MCAT Biology Practice Test 1: The Cell

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1. Hyperbaric oxygen may be used as a treatment for certain types of bacterial infections. In this therapy, the patient is placed in a chamber in which the partial pressure of oxygen is significantly increased, increasing the partial pressure of oxygen in the patient's tissues. This treatment is most likely used for infections with:

  • A. obligate aerobic bacteria.
  • B. facultative anaerobic bacteria.
  • C. aerotolerant anaerobic bacteria.
  • D. obligate anaerobic bacteria.

2. Which of the following does NOT describe connective tissue cells?

  • A. They account for most cells in muscles, bones, and tendons.
  • B. They secrete substances to form the extracellular matrix.
  • C. In organs, they tend to form the stroma.
  • D. In organs, they provide support for epithelial cells.

3. Which of the following types of nucleic acid could form the genome of a virus?

I. Single-stranded RNA

II. Double-stranded DNA

III. Single-stranded DNA

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. I and II only
  • D. I, II, and III

4. Which of the following activities occurs in the Golgi apparatus?

  • A. Synthesis of proteins
  • B. Modification and distribution of proteins
  • C. Breakdown of lipids and carbohydrates
  • D. Production of ATP

5. Mitochondrial DNA is:




  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. I and II only
  • D. I, II, and III

6. Which of the following is NOT a function of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum?

  • A. Lipid synthesis
  • B. Poison detoxification
  • C. Protein synthesis
  • D. Transport of proteins

7. What is the main function of the nucleolus?

  • A. Ribosomal RNA synthesis
  • B. DNA replication
  • C. Cell division
  • D. Chromosome assembly

8. Which of the following organelles is surrounded by a single membrane?

  • A. Lysosomes
  • B. Mitochondria
  • C. Nuclei
  • D. Ribosomes

9. Which of the following is NOT a difference that would allow one to distinguish a prokaryotic and a eukaryotic cell?

  • A. Ribosomal subunit weight
  • B. Presence of a nucleus
  • C. Presence of a membrane on the outside surface of the cell
  • D. Presence of membrane-bound organelles

10. Which of the following does NOT contain tubulin?

  • A. Cilia
  • B. Flagella
  • C. Microfilaments
  • D. Centrioles

11. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) enters the human body and remains dormant in the nervous system until it produces an outbreak after exposure to heat, radiation, or other stimuli. Which of the following statements correctly describes HSV?

  • A. While it remains dormant in the nervous system, the virus is in its lytic cycle.
  • B. During an outbreak, the virus is in the lysogenic cycle.
  • C. Herpes simplex virus integrates itself into the DNA of the cell.
  • D. The herpes simplex virus contains a tail sheath and tail fibers.

12. Resistance to antibiotics is a well-recognized medical problem. Which mechanism(s) can account for a bacterium's ability to increase its genetic variability and thus adapt itself to different antibiotics?

Binary fission



  • A. I and II only
  • B. I and III only
  • C. II and III only
  • D. I, II, and III

13. A bacterial cell is noted to be resistant to penicillin. The bacterium is transferred to a colony that lacks the fertility factor, and the rest of the colony does not become resistant to penicillin. However, the penicillin-resistant cell has also started to exhibit other phenotypic characteristics, including secretion of a novel protein. Which of the following methods of bacterial recombination is NOT likely to account for this change?

  • A. Conjugation
  • B. Transformation
  • C. Transduction
  • D. Infection with a bacteriophage

14. In Alzheimer's disease, a protein called the amyloid precursor protein (APP) is cleaved to form a protein called β-amyloid. This protein has a β-pleated sheet structure and precipitates to form plaques in the brain. This mechanism of disease is most similar to which of the following pathogens?

  • A. Bacteria
  • B. Viruses
  • C. Prions
  • D. Viroids

15. After infection of a cell, a viral particle must transport itself to the nucleus in order to produce viral proteins. What is the likely genomic content of the virus?

  • A. Double-stranded DNA
  • B. Double-stranded RNA
  • C. Positive-sense RNA
  • D. Negative-sense RNA