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MCAT Pop Quiz

Try the following questions to test your MCAT skills.

Biology (Questions 1–2) 2. If Griffith had injected a fifth group of mice with a
combination of heat-killed rough strain and heat-killed
In an attempt to develop a vaccine for pneumonia, Fred smooth strain, would the mice have died?
Griffith performed a series of experiments in 1928 using
mice and two strains of the pneumococcus bacteria: a virulent A. No, because the heat-killed rough strain cannot infect
encapsulated strain and a nonvirulent unencapsulated strain. mice.
The encapsulated strain was called the “smooth strain” B. No, because the heat-killed smooth strain cannot
because the colonies looked smooth on a culture plate due to transform mice cells
their polysaccharide capsules, whereas the unencapsulated C. Yes, because the heat-killed rough strain is trans
strain was denoted as the “rough strain” due to the irregular- formed into the smooth strain
ity of its surface. D. Yes, because the mice do not have acquired immunity
to pneumococcus bacteria.
Four different groups of mice were injected with differ-
ent combinations of the bacterial strains. The experimental
Physics
results are shown in Table 1.
3. In which of the following cases will the normal force on
Table 1 Results of Griffith’s experiment a box be the greatest?

Mice Injected Bacteria Result A. When the box is placed in a stationary elevator
1 Live smooth Died B. When the box is placed in an elevator moving up
wards at constant velocity
2 Live rough Survived C. When the box is placed in an elevator accelerating
3 Heat-killed smooth Survived downward
4 Heat-killed smooth + live rough Died D. When the box is placed in an elevator accelerating
upward
Autopsies performed on Group 4 mice revealed blood
samples filled with live smooth-strain bacteria. Some Organic Chemistry
component had been transferred from the heat-killed smooth-
strain bacteria to the live rough-strain bacteria, transforming 4. Which of the following addition reactions occurs
them into the virulent smooth-strain bacteria. This process the fastest?
later became known as transformation. Griffith believed the
protein from the dead smooth-strain bacteria was the active
transforming agent.

1. A colony of smooth strain bacteria is grown on a culture


containing an experimental drug that cleaves nucleic acid
base sequences wherever adenine is paired with uracil.
Which of the following processes will be directly affected?
i. Transcription
ii. Translation
iii. Transformation
A. I only
B. I and II only
A. I, because a primary cation is formed in the rate-
C. I and III only
determining step
D. I, II and III
B. II, because the cation formed in the rate-determining
step is stabilized through an inductive effect
C. III, because a secondary cation which is resonance-
stabilized is formed in the rate-determining step
D. II, because a secondary cation which is resonance-
stabilized is formed in the rate-determining step
Biology Passage Explained

2. A
The only reason that the combination of heat-killed smooth strain plus live rough strain killed the Group 4 mice was
because smooth-strain DNA coding for the polysaccharide capsule was incorporated into the genome of the rough strain.
When the rough strain bacteria reproduced, all of the progeny inherited the ability to manufacture the capsule. In other
words, the rough strain had been transformed into the smooth strain, and could now infect the mice and kill them. The
key to the transformation was that the rough strain reproduced. Heat-killed bacteria, whether they are encapsulated or
not, cannot reproduce and cause infection because their DNA has been denatured. Therefore, if Griffith had injected a
fifth group of mice with a combination of heat-killed smooth strain and heat-killed rough strain the mice would have lived.
So, choice (A) is correct.
Choice (B) is incorrect because even though the mice would live, it is not because the heat-killed smooth strain cannot
transform mice cells. Bacterial cells can transform other bacterial cells; they cannot transform animal cells or plant cells.
Choices (C) and (D) are incorrect because the mice would survive. Acquired immunity is the kind of immunity one gets
from a vaccine; it is usually not permanent.
This is an example of a question that requires you to understand information given in a passage and, using critical
thinking skills, apply this knowledge to a new situation. Kaplan-trained MCAT students know how to read a passage and
annotate it, so that they can quickly find exactly the information they need to answer a particular question, without
wasting valuable time.

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