder at the dusty
79 pollen, and touch the honey-covered stamens.
80 Then when the sun began to sink he would
81 turn sadly homewards, very hungry, with torn
82 clothes and tired feet, but with a store of sun-
83 shine in his heart.
84 His grandmother shook her head when
85 Leonardo appeared after one of his days of
86 wandering.
87 “I know thou shouldst be whipped for
88 playing truant,” she said; “and I should also
89 punish thee for tearing thy clothes.”
90 “Ah! But thou wilt not whip me,”
91 answered Leonardo, smiling at her with his
92 curious quiet smile, for he had full confidence
93 in her love.
94 “Well, I love to see thee happy, and I will
95 not punish thee this time,” said his grand-
96 mother; “but if these tales reach thy father’s ears,
97 he will not be so tender as I am towards thee.”
98 And, sure enough, the very next time that
99 a complaint was made from the school, his
100 father happened to be at home, and then the
101 storm burst.
102 “Next time I will flog thee,” said Ser Piero
103 sternly, with rising anger at the careless air of
104 the boy. “Meanwhile we will see what a little
105 imprisonment will do towards making thee a
106 better child.”
107 Then he took the boy by the shoulders
108 and led him to a little dark cupboard under
109 the stairs, and there shut him up for three
110 whole days.
111 There was no kicking or beating at the
112 locked door. Leonardo sat quietly there in the
113 dark, thinking his own thoughts, and wondering
114 why there seemed so little justice in the
115 world. But soon even that wonder passed away,
116 and as usual when he was alone he began to
117 dream dreams of the time when he should have
118 learned the swallows’ secrets and should have
119 wings like theirs.
120 But if there were complaints about Leon-
121 ardo’s dislike of the boys and the Latin gram-
122 mar, there would be none about the lessons he
123 chose to learn. Indeed, some of the masters
124 began to dread the boy’s eager questions, which
125 were sometimes more than they could answer.
126 Scarcely had he begun the study of arithmetic
127 than he made such rapid progress, and wanted
128 to puzzle out so many problems, that the mas-
129 ters were amazed. His mind seemed always
130 eagerly asking for more light, and was never
131 satisfied.

ACT Reading Test: 1 Passage II (Question No. 11 to 20) Time Limit 8.75 minutes

ACT Reading Practice Test 1

Passage II (Question No. 11 to 20)

Time Limit: 8.75 minutes

ACT Reading Passage III—Social Studies

This passage is adapted from How the Other Half Lives, by Jacob A. Riis, 1890. The word tenements used throughout the passage refers to rental apartments that are generally of substandard quality.

1 Long ago, it was said that “one half of the world
2 does not know how the other half lives.” That
3 was true then. The half that was on top cared
4 little for the struggles, and less for the fate of
5 those who were underneath, so long as it was
6 able to hold them there and keep its own seat.
7 There came a time when the discomfort and
8 crowding below were so great, and the consequent
9 upheavals so violent, that it was no longer
10 an easy thing to do, and then the upper half
11 fell to wondering what was the matter.
12 Information on the subject has been accumulating
13 rapidly since, and the whole world has had its
14 hands full answering for its old ignorance.
15 In New York, the youngest of the world’s
16 great cities, that time came later than elsewhere,
17 because the crowding had not been so great.
18 There were those who believed that it would
19 never come; but their hopes were vain. Greed
20 and reckless selfishness delivered similar results
21 here as in the cities of older lands. “When the
22 great riot occurred in 1863,” reads the testimony
23 of the Secretary of the Prison Association
24 of New York before a legislative committee
25 appointed to investigate causes of the increase
26 of crime in the State twenty-five years ago,
27 “every hiding-place and nursery of crime
28 discovered itself by immediate and active
29 participation in the operations of the mob. Those very
30 places and domiciles, and all that are like them,
31 are today nurseries of crime, and of the vices
32 and disorderly courses which lead to crime. By
33 far the largest part—80% at least—of crimes
34 against property and people are perpetrated by
35 individuals who have either lost connection
36 with home life, or never had any, or whose
37 homes had ceased to afford what are regarded
38 as ordinary wholesome influences of home and
39 family. . . . The younger criminals seem to come
40 almost exclusively from the worst tenement
41 house districts, that is, when traced back to the
42 very places where they had their homes in the
43 city here.” One thing New York was made sure
44 of at that early stage of the inquiry: the boundary
45 line of the Other Half lies through the
46 tenements.
47 It is ten years and over, now, since
48 that line divided New York’s population evenly
49 Today three fourths of New Yorkers live in the
50 tenements, and the nineteenth century drift of
51 the population to the cities is only increasing
52 those numbers. The fifteen thousand tenant
53 houses in the past generation have swelled into
54 thirty-seven thousand, and more than twelve
55 hundred thousand persons call them home.
56 The one way out—rapid transit to the suburbs
57 has brought no relief. We know now
58 that there is no way out; that the “system” that
59 was the evil offspring of public neglect and private
60 greed is here to stay, forever a center of our
61 civilization. Nothing is left but to make the
62 best of a bad bargain.
63 The story is dark enough, drawn from the
64 plain public records, to send a chill to any
65 heart. If it shall appear that the sufferings and
66 the sins of the “other half,” and the evil they
67 breed, are but as a fitting punishment upon the
68 community that gave it no other choice, it will
69 be because that is the truth. The boundary line
70 lies there because, while the forces for good on
71 one side vastly outweigh the bad—not otherwise
72 in the tenements all the influences make
73 for evil; because they are the hotbeds of the
74 epidemics that carry death to rich and poor
75 alike; the nurseries of poverty and crime that
76 fill our jails and courts; that throw off forty
77 thousand human wrecks to the island asylums
78 and workhouses year by year; that turned out
79 in the last eight years a round half million beggars
80 to prey upon our charities; that maintain a
81 standing army of ten thousand panhandlers
82 with all that that implies; because, above all,
83 they touch the family life with deadly moral
84 poison. This is their worst crime, inseparable
85 from the system. That we have to own it, the
86 child of our own wrong, does not excuse it,
87 even though it gives it claim upon our utmost
88 patience and tenderest charity

ACT Reading Test: 1 Passage III (Question No. 21 to 30) Time Limit 8.75 Minutes

ACT Reading Practice Test 1

Passage III (Question No. 21 to 30)

Time Limit: 8.75 minutes

ACT Reading Passage IV—Natural Science

This passage is taken from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pamphlet titled “Migration of Birds,” by Frederick C. Lincoln, 1935.

1 The changing picture of bird populations
2 throughout the year intrigues those who are
3 observant and who wish to know the source
4 and destination of these birds. While many species
5 of fish, mammals, and even insects undertake
6 amazing migratory journeys, birds as a
7 group are the most mobile creatures on Earth.
8 Even humans with their many vehicles of
9 locomotion do not equal some birds in mobility.
10 No human population moves each year as far as
11 from the Arctic to the Antarctic with subsequent
12 return, yet the arctic terns do.
13 Birds are adapted in their body structure
14 and physiology to life in the air. Their feathered
15 wings and tails, bones, lungs and air sacs, and
16 their metabolic abilities all contribute to this
17 amazing faculty. These adaptations make it
18 possible for birds to seek out environments
19 most favorable to their needs at different times
20 of the year. This results in the marvelous
21 phenomenon we know as migration—the regular,
22 recurrent, seasonal movement of populations
23 from one geographic location to another and
24 back again.
25 Throughout human experience, migratory
26 birds have been important as a source of
27 food after a lean winter and as the harbinger of
28 a change in seasons. The arrival of certain
29 species has been heralded with appropriate
30 ceremonies in many lands. Among the Eskimos
31 and other tribes this phenomenon is the
32 accepted sign of the imminence of spring, of
33 warmer weather, and a reprieve from winter
34 food shortages. The European fur traders in
35 Alaska and Canada offered rewards to the
36 Native American who saw the first flight of
37 geese in the spring, and all joined in jubilant
38 welcome to the newcomers. As North America
39 became more thickly settled, the large flocks of
40 ducks and geese, as well as migratory rails,
41 doves, and woodcock that had been hunted for
42 food became objects of the enthusiastic
43 attention of an increasing army of sportsmen. Most
44 of the nongame species were also found to be
45 valuable as allies of the farmer in his neverending
46 confrontation against insect pests and
47 weed seeds. And in more recent years, all species
48 have been of ever-increasing recreational
49 and esthetic value for untold numbers of people
50 who enjoy watching birds. We soon realized
51 that our migratory bird resource was an international
52 legacy that could not be managed
53 alone by one state or country and that all
54 nations were responsible for its well-being. The
55 need for laws protecting game and nongame
56 birds, as well as the necessity to regulate the
57 hunting of diminishing game species, followed
58 as a natural consequence. In the management
59 of this wildlife resource, it has become obvious
60 that studies must be made of the species’ habits,
61 environmental needs, and travels. In the United
62 States, the Department of the Interior recognized
63 the value of this resource and is devoted
64 to programs that will ensure sustainability for
65 these populations as they are faced with the
66 impacts of alteration in land use, loss of habitat,
67 and contaminants from our technological society.
68 Hence bird investigations are made by the
69 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the arm of the
70 Department of Interior charged by Congress
71 under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act with the
72 duty of protecting those avian species that in
73 their yearly journeys pass back and forth
74 between the United States and other countries.
75 In addition, the federal government through
76 the activities of the Biological Resources Division
77 of the U.S. Geological Survey also promotes
78 basic research on migration. Federal
79 agencies cooperate with their counterparts in
80 other countries as well as with state agencies,
81 academic institutions, and nongovernmental
82 groups to gain understanding and for the
83 protection of migratory species through such
84 endeavors as Partners in Flight, a broadly based
85 international cooperative effort in the Western
86 Hemisphere.
87 For almost a century the Fish and Wildlife
88 Service and its predecessor, the Biological
89 Survey, have been collecting data on the important
90 details of bird migration. Scientists have
91 gathered information concerning the distribution
92 and seasonal movements of many species
93 throughout the Western Hemisphere, from the
94 Arctic Archipelago south to Tierra del Fuego.
95 Supplementing these investigations is the work
96 of hundreds of United States, Latin American,
97 and Canadian university personnel and
98 volunteer bird-watchers, who report on the
99 migrations and status of birds as observed in their
100 respective localities. This data, stored in field
101 notes, computer files, and scientific journals,
102 constitutes an enormous reservoir of information
103 pertaining to the distribution and movements
104 of North American birds.
105 The purpose of this publication is to summarize
106 this data and additional information
107 from other parts of the world to present the
108 more important facts about our current
109 understanding of the fascinating subject of bird
110 migration. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is
111 grateful to the many people who have
112 contributed their knowledge so that others,
113 whether in biology or ornithology classes,
114 members of conservation organizations, or just
115 individuals interested in the welfare of the
116 birds, may understand and enjoy this precious
117 resource as well as preserve it for generations
118 to come.

ACT Reading Test: 1 Passage IV (Question No. 31 to 40) Time Limit 8.75 Minutes

ACT Reading Practice Test 1

Passage I (Question No. 31 to 40)

Time Limit: 8.75 minutes