Study Guide

Field 113: Physical Science 
Sample Selected-Response Questions

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General Test Directions

This test consists of two sections: 1) a section with selected-response questions and 2) a constructed-response section.

Each question in the first section is a selected-response question with four answer choices. Read each question and answer choice carefully and choose the ONE best answer.

Try to answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will NOT be penalized for guessing.

The second section of this test consists of one constructed-response assignment. You will be asked to provide a written response to the assignment. Directions for completing your written response to the constructed-response assignment appear immediately before the assignment.

Reference materials will be available to you during this test. To access these reference materials, click on the reference materials icon located in the lower left corner of the screen.

You may NOT use any type of calculator or outside reference materials during this testing session.

Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0002 
Apply knowledge of the processes of gathering, organizing, and interpreting scientific data.

1. Use the table below to answer the question that follows.

Date Average Wind Speed (miles per hour) Wind Direction (degrees)
12/1 19 270
12/2 11 340
12/3 12 360
12/4 6.5 20.
12/5 10. 180

The table shown represents meteorological data taken on five consecutive days in the same Oklahoma location. The data could be most clearly represented graphically through the use of a:

  1. vector diagram.
  2. scatterplot.
  3. bar chart.
  4. three-dimensional plot.

Correct Response: A. The correct response indicates that the examinee understands that the speed and direction are both important in this data set, that a vector diagram will properly express both of these variables, and that none of the other options will.


Competency 0003 
Apply knowledge of engineering design to physical science.

2. Which of the following statements best describes an important difference between scientific research and engineering design?

  1. Scientific research drives the goals of engineering design, whereas engineering design provides the foundations for scientific research.
  2. Scientific research is concerned with developing new technologies, whereas engineering design is focused on improving the technologies.
  3. Scientific research is focused on discovering the laws of nature, whereas engineering design is concerned with meeting human needs.
  4. Scientific research is directed at market-based solutions to problems, whereas engineering design is more likely to be supported by government funding.

Correct Response: C. The examinee must also compare the two processes and analyze how the two processes are used in real world applications. Scientific research is about expanding knowledge, but engineering design is about solving specific problems.


Competency 0005 
Apply knowledge of forces and motion.

3. A plane is traveling northeast (45 degrees heading) and encounters a headwind that temporarily makes the plane's northerly velocity 0 miles per hour. Which of the following conclusions can be drawn about the velocity of the wind blowing due south?

  1. The wind must have a velocity two times greater than the plane's.
  2. To negate the forward velocity, the wind has a velocity equal to the plane's.
  3. The easterly velocity of the plane is doubled to find wind speed.
  4. The velocity of the wind is equal to the opposing component of the plane's velocity.

Correct Response: D. In this example the plane has a northerly and easterly component of velocity. The wind only has a southerly component. To reduce the northerly velocity to zero, the entire southerly velocity must be equal to just the northerly component of velocity.


Competency 0006 
Apply knowledge of work, power, energy, and momentum in mechanical systems.

4. A 2 kg mass moving at a speed of 6 m per s is sliding across a smooth, horizontal surface when it encounters a rough section of the surface and slows to 4 m per s before continuing on the smooth surface. How much energy was dissipated by the mass moving across the rough surface?

  1. 4 J
  2. 8 J
  3. 20 J
  4. 24 J

Correct Response: C. In this case, the sliding mass loses 2 m per s velocity. The kinetic energy lost can be calculated using delta KE equals 1 half m open parenthesis vi2 minus vf2 closed parenthesis. This gives a result of 20 J of energy dissipated during the contact with the rough surface.


Competency 0008 
Apply knowledge of waves.

5. Electromagnetic radiation from which of the following sections of the electromagnetic spectrum would be most likely to ionize an atom?

  1. ultraviolet
  2. microwave
  3. infrared
  4. radio

Correct Response: A. Each region represents a band of frequencies of e-m radiation, and therefore corresponding frequencies. Frequency of e-m radiation is directly proportional to energy of a photon of that radiation. Ultraviolet radiation has the shortest wavelength and highest frequency of the choices presented, and therefore has the greatest ability to ionize an atom.


Competency 0010 
Analyze chemical structure, intermolecular forces, and bonding.

6. The formation, shape, and size of a water droplet is mainly the result of:

  1. covalent bonding.
  2. intermolecular forces.
  3. impurities in the liquid.
  4. intramolecular forces.

Correct Response: B. Water is a polar molecule and has strong hydrogen bonding forces. These forces pull strongly on other water molecules, creating the characteristic round shape of a water droplet. The shape is flattened on one side if in contact with a hard surface.


Competency 0011 
Apply knowledge of stoichiometry and chemical reactions.

7. Use the chemical equation below to answer the question that follows.

H subscript 2 plus F subscript 2 yields?

Both reactants in the chemical equation shown have oxidation states of 0. Fluorine is one of the most electronegative elements. Based on these chemical properties, which of the following products will the reaction produce?

  1. one HF molecule
  2. one H subscript 2 F positive ion
  3. two HF molecules
  4. two H subscript 2 F positive ions

Correct Response: C. The fact that fluorine is very electronegative means it will take more electron density than hydrogen when they react. Hydrogen has only one electron per nucleus, so the oxidation states of fluorine and hydrogen will be negative 1 and plus 1, respectively. This and the subscript of 2 for each elemental substance leads to the product of 2 HF molecules.


Competency 0014 
Apply knowledge of the principles of energy and thermodynamics.

8. Which of the following scenarios is an example of convection?

  1. A pot of water is placed on a hot stove. As the bottom of the pot gets hotter, the water near the bottom becomes less dense and expands and rises.
  2. An ice cube is placed in a container of water at room temperature. Liquid water molecules collide with the solid ice crystal, breaking intermolecular bonds.
  3. A hot piece of steel and a cool piece of steel are placed in contact with each other. Thermal energy from the hotter piece of steel is transferred to the cooler piece of steel.
  4. Electric current passes through a wire. The moving electrons cause the molecules in the wire to vibrate rapidly, generating infrared thermal energy.

Correct Response: A. Convection is when a fluid moves due to density differences in different regions of the fluid. When this occurs, other regions are displaced and move as well. This creates a circulating pattern, which transfers more energy compared to a calm pattern.


Competency 0015 
Apply knowledge of space systems.

9. Use the diagram below to answer the question that follows.

    The diagram shows three celestial bodies  the earth, sun, and moon

The sun is located on the right side of the diagram and is represented as a large circle labeled sun. On the left side of the diagram is the earth, horizontally in line with the sun. The moon is represented by a smaller circle in the twelve o clock position relative to the earth.

Based on the positions of the earth, moon, and sun, which of the following phases of the moon would be apparent to a person viewing it from the Northern Hemisphere?

  1. waxing crescent
  2. full moon
  3. waning gibbous
  4. first quarter

Correct Response: D. When the moon is between the sun and the earth there is no light reflected from the moon to the earth. When the moon is opposed to the earth from the sun a full moon is seen. As the moon moves away from full a waning gibbous is observed from earth until it passes through new moon stage and is in the position shown in the diagram, where a first quarter is observed.


Competency 0016 
Apply knowledge of Earth systems.

10. Which of the following properties of water is the reason for lower daily temperature variation in coastal areas compared to inland regions?

  1. polarity of water particles
  2. high specific heat capacity of water
  3. density of water particles
  4. high surface tension of water

Correct Response: B. Water absorbs a larger amount of energy per degree of temperature change relative to many other substances. This means that the land regions will vary in temperature more relative to a body of water when receiving the same amount of sunlight.