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MCAS Physics exam: Example Problems

buzzer-near-pendulum-doppler-mcas-2011

MCAS 2011

Which of the following describes and explains what the observer hears as the buzzer moves away from him?

A. a lower-pitched buzz than the buzzer’s normal sound because the sound waves are arriving less frequently
B. a higher-pitched buzz than the buzzer’s normal sound because the sound waves are arriving more frequently
C. a lower-pitched buzz than the buzzer’s normal sound because the velocity of the sound waves is reduced by the velocity of the swinging buzzer
D. a higher-pitched buzz than the buzzer’s normal sound because the velocity of the sound waves is increased by the velocity of the swinging buzzer

#25, MCAS 2011

longitudinal air wave in tube MCAS 2011.PNG

#32. Essay question, MCAS 2011

A large anchor is being lifted into a boat with metal sides. As the anchor leaves the water it
hits the side of the boat, making loud sounds and making waves on the surface of the water.

a. Describe the motions of the sound waves and the water waves.
b. Draw a diagram for each of the waves you described in part (a). Be sure to label each
diagram.
c. Describe how the wavelength is measured for the water waves

#35. Which of the following observations demonstrates that visible light waves are
electromagnetic and not mechanical?

A. Sunlight can pass through gas.
B. Sunlight can pass through solids.
C. Sunlight can pass through liquids.
D. Sunlight can pass through a vacuum.

#37, MCAS 2011
Which of the following statements best explains why lightning is seen before thunder is heard?

A. Electromagnetic waves travel faster than mechanical waves in air.
B. Electromagnetic waves have a higher frequency than mechanical waves.
C. Electromagnetic waves experience less interference than mechanical waves.
D. Electromagnetic waves form faster than mechanical waves during a thunderstorm.

#3, MCAS 2011
In a large room, a sound wave traveling from a violin produces a tone with a frequency of 264 Hz. The speed of sound in the room is 340 m/s.  What is the wavelength of the sound wave from the violin?

A. 0.004 m      B. 0.80 m      C. 1.3 m    D. 2.6 m

MCAS 2012

2. When music plays through the speaker, the speaker rapidly moves back and forth in the cabinet. Which of the following conclusions is best supported by this observation?

A. Sound travels only in air.
B. Sound is a transverse wave.
C. Sound is a longitudinal wave.
D. Sound travels at the speed of light

4. Which of the following statements best describes a difference between mechanical waves and electromagnetic waves?
A. Mechanical waves can produce colored light, while electromagnetic waves cannot.
B. Mechanical waves can travel in any direction, while electromagnetic waves travel only in one direction.
C. Mechanical waves travel only through a medium, while EM waves can also travel through a vacuum.
D. Mechanical waves travel only at the speed of light, while electromagnetic waves can travel at many different speeds.

6. A student is sitting on the edge of a swimming pool. The student repeatedly dips his foot in and out of the pool, making waves that move across the water. The student dips his foot slowly at first and then does it faster, each time to the same depth. Which of the following properties of the waves increases as the student dips his foot faster?

A. frequency
B. period
C. velocity
D. wavelength

21. A rope is stretched horizontally between two students. One of the students shakes an end of the rope up and down. Which of the following terms best describes the type of wave that is produced?

A. electromagnetic
B. longitudinal
C. rotational
D. transverse

#26. MCAS 2012

mcas-2012-represent-an-em-wave

#29. Student X and student Y are receiving sound waves from a stationary source. The sound waves have a frequency of 10 kHz. Student X is stationary and student Y is traveling toward the source of the sound waves.
Which of the following statements describes what will happen as student Y moves?

A. Student X will receive sound waves with a frequency higher than 10 kHz.B. Student X will receive sound waves with a frequency lower than 10 kHz.
C. Student Y will receive sound waves with a frequency higher than 10 kHz.
D. Student Y will receive sound waves with a frequency lower than 10 kHz.

#37 Two waves traveling in the same medium are shown below.

mcas-2012-comparing-waves

Which of the following correctly compares the two waves?
A. Wave X has half the amplitude of wave Y.
B. Wave X has twice the amplitude of wave Y.
C. Wave X has a lower frequency and longer wavelength than wave Y.
D. Wave X has a higher frequency and shorter wavelength than wave Y

#42 In which of the following media do sound waves most likely travel the fastest?
A. crude oil
B. distilled water
C. solid steel
D. warm air

MCAS 2013

#2. A student is shaking one end of a small rug with a ball on top of it. The wave that is produced travels through the rug and moves the ball upward, as shown in the diagram below

shake-rug-waves-mcas-2013

#6. A person is driving north in a car at a constant speed. A police officer is
driving south toward him at a constant speed. The police officer uses a radar
unit to measure the speed of the person’s car. The radar unit sends out waves of
a certain frequency toward the person’s car. The waves reflect off the person’s car and travel back to the radar unit in the police car. What happens to the frequency of the waves detected by the radar unit?
A. The frequency is lower as the person’s car approaches.
B. The frequency is higher as the person’s car approaches.
C. The frequency remains the same but with increased energy as the person’s car approaches.
D. The frequency remains the same but with decreased energy as the person’s car approaches.

#22. Which of the following properties makes a light wave different from all mechanical waves?
A. A light wave slows down in a vacuum.
B. A light wave is able to transmit energy.
C. A light wave exists as a transverse wave.
D. A light wave can travel without a medium

#25. Which of the following observed properties of a wave is changed by the Doppler effect?
A. amplitude
B. direction
C. frequency
D. speed

#28. The diagram below shows two students making a wave with a coiled spring

mcas-2103-spring-waves-on-tabletop

MCAS 2014

#2. Waves rock a boat in the middle of a pond. The boat moves up and down 10 times in 20 seconds. What is the period of the waves?
A. 0.5 s       B. 2 s     C. 10 s     D. 20 s

#16. A sound wave with a frequency of 1,700 Hz is traveling through air at a speed of 340 m/s. What is the wavelength of this sound wave?
A. 0.2 m     B. 5.0 m    C. 2,040 m      D. 57,800 m

#19. Sunscreen protects skin by absorbing harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. Ultraviolet radiation has which of the following properties?
A. a shorter wavelength than x-rays
B. a lower frequency than radio waves
C. a higher frequency than visible light
D. a longer wavelength than microwaves

#23. ESSAY. Waves can be classified as either electromagnetic or mechanical.
a. Describe two differences between electromagnetic and mechanical waves.
b. Give two examples of electromagnetic waves.
c. Give two examples of mechanical waves.

#26. A wave with a wavelength of 3.2 m is generated in a pond. The frequency of the wave is 0.60 Hz. What is the speed of this wave?
A. 0.19 m/s
B. 1.9 m/s
C. 3.8 m/s
D. 5.3 m/s

#30. The diagram below shows a representation of two different waves

2-spring-waves-transverse-longitudinal-mcas-2014

MCAS 2015

14. A train driver blows the train’s horn as it moves away from a station. Which of the following statements describes how the sound of the horn heard by an observer standing at the station platform differs from the sound heard by the train driver?
A. The observer hears the sound as having a greater velocity.
B. The observer hears the sound as having a lower frequency.
C. The observer hears the sound as having a greater amplitude.
D. The observer hears the sound as having a shorter wavelength

#17. A windsurfer moves at 5 m/s while staying on the crest of a wave, as shown below.

mcas-2015-windsurfer-waves

#29. A seismic wave called a P-wave travels through the solid part of Earth. In a P-wave, the solid particles of Earth move parallel to the direction the P-wave travels. P-waves are which of the following types of waves?
A. electromagnetic
B. longitudinal
C. torsional
D. transverse

#38.  At a given temperature, a longitudinal mechanical wave will travel fastest through which of the following?
A. a gas
B. a liquid
C. a solid
D. a vacuum

#45. Essay and Drawing! A floating object moves up and down 15 times in 60 s because of ocean waves.
a. Calculate the period of the ocean waves. Show your calculations and include units in
your answer.
b. Calculate the frequency of the ocean waves. Show your calculations and include units in
your answer.

An additional wave property must be known in order to calculate the velocity of the ocean
waves.
c. In your Student Answer Booklet, identify this additional wave property and draw a wave
diagram showing how the property can be measured.
d. Describe what will happen to the object if the amplitude of the ocean waves increases and all other wave characteristics stay the same

**

Textbook p.393, #18.

How does increasing the wavelength of a rope by 50 % decreases its frequency by 33 %.

The relation between frequency and wavelength is

fλ=v

Then

f1λf2λ2

If ff, then f1.50f

λλ× f1fλ× f1.500.67λ1

The new wavelength is 67 % of the original (33 % less than the original).

Learning Standards

2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

HS-PS4-1. Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling within various media. Recognize that electromagnetic waves can travel through empty space (without a medium) as compared to mechanical waves that require a medium

SAT subject test in Physics: Waves and optics

• General wave properties, such as wave speed, frequency, wavelength, superposition, standing wave diffraction, and Doppler effect
• Reflection and refraction, such as Snell’s law and changes in wavelength and speed
• Ray optics, such as image formation using pinholes, mirrors, and lenses
• Physical optics, such as single-slit diffraction, double-slit interference, polarization, and color

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