MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills 2
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The Constitution concisely organizes the country’s basic political institutions. The main text comprises seven articles. Article I vests all legislative powers in the Congress—the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Great Compromise stipulated that representation in the House would be based on population, and each state is entitled to two senators. Members of the House serve terms of two years, senators terms of six. Among the powers delegated to Congress are the right to levy taxes, borrow money, regulate interstate commerce, provide for military forces, declare war, and determine member seating and rules of procedure. The House initiates impeachment proceedings, and the Senate adjudicates them.

Article II vests executive power in the office of the presidency of the United States. The president, selected by an electoral college to serve a four-year term, is given responsibilities common to chief executives, including serving as commander in chief of the armed forces, negotiating treaties (two-thirds of the Senate must concur), and granting pardons. The president’s vast appointment powers, which include members of the federal judiciary and the cabinet, are subject to the “advice and consent” (majority approval) of the Senate (Article II, Section 2). Originally presidents were eligible for continual reelection, but the Twenty-second Amendment (1951) later prohibited any person from being elected president more than twice. Although the formal powers of the president are constitutionally quite limited and vague in comparison with those of the Congress, a variety of historical and technological factors—such as the centralization of power in the executive branch during war and the advent of television—have increased the informal responsibilities of the office extensively to embrace other aspects of political leadership, including proposing legislation to Congress.

The federal government is obliged by many constitutional provisions to respect the individual citizen’s basic rights. Some civil liberties were specified in the original document, notably in the provisions guaranteeing the writ of habeas corpus and trial by jury in criminal cases (Article III, Section 2) and forbidding bills of attainder and ex post facto laws (Article I, Section 9). But the most significant limitations to government’s power over the individual were added in 1791 in the Bill of Rights. The Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees the rights of conscience, such as freedom of religion, speech, and the press, and the right of peaceful assembly and petition. Other guarantees in the Bill of Rights require fair procedures for persons accused of a crime—such as protection against unreasonable search and seizure, compulsory self-incrimination, double jeopardy, and excessive bail—and guarantees of a speedy and public trial by a local, impartial jury before an impartial judge and representation by counsel. Rights of private property are also guaranteed. Although the Bill of Rights is a broad expression of individual civil liberties, the ambiguous wording of many of its provisions—such as the Second Amendment’s right “to keep and bear arms” and the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishments”—has been a source of constitutional controversy and intense political debate. Further, the rights guaranteed are not absolute, and there has been considerable disagreement about the extent to which they limit governmental authority. The Bill of Rights originally protected citizens only from the national government. For example, although the Constitution prohibited the establishment of an official religion at the national level, the official state-supported religion of Massachusetts was Congregationalism until 1833. Thus, individual citizens had to look to state constitutions for protection of their rights against state governments.

During the beginning of the Afghanistan War, the intelligence agencies subjected interrogated prisoners to psychological tactics, including sleep deprivation and water boarding. According to the article, which part of the constitution would prevent this from happening to American citizens?

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The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized exam used in the admissions process for nearly every medical school in the United States and Canada. Additionally, many health profession schools as well as graduate programs are accepting MCAT scores as part of their admissions process. To prepare for the MCAT, try our free MCAT practice tests.  For more serious preparation, see our review of best MCAT prep courses.

The MCAT was developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and evaluates candidates on the skills and knowledge identified by physicians, medical educators, and medical students as indicators for success in medical school. The MCAT is divided into the following four sections:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

Performance on The MCAT Test is vital for any candidate wishing to gain entry into almost any American or Canadian medical school.

MCAT Content Description

The MCAT utilizes a multiple-choice, computer based format for its 85,000 annual test takers. It is designed to test applicants’ knowledge of a wide range of scientific disciplines including Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry, Biochemistry, General Biology, Psychology, Physics, and Sociology. 

More than just testing an applicant’s knowledge in these areas, the MCAT also tests reasoning and critical analysis skills. This means that applicants will be required to show proficiency in the application of these concepts. 

The MCAT sections are integrated within the entire test, meaning that there will not be separate sections for the different content areas tested. For this reason, it is very important to utilize all available MCAT practice tests in order to get a feel for the format.

MCAT Administration

The MCAT Test is administered at hundreds of testing sites across the United States and Canada, as well as some international locations. Be sure to register as soon as you know what date works for you, as testing centers have a limited capacity and operate on a first-come-first-served basis. 

Upon arrival to the testing center, applicants are to check-in with the test administrator. Here you will sign in, show your identification, create a digital scan of your palm, and take a test-day photograph. 

You will not need to bring any other materials with you, as you will be provided with a note-board booklet and fine point marker for all necessary calculations.