GED Sample Questions: Science Short Answer Questions

By Murray Shukyn, Dale E. Shuttleworth, Achim K. Krull

At some point during the Science portion of the GEE test, you will be asked to compose a short answer response. You will be given a passage and asked a question that you will need to respond to. Make your response clear and concise.

Short Answer

Passage

Everyone is familiar with cheddar cheese. People put it in sandwiches, on top of hamburgers, and eat it as a snack. People seem to like its orange color and slightly sharp taste, but what if they were served a slice of this common cheese with white specks on its surface? Then they might decide on another type of cheese for their next snack or sandwich.

The local hamburger emporium may decide to substitute Swiss cheese for cheddar on its burgers to reduce complaints. These white spots present a problem.

The white spots are a substance called calcium lactate crystals and develop most often on the surfaces of naturally smoked cheddar cheese. Producers are very much aware of the problems caused by calcium lactate crystals as you can tell by the fact that naturally smoked cheddar cheese is more expensive than the everyday processed cheddar, and it’s considered more of a gourmet item.

Customers who pay more for what they believe is a better, more natural product do not appreciate white spots on the surface of their purchase. The other problem facing retailers and wholesalers of naturally smoked cheddar is that the amount of calcium lactate crystals increases with time and what may appear to be clear of the problem one day could look very different with the passage of time.

Food scientists have been studying these white spots because they cause a problem for sellers of this product. Scientists have investigated chemical changes that may or may not occur during natural smoking that could produce this unwanted substance.

In order to proceed with this study, scientists took a large block of cheddar and cut out two equal and equivalent blocks of cheese. They smoked one block in a commercial smokehouse and stored the other without smoking. After two days, they analyzed the samples for moisture, lactate, pH, and water-soluble calcium.

The results proved to be interesting. The smoked sample contained significantly lower moisture and a lower pH level. There was a higher total lactate-in-moisture and water-soluble calcium-in-moisture level at the surface of the samples.

After a period of ten weeks, there were some changes in the levels with the pH, total lactate-in-moisture and water-soluble calcium-in-moisture levels remaining constant. It was concluded that the smoking process predisposes the cheddar to surface calcium lactate crystal formation.

Prompt

Why would a scientist be interested in white specks on cheddar cheese and how did the results of the experiment help in solving the problem? Write your answer in the space provided. This task may require approximately 10 minutes to complete.