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MCAT Biology Question — Watson & Crick DNA Model

July 28, 2014

In the Watson and Crick model of DNA, Adenine pairs with:

 

a) Guanine

 

b) Uracil

 

c) Cytosine

 

d) Thymine

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MCAT Organic Question — Intermolecular Interactions

July 25, 2014

Hydrogen bonding would be a part of the intermolecular interactions for which of the following:

 

A. H2

B. CH2FCH2CHO

C. (CH3)2CHNHCHFCH2CH3

D. CH3CH2OCH2CH3

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MCAT Physics Question — Ideal Gas

July 24, 2014

If pressure and volume are held constant, what is the effect of increasing the number of moles of an ideal gas in a closed container?

 

a) increasing the number of moles of gas has no effect

 

b) the temperature in the container increases

 

c) the temperature in the container decreases

 

d) the effect of increasing the number of moles of ideal gas cannot be determined

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MCAT Chemistry Question — Chromium

July 23, 2014

What is the most common electron configuration for Chromium (Cr)?

 

a) [Ne] 4s23d4

 

b) [Ar] 4s23d4

 

c) [Ar] 4s13d5

 

d) [Ne] 3d6

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Welcome U.S. News MCAT Readers

July 22, 2014

Note: This passage first appeared on US News’s Admissions Doctor blog. It is reprinted in full below, with additional questions and explanations. Visit US News for more sample passages, articles, and tips by Next Step and other contributors. 

We’re glad you found our sample passage illustrating the content and format of the new MCAT behavioral sciences section helpful. We only had room to print a few of the questions in the original piece, so please see below for the passage, questions, and thorough explanations.

Sample Passage

Traditionally, organizational approaches to stress management in the workplace have been focused on addressing employee stress at the secondary-level of intervention and fostering secondary-level interventions for managing stress.  An example of a secondary-level intervention in managing stress is an employee training program for learning skills for handling customer complaints at a retail store.  The goals of the program are for the employees to be able to manage the complaints effectively, which will ideally reduce the stress they experience from this activity.  The burden on stress reduction in this framework is on the employee.  It is viewed that given the proper skills, the employee should be able to reduce his stress in reaction to the situation he is experiencing.  Research in regards to the effectiveness of secondary-level stress reduction programs has found that they can provide some benefit to the employees.  However, these benefits typically subside over time, though this may also be an artifact of the extinction of the learned skills, indicating the need for booster sessions.

Another issue with this view of stress reduction is that it is a reactive approach.  As in the example, employees are taught how to effectively manage stress in reaction to stress that is initiated from the customer.  The source of the stress is not addressed and there is no focus on how to proactively reduce it. Secondary-level stress interventions are typically reactive, with employers often waiting until there is a problem before initiating a training to address it.  This is problematic because this necessitates there being an employee issue, the occurrence of which is bad for the employee and the organization.

An alternative level of intervention besides for secondary-level interventions is primary-level interventions.  The goal in primary-level interventions is to try to proactively address the source of the stress to attempt to eliminate it before it arises.  A broad primary-level intervention is to consider the organizational culture and how it impacts stress.  Factors to be considered in the organizational culture are the policies and practices of management and how these contribute to employee stress levels.  Management style should be considered as well as the organizational level of cooperation.  Policies should be implemented and managers should be trained to foster employee cooperation.

Another primary-level facet of stress to consider is the employee perception of control.  Employees not feeling in control of their work output has been identified as a salient source of stress.  Employees should be encouraged to feel empowered in their contribution to the organization and should also feel creative control over their work.  Policies to encourage employee contributions and eliciting feedback from employees can be done to foster a sense of employee control.  Allowing employees as much creative control over their work as can be allowed can improve their feelings of control over their work product.

A final primary-level strategy for addressing workplace stress is to manage employee stress from work demand.  Employees feeling overloaded with work is a significant source of stress.  Organizations should first consider the reality of the expectations imposed on employees and consider the impact that staff reduction and increased expectations might have on employee stress and concomitant employee performance.  Immediate gains in increased profits might be mitigated by employee burnout and eventual decreases in productivity.  The balance between work expectations and employee ability can be monitored by encouraging employees to communicate about their capacity to handle tasks.  Related to the amount of work, employers should also consider the environment at work, such as the noise level, as this has also shown to have an impact on employee stress levels.

To evaluate the impact of primary and secondary-level interventions on employee satisfaction – a broad measure encompassing employee retention, productivity, and other measures identified as salient to employee satisfaction -  rated from 0 to 100, a study was conducted at an organization.  At this organization, employees were randomly assigned to participate in either a primary or secondary-level intervention.  Measures of employee satisfaction were reported over time.  January was an initial reading of employee satisfaction, before the interventions were implemented.  The results are presented as follows:

MCAT Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1 Employee satisfaction following stress reduction intervention

1. What could account for the initial increase in employee satisfaction followed by the gradual decrease in the secondary-level intervention group?

  1. Skill knowledge and use is decreasing over time
  2. Reduced initial work expectations
  3. Increased initial healthcare, followed by gradual reductions
  4. Reductions in noise level, lessening in impact as time passes

 

2. What could be done to increase the effects of a secondary level intervention in the later months?

  1. A refresher class in the skills that were taught
  2. Focusing on optimizing employee time
  3. Have a training after an employee problem
  4. Have a stress needs assessment

 

3. What term indicates a beneficial type of stress which can motivate employees?

  1. Distress
  2. Constress
  3. Cathartic stress
  4. Eustress

 

4. Which of the following workplace environmental factors would NOT make implementing primary level interventions difficult?

  1. Social hierarchy
  2. Power differentials
  3. Meritocracy
  4. Social exclusion

 

5. What could be an effective primary-level intervention against in-group bias at the workplace?

  1. Teaching employees social skills so they can enter work cliques
  2. Providing workplace wide education about the impact of excluding co-workers
  3. Teaching employees health strategies they can use to reduce stress
  4. Educating the workforce on the proper procedures for reporting discrimination

 

Passage Explanation

Traditionally, organizational approaches to stress management in the workplace have been focused on addressing employee stress at the secondary-levelof intervention and fostering secondary-level interventions for managing stress.  An example of a secondary-level intervention in managing stress is an employee training program for learning skills for handling customer complaints at a retail store.  The goals of the program are for the employees to be able to manage the complaints effectively, which will ideally reduce the stress they experience from this activity.  The burden on stress reduction in this framework is on the employee.  It is viewed that given the proper skills, the employee should be able to reduce his stress in reaction to the situation he is experiencing.  Research in regards to the effectiveness of secondary-level stress reduction programs has found that they can provide some benefit to the employees.  However, these benefits typically subside over time, though this may also be an artifact of the extinction of the learned skills, indicating the need for booster sessions.

Key terms: stress management, secondary-level

Cause and effect: A secondary-level approach makes stress reduction the employee’s job

Opinion: These types of efforts do some good, but the effect fades over time

Another issue with this view of stress reduction is that it is a reactive approach.  As in the example, employees are taught how to effectively manage stress in reaction to stress that is initiated from the customer.  The source of the stress is not addressed and there is no focus on how to proactively reduce it.  In addition, secondary-level stress interventions are typically reactive, with employers often waiting until there is a problem before initiating a training to address it.  This is problematic because this necessitates there being an employee issue, the occurrence of which is bad for the employee and the organization.

Opinion: Secondary-level approaches aren’t as good because they require that there’s already a problem and the source of the stress isn’t dealt with.

An alternative level of intervention besides for secondary-level interventions is primary-level interventions.  The goal in primary-level interventions is to try to proactively address the source of the stress to attempt to eliminate it before it arises.  A broad primary-level intervention is to consider the organizational culture and how it impacts stress.  Factors to be considered in the organizational culture are the policies and practices of management and how these contribute to employee stress levels.  Management style should be considered as well as the organizational level of cooperation.  Policies should be implemented and managers should be trained to foster employee cooperation.

Key terms: primary-level intervention, culture, management style

Opinion: Companies should focus on increasing cooperation.

Another primary-level facet of stress to consider is the employee perception of control.  Employees not feeling in control of their work output has been identified as a salient source of stress.  Employees should be encouraged to feel empowered in their contribution to the organization and should also feel creative control over their work.  Policies to encourage employee contributions and eliciting feedback from employees can be done to foster a sense of employee control.  Allowing employees as much creative control over their work as can be allowed can improve their feelings of control over their work product.

Cause and effect: Employee stress can be reduced by increasing employee’s sense of control over their work.

A final primary-level strategy for addressing workplace stress is to manage employee stress from work demand.  Employees feeling overloaded with work is a significant source of stress.  Organizations should first consider the reality of the expectations imposed on employees and consider the impact that staff reduction and increased expectations might have on employee stress and concomitant employee performance.  Immediate gains in increased profits might be mitigated by employee burnout and eventual decreases in productivity.  The balance between work expectations and employee ability can be monitored by encouraging employees to communicate about their capacity to handle tasks.  Related to the amount of work, employers should also consider the environment at work, such as the noise level, as this has also shown to have an impact on employee stress levels.

Cause and effect: Overloading work demands increase stress and can ultimately harm profits when employees start to burn out.

To evaluate the impact of primary and secondary-level interventions on employee satisfaction – a broad measure encompassing employee retention, productivity, and other measures identified as salient to employee satisfaction, rated from 0 to 100, a study was conducted at an organization.  At this organization, employees were randomly assigned to participate in either a primary or secondary-level intervention.  Measures of employee satisfaction were reported over time.  January was an initial reading of employee satisfaction, before the interventions were implemented.  The results are presented as follows:

Figure 1 Employee satisfaction following stress reduction intervention

Figure 1 shows us that the secondary level interventions lead to a quick increase in employee satisfaction but then lead to a gradual decrease, whereas the primary-level interventions had little effect at first but created bigger overall gains.

1. What could account for the initial increase in employee satisfaction followed by the gradual decrease in the secondary-level intervention group?

  1. Skill knowledge and use is decreasing over time
  2. Reduced initial work expectations
  3. Increased initial healthcare, followed by gradual reductions
  4. Reductions in noise level, lessening in impact as time passes

Answer: A- This is an example of a secondary-level intervention and how its effect can lessen over time, leading to a tapering of effect.

2. What could be done to increase the effects of a secondary level intervention in the later months?

  1. A refresher class in the skills that were taught
  2. Focusing on optimizing employee time
  3. Have a training after an employee problem
  4. Have a stress needs assessment

Answer: A- This is an example of a booster class, in which skills are refreshed via another training.

3. What term indicates a beneficial type of stress which can motivate employees?

  1. Distress
  2. Constress
  3. Cathartic stress
  4. Eustress

 

Answer: D- Eustress is a term which is used to refer to stress, which can be motivational.  Distress is stress that is in excess and harmful.

4. Which of the following workplace environmental factors would NOT make implementing primary level interventions difficult?

  1. Social hierarchy
  2. Power differentials
  3. Meritocracy
  4. Social exclusion

 

Answer: C- Meritocracy is rewarding individuals for their own work.  This factor would not increase the difficulty of implementing primary-level interventions.  The other factors are ones which make change in the work culture difficult.

5. What could be an effective primary-level intervention against in-group bias at the workplace?

  1. Teaching employees social skills so they can enter work cliques
  2. Providing workplace wide education about the impact of excluding co-workers
  3. Teaching employees health strategies they can use to reduce stress
  4. Educating the workforce on the proper procedures for reporting discrimination

 

Answer: B- This is a primary-level intervention.  The other answers are secondary-level or irrelevant (C).

MCAT Biology Question — Environmental Temperature

July 22, 2014

The body compensates for increased environmental temperature by:

 

a) decreasing salt retention

 

b) increasing respiration rate

 

c) increasing heart rate

 

d) increasing water lost through skin

 

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MCAT Physics Question — Pressure Difference

July 21, 2014

If the pressure difference measured at two depths of a tank of mercury is 130,000 Pa, what is the height difference between the two depths? (Use specific gravity of mercury = 13 and gravity = 10m/sec2)

 

a) 10cm

 

b) 1m

 

c) 10m

 

d) 1000m

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MCAT Biology Question — Fungi

July 18, 2014

All of the following statements characterize most fungi EXCEPT:

 

a) they are saprophytic

 

b) they release spores

 

c) they have a chitin cell wall

 

d) a fungal infection can be eliminated with antibiotics

 

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MCAT Chemistry Question — State Change

July 17, 2014

At low pressures and temperatures, water can go directly from ice to water vapor. This state change is known as:

 

a) sublimation

 

b) deposition

 

c) vaporization

 

d) gaseous melting

 

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MCAT Physics Question — Angle of Refraction

July 16, 2014

Light exits a Sylgard 184 silicone elastomer, index of refraction = 1.4, into air, index of refraction = 1, with an angle of incidence of 30°. What is the angle of refraction in the air on the other side of the Sylgard/air interface?

 

a) 30°

 

b) 45°

 

c) 60°

 

d) No refraction, the light is totally reflected internally.

 

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