PRAXIS II Physics: Content Knowledge (5265) Exam

The PRAXIS II Physics: Content Knowledge (5265) Exam is designed for individuals who would like to teach physics at the secondary school level. Usage of a calculator is not permitted for this exam. You will be given two and a half hours to complete the 125 multiple-choice questions that comprise this exam. The test can be broken down into six sections:

Mechanics – 40 questions
Electricity and Magnetism – 24 questions
Optics and Waves – 16 questions
Heat, Energy, and Thermodynamics – 15 questions
Modern Physics, and Atomic and Nuclear Structure – 15 questions
Scientific Inquiry, Processes, and Social Perspectives – 15 questions

Scientific Inquiry, Processes, and Social Perspectives
Questions in this section of the exam will cover STS, safety in the laboratory, various laboratory activities, data manipulation, measurement, mathematics, scientific methodology, scientific inquiry, and the history of science. STS questions will cover economic, ethical, political, and social issues relating to technology, scientific technology and everyday life; managing natural resources, storage and usage of disposable consumer products, energy production, and the environmental and technological impact of science on human life. Questions regarding laboratory safety and procedures will cover the legal issues of operating a science classroom, proper safety techniques in the science classroom, preparation of materials for classroom use, the maintenance and calibration of laboratory equipment, and safe storage and use of laboratory materials. Questions regarding data manipulation, measurement and mathematics will cover accuracy, error analysis, data collection and drawing conclusions from data, scientific notation and measurement systems will be included in this section of the exam. Questions regarding the history of science will cover the experimental design, the history of physical science, theories, models, laws, assumptions, and hypothesis. Your knowledge of scientific processing skills such as: application, inference, comparison, categorizing, ordering and hypothesizing will be assessed in this section of the exam. Questions regarding scientific inquiry will cover: generalization, observation, testing of hypothesis, and problem formulation.

Modern Physics, and Atomic and Nuclear Structure
Questions in this section of the exam will cover the Michelson-Morley experiment, Lorenz transformations, de Broglie’s hypothesis, velocity addition, blackbody radiation, photoelectric effect, nuclear reactors, fusion, fission and, physical properties of matter. Your knowledge of matter organization, ionizing radiation, radioactivity, beta decay, alpha decay, isotopes, radioactive decay, electrons, neutrons, protons, isotopes, the hydrogen atom, binding energy, and nuclear forces will be assessed in this section of the exam. Questions regarding the Bohr model and Rutherford scattering, will also be included in this section of the exam.

Heat, Energy, and Thermodynamics
This section of the exam will cover kinetic, sound, magnetic, electrical, light, nuclear, heat, chemical, and mechanical energy. Your knowledge of the Zeroth law of equilibrium, pressure, volume, temperature and the three laws of thermodynamics will be included in this section of the exam. The questions regarding the first thermodynamics law will cover energy conservation and internal energy; the second question will cover the Carnot cycle, efficiency, spontaneity, irreversible and reversible processes and, entropy; the third law will cover absolute zero temperature. Your knowledge of heat and temperature measurement, thermal expansion, thermocouples, kinetic molecular theory, heat capacity, vaporization and fusion of heat will be assessed in this section of the exam.

Optics and Waves
Questions in this section of the exam will cover geometric optics, linear superposition, the electromagnetic spectrum, sound, and waves. The questions regarding geometric optics will cover telescopes, microscopes, magnifiers, prisms, spherical and plane mirrors, thin lenses, fiber optics, internal reflection, Snell’s law, refraction and reflection. The linear superposition questions will cover Young’s double slit experiment, inference in thin films, standing and beating waves, dispersion, diffraction, and inference. The electromagnetic spectrum questions will cover color and frequency regions. Questions regarding sound will cove beats, harmonics, standing waves, air columns, pitch and loudness. The questions regarding waves and optics will cover the Doppler effect, polarization, resonance, natural frequencies, longitudinal and transverse waves, Rayleigh scattering, Snell’s law, scattering, transmission, absorption, reflection, retraction, the inverse square law of intensity, and the speed and amplitude of wavelength.

Electricity and Magnetism
Questions in this section of the exam will cover electromagnetic induction, currents, magnetic fields, electrical circuits, and electrical fields. The questions regarding electromagnetic induction will cover motors, transformers, Faraday’s law, Lenz’s law, generators, and magnetic flux. The magnetic field questions will cover magnetic fields, magnetic dipoles, electric fields, Lorenz force law, cyclotron mass spectrometer, Gauss’ law of magnetism, Bio-Savart law, Ampere’s law, the magnetic field of a wire, the magnetic field of a solenoid, and displaced current. The electric current section of the exam will assess your knowledge of components and application of electric circuits; semiconductors, conductors, insulators, sources of EMF, generators, batteries, Ohm’s law, inductance, capacitance, series and parallel circuits, Kirchhoff’s rules, RC circuits, internal resistance, voltmeters, ammeters, galvanometers, and potentiometers. Questions regarding electrical fields will cover Coulomb’s law, Gauss’s law, electrical forces, conduction, induction, electric potential difference and electrical energy potential.

This section of the exam will cover numerous aspects of the dynamics of physics, kinematics and vectors. Questions in the dynamics of physics section will cover density and pressure of fluids, Bernoulli’s principle, Archimedes’s principal, Pascal’s law, Kepler’s laws of orbits, areas and periods; and Newton’s law of orbital motion and universal gravitation. Additional question in the dynamics section of the exam will cover mass energy relationships, rotational kinetic energy, rigid body motion, torque, inertia, momentum, velocity, impulse and linear movements, Questions regarding Hooke’s law, pendulums, springs, oscillations, harmonic motion, energy conservation, and equilibrium of torque will be included in this section of the exam. Your knowledge of force, rolling, static and kinetic friction, and Newton’s laws of motion will also be included in this section of the exam. Questions regarding kinematics will cover Galilean relativity, relative velocity, relative motion, circular and projectile motion, acceleration, velocity, and displacement along with straight line motion. Questions regarding vectors will cover addition, subtraction and multiplication of vectors, scalar (dot) product and vector (cross) product.

PRAXIS II Physics: Content Knowledge (0265) Practice Questions

1. The study of science is divided into:

A. natural
B. social
C. applied
D. All of the above

2. Which of the following is not part of scientific method?

A. Investigating an event
B. Subjective processes
C. Analyzing data
D. Integrating new information

3. What are the steps used in the scientific method?

A. A question is asked.
B. Research is conducted.
C. An experiment is designed.
D. All of the above

4. When were practical uses found for electricity?

A. Late nineteenth century
B. Seventeenth century
C. Sixteenth century
D. Early twentieth century

5. A magnetic field is the region around:

A. a magnet
B. electric current
C. changing electric field
D. All of the above

Answer Key For Physics: Content Knowledge (0265)

1. Answer: D

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines science as “the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.” Its Latin root is “scientia,” which means knowledge.

NATURAL SCIENCE is concerned with the natural world-matter, energy, and relationships between the two (i.e., objectively measurable phenomena). Physics, chemistry, and biology are all natural sciences.

SOCIAL SCIENCE studies human relationships and society. Certain aspects of social science, such as demographics and statistical trends for a society, are based on empirical evidence, which is observable data that can be verified by other scientists working in similar situations under the same conditions-as with the natural sciences. Other aspects would, however, make use of more subjective criteria, or a priori evidence (see below). Examples of social sciences include anthropology and political science.

FORMAL SCIENCE is the systematic study of a specific area It is essential to developing hypotheses, theories, and laws used in other scientific disciplines, i.e., describing how things work (natural science), how people think, and why they do what they do individually and as a society (social sciences). It is based on a priori evidence, which proceeds from a theory or assumption rather than observable phenomena.

APPLIED SCIENCE is using the results of scientific research in any of the natural, social, and formal sciences and adapting it to address human needs. Examples of applied science fields include nanotechnology and optics.

2. Answer: B

SCIENTIFIC METHOD is a set of procedures used to study natural phenomena. It provides guidelines with which to pose questions, analyze data and reach conclusions. It is used to investigate an event, gain knowledge, or correct earlier conclusions about the occurrence and integrate the new information with previously learned data. Researchers pose hypotheses and design experiments and studies to test them. The process must be objective, documented, and shared with other researchers, so the results can be verified by replicating the study in similar situations and conditions.

SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY is used to explore theories and develop explanations for natural phenomena. It has two functions: to provide a description of how something happens and explain why the process succeeds or fails.

DEDUCTIVE REASONING is a process in which a specific conclusion logically follows from a general premise. If the premise is true, then the conclusion is true. It is used in mathematics.

INDUCTIVE REASONING is a process in which a universal conclusion is formed from considering an individual example. It is the methodology of the natural and social sciences.

3. Answer: D

The steps described are not necessarily used in exactly the same way in all sciences. Sometimes they happen at the same time or in a different order and may be repeated during the course of the study. Whatever order researchers use, the steps should be applied with intelligence, imagination, and creativity.

The following sequence is the one used most of the time:

  1. A question is asked about a natural phenomenon. It should be stated in specific language to focus the inquiry.
  2. The subject is thoroughly researched. Previous test results are studied. It is important to understand what the earlier experiment(s) proved or disproved.
  3. With information gleaned from researching the topic, a hypothesis is formed about a cause or effect of the event or its relationship to other occurrences.
  4. An experiment is designed and conducted to test the hypothesis and gather information.
  5. The resulting data is analyzed to determine if they support or refute the hypothesis.

It is not uncommon for test results to lead to more questions about the subject or a related event.

4. Answer: A

Electricity is the presence and flow of electric charge (subatomic particles) that forms on the surface of nonmetallic substances when they are rubbed together briskly. The American Heritage College Dictionary defines it as “the physical phenomena arising from the behavior of electrons and protons caused by attraction of particles with opposite charges and repulsion of particles with the same charge.”

Recognizable forms of electricity (lightning, static electricity) have been observed since ancient times. Scientific advances began in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries but practical uses were not found until the late nineteenth century when engineers developed industrial and residential applications. With these discoveries, the industrial age began in earnest. Some consider electricity the essential ingredient of a modern industrial society. Electricity is a versatile form of energy used today in many ways: transportation, heating, lighting, communications, and computation.

5. Answer: D

Magnetism is the force that attracts or repulses one material to or from another. The behavior of the material is predicated on its structure, especially its electron configuration (the arrangement of its electrons). All electrons spin, so essentially they are magnets. However, because they spin randomly, there is usually no magnetic effect. But when these spins are in cooperative alignment, a magnetic field is created. Webster’s New Explorer Desk Encyclopedia defines a magnetic field as the “region around a magnet, electric current, or changing electric field, in which magnetic forces are observable.”

These fields are represented by “continuous lines of force” between north and south poles. The thickness of the lines indicates the size of the field.