Free ACT Practice Test with Answers and Explanations (PDF Download)

ACT Practice Test - image by Magoosh
Magoosh offers a full-length ACT Practice Test PDF, with answer explanations! This test is a great way to gauge your ACT strengths and weaknesses.

We also have a free SAT practice test you can try as well. You can also do an ACT to SAT score conversion if you want to take both and see which you do better on!

Free ACT Practice Test by Magoosh

So how do you get this free ACT Practice test? To access this full length ACT practice test PDF, just enter your email:

On this page, you’ll also find:

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This Full ACT Practice Test Includes:

…All five sections of the ACT, as you’d expect from any ACT full practice test. (The Magoosh ACT full test contains English, Math, Reading, Science, and an essay prompt.)

What to Expect from Each of the 5 ACT Sections on Test Day

The ACT has 4 sections of multiple choice questions: English, Math, Reading, and Science. It also has an optional Essay section. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect as a test taker.

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The ACT English Section

The ACT English test has 5 passages, 75 questions, and a 45 minute time limit.

You will be tested on punctuation, subject-verb agreement, verb forms, pronoun forms, adjectives, adverbs, modifiers (especially comparatives and superlatives), idioms, sentence structure, paragraph structure, and writing style. For more information, see Magoosh’s study guide to getting a perfect 36 in ACT English.

Sample ACT English practice question:

Magoosh ACT Practice Test: Sample English question

This question comes from page 3 of the Magoosh ACT Practice Test PDF.

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The ACT Math Section

ACT Math has 60 questions and is 60 minutes long. ACT Math tests pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, plane geometry, coordinate geometry, and trigonometry.

Within these broader categories, you’ll come across many subtypes of math. For a full breakdown of the math concepts you’ll see on your ACT practice test, see our list of the 15 key concepts to review for ACT Math.

Sample ACT Math questions:

magoosh act practice test: sample math questions

The two questions above come from page 15 of the Magoosh ACT Practice Test PDF.

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The ACT Reading Section

In ACT Reading, there are 4 passages and 40 questions (10 per passage). ACT Reading has a 35 minute time limit. The ACT Reading passage types are: prose fiction, humanities, social science, and natural science (there will be one of each type).

The ACT Reading question types are main idea, comparative relationships, cause-effect relationships and sequence of events, inferences and generalizations, meaning of words, author’s voice, and author’s method/purpose.

For more information on ACT Reading, see Rachel’s ACT Reading guide.

Sample ACT Reading question:

magoosh act practice test: sample reading question

For the full passage associated with this question, see pages 24 and 25 of the Magoosh ACT Practice Test PDF.

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The ACT Science Section

ACT Science has 6 passages and a total of 40 questions, to be completed in 35 minutes. The ACT Science passage types will be as follows: 3 research summaries (7 questions each), 2 data representation passages (6 questions each), and 1 conflicting viewpoint passage (7 questions).

You don’t need a lot of prior science knowledge for this section. You just need to be able to navigate and understand typical science texts. Magoosh has a great guide on how to do this: our fun Dark Knight’s Guide on How to Get a Perfect 36 on ACT Science.

Sample ACT Science question:

magoosh act practice test: sample science question

The table and question above come from pages 38 and 39 of the Magoosh ACT Practice Test PDF.

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ACT Writing (AKA the Optional ACT Essay)

The ACT essay features a short description of an important social issue, followed by three different position statements about the issue. Your essay will analyze the three positions and also develop and defend your own position on the social issue. (As one example, the prompt in Magoosh’s ACT Practice Test PDF is about censorship; see page 49 of our ACT Test PDF to look at that example prompt.)

To get a top test score on the ACT, see Rachel Kapelke-Dale’s wonderfully titled tutorial Your Magical Guide to Scoring a Perfect 12 on the ACT Essay.

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ACT Section Scores vs. the ACT Composite Score

The four multiple-choice sections of the ACT are each scored on a scale of 1 to 36. The ACT as a whole is also scored on a scale of 1-36, and your ACT composite score will be an average score based on your four section scores. The optional ACT essay is scored separately, and has a score range of 1-12.

For a complete guide to ACT scores and how they are used in college admissions, read our article ACT Score Range: What is a Good ACT Score?

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ACT Practice Test Answers and Explanations

Yes, you read that right: our practice test is an ACT practice test with answers and explanations, including video explanations!

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For an example of what these helpful explanations look like, see our ACT Practice Question of the Day post. That post previews a small handful of questions that are on our practice test, complete with links to the explanations. Or you can go to the page that contains all of the Magoosh ACT Practice Test answers and explanations. (This page is also linked within the PDF.)

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Where to Find Official ACT Practice Tests

Practice tests are an essential part of ACT prep, and Magoosh’s free ACT Practice Test PDF is a great place to start.

Once you’ve done the Magoosh test, I strongly recommend doing some additional practice ACTs: the official ACT tests.

Here’s a list of each free official ACT practice tests from three recent years. Each of the real ACT practice tests below is comparable to the current, real ACT tests being administered right now:

In case you’re wondering what happened to the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 tests from these booklets, those were exactly the same as the 2020-2021 test. This isn’t new for the ACT—the 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 tests were also the same.

You can also buy The Official ACT Prep Guide 2019-2020, The Official ACT Prep Guide 2016-2017, or Real ACT Prep Guide, 3rd Edition. There are a total of 11 practice tests between those three books. But be warned—many of the practice tests in those books are exactly the same as the online ones linked above.

The official ACT materials do not contain the in-depth text and video explanations that Magoosh offers for its own questions, but they are still excellent sources of practice.

And it really is important to take multiple practice tests from ACT and Magoosh, so that you experience the range of questions and content that might appear on the test. For more information on these extra official materials, read Magoosh’s review of official ACT prep.

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Other ACT Practice from Magoosh

If you like what you see on our free practice test, you can get additional ACT online practice tests by signing up for Magoosh ACT. You can also get an extra test and lots of other practice by purchasing the Magoosh ACT book.