Study Guide

Social Science
Sample Questions

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Competency 0001
Understand major developments in U.S. history to 1914.

1. The Nullification Crisis of the early 1830s centered on which of the following questions?

  1. What are the powers of the judiciary in a government based on separation of powers?
  2. What are the rights of individuals in a democratic system of government?
  3. What are the powers of executive officials in a government based on the rule of law?
  4. What are the rights of the states in a federal system of government?
Correct Response: D. The Nullification Crisis centered on South Carolina's effort to apply John C. Calhoun's doctrine of the concurrent majority, which contended that states had the right to overrule federal laws that conflicted with their own.

Competency 0002
Understand major developments in U.S. history from 1914 to the present.

2. Which of the following statements best describes the significance of the sit-ins of the early 1960s for the civil rights movement?

  1. They marked the beginnings of widespread student participation in the movement.
  2. They reflected the growing influence within the movement of the philosophy of Black Power.
  3. They signaled a shift in movement aims from political goals to economic objectives.
  4. They represented the end of efforts by the movement to achieve racial equality through peaceful means.
Correct Response: A. Initiated by four African American students in Greensboro, North Carolina, the sit-in movement of the early 1960s inspired students throughout the country to become more active in the civil rights struggle.

Competency 0003
Understand major developments in premodern world history.

3. Use the map below to answer the question that follows.

An outline map of southwest Asia.

A lightly shaded region contains two rivers that are mostly parallel flowing from northwest to southeast until they converge and drain into a gulf located east of the Arabian peninsula.

The lightly shaded region on the map marks the territory controlled by which of the following ancient civilizations?

  1. the Hittites
  2. the Babylonians
  3. the Persians
  4. the Phoenicians
Correct Response: B. Beginning in about 1600 BCE and continuing for 400 years, the Babylonian Empire under the Kassites extended some 400 miles upstream from the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, embracing six major cities and the rich farmlands that surrounded them on either side of the two rivers.

Competency 0004
Understand major developments in modern world history.

4. The Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) can best be described as:

  1. a religious movement to revive ancient Confucian values in China.
  2. a popular movement to modernize the Chinese economy.
  3. a political movement to revitalize the communist revolution in China.
  4. a nationalist movement to expand Chinese territory.
Correct Response: C. A central objective of leaders of the Chinese Cultural Revolution was to revive the original enthusiasm and spirit of the communist revolution by purging the nation of what Mao Zedong called the "Four Olds": old thoughts, old customs, old habits, and old culture.

Competency 0005
Understand the foundations of government and U.S. citizenship.

5. In their efforts to end occupational segregation and achieve comparable pay for comparable work, leaders of the modern women's movement expanded the meaning of which of the following provisions of the U.S. Constitution?

  1. the privileges and immunities clause of Article IV
  2. the freedom of assembly clause of the First Amendment
  3. the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment
  4. the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
Correct Response: D. The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is based on the principle that all citizens of the United States are equal before the law. Just as civil rights activists broadened the meaning of the provision to include African Americans, proponents of women's rights expanded the scope of the clause to include women.

Competency 0006
Understand the fundamental ideals, structure, functions, and operation of government in the United States and Missouri and the structure and operation of the U.S. political system.

6. In which of the following situations is the president of the United States most likely to invoke the right of executive privilege?

  1. nominating justices to the Supreme Court
  2. pardoning a member of the executive branch
  3. withholding information from Congress
  4. authorizing the use of force against another country
Correct Response: C. Executive privilege is a power that presidents most often invoke to resist subpoenas and other demands by the legislative and judicial branches of government, such as congressional requests for highly sensitive information considered vital to national security.

Competency 0007
Understand geographic concepts and physical systems.

7. Which of the following statements best explains why northwestern Europe experiences a significantly warmer climate than regions of western Russia at the same latitude?

  1. Prevailing wind patterns from the Arctic are more common in western Russia.
  2. The Ural Mountains create a significant barrier, trapping cold air in western Russia.
  3. Annual precipitation levels are higher on average in northwestern Europe.
  4. The North Sea moderates temperatures in northwestern Europe.
Correct Response: D. The North Atlantic Drift, a warm ocean current that is an extension of the Gulf Stream, keeps northern European coastal areas ice-free in winter and moderates the climates of regional land areas.

Competency 0008
Understand human systems and the interactions between the environment and human societies.

8. Compared with countries in southern Asia, European countries are more likely to have populations that are:

  1. evenly distributed across urban and rural regions.
  2. concentrated in urban areas.
  3. densely settled in river valleys and low-lying plains.
  4. concentrated in coastal regions.
Correct Response: B. Whereas about three of every four Europeans lived in urban areas during the early twenty-first century, levels of urbanization in southern Asia varied from 23 percent in Bangladesh to 34 percent in Pakistan to 67 percent in India.

Competency 0009
Understand microeconomics.

9. Use the cost curve below to answer the question that follows.

A graph with the x axis labeled output and the y axis labeled cost per unit without units or number values.

The curve in the graph begins in the upper left corner on the y axis and slopes downward to the right at a decreasing slope until it becomes almost parallel with the x axis.

The cost curve best illustrates which of the following economic concepts?

  1. economies of scale
  2. elasticity of supply
  3. return to capital
  4. law of diminishing returns
Correct Response: A. Economies of scale are productive activities in which the cost per unit declines as output increases, as illustrated in the diagram.

Competency 0010
Understand macroeconomics and international economics.

10. Use the list below to answer the question that follows.

During which phase of the business cycle is an economy most likely to experience the developments described in the list?

  1. expansion
  2. peak
  3. contraction
  4. trough
Correct Response: A. As consumer demand revives and increases during the expansion phase of a business cycle, stores draw down inventories to keep shelves stocked, and many closed plants resume operations to produce the goods needed to meet the growth in demand. With this general upturn in business conditions, jobless workers find it relatively easy to obtain employment, and consumers have far fewer reservations about financing major purchases on credit than they would during periods when people are feeling less optimistic about the future.

Competency 0011
Understand concepts, perspectives, and research skills related to the study of culture and society.

11. In most societies, educational institutions and religious institutions share which of the following functions?

  1. fulfilling the need for ultimate meanings that give coherence to people's lives
  2. transmitting cultural norms of behavior and morality
  3. imparting the skills, habits, and thought necessary for occupational success
  4. adding to the cultural heritage through the creation of new knowledge
Correct Response: B. A major function of educational institutions is to introduce young people to those cultural values that encapsulate a society’s behavioral and moral norms. Religious institutions perform a similar function in their teachings about appropriate forms of social relations, sexual behavior, and the like.

Competency 0012
Understand concepts, perspectives, and research skills related to the study of psychology.

12. Albert recently moved from Missouri to Nevada for employment reasons. After being there several months, he is as unhappy with his new surroundings as he is disappointed with his new job. None of this is apparent in letters he sends home, however, which contain accounts of his active social life and the great sense of self-fulfillment he derives from his work. Albert's conduct best illustrates how people use which of the following defense mechanisms to deal with stress?

  1. rationalization
  2. denial
  3. reaction formation
  4. displacement
Correct Response: C. Reaction formation is a defense mechanism used to control anxiety-producing impulses and emotions through a strong affirmation of their opposite.