Would you pass the Nevada High School Proficiency Exam?

Students who have failed the math proficiency exam attend a math proficiency jam session at Chaparral High School Wednesday, October 19, 2011.
Photo: Leila Navidi

The Nevada High School Proficiency Exam, a barrier to graduation for those who don’t pass it, will be phased out beginning in the 2014-15 school year ... which means this year’s graduating class still has to tussle with the test, which covers math, reading, writing and science. To see what they’re up against, try out these practice questions from the math and science sections. No Googling allowed.

1. Which type of molecule stores genetic information in living organisms?

A. lipid

B. nucleic acid

C. enzyme

D. complex carbohydrate

2. When traveling in Nevada, a student and her family drove throughout the basin and range bioregion. Which of these are native organisms typically found in this bioregion?

A. the cottonwood tree and the iguana

B. the Joshua tree and the black-tailed jackrabbit

C. the redwood tree and the bald eagle

D. the palm tree and the ring-necked pheasant

3. Which of these changes would most likely result in a temporary decrease in average surface temperatures on Earth?

A. a significant increase in decomposer bacteria populations

B. a major volcanic eruption releasing significant amounts of ash

C. a significant amount of continental ice melting into ocean water

D. a large increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

4. Which equation illustrates the commutative property of addition?

A. (4 + x) + 3x = 3x + (4 + x)

B. 3x(4 + x) +0 = 3x(4 + x)

C. (4 + x) + 3x = 4 + (x + 3x)

D. 3x(4 + x) = 3x(4) + 3x(x)

5. There are 200 students in a high school senior class. Of the students in the senior class, 70 are taking physics and 120 are taking chemistry. Of the students in those two groups, 50 are taking both physics and chemistry. What is the probability that a randomly selected senior is taking neither physics nor chemistry?

A. 0.10

B. 0.25

C. 0.30

D. 0.35

6. What is the solution set for the following equation? 5x² = 125

A. {5}

B. {-5, 5}

C. {25}

D. {-12.5, 12.5}

Answers below:

1. B; 2. B; 3. B; 4. A; 5. C; 6. B

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