The OAT at a Glance

Physics

On Physics section of the OAT, you'll have 50 minutes to answer 40 stand-alone, multiple-choice questions. Tested topics include vectors, energy and momentum, thermodynamics, magnetism, and optics.

The same strategy that is useful in the Natural Sciences applies here. Go with your strengths and answer the questions that are easiest for you. Mark the tough questions so you can come back to them at the end.

Sample OAT Physics Question

Radium radioactively decays to an alpha particle and the daughter element radon. If the atomic number of radium before decay is 88, what is the atomic number of radon?

  1. 84
  2. 86
  3. 88
  4. 90
  5. 92


Answer & Explanation:

The answer is B.

We're told that radium, with atomic number 88, decays via alpha decay to radon. An alpha particle is simply a helium nucleus. Helium has atomic number 2, which means it has two protons. Thus, two protons have been ejected from a radium nucleus, resulting in the formation of a radon nucleus. The number of protons (atomic number) of the radon nucleus is 88 – 2 = 86.

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