## MCAT-style Physics Questions

1. A student is provided with three 2-ohm resistors. How many different total resistances can be produced if all three of the resistors are used in a circuit?

a. 3
b. 4
c. 5
d. 6

2. What are the minimum and maximum resistances produced by the circuits in question 1?

a. 0.67 ohms and 3 ohms
b. 1 ohm and 6 ohms
c. 1.33 ohms and 6 ohms
d. 0.67 ohms and 6 ohms

3. A student connects three 2-microfarad capacitors in parallel. What is the total capacitance?

4. The capacitors in parallel in question 3 are connected to a 6-V dc voltage supply. What is the current in the circuit after the transients have disappeared?

a. 0 A
b. 1 A
c. 1,000,000 A
d. 2 A

5. If the capacitors in question 3 are connected to an ac voltage source of 4 Vrms, oscillating at a frequency of 1 MHz, what is the root mean square current in the circuit?

a. 48p A
b. 24p A
c. 40p A
d. 3p A

6. A 50 cm long hollow glass cylinder open at both ends is held in the air. A device that produces pure tones is placed adjacent to one end. The frequency of the sound is initially set very low then increased gradually. At a frequency of 320 Hz, the tube resonates. What is the speed of sound in air during this experiment?

a. 320 m/s
b. 640 m/s
c. 330 m/s
d. 160 m/s

7. A 50 cm long hollow glass cylinder open at both ends is held in the air. A device that produces pure tones is placed adjacent to one end. The frequency of the sound is initially set very low then increased gradually. At a frequency of 320 Hz, the tube resonates. The frequency is increased until resonance occurs again. What is this higher resonant frequency?

a. 320 Hz
b. 960 Hz
c. 640 Hz
d. 1,280 Hz

8. A 50 cm long hollow glass cylinder closed at one end is held in the air. A device that produces pure tones is placed adjacent to the open end. The frequency of the sound is initially set very low then increased gradually. What are the three lowest resonant frequencies? (Assume the speed of sound is 340 m/s.)

a. 150 Hz, 510 Hz, 850 Hz
b. 170 Hz, 610 Hz, 850 Hz
c. 170 Hz, 510 Hz, 870 Hz
d. 170 Hz, 510 Hz, 850 Hz

9. The setup in question 7 is placed in a chamber filled with helium. What happens to the respective resonant frequencies?

a. They remain the same.
b. They increase.
c. They decrease.
d. Some increase while others decrease.

10. The setup in question 7 is now subjected to a decrease in temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. What happens to the respective resonant frequencies?

a. They remain the same.
b. They increase.
c. They decrease.
d. Some increase while others decrease.

11. Two electronic sound sources are placed in a room. One emits a sound of frequency of 293 Hz and amplitude 4 units, the other 297 Hz and 10 units. What is the frequency of the beats produced? (Here amplitude is measured in arbitrary units at a point in the room equidistant from the sound sources.)

a. 8 Hz
b. 590 Hz
c. 2 Hz
d. 4 Hz

12. The space shuttle is conducting an experiment with a large parallel plate capacitor in the vacuum and weightlessness of earth orbit. A dc voltage source of 12 V is applied across the plates. The capacitance is 1.5 farads. What is the charge on each plate?

a. 12 C
b. 18 C
c. 8 C
d. 0.8 C

13. When the plates in question 12 are moved farther apart while the voltage source remains attached,

a. voltage decreases and the charge on each plate decreases.
b. voltage decreases and the charge on each plate remains the same.
c. voltage remains the same and the charge on each plate remains the same.
d. voltage remains the same and the charge on each plate decreases.

14. A thick sheet of glass (which acts as a dielectric) is placed between the plates in question 12 while the voltage source is still connected. The potential difference and charge on each plate should

a. remain the same and increase, respectively.
b. remain the same and decrease, respectively.
c. remain the same in both cases.
d. increase in both cases.

15. If the area of each plate in question 12 is tripled while their separation and the voltage source are unchanged,

a. capacitance remains the same, while electric field intensity increases.
b. capacitance and electric field intensity remain the same.
c. capacitance is tripled, while electric field intensity remains the same.
d. capacitance and electric field intensity are tripled.

16. An astronaut onboard the space shuttle takes a hollow metallic ball and, by means of electrostatic induction, gives it a net positive charge of 2 C. What is the electric field intensity inside the ball when it is placed between the plates described in question 12, and far away from the plates, respectively?

a. 2 N/C and 6 N/C
b. 0 N/C in both cases
c. 6 N/C and 2 N/C
d. cannot be determined with the information provided

17. The ball in question 16 is taken far away from the plates. What is the electric field intensity at a point 4 m away from the center of the ball? (The letter k represents the constant in Coulomb’s law.)

a. k/4 N/C
b. k/2 N/C
c. k/6 N/C
d. k/8 N/C

18. The space shuttle is conducting an experiment with a large parallel plate capacitor in the vacuum and weightlessness of earth orbit. An astronaut adjusts the capacitor plates so that they are 3 m apart. The voltage is 12 V. A hollow metallic ball that has a negligible radius, a net positive charge of 2 C, and a mass of 100 g is held inside the capacitor against the positive plate. It is then released. What is the kinetic energy of the ball when it reaches the negative plate?

a. 12 J
b. 6 J
c. 24 J
d. 36 J

19. What is the force acting on the ball in question 18?

a. 8 N
b. 4 N
c. 16 N
d. The force will vary depending on its relative position between the plates

20. What will happen to the force on the ball in question 18 and its kinetic energy if the voltage is doubled?

b. They double.
c. They stay the same.
d. Force is doubled; kinetic energy is quadrupled.

21. The space shuttle is conducting an experiment with a large parallel plate capacitor in the vacuum and weightlessness of earth orbit. The voltage is 12 V. A metal ball of mass 250 g is given a net positive charge of 1.5 C and held at the positive plate. It is then released and it accelerates to the negative plate. What is its speed just before it reaches the negative plate?

a. 24 m/s
b. 120 m/s
c. 4.8 m/s
d. 12 m/s

22. A biologist is studying the ecology of a lake. She uses a glass-bottomed boat, an ordinary camera, two magnifying glasses, and a compound microscope for her study. In preparing for her project, she assembles the following data: index of refraction (n) of water = 1.33; index of refraction (n) of glass = 1.5; index of refraction (n) of microscope oil = 1.5; focal length of camera lens = 5 cm; focal length of each magnifying glass = 12 cm. When light travels from air to water

a. its frequency increases
b. its frequency decreases
c. its wavelength increases
d. its wavelength decreases

23. A fish looking straight up in the water sees a circular patch of light that defines a cone with the fish’s eye at the apex. Based on the data from question 22, what is the angle between the side of the cone and the normal to the water the surface?

a. sin-1 0.67
b. sin-1 0.75
c. sin-1 1
d. sin-1 0

24. The biologist in question 22 photographs some geese 5 m away, using the camera lens with focal length 5 cm. In order to have a focused image, what must be the distance between the lens and the film in the camera?

a. 7 cm
b. 8 cm
c. slightly less than 5 cm
d. slightly more than 5 cm

25. The biologist in question 22 examines a butterfly that has landed on the boat, using a magnifying glass with focal length 12 cm. With the glass held close to her relaxed eye, what is the magnification obtained when the butterfly is brought into focus?

a. 2
b. 3
c. 4
d. 6

26. The biologist in question 22 places the two magnifying glasses in contact with each other. The combined focal length (in air) is

a. 4 cm
b. 24 cm
c. 12 cm
d. 6 cm

27. The biologist in question 22 examines an underwater object by immersing a magnifying glass in the water. The focal length of the magnifying glass

a. decreases
b. increases
c. remains the same
d. changes unpredictably

28. The biologist in question 22 collects specimens and examines one of them under the microscope in the laboratory. At a magnification of 1,000 she finds that although the image is bigger, the level of detail is not improved (i.e., there is "empty magnification"). She uses the technique of oil immersion to increase the resolution: the small space between the objective lens and the slide cover is filled with oil. Oil immersion increases the resolving power by

a. filtering out scattered light.
b. acting as another lens, magnifying the image even more.
c. decreasing the wavelength of light entering the aperture of the objective lens.
d. increasing the frequency of light entering the aperture of the objective lens.

29. If the length of a simple pendulum is doubled, the period

a. doubles
c. triples
d. increases by a factor of the square root of 2

30. If the mass of a pendulum is doubled, the frequency

a. doubles
b. halves
c. remains the same
d. cannot be determined with the information given

31. A man travels to a planet that has twice the radius of the earth and twice the mass. His weight, compared to his weight on earth, is

a. double
b. triple
c. half
d. cannot be determined with the information given

32. A 10-kg block is propelled at a constant acceleration of 2 m/s2 up a frictionless plane inclined at 30 degrees to the horizontal. The force acting parallel to the plane pushing the block is

a. 100 N
b. 25 N
c. 50 N
d. 70 N

33. A 20-kg child is playing on a swing of negligible mass. The swing is attached to its pivot point with two 3-m ropes. The maximum speed of the child during a swing cycle is found to be 3 m/s. What is the maximum tension in each rope?

a. 200 N
b. 260 N
c. 60 N
d. 130 N

34. A brick is resting on a concrete surface. Which of the following is true? I. the force required to overcome static friction is greater than the force required to overcome dynamic friction; II. the force required to overcome dynamic friction is greater than the force required to overcome static friction; III. friction is proportional to the component of weight acting normally on the surface

a. all are correct
b. I and II are correct
c. I and III are correct
d. II and III are correct

35. A police car is travelling towards you at 50 m/s relative to the ground. Its siren is emitting a sound at 400 Hz. You are travelling in the opposite direction, towards the police car, and your speedometer shows 20 m/s. What is the frequency of the sound you hear (velocity of sound in air is 330 m/s)?

a. 470 Hz
b. 485 Hz
c. 450 Hz
d. 500 Hz

36. Referring to the previous question, what is the frequency you hear after you pass each other?

a. 326 Hz
b. 500 Hz
c. 400 Hz
d. 375 Hz

37. A shell is fired at an angle so that for every 4 feet traveled horizontally, it rises vertically 3 feet. Its speed on leaving the muzzle is 500 m/s. How far does the shell travel (ignore air resistance)?

a. 20 km
b. 18 km
c. 12 km
d. 24 km

38. Three children of mass 20 kg, 40 kg, and 60 kg want to balance themselves on an 8-meter-long see-saw, pivoted at its center. The 60-kg child sits 1 m from the left end. The 40-kg child sits at the right end. Where must the 20-kg child sit?

a. 3 m from the right end
b. 3 m from the left end
c. 1 m from the right end
d. 2 m from the right end

39. A sound with intensity I = 10-12 W/m2 is defined to have a sound level of 0 decibels. What is the sound level, in decibels, of a sound of intensity I = 10-8 W/m2?

a. 50 dB
b. 40 dB
c. 30 dB
d. -40 dB

40. If the sound level of a sound goes up by 20 dB, how many times does the sound intensity increase?

a. 20 times
b. 1000 times
c. 10 times
d. 100 times

41. Tl decays by the emission of beta particles (half-life = 3.1 minutes). As a result, Pb is produced. After 9.3 mins, an initially pure sample of Tl contains 7 g of Pb. What was the approximate mass of the original sample?

a. 7 g
b. 8 g
c. 28 g
d. 32 g

42. Which of the following is not a physical quantity that corresponds to a base or fundamental unit in the International System of units?

a. Luminous intensity
b. Temperature
c. Electrical charge
d. Force

43. A fossil is found to be 72,000 years old by carbon 14 dating. How much carbon 14 is presently in the fossil (assume the half-life of carbon 14 is 6,000 years)?

a. 1/4224 of the amount found in living tissue
b. 1/2048 of the amount found in living tissue
c. 1/4096 of the amount found in living tissue
d. 1/8192 of the amount found in living tissue

44. What is the total resistance of two 2-ohm resistors in parallel connected to a third 2-ohm resistor in series?

a. 6 ohms
b. 1 ohms
c. 3 ohms
d. 1.33 ohms

45. When looking at a real object with a diverging lens, the image is

a. always real and inverted
b. always real and erect
c. always virtual and erect
d. sometimes real and sometimes virtual depending on the distance from lens to object

46. Two wires drawn from copper with the same resistivity have the same length. One wire has a diameter twice as great as the other one. Part of the thinner wire is cut off, leaving a piece half its initial length. The resistance of the remaining thin wire is

a. the same as that of the thicker wire
b. half as great as that of the thicker wire
c. twice as great as that of the thicker wire
d. four times as great as that of the thicker wire

47. For the situation in question 46 the two halves of the thinner wire are clamped together to act as one piece half the length of the original. The resistance of this combination is

a. the same as that of the thicker wire
b. half as great as that of the thicker wire
c. twice as great as that of the thicker wire
d. four times as great as that of the thicker wire

48. Parallel light, incident from the left along the symmetry axis of a thin lens, is converged to a focus at a point on the right side of the axis a distance F from the lens. The lens is then flipped around to face in the opposite direction. For that arrangement the incident parallel light is

a. diverged as if it came from a point on the left a distance F from the lens.
b. converged to a point on the right a distance F from the lens.
c. converged to a point on the left a distance F from the lens.
d. diverged as if it came from a point on the right a distance F from the lens.

49. Arrange the following types radiation in order of increasing wavelength: infrared, ultraviolet, microwaves, x rays, visible light.

a. microwaves, x rays ultraviolet, infrared, visible light
b. x rays, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, microwaves
c. x rays, microwaves, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared
d. x rays, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, microwaves

1. A student is provided with three 2-ohm resistors. How many different total resistances can be produced if all three of the resistors are used in a circuit?

b. 4

2. What are the minimum and maximum resistances produced by the circuits in question 1?

d. 0.67 ohms and 6 ohms

3. A student connects three 2-microfarad capacitors in parallel. What is the total capacitance?

4. The capacitors in parallel in question 3 are connected to a 6-V dc voltage supply. What is the current in the circuit after the transients have disappeared?

a. 0 A

5. If the capacitors in question 3 are connected to an ac voltage source of 4 Vrms, oscillating at a frequency of 1 MHz, what is the root mean square current in the circuit?

a. 48p A

6. A 50 cm long hollow glass cylinder open at both ends is held in the air. A device that produces pure tones is placed adjacent to one end. The frequency of the sound is initially set very low then increased gradually. At a frequency of 320 Hz, the tube resonates. What is the speed of sound in air during this experiment?

a. 320 m/s

7. A 50 cm long hollow glass cylinder open at both ends is held in the air. A device that produces pure tones is placed adjacent to one end. The frequency of the sound is initially set very low then increased gradually. At a frequency of 320 Hz, the tube resonates. The frequency is increased until resonance occurs again. What is this higher resonant frequency?

c. 640 Hz

8. A 50 cm long hollow glass cylinder closed at one end is held in the air. A device that produces pure tones is placed adjacent to the open end. The frequency of the sound is initially set very low then increased gradually. What are the three lowest resonant frequencies? (Assume the speed of sound is 340 m/s.)

d. 170 Hz, 510 Hz, 850 Hz

9. The setup in question 7 is placed in a chamber filled with helium. What happens to the respective resonant frequencies?

b. They increase.

10. The setup in question 7 is now subjected to a decrease in temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. What happens to the respective resonant frequencies?

c. They decrease.

11. Two electronic sound sources are placed in a room. One emits a sound of frequency of 293 Hz and amplitude 4 units, the other 297 Hz and 10 units. What is the frequency of the beats produced? (Here amplitude is measured in arbitrary units at a point in the room equidistant from the sound sources.)

d. 4 Hz

12. The space shuttle is conducting an experiment with a large parallel plate capacitor in the vacuum and weightlessness of earth orbit. A dc voltage source of 12 V is applied across the plates. The capacitance is 1.5 farads. What is the charge on each plate?

b. 18 C

13. When the plates in question 12 are moved farther apart while the voltage source remains attached,

d. voltage remains the same and the charge on each plate decreases.

14. A thick sheet of glass (which acts as a dielectric) is placed between the plates in question 12 while the voltage source is still connected. The potential difference and charge on each plate should

a. remain the same and increase, respectively.

15. If the area of each plate in question 12 is tripled while their separation and the voltage source are unchanged,

c. capacitance is tripled, while electric field intensity remains the same.

16. An astronaut onboard the space shuttle takes a hollow metallic ball and, by means of electrostatic induction, gives it a net positive charge of 2 C. What is the electric field intensity inside the ball when it is placed between the plates described in question 12, and far away from the plates, respectively?

b. 0 N/C in both cases

17. The ball in question 16 is taken far away from the plates. What is the electric field intensity at a point 4 m away from the center of the ball? (The letter k represents the constant in Coulomb’s law.)

d. k/8 N/C

18. The space shuttle is conducting an experiment with a large parallel plate capacitor in the vacuum and weightlessness of earth orbit. An astronaut adjusts the capacitor plates so that they are 3 m apart. The voltage is 12 V. A hollow metallic ball that has a negligible radius, a net positive charge of 2 C, and a mass of 100 g is held inside the capacitor against the positive plate. It is then released. What is the kinetic energy of the ball when it reaches the negative plate?

c. 24 J

19. What is the force acting on the ball in question 18?

a. 8 N

20. What will happen to the force on the ball in question 18 and its kinetic energy if the voltage is doubled?

b. They double.

21. The space shuttle is conducting an experiment with a large parallel plate capacitor in the vacuum and weightlessness of earth orbit. The voltage is 12 V. A metal ball of mass 250 g is given a net positive charge of 1.5 C and held at the positive plate. It is then released and it accelerates to the negative plate. What is its speed just before it reaches the negative plate?

d. 12 m/s

22. A biologist is studying the ecology of a lake. She uses a glass-bottomed boat, an ordinary camera, two magnifying glasses, and a compound microscope for her study. In preparing for her project, she assembles the following data: index of refraction (n) of water = 1.33; index of refraction (n) of glass = 1.5; index of refraction (n) of microscope oil = 1.5; focal length of camera lens = 5 cm; focal length of each magnifying glass = 12 cm. When light travels from air to water

d. its wavelength decreases

23. A fish looking straight up in the water sees a circular patch of light that defines a cone with the fish’s eye at the apex. Based on the data from question 22, what is the angle between the side of the cone and the normal to the water the surface?

b. sin-1 0.75

24. The biologist in question 22 photographs some geese 5 m away, using the camera lens with focal length 5 cm. In order to have a focused image, what must be the distance between the lens and the film in the camera?

d. slightly more than 5 cm

25. The biologist in question 22 examines a butterfly that has landed on the boat, using a magnifying glass with focal length 12 cm. With the glass held close to her relaxed eye, what is the magnification obtained when the butterfly is brought into focus?

c. 4

26. The biologist in question 22 places the two magnifying glasses in contact with each other. The combined focal length (in air) is

d. 6 cm

27. The biologist in question 22 examines an underwater object by immersing a magnifying glass in the water. The focal length of the magnifying glass

b. increases

28. The biologist in question 22 collects specimens and examines one of them under the microscope in the laboratory. At a magnification of 1,000 she finds that although the image is bigger, the level of detail is not improved (i.e., there is "empty magnification"). She uses the technique of oil immersion to increase the resolution: the small space between the objective lens and the slide cover is filled with oil. Oil immersion increases the resolving power by

c. decreasing the wavelength of light entering the aperture of the objective lens.

29. If the length of a simple pendulum is doubled, the period

d. increases by a factor of the square root of 2

30. If the mass of a pendulum is doubled, the frequency

c. remains the same

31. A man travels to a planet that has twice the radius of the earth and twice the mass. His weight, compared to his weight on earth, is

c. half

32. A 10-kg block is propelled at a constant acceleration of 2 m/s2 up a frictionless plane inclined at 30 degrees to the horizontal. The force acting parallel to the plane pushing the block is

d. 70 N

33. A 20-kg child is playing on a swing of negligible mass. The swing is attached to its pivot point with two 3-m ropes. The maximum speed of the child during a swing cycle is found to be 3 m/s. What is the maximum tension in each rope?

d. 130 N

34. A brick is resting on a concrete surface. Which of the following is true? I. the force required to overcome static friction is greater than the force required to overcome dynamic friction; II. the force required to overcome dynamic friction is greater than the force required to overcome static friction; III. friction is proportional to the component of weight acting normally on the surface

c. I and III are correct

35. A police car is travelling towards you at 50 m/s relative to the ground. Its siren is emitting a sound at 400 Hz. You are travelling in the opposite direction, towards the police car, and your speedometer shows 20 m/s. What is the frequency of the sound you hear (velocity of sound in air is 330 m/s)?

d. 500 Hz

36. Referring to the previous question, what is the frequency you hear after you pass each other?

a. 326 Hz

37. A shell is fired at an angle so that for every 4 feet traveled horizontally, it rises vertically 3 feet. Its speed on leaving the muzzle is 500 m/s. How far does the shell travel (ignore air resistance)?

d. 24 km

38. Three children of mass 20 kg, 40 kg, and 60 kg want to balance themselves on an 8-meter-long see-saw, pivoted at its center. The 60-kg child sits 1 m from the left end. The 40-kg child sits at the right end. Where must the 20-kg child sit?

a. 3 m from the right end

39. A sound with intensity I = 10-12 W/m2 is defined to have a sound level of 0 decibels. What is the sound level, in decibels, of a sound of intensity I = 10-8 W/m2?

b. 40 dB

40. If the sound level of a sound goes up by 20 dB, how many times does the sound intensity increase?

d. 100 times

41. Tl decays by the emission of beta particles (half-life = 3.1 minutes). As a result, Pb is produced. After 9.3 mins, an initially pure sample of Tl contains 7 g of Pb. What was the approximate mass of the original sample?

b. 8 g

42. Which of the following is not a physical quantity that corresponds to a base or fundamental unit in the International System of units?

d. Force

43. A fossil is found to be 72,000 years old by carbon 14 dating. How much carbon 14 is presently in the fossil (assume the half-life of carbon 14 is 6,000 years)?

c. 1/4096 of the amount found in living tissue

44. What is the total resistance of two 2-ohm resistors in parallel connected to a third 2-ohm resistor in series?

c. 3 ohms

45. When looking at a real object with a diverging lens, the image is

c. always virtual and erect

46. Two wires drawn from copper with the same resistivity have the same length. One wire has a diameter twice as great as the other one. Part of the thinner wire is cut off, leaving a piece half its initial length. The resistance of the remaining thin wire

c. twice as great as that of the thicker wire

47. For the situation in question 46 the two halves of the thinner wire are clamped together to act as one piece half the length of the original. The resistance of this combination is

a. the same as that of the thicker wire

48. Parallel light, incident from the left along the symmetry axis of a thin lens, is converged to a focus at a point on the right side of the axis a distance F from the lens. The lens is then flipped around to face in the opposite direction. For that arrangement the incident parallel light is

b. converged to a point on the right a distance F from the lens.

49. Arrange the following types radiation in order of increasing wavelength: infrared, ultraviolet, microwaves, x rays, visible light.

d. x rays, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, microwaves

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