You are on page 1of 15

MCAT Topical Tests

Dear Future Doctor,

The following Topical Test and explanations should be used to practice and to assess
your mastery of specific topical information in test format. This is an opportunity to
practice the STOP, THINK, PREDICT methodology learned in the Kaplan classroom.
There are Discrete questions and Passage-based questions that test your ability to apply
your foundation knowledge to MCAT-style questions, using critical thinking. Simply
completing the tests is inadequate; a solid understanding of your performance through
your Score Reports and the explanations is necessary to diagnose your specific
weaknesses and address them before Test Day.

All rights are reserved pursuant to the copyright laws and the contract clause in your
enrollment agreement and as printed below. Misdemeanor and felony infractions can
severely limit your ability to be accepted to a medical program and a conviction can
result in the removal of a medical license. We offer this material for your practice in your
own home as a courtesy and privilege. Practice today so that you can perform on test
day; this material was designed to give you every advantage on the MCAT and we wish
you the best of luck in your preparation.

Sincerely,

Albert Chen
Executive Director, Pre-Health Research and Development
Kaplan Test Prep

© 2003 Kaplan, Inc.


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by Photostat, microfilm,
xerography or any other means, or incorporated into any information retrieval system, electronic
or mechanical without the written permission of Kaplan, Inc. This book may not be duplicated,
distributed or resold, pursuant to the terms of your Kaplan Enrollment Agreement.
PHYSICS TOPICAL:

Sound
Test 1

Time: 23 Minutes*
Number of Questions: 18

* The timing restrictions for the science topical tests are optional. If you
are using this test for the sole purpose of content reinforcement, you
may want to disregard the time limit.
MCAT

DIRECTIONS: Most of the questions in the following test


are organized into groups, with a descriptive passage
preceding each group of questions. Study the passage,
then select the single best answer to each question in the
group. Some of the questions are not based on a
descriptive passage; you must also select the best answer
to these questions. If you are unsure of the best answer,
eliminate the choices that you know are incorrect, then
select an answer from the choices that remain. Indicate
your selection by blackening the corresponding circle on
your answer sheet. A periodic table is provided below for
your use with the questions.

PERIODIC TABLE OF THE ELEMENTS

1 2
H He
1.0 4.0
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Li Be B C N O F Ne
6.9 9.0 10.8 12.0 14.0 16.0 19.0 20.2
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Na Mg Al Si P S Cl Ar
23.0 24.3 27.0 28.1 31.0 32.1 35.5 39.9
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se Br Kr
39.1 40.1 45.0 47.9 50.9 52.0 54.9 55.8 58.9 58.7 63.5 65.4 69.7 72.6 74.9 79.0 79.9 83.8
37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo Tc Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I Xe
85.5 87.6 88.9 91.2 92.9 95.9 (98) 101.1 102.9 106.4 107.9 112.4 114.8 118.7 121.8 127.6 126.9 131.3
55 56 57 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86
Cs Ba La * Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi Po At Rn
132.9 137.3 138.9 178.5 180.9 183.9 186.2 190.2 192.2 195.1 197.0 200.6 204.4 207.2 209.0 (209) (210) (222)
87 88 89 104 105 106 107 108 109
Fr Ra Ac † Rf Ha Unh Uns Uno Une
(223) 226.0 227.0 (261) (262) (263) (262) (265) (267)

58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71
* Ce Pr Nd Pm Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu
140.1 140.9 144.2 (145) 150.4 152.0 157.3 158.9 162.5 164.9 167.3 168.9 173.0 175.0
90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103
† Th Pa U Np Pu Am Cm Bk Cf Es Fm Md No Lr
232.0 (231) 238.0 (237) (244) (243) (247) (247) (251) (252) (257) (258) (259) (260)

GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE.

2 as developed by
Sound Test 1

Passage I (Questions 1–7) 3 . The length of an organ pipe open at both ends is
doubled, thereby doubling the wavelength of each
A church organ is a musical instrument that creates harmonic it produces. What happens to the intensity?
sound by forcing air through pipes, causing them to (Note: Assume that the amplitude of each harmonic is
resonate. Different notes are created by using pipes of kept constant.)
different length. The intensity of a sound wave is A. It is reduced to 1/4 the original value.
proportional to both the square of the amplitude and the B. It remains the same.
square of the frequency. The perceived volume of a sound is C. It is doubled.
indicated by the sound level, measured in decibels: β = 10 D. It increases for some harmonics and decreases for
log(I/I0), where I is the intensity of the sound, and I0 is a others.
reference intensity, taken to be 10–l2 W/m2.

The characteristics of the sound of a note are


determined by the relative intensity of the harmonic 4 . An organ produces a G note with an intensity of
frequencies. For pipes open at one end and closed at the 10–6 W/m2. What is the sound level of this G note?
other end, the harmonics are determined by the formula:
n λ = 4L, where n = 1, 3, 5, … For pipes open at both A . 6 dB
ends, the harmonics are determined by the formula: B . 18 dB
n λ = 2L, where n = 1, 2, 3, … In both cases, λ is the C . 60 dB
wavelength of the harmonic, and L is the length of the D . 120 dB
pipe. The fundamental frequency determines the note and
corresponds to the wavelength where n = 1.

Organs can be tuned by adjusting the length of the 5 . If an E note is played simultaneously on an organ pipe
pipes. Tuning is generally done with the aid of a pitch and on a pitch pipe, beats are heard. Which of the
pipe, a small pipe that can be blown to produce notes in a following best explains this effect?
standard scale. These notes are then compared to those
produced by the organ pipes. A . The organ pipe is not producing the same
frequency as the pitch pipe.
1 . Consider an organ pipe closed at one end. What is the B . The organ pipe is not producing the same
ratio of the frequency of the n = 3 harmonic to the intensity as the pitch pipe.
fundamental frequency? C . The pitch pipe produces more harmonics than the
organ pipe.
A. 1:4 D . The pitch pipe produces fewer harmonics than the
B. 1:3 organ pipe.
C. 2:1
D. 3:1

6 . Pipe 1 is closed at one end, and Pipe 2 is open at both


ends. If they each produce the same fundamental
wavelength, then Pipe 1 must be:
2 . How many wavelengths are there in the organ pipe
shown below, and what type of pipe is it? A. one half as long as Pipe 2.
B. equal in length to Pipe 2.
C. two times as long as Pipe 2.
D. four times as long as Pipe 2.

A. 2, closed at one end


B. 2, open at both ends
C. 4, closed at one end
D. 4, open at both ends
GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE.

KAPLAN 3
MCAT

7 . The length of a pitch pipe is much smaller than the


length of a typical organ pipe. Which of the following
best explains how the pitch pipe can be used to tune
the organ pipe?
A . The fundamental frequency of the organ pipe can
be tuned to the fundamental frequency of the pitch
pipe.
B . The fundamental frequency of the organ pipe can
be tuned to one of the higher harmonics of the
pitch pipe.
C . One of the higher harmonics of the organ pipe can
be tuned to the fundamental frequency of the pitch
pipe.
D . The fundamental frequency of the organ pipe can
be tuned to the frequency of the beats.

GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE.

4 as developed by
Sound Test 1

Passage II (Questions 8–12)

When a source of sound is moving toward a


stationary detector, the frequency of sound perceived by the
detector is not the same as that emitted by the source. In
order to see this quantitatively, consider the time T elapsed vt
between the emission of a successive pair of spherical wave
fronts (see Figure 1). A source moving with speed v s emits vst
0 vs
the first wave front and then travels a distance vsT, where it
emits the second wave front. At this point, the first wave
front has already traveled a distance vT, where v = 340 m/s
is the speed of sound. Therefore, the wavelength detected
along the direction of motion is given by the difference: λ ′
= vT – vsT. Using the fact that λ′f ′ = λf = v and T = l/f,
we find that the shifted frequency f ′ perceived by the
detector is: f ′ = fv/(v - vs ).

Figure 2

8 . A roller skater carrying a portable stereo skates at


constant speed past an observer at rest. Which of the
following accurately represents how the frequency
perceived by the observer changes with time?
A. C.
vT
vs

frequency
frequency
vsT λ'

time time
B. D.
frequency

Figure 1 frequency
The previous equation does not describe situations
where vs ≥ v. When the source travels faster than the speed time time
of sound, a shock wave is produced by the spherical wave
fronts. Figure 2 shows the spherical wave fronts produced 9 . A police car moving toward a stationary pedestrian at a
by such a source at equally spaced positions over an speed of 10 m/s operates its siren. If the pedestrian
arbitrary time t. During this time, the source travels a perceives the frequency of the siren to be 1030 Hz,
distance v s t, and the first wave front travels a distance vt. what is the frequency emitted by the siren?
However, in this case, the source emits each new wave
A. 10 Hz
after traveling beyond the front of the previously emitted B. 100 Hz
wave. The wave fronts bunch along the surface of a cone C . 1000 Hz
called the Mach cone. The resulting rise and fall in air D . 10,000 Hz
pressure as the surface of the cone passes through a point
in space produces a shock wave. GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE.

KAPLAN 5
MCAT

1 0 . A bat flies toward a stationary wall with speed v b . If 1 2 . The sine of the angle θ in Figure 2 is called the Mach
the bat emits a signal at frequency f, what is the number. What physical quantity does it represent?
correct expression for the frequency of the reflected A . The ratio of the speed of sound to the speed of
signal that the bat hears? (Note: Any signal of light
frequency f ′ reflected off of the wall is heard by the bat B . The ratio of the speed of sound to the speed of the
as: f ′′ = f ′(v + vb)/v.) source
C . The ratio of the speed of the source to the speed of
v the detector
A. f
v − vb D . The ratio of the speed of sound in air to the speed
of sound in a vacuum
v - vb
B. f
v + vb
v + vb
C. f
v
v + vb
D. f
v − vb

1 1 . Which of the following graphs represents a plot of the


frequency f ′ of a sound wave perceived by a stationary
observer versus the speed vs of the source?

A. C.
f' f'

vs vs
v v

B. D.
f' f'

vs vs
v v

GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE.

6 as developed by
Sound Test 1

Questions 13 through 18 are NOT 1 7 . A sound wave of frequency 300 Hz travels into a pipe
based on a descriptive passage. of length L that is closed at one end, and the air in the
pipe resonates in its fundamental mode. If the
1 3 . A vibrating guitar string produces sound that travels frequency of the sound wave is increased until the air
through the air to the human ear. Why is the in the pipe resonates again, what is its new frequency?
wavelength of the sound traveling through the air NOT A. 450 Hz
the same as the wavelength of the wave traveling on B. 600 Hz
the string? C. 750 Hz
A . The speed of the sound wave is not the same as D. 900 Hz
the speed of the wave traveling on the guitar
string.
B . The frequency of the sound wave is not the same 1 8 . A car and a train are traveling parallel to one another,
as the frequency of the wave traveling on the both at a speed of 30 m/s. If the train’s whistle blows
guitar string. at 1,000 Hz, what frequency of sound does the driver of
C . The amplitude of the sound wave is not the same the car hear? (Note: Assume the speed of sound in air
as the amplitude of the wave traveling on the is 340 m/s.)
guitar string. A . 833 Hz
D . Sound waves are longitudinal waves, and the wave B . 1,000 Hz
traveling on the guitar string is transverse. C . 1,030 Hz
D . 1,200 Hz
1 4 . When a sound wave passes from medium 1 having
density ρl to medium 2 having density ρ2, its velocity
increases by 30%. What is the ratio of the wavelength
in medium 2 to that in medium 1 ?
A. 0.3
B. 0.8
C. 1.0
D. 1.3

1 5 . How much more intense is a 30 dB sound than a


10 dB sound?
A. 3 times more intense
B. 20 times more intense
C . 100 times more intense
D . 3000 times more intense

1 6 . A sound wave traveling in air has a wavelength of


85 cm and a speed of 340 m/s. What is its frequency?
A . 40 Hz
B . 400 Hz
C . 440 Hz
D . 800 Hz

END OF TEST

KAPLAN 7
MCAT

ANSWER KEY:
1. D 6. A 11. A 16. B
2. B 7. C 12. B 17. D
3. A 8. B 13. A 18. B
4. C 9. C 14. D
5. A 10. D 15. C

8 as developed by
Sound Test 1

EXPLANATIONS

Passage I (Questions 1—7)

1. D
The first thing to note when approaching this question is that it refers to the fundamental frequency. The second
paragraph of the passage says that the fundamental frequency corresponds to the wavelength where n = 1. The other mode of
interest corresponds to the wavelength where n = 3. The question stem states that the pipe is closed at one end; the relevant
formula determining the harmonics is therefore nλ = 4L, or rearranging to solve for the wavelength λ:

4L
λ=
n

The wavelength of the n = 3 harmonic is therefore 1/3 that of the fundamental. For this question, however, it is the
ratio of the frequencies, not of the wavelength, that we are interested in. Frequency is inversely proportional to the wavelength
via the familiar relation: f = v/λ. v, the velocity of the sound wave, is the same for the two modes. The frequency of the third
harmonic must therefore be three times the frequency of the fundamental, since 3 is the inverse of 1/3.

2. B
According to the diagram shown in the question, there are two complete sinusoids from one end of the pipe to the
other. There are thus two wavelengths’ equivalent in the pipe. To determine whether the pipe is closed at one end or open at
both ends, one can use one of two methods. First, one may just know that a closed end is always a point of zero displacement,
i.e. a node, while an open end is an antinode—the amplitude of the wave reaches a maximum. In the diagram, the two ends are
points of maximum displacement. These are thus antinodes and the pipe has to be open at both ends. Alternatively, one may
examine the formulas given in the passage closely—if the pipe is closed at one end, then, from the equation given in the
passage, the length of the pipe L would be related to the wavelength by:

n
L= λ, where n = 1, 3, 5, …
4
1 3 5
i.e. L = λ, λ, λ, etc.
4 4 4

8
There is thus no way that L can contain 2λ (= λ) exactly. A pipe closed at one end cannot give rise to the situation
4
depicted in the diagram; the pipe will have to be open at both ends.

3. A
In the question stem, we are given both the change in wavelength of the harmonics and the change in length of the
pipe and asked to find the change in intensity. In the passage, we are not given any relationship between the intensity and either
the wavelength or length of the pipe directly. What we are given is the relationship between intensity and the frequency.
Specifically, we are told that the intensity is proportional to the amplitude squared and to the frequency squared, i.e.:

I = kA2f2

where I is the intensity, A the amplitude of the wave, f its frequency, and k some proportionality constant. The question stem
states that all the relevant amplitudes remain constant, and so we need only concern ourselves with the effects of changing the
frequency. All the wavelengths are doubled, and so the frequencies, inversely proportional to the wavelengths, will be halved.
1 1
The intensity, dependent on the square of the frequency, will therefore be ( )2 = that of before.
2 4

4. C
The sound level β, measured in decibels (dB), is given by the formula:

I
β = 10 log( )
I0

KAPLAN 9
MCAT

I
where I0 = 10–12 W/m2. The intensity I in this case is 10–6 W/m2, and so = 10–6–(–12) = 106. One of the properties of the
I0
logarithmic function that you should know is that log(10x) = x. Here, therefore, we have:

β = 10 log(106) = 10 × 6 = 60.

5. A
Each musical note corresponds to a distinct wavelength or a discrete frequency. Beats occur when two notes of slightly
different frequencies are played simultaneously. The frequency of the beats equals the difference between the two frequencies
played.
Choice B is incorrect because even though the intensity of a sound wave is proportional to the square of the frequency,
it is also proportional to the square of the amplitude. Therefore, a difference in frequency need not translate into a difference in
intensity, if there is a compensating difference in amplitude. In other words, beats can exist even when the intensities are the
same; conversely, beats can be absent even when the intensities are different. Therefore choice B cannot be a correct explanation
to the phenomenon.
Choices C and D are incorrect because the number of harmonics has no necessary bearing on beats.

6. A
Let us define L1 as the length of pipe 1, and L2 the length of pipe 2. Pipe 1 is closed at one end, and its allowed
wavelengths are given by nλ = 4L1, where n = 1, 3, 5, … Pipe 2 is open at both ends, and so the allowed wavelengths are
given by nλ = 2L2, where n = 1, 2, 3, … The fundamental wavelengths for pipes 1 and 2 are hence 4L1 and 2L2 respectively.
These two wavelengths are actually the same, as stated in the passage. Hence:

4L1 = 2L2
1
L1 = L
2 2

Pipe 1 (closed at one end)

node antinode
l = 4L 1

L1
Pipe 2 (open at both ends)
antinode l = 2L2 antinode

L2

7. C
One way to approach this problem is to examine each answer choice individually to determine whether it provides a
plausible explanation.
Choice A states that the fundamental frequency of the organ pipe can be tuned to match the fundamental frequency of
the pitch pipe. From the formulas in the passage, we know that the wavelength of the fundamental frequency (n = 1) is
proportional to the length of the pipe: λ 1 = 4L or 2L depending on which pipe we are talking about. Furthermore, since
frequency is inversely proportional to the wavelength, the fundamental frequency is inversely proportional to the length of the
v v
pipe: f1 = or . Therefore, the pitch pipe, which is said to be much shorter than the organ pipe, will have a much higher
4L 2L

10 as developed by
Sound Test 1

fundamental frequency than the organ pipe. So its fundamental frequency cannot be used to tune the fundamental frequency of the
organ pipe, and choice A is incorrect.
Choice B states that the fundamental frequency of the organ pipe can be tuned to one of the higher harmonics of the
pitch pipe. We already determined when considering choice A that the fundamental frequency of the pitch pipe is much higher
than the fundamental frequency of the organ pipe. The frequency of a higher harmonic will only be higher: for the nth harmonic,
4L 2L v vn vn
the wavelength is λ = or ; the frequency is therefore f = = or . The frequency is therefore proportional to the
n n λ 4L 2L
number of the harmonic. So a higher harmonic of the pitch pipe will have a higher frequency than its fundamental, which
already has a higher frequency than the organ pipe fundamental to begin with. There is then no way to match the fundamental
frequency of the organ pipe to a higher harmonic of the pitch pipe, and choice B is incorrect.
Choice C reverses the situation given in choice B and uses the pitch pipe fundamental to tune a higher harmonic of the
organ pipe. The frequency of a higher harmonic of the organ pipe is some multiple of the fundamental. We have already
determined that the fundamental of the pitch pipe has a higher frequency than the organ pipe fundamental: It is then possible for
the pitch pipe fundamental frequency to also be some multiple of the organ pipe fundamental. If such is the case, then one of
the higher harmonics of the organ pipe would have the same frequency as the pitch pipe fundamental. So choice C presents a
plausible way to tune the organ.
For the sake of completeness let us also consider choice D, which states that the fundamental frequency of the organ
pipe can be tuned to the frequency of the beats. Beats occur when two tones that are close in frequency are played
simultaneously. The frequency of the beats is then equal to the difference in frequencies of the two tones. In order to tune the
fundamental to the beat frequency, however, the difference between the organ pipe and pitch frequencies must be that of the
organ pipe fundamental. This, however, contradicts what we just said about the two tones having to be close in frequency to
give rise to beats in the first place. So choice D is incorrect, and choice C is the answer.

Passage II (Questions 8—12)

8. B
We have a sound source that is moving past an observer and are asked to predict how the perceived frequency changes.
Instead of turning to the formula immediately, let us see how far we can go by qualitative reasoning. When a sound is emitted
from a source that is approaching the observer, the wave crests are more “bunched up” and arrive at the observer more frequently.
The observer consequently hears a higher frequency than if there were no motion. On the other hand, if the source is moving
away, each successively emitted wave crest takes a longer time interval to reach the observer, and so the perceived frequency of
the wave is lower. In this case, the stationary person is going to hear a higher frequency as the skater approaches, and a lower
frequency as the skater is moving away. From this, we can eliminate choices A and C.
It is then necessary to distinguish between choices B and D. Choice D may look tempting as it shows the perceived
frequency gradually increasing then gradually decreasing. This is however wrong. The perceived frequency depends on the speed
of the sound and the speed of the source. The speed of the skater is said to be constant in the question stem: it does not change
as he approaches. Throughout the time that the skater is approaching, then, the person hears one frequency that is higher than
that from the emitter’s perspective. After the skater has gone past, the person will hear one constant, lower frequency, as the
speed of the skater is still the same; the only difference being that the sign in front of vs has been reversed in the formula.
Choice B is therefore correct.
Be sure to distinguish between volume and the frequency—the volume will increase and then decrease gradually, but the
frequency perceived does not.

9. C
This is a straightforward application of the Doppler formula. The one slightly tricky part is that the frequency given in
the stem is the perceived frequency, f’. We can first of all eliminate choice D since the source is approaching the observer: the
emitted frequency must be lower than the perceived one. You may in fact choose choice C simply by evaluating the magnitude
of the numbers: the source speed, which is the velocity of the police car, is vs = 10 m/s. This is a relatively small percentage of
the speed of sound, v = 340 m/s as given in the passage. It is unreasonable, therefore, to expect the perceived frequency to
change by factors of 10 and 100, as suggested by choices B and A respectively. The minor adjustment given in choice C seems
much more reasonable.
The actual set-up is:
f × 340 m/s 34
f’ = 1030 Hz = = f
(340 m/s – 10 m/s) 33
33
f= × 1030 Hz
34

KAPLAN 11
MCAT

33/34 is only slightly smaller than one, and so f should be slightly below 1030 Hz. It would be a much too inefficient
use of time to actually carry out the calculation, not to mention the possibility of making arithmetic errors.

10. D
The bat flies towards a stationary wall with speed vb and emits a frequency f. The wall, then, “detects” a frequency f’ as
given by the Doppler formula, with vs = vb:

fv
f’ =
(v – v b )

This frequency is reflected back to the bat. Now the wall is acting as a stationary source, “emitting” a frequency of f’ to
a moving observer. The relevant formula for this scenario is given in the question stem, and so the frequency perceived by the
bat, f ”, is given by:

f’ (v + v b ) fv (v + v b ) (v + v b )
f”= = × =f
v (v – v b ) v (v – v b )

11. A
This is a standard example of a graphical analysis problem. We want to come up with the graph that illustrates the
formula given in the passage:

fv
f’ =
(v – v s )

Generally, for this type of question there are only a few points to consider to arrive at the correct graph. First, it is
always a good idea to look at the behavior of the curve as the independent variable (the one plotted on the x-axis, in this case vs)
goes to infinity. This particular formula, however, is described in the passage as being valid only for vs < v. In other words, the
velocity of the source is always less than the velocity of the sound. As vs gets closer and closer to v, we see that the
denominator gets closer and closer to zero (while remaining positive since vs < v). Something divided by a very small number
gives a very large number, and so the entire quotient on the right hand side of the formula increases rapidly. This by itself
should be sufficient for us to choose A as the correct answer, but let us just note in addition that when vs = 0, the formula boils
down to f’ = f: both the source and the observer are stationary and so there is no reason for the perceived frequency to be different
from the emitted one. The graph in choice A is the only one that shows f’ having a nonzero, finite value at vs = 0.

12. B
Although seemingly difficult, the answer can be obtained just by examining Figure 2 and using trigonometry, instead
of any scientific principle. The angle θ is part of a right triangle, with the hypotenuse being vst. The side opposite to the angle
has length vt. Do not be confused by the fact that the triangle is drawn upside down and mistake the adjacent side as the
hypotenuse: look at which angle is labeled as a right angle. The sine of θ, defined as the opposite over the hypotenuse, is
therefore:
vt v
sin θ = = = v:vs
vst vs

This is the ratio of the speed of sound to the speed of the source.

Independent Questions

13. A
When the string vibrates, it generates perturbations among the air molecules and causes them to vibrate. Specifically,
the string vibrations excite compression waves in the air which travel to the human ear and are detected by the eardrum. The
frequency of all these excitations is the same as the frequency of the string vibrations. Choice B is thus incorrect.

12 as developed by
Sound Test 1

Since we are told that the wavelengths are not the same, while knowing that the frequencies are, then we conclude that
the speeds must be different. Choice C is incorrect because the amplitude of a wave is independent of its wavelength. Choice D
is incorrect because even though the statement is true, it is irrelevant here.

14. D
Again, it is important to keep in mind that as a wave goes from one medium to another, its speed and wavelength may
change, but its frequency will remain constant. As the wave in this question moves from medium 1 to medium 2, it is said that
its velocity increases by 30%. Converting this percentage into numbers, we can write that the velocity of the wave in medium 2
is 1.3 times that in medium 1. Since, as we have said, the frequency does not change, and since v = fλ, the velocity is
proportional to the wavelength, and a velocity in medium 2 of 1.3 times that of the old one means that the wavelength in
medium 2 has to be 1.3 times as great as the old wavelength as well.

15. C
Sound level is the intensity measured in a logarithmic scale. More specifically. the sound level β is defined by β =10
I
log( ), where I is the intensity of the sound and I0 some reference intensity. For this question, we need to express the intensity
I0
in terms of the sound level. Rearranging the equation above, we have:

I β
log( ) =
I0 10
I
= 10(β/10)
I0
I = I010(β/10)

So a sound of 30 dB has an intensity of I0103 = 1000I0; while a sound of 10 dB has an intensity of I0101 = 10I0. The
30-dB sound is therefore 100 times as intense as the 10-dB one.
A handy rule of thumb regarding decibels is that for every increase of 10 dB, the sound is 10 times more intense. So
going from 10 dB to 20 dB we make the intensity 10 times larger; going from 20 dB to 30 dB makes the 20-dB sound in turn
10 times more intense, yielding a net increase in intensity by a factor of 10 × 10 = 100.

16. B
This question calls for a straightforward application of the formula fλ = v. Notice that the velocity is given in meters
per second, while the wavelength is given in centimeters. The easiest thing to do would be to convert the wavelength into
meters:

v 340 m/s
f= = = 400 s–1 = 400 Hz
λ 0.85m

17. D
For a pipe closed at one end to resonate, there must be an antinode at the open end and a node at the closed end. An
antinode is a point in space at which a standing wave fluctuates with maximum amplitude, while a node is a point at which the
standing wave is always at zero displacement. For this to be the case, the length of the pipe must be some odd multiple of a
quarter-wavelength:

λ
L = n , where n = 1, 3, 5, …
4

KAPLAN 13
MCAT

node antinode
λ = 4L

node antinode
λ = (4/3)L

etc.

The frequencies for resonance are therefore given by:


vn
f=
4L
where n is some odd integer. We are told in the question stem that a frequency of 300 Hz resonates in the fundamental mode,
i.e.:
v
300 Hz =
4L
3v
The next mode of resonance occurs for n = 3, i.e. f (n=3) = . This is three times the fundamental frequency, and so
4L
the next frequency to allow for resonance is 300 × 3 = 900 Hz.

18. B
We have a car and a train traveling in the same direction at the same speed (30 m/s). The source and the observer are
thus neither approaching nor moving away from each other. The frequency perceived by the car will thus not be any different
from the emitted frequency, 1000 Hz.

14 as developed by