Test Taking Skills
Many of the GHSGT questions involve short articles, tables, charts, and graphs. Carefully read the
directions and the question and four answer choices.
THERE ARE NO TRICK QUESTIONS! Don’t over think the question! You should not spend too
much time trying to figure out what they really mean. Read the entire question (including all
accompanying material) and the real meaning should be clear.
READ ALL OF THE ANSWERS AND PICK THE BEST ANSWER! You must choose, from the four
alternatives, the answer that best addresses the question. Some of the alternatives (distracters) will
be attractive because they include an irrelevant detail, a common misconception, or apply the right
information in the wrong way.
GUESS INTELLIGENTLY! There is no penalty for guessing on this test. If you are not sure of the
correct answer you are encouraged to guess. Guessing is easier if you can eliminate one or more
distracters as clearly incorrect. Be warned, however, that many of the distracters are very attractive
because they are based on common mistakes students make.
doesn’t directly require looking at the formula or periodic table it may help if you do. For example, if
the question is about Power it may help you to know that power= work/time.
Formulas and information that is usually provided:
Acceleration due to gravity = 9.89m/s2
Acceleration = Change in velocity /time
Weight = mass (m) x Acceleration due to gravity Force = mass x acceleration F = ma
Actual Mechanical advantage = FR/FE Where
Density = Mass/Volume
FR is force due to resistance and FE is force due
Volume of a rectangular solid = length x width x to effort
Ideal Mechanical advantage = effort length/
1 newton = 1 kilogram x meter / s2
resistance length
1 Joule = 1 newton x meter
Power = work/time
1 watt = 1newton x meter/second or 1
Work= Force x Distance
Voltage = current x Resistance (V=IR)
Scientific Method
State the problem
Make an educated guess or Hypothesis
Analyze the data
State the conclusion
Theory, Law explain scientific phenomena.
Metric System KHDBDCM –be able to move the decimal to convert between units!
Water Displacement as a way to measure volume—A graduated cylinder has 20mL of water, a rock
is dropped into the cylinder and the water rises to 25mL. The rock “displaced” the water. 25mL –
20mL = 5mL The rock has a volume of 5mL.
Temperature: Kelvin = Celsius + 273
Absolute zero-temp at which all movement stops, 0 K
Balance: measures mass (can be electronic balance or triple beam balance) Caution: Don’t use
the term scale when you mean balance!!!!!!!!!!!
Spring scale: weight (force)
Graduated cylinder: volume
After careful measurements are taken, scientists analyze data looking for trends.
Direct proportions: as one thing increases the other also increases
Indirect or inverse proportions: as one thing increases the other decreases
Research and experiment design:
Select a topic, research the topic and phrase the problem so that only one variable is tested.
(Variable: the thing that is to be tested)
Independent variable: the variable that is manipulated by the scientist.
Dependent variable: the responding variable (it “depends” on the independent variable) it is the thing
that is being tested.
Experimental group-subjects being tested
Control group-no variable is tested – they stay the same.
Analysis of data: looking at the data and organizing it into tables or graphs and trying to find trends.
The conclusion is a summary of the analysis of the data.
Data should be accurate (correct) and precise (repeatable)
Analyzing Tables and Charts
As much of a crystalline substance as could be dissolved was mixed with a liter of distilled water in a
tall graduated cylinder. A seed crystal of that substance was then hung in the solution. Each day the
crystal length, strength of solution, temperature and volume of the liquid were measured and the
following data were collected:
Length of
Concentration Temp of
Volume of
Crystal (cm)
of solution (%) solution
solution (mL)
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Which things are RELATED and how are they RELATED?
Focus on the labels for the columns and rows, then examine the numbers in the columns and look for
a pattern.
What does the flat part of the line mean?
Independent variable-what we change, graph on X axis
Dependant variable-what changes during the lab, the data of the lab, graph on the Y axis
Interpolation-finding known numbers on the graph
Extrapolation- extending the line beyond what is known
Matter – anything that has mass, volume, and inertia.
Exists in three phases: solid, liquid, gas
Elements – pure substances that are composed of only one type of atom
Compounds – pure substances that are composed of 2 or more elements that are chemically
Mixtures – may be composed of elements, compounds, or a combination of both
Heterogeneous – matter that is not the same throughout; mixtures are heterogeneous
Homogeneous – matter that is the same throughout; solutions are homogeneous
Solutions are made up of:
a) solvents – the material that does the dissolving, usually makes up at least 50% of the solution
(water is called the “universal solvent”)
b) solutes – the material that is dissolved in the solvent
Alloy – solutions of two or more solids. Ex. – stainless steel, bronze, brass, chrome
Atoms (the smallest particle of an element that can exist alone or in combination with other elements)
are made of:
a) protons – positively charged particles with a mass of 1 amu, found in the nucleus
b) neutrons – neutral particles with a mass of 1 amu, found in the nucleus
c) electrons – negatively charged particles having a mass of zero amu, found outside the nucleus in
the electron cloud
Atomic # - number of protons
Mass Number – the sum of protons + neutrons
Atomic Mass – average mass of all isotopes
Isotopes – atoms of the same element that contain different numbers of neutrons Example: C-12, C13 and
C-14; each of these carbon atoms have 6 protons, because ALL carbon atoms have 6 protons, but
each has a different number of neutrons as indicated by the mass numbers.
The Periodic Table
Families or Groups – vertical columns; similar
Periods – horizontal rows; same number of energy
Metals – shiny, good conductors of heat and electricity, malleable, ductile
Nonmetals – poor conductors, brittle
Metalloids – have properties similar to metals and nonmetals
Metals to the left of the “stair step”, Nonmetals to the right of the “stair step”, Metalloids along the
“stair step”
Group IA – Alkali Metals – highly reactive, never found alone in nature
Group IIA – Alkaline Earth Metals – have 2 electrons in their outer shell, less reactive than Group IA
Group VIIA – Halogens – most reactive nonmetals, have 7 valence electrons
Group VIIIA – Noble Gases – have 8 valence electrons and do not react easily
Transition Metals – the ten columns in the center of the chart
Inner Transition Metals (Lanthanides and Actinides) – some are radioactive and some are manmade or synthetic
*The elements are arranged by increasing atomic # (number of protons)
* All elements in the same group or family have the same number of valence electrons (Ex. – all
elements in group VIA have 6 valence electrons)
Atomic # (# of protons)
Name of element
Symbol of element
Atomic Mass of element
Electron Configuration (3 valence electrons)
Physical Changes – changes in size, shape or phase of matter.
Ex. – melting, freezing, boiling, condensing
Chemical Changes – involve changes in the identity of a substance, a new substance is formed
Ex. – burning, rusting, fermenting
Chemical Changes are also called Chemical Reactions
4 Types of Chemical Reactions:
a) synthesis
b) decomposition reaction
c) single displacement (replacement)
d) double displacement (replacement)
2 Types of Chemical Bonds:
a) Covalent bonds – form when electrons are shared between 2 atoms; results in the formation of
molecules (Ex. – water)
b) Ionic bonds – form when one or more electrons are transferred between atoms (Ex. – sodium
chloride (table salt))
Ions – positively and negatively charged particles (cations and anions)
Acid – substance that produces hydrogen ions (H+) in solution
Base – substance that produces hydroxide ions (OH-) in solution
pH scale – describes the concentrations of acids and bases, the scale ranges from 0-14
pH 0-7 is acidic, pH 7-14 is basic, pH of 7 is neutral (pure water)
baking soda
Alpha particles – helium nuclei, positive charge, can be stopped by paper
Beta particles – high speed electrons, negative charge, can penetrate a thin sheet of steel
Gamma rays – very high energy electromagnetic radiation, can penetrate several feet of concrete
*These types of radiation damage living tissue, causing burns, mutation, cancer and death
Half – life – the amount of time that it takes for half of the nuclei in a sample to undergo radioactive
Example –
carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,700 years. If we start off with a 10 gram sample of carbon-14, after
5,700 years only 5 grams would remain. If another 5,700 years passes (now a total of 11,400 years),
only 2.5 g of carbon-14 would remain.
Energy: the capacity to do work. Measured in joules.
Forms of energy: Mechanical, chemical, nuclear, electromagnetic, thermal.
The law of conservation of energy: Energy can never be created or destroyed, but it can be
transformed from one form to another. Potential energy; stored energy or energy at rest. Kinetic
energy: energy in motion.
Heat flow:
Conduction: Heat transfer by the collision of particles (mostly in solids)
Convection: Heat is spread by movement of large amounts of fluid particles in convection
Radiation: Heat is transferred through matter or space by electromagnetic waves.
Force: a push or pull exerted on matter. Measured in newtons.
Newton’s three laws of motion:
1st: Inertia: An object at rest tends to stay at rest until acted upon by an outside force; an
object in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force.
2nd: F=ma Force is equal to mass (kilograms) times acceleration (meters/seconds/seconds)
3rd: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Work: is done when a net force causes an object to change its state of motion, causing it to speed
up, slow down or change direction. Measured in joules. W=Fd
Power: the rate at which work is done. Measured in Watts. P=W/t
Machines: Any device that makes work easier.
Simple machines: Inclined plane, lever, pulley, wedge, wheel and axle, screw
Mechanical advantage:
MA= resistance force/effort force or MA= effort distance/resistance distance
Efficiency = work output/work input x 100% Work input is always greater than work output
because of friction
weight on left × distance
= weight on right × distance
Gravity: force of attraction that exists between all objects. Measured in newtons. Weight: measure
of gravitational pull on objects. Weight = mg
Linear motion
Speed = distance/time (v=d/t)
Accelerated motion: Change of velocity a= change of velocity/change of time (m/s/s)
Momentum: mass x velocity
Waves: provide a means of transferring energy from one place to
another without transferring matter along with it.
Longitudinal waves: consists of compression and rarefaction segments. Sound is a longitudinal
Transverse waves: consists of crests and troughs. Light is a transverse
Amplitude: The distance a crest or a trough is from the base line. The brightness of light or the
loudness of sound.
Wavelength: the distance from one point of a wave to the same point on the next wave.
Frequency: the number of waves per second.
Wave speed=wavelength x frequency
Properties of waves:
Reflection: the bouncing back of a wave when it hits a boundary. The incoming wave (incident
wave) angle is equal to the reflected wave angle.
Refraction: the bending of a wave as it changes speed by moving through a different medium.
Interference: When two or more waves pass through each other. ../waves/u10l3c.html
Doppler effect: If the source of a wave is moving toward the observer, the frequency of the wave
appears higher. If it is moving away, the frequency appears lower.
Electromagnetic Waves
Math: speed = frequency x wavelength (v
= fλ)
Transverse waves that DO NOT require a medium for travel; can travel through a vacuum.
Speed of EM waves: 3 x 108 m/s
The electromagnetic spectrum
Low energy
Radio waves (communication)
Low frequency
Microwaves (communication)
Large wavelength
Infrared (warmers for food, “night vision”)
Visible light—red, orange, yellow, green,
blue, violet
Ultraviolet (kill bacteria, cause sunburn)
High energy
X-rays (medical)
High frequency
Gamma rays (nuclear reactions, radiation
Small wavelength
Terms to know:
reflection, refraction, diffraction, interference (constructive and destructive.)
Lenses bend light(refract)
Convex lens- converges light
Concave lens-diverges light rays
Top: a convex lens
converges light rays
Bottom: a concave
lens diverges light
Mirrors reflect light
Concave- magnifies(make-up/shaving mirror) convex- reduces(anti-theft
Sound- a longitudinal wave(compressional) that is produced by vibration of matter; must have a
medium for travel; speed of sound varies dependent on temperature of substance and type of
substance. Sound travels fastest in a
Terms to know: decibel, ultrasonic, noise, music, echo, resonate, reverberate, pitch,
Electricity, Magnetism, and Motors- “like repels, opposite attracts”
Electricity- comes from the electrons surrounding atoms;
Two types:
Static electricity- build-up of electrons on an object; no flow;
build up occurs
Due to friction, conduction, or induction
Current electricity- flow of electrons through a circuit (closed
Terms to know: electron, proton, charge, neutral, grounded, discharge, cell(battery), AC, DC, series,
parallel, conductor, insulator, circuit breaker, GFCI, short circuit, closed circuit, resistor,
READING CIRCUIT DIAGRAMS! (symbols for diagrams vary...drawings and schematics are used)
Description with Words: Three cells are placed in a battery pack to power a circuit containing three
light bulbs.
Description with Words: Three cells are placed in a battery pack to power a circuit containing three
light bulbs.
Magnetism is a force produced by the motion of charged particles; two poles on each magnet, North
and South;
Terms to know: electromagnet, magnetic field, electric motor, watts
Electric motor- a rotating electromagnet inside a stationary magnet creates motion so magnets
alternately attract and repel each other; this rotation turns a shaft which does work.
Electric math:
Resistance = voltage/ current
(R = V/I)
Power = voltage x current
Energy = Power x time
(P = VI)
(E = Pt)
Biology Review
Terms to know:
Zoology, Botany, Microbiology, Genetics, Ecology, Cell, Hook, Organelles, Ribosomes, Mitochondria,
Endoplasmic Reticulum, Centrioles, Eukaryotic, and Prokaryotic
Cell Theory: Schlieden Schwann
1. Living things composed of cells
2. Cells come from other cells
3. Cells are the basic unit of structure and function of the life process
Homeostasis: maintance of constant internal conditions, a steady state.
Eukaryotic: true nucleus, have a nuclear membrane that holds DNA in so it makes the nucleus. Most
Prokaryotic: no true nucleus. No organized membrane to keep DNA in. No membrane organelles.
Passive transport: diffusion, osmosis, energy not needed
Active transport: facilitated diffusion, energy needed.
Endocytosis-process of moving things into a cell broken into Phagocytosis-movement of solids in a
cell and Pinocytosis movement of liquids
Exocytosis-process of moving things out of a cell
Solutions and Cells:
Hypertonic: solution outside cell is concentrate, higher than cell, cell shrinks (plasmolysis)
hypotonic: solution outside cell is less concentrate than cell, cell swells (cytolysis).
Isotonic: solution concentration = cell concentration.
Respiration: breaking down glucose to get energy (ATP)
Photosynthesis: changing light energy from the sun to chemical energy of glucose.
Nucleic Acids: DNA and RNA
DNA: caries the genetic code double stranded, deoxyribonucleic acid. (A,G,T,C)
RNA: helps make proteins; single stranded, ribonucleic acid (uracil replace thymine)
To make a protein:
Transcription: the process of making mRNA by copying the DNA
Translation: the mRNA goes to the ribosomes. The rRNA reads the mRNA the tRNA
bring amino acids in the order. A string of amino acids = protein.
Mitosis: somatic (body) cell division. Daughter cells have the same number of chromosomes as the
parent cell. One duplication and one division.
Interphase: no division, cell growth
Prophase: Nuclear material (DNA) organizes into chromosomes.
Metaphase: chromosomes meet in the middle.
Anaphase: chromosomes are pulled to opposite ends of cell
Telophase: cell membrane form between and 2 new daughter cells are made.
Cytokenesis: division of cytoplasm.
Meiosis: gamete (sex cell) cell formation. Gametes have half the number of chromosomes as the
parent cell. One duplication; two divisions.
Gene: a segment on the DNA; trait/characteristic
Genotype: what genes do you have?
Phenotype: physical expression of gene
Homozygous: same gene – BB,bb
heterozygous: different Bb
Allele – genes Bb
Multiple alleles: blood type – A, B, O, AB
Sex linked traits: recessive. Boys get because y chromosomes is missing the gene.
Girls are usually carriers.
Amniocentesis: removing amniotic fluid to test for genetic diseases.
Asexual reproduction: only 1 parent. Offspring usually like parent.
Types: spores (mushrooms, moss, fungi)
Budding: growth of new organism off the parent (hydra, yeast)
Vegetative propagation: growth from plant cuttings.
Binary fission: 1 cell divides in ½ (amoeba, paramecium)
Sexual reproduction: 2 parents. Each donates ½ of the chromosomes needed. Sex cells (gametes)
undergo special type of division to reduce the chromosome number – meiosis.
Meiosis: sex cells are haploid (1/2 the chromosome number).
Human: sex cell has 23 chromosomes. Body cells have 46 chromosomes (2 pairs) –
Fertilization: egg (ovum) and sperm (spermatozoon) (gametes) unite.
Zygote: fertilized egg.
Taxonomy: classifying
Dichotomous key: used to identify, classify.
Kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genius, species.
Producers: make own food. Plants, algae
Consumers: eat other organisms. Animals
Decomposers: break down dead, decaying organisms. Fungi, bacteria
Kingdom Monera – Prokaryotic –no nucleus, DNA is just floating free in cell
Bacteria, Decomposers.
Helpful: nitrogen fixing, digestion, yogurt, cheese
Harmful: spoil food, cause diseases,
Respond to antibiotics – hopefully.
Aerobes: use oxygen for respiration.
Anaerobes: do not use oxygen for respiration.
Viruses: all harmful. Said to be nonliving. Must use a host cell’s DNA to replicate.
Cold pneumonia, polio, rabies, chicken pox, flu, measles, HIV
Vaccine: contains weakened or dead virus. Put into body so we can build
antibodies to fight disease.
Kingdom Protista: Eukaryotic
Algae, Euglena, paramecium, amoeba, plankton, diatoms
One celled. Reproduce asexually or sexually
Some have chlorophyll.
Kingdom Fungi: Eukaryotic
Mushrooms, mold
Some feed on dead thing – saprophytes.
Kingdom Plantae: Gymnosperms and Angiosperm
Plants: Angiosperm: flowering plants
Flower: reproductive part of plant.
Male- stamen. Parts: anther ( pollen) and filament
Female - pistil . Parts: stigma, style, ovary (has
Fruit: ripened ovary
Seed: in ovary, embryo
Self pollination: plants pollinate themselves.
Cross pollination: pollinate from other plants. Insects, wind, water aid in
Deciduous – lose leaves in winter.
Monocots: one seed leaf (cotyledon), parallel veins, fibrous roots.
Dicots: 2 seed leaves (cotyledons), branched or net veins, tap roots
Xylem: moves material up and Phloem: moves material
Gymnosperm: cone bearing plants. Have needles.
Pine trees, fir, spruce
Kingdom Anamilia:
Invertebrates: without a backbone.
Porifera: sponges, asymmetrical
Coelenterates (cnidarians): hydra, jellyfish
Radial symmetry – no right or left
Digestive cavity – one opening, nematocyst – stinging cells
Platyhelminthesis: flat worms. Planaria, tapeworms, liver flukes.
3 cell layers: endoderm, mesoderm, ectoderm.
Hermaphroditic ( both sexes).
Most are parasites – live off a living host
Nemotoda: round worms. Ascaris, hookworms
2 openings to digestive cavity. Some have muscle system.
Annelida: segmented worms. Earthworm, leech.
Coelom body cavity.
Digestive system of earthworm complex: pharynx, esophagus, crop (storage), gizzard
(grinding), Intestine, anus.
Circulatory: 5 aortic arches, dorsal and ventral blood vessels
Setae – hairs on outside for movement
Hermaphroditic. Clitellum for reproduction ( cocoon).
Mollusca: mussels, clams, Oysters, sails
Soft body. Most have shell
3 body regions: head, visceral mass, foot
Mantle: covers visceral mass
Radula- tongue like, scrapes food,
Open circulatory system
Echinoderms: spiny skin. Starfish, sea urchins
Radial symmetry, endoskeleton, eyespots, use tube feet to move, can regenerate.
Water vascular system – ring canal, radial canal – helps starfish walk.
Arthropoda: jointed feet; All have exoskeleton made of chitin. They must molt.
Dorsal heart, ventral nervous system,
Class: crustcean. Crayfish, lobster, crabs
Have cephalothorax- fused head and thorax. Carapace covers this part. Have
gills, open circulatory system, green glands for excretion
Class: Insecta. Grasshopper
3 body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. They undergo metamorphosis,
trachea for respiration, compound eyes.
Complete metamorphosis: egg, larva (does not look like adult), pupa (chrysalis,
cocoon, pupa), adult.
Incomplete metamorphosis: egg, nymph (looks like adult), adult
Insects have compound eyes
Grasshoppers have specialized structures for chewing—labrum, upper lip—
mandibles, chewing food—labium, lower lip
Malpighian tubules, for excretion
Tympanum, ear drum
Ovipositors on female for laying eggs
Some insects are social insects, have division of labor—queen, worker, drone—
each has specific job to do for the hive
Bees do “waggle dance” that tells other bees where the food is—method of
nonverbal communication.
Pheromone—chemical given off to attract other insects
Vertebrates—Phylum Chordata—all embryo’s have notochord
All have endoskeleton of bone or cartilage, some endothermic or can control own body
temp, some ectothermic or can’t control temp
Class: Pisces—Fish 3 types
Jawless—hagfish (parasitic)
Cartilaginous-skeleton made of cartilage-sharks, skates, sting rays
Boney fish—all others
All fish have 2 chambered hearts, have fins, and a swim bladder, they have 2 part brain
cerebellum and medulla oblongata, have good sense of smell, the digestive system has
esophagus, stomach and intestines, excretory system—kidney, reproductive system—
external fertilization
Class Amphibia—Frogs, newts, salamanders—lungs present in adults, moist skin and gills in
larva, eggs externally fertilized and laid in water. Bony skeleton, have pelvic girdle—legs
attached here. Have 3 chambered heart, excretory system kidney and bladder, respiratory
system nares, glottis. Digestive system mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestine cloacae (same
hole for liquid and solid waste)
Class Reptilia—snakes, lizards—dry scaly skin, internal fertilization, amniotic egg
(oviparous)with leathery shell, have lungs, are ectothermic, some are ovoviviparous—they lay
eggs in a pouch and carry eggs around then give birth to live young.
Class Aves—lungs, 4 chambered heart, hollow bones, adapted to environment i.e. bills, feet,
water birds, flightless birds
Class Mammals—produce milk for young, give birth to live young (viviparous)
Monotremes—lay eggs
Marsupials-carry young in a pouch
Placental—have placenta that enables young to develop inside mother, most
provide parental care, brain—cerebrum for memory and intelligence, cerebellum
controls involuntary activities like breathing and digestion, 4 chambered heart with
arteries and veins
Embryo implants in uterus and has certain gestation period i.e. human 40 weeks, elephant 2
years, dogs and cats 60 days.
Behavior of living things—they respond to stimuli i.e. light, sound, gravity. Plants move toward light
called phototropism
Tropism-movement toward a stimulus
Innate behavior= instinct i.e. blink when something is near your eye
Some behaviors are learned i.e. Pavlov trained dogs to salivate when a bell rang by ringing
bell and feeding dogs lots of times then he rang the bell and didn’t feed them but they still
Ecology: study of ecosystems—food web, food chain, population (same species), habitat (where
they live), biosphere (here things are)
Environment made of biotic (living) factors like plants and animals and abiotic (not living)
factors such as soil rain rocks.
Community-all species that live together such as all animals in the forest
Populations- 1species
Herbivores-plants, Carnivores-meat, omnivores-both
Symbiotic relationships
Commensalism- host does not benefit nor is harmed, example barnacles on whales
Mutualsism-both organism and host benefit example protozoa living in intestines of
Parasitism-the organism benefits and the host is harmed, example fleas on a dog
Ecosystems go through a series of changes called succession, starts as a pioneer community;
a succession continues until it reaches a climax community-a stable community with no major
changes, a few animals establish themselves as dominant
Major Biomes
Tundra-North and South Poles
Tiaga-coniferous forest above 600N Latitude ex, Canada and Alaska, short summers
Decidous forest-middle latitudes, summer and winter same length
Grassland-middle latitudes mid continent, low rainfall
Desert-near equator and mountain ranges VERY LOW rainfall
Rain forest-on either side of equator HEAVY rainfall
Green house effect—too much CO2 traps sunlight on earth and heats up earth