PCAT Reading Comprehension Questions
Waves may be divided into three categories: mechanical, electromagnetic, and matter. Mechanical waves are perhaps most familiar to laymen. A flag rippling in the breeze and the motion of the sea close to the shore are both examples of mechanical waves. Sound waves and seismic waves are also considered to be mechanical, because they are governed by Newton ‘s laws and require a material medium. Electromagnetic waves, on the other hand, require no material to move through. Visible light is probably the most common example of electromagnetic waves, though x rays, microwaves, and radio waves also fit the description. These waves are all capable of traveling through a vacuum. Matter waves are those which are governed by the laws of quantum physics, and can only be observed under very specific experimental conditions. A beam of electrons, for instance, will often exhibit wave-like characteristics in the laboratory.
1. Which of the following is NOT one of the main categories of waves?
2. Which kind of wave requires a material medium and is governed by Newton’s laws?
3. Which of the following is NOT an example of a mechanical wave?
A. sound wave
B. electron beam
C. water wave
D. waving flag
4. Which kind of wave is capable of traveling through a vacuum?
D. x ray
5. Which kind of waves are governed by the laws of quantum physics?
D. matter waves
6. In what kind of wave is the displacement of any oscillating wave component perpendicular to the direction of the wave?
7. What is another name for a single wave?
8. In a basic mechanical wave, what is the direction of motion of an individual point?
A. side to side
C. up and down
9. How do the wave elements move in a longitudinal wave?
A. perpendicular to the motion of the wave
B. diagonal to the motion of the wave
C. parallel to the motion of the wave
D. adjacent to the motion of the wave
10. What is displaced during the passage of a sound wave?
1. C. The three main categories of waves are mechanical, matter, and electromagnetic.
2. A. Mechanical waves require a material medium.
3. B. Electron beams are not mechanical waves.
4. A. Electromagnetic waves do not require a material medium.
5. D. Matter waves are governed by the laws of quantum physics and can only be observed under special conditions.
6. A. In a transverse wave, the individual wave components will move perpendicular to the direction of the wave.
7. B. A single wave is also known as a pulse.
8. C. The individual components of a transverse mechanical wave is up and down.
9. C. Wave elements should move in the same direction as the wave in a longitudinal wave.
10. D. A traveling sound wave moves air in the direction of the wave.
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