Nuclear Structure and Isotopes Practice Test Questions

Protons, Neutrons and Electrons in an Atom

Elements are identified by the number of protons in their nucleus. The number of neutrons in an atom's nucleus identifies the particular isotope of an element. The charge of an ion is the difference between the number of protons and electrons in an atom. Ions with more protons than electrons are positively charged and ions with more electrons than protons are negatively charged.

This ten question practice test will test your knowledge of the structure of atoms, isotopes and monatomic ions. You should be able to assign the correct number of protons, neutrons and electrons to an atom and determine the element associated with these numbers.

This test makes frequent use of the notation format ZXQwhere:
Z = total number of nucleons (sum of number of protons and number of neutrons)
X = element symbol
Q = charge of ion. The charges are expressed as multiples of the charge of an electron. Ions with no net charge are left blank.
A = number of protons.

You may wish to review this subject by reading the following articles.


A periodic table with atomic numbers listed will be useful to answer these questions. Answers to each question appear at the end of the test.

01
of 12

Question 1

If you are given a nuclear symbol, you can find the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in an atom or ion.
If you are given a nuclear symbol, you can find the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in an atom or ion. alengo / Getty Images

 The element X in the atom 33X16 is:

(a) O - Oxygen
(b) S - Sulfur
(c) As - Arsenic
(d) In - Indium

02
of 12

Question 2

 The element X in the atom 108X47 is:

(a) V - Vanadium
(b) Cu - Copper
(c) Ag - Silver
(d) Hs - Hassium

03
of 12

Question 3

What is the total number of protons and neutrons in the element 73Ge?

(a) 73
(b) 32
(c) 41
(d) 105

04
of 12

Question 4

What is the total number of protons and neutrons in the element 35Cl-?

(d) 35

05
of 12

Question 5

How many neutrons are in the isotope of zinc: 65Zn30?

(a) 30 neutrons
(b) 35 neutrons
(c) 65 neutrons
(d) 95 neutrons

06
of 12

Question 6

How many neutrons are in the isotope of barium: 137Ba56?

(a) 56 neutrons
(b) 81 neutrons
(c) 137 neutrons
(d) 193 neutrons

07
of 12

Question 7

 How many electrons are in an atom of 85Rb37?

(a) 37 electrons
(b) 48 electrons
(c) 85 electrons
(d) 122 electrons

08
of 12

Question 8

 How many electrons in the ion 27Al3+13?

(a) 3 electrons
(b) 13 electrons
(c) 27 electrons
(d) 10 electrons

09
of 12

Question 9

An ion of 32S16 is found to have a charge of -2. How many electrons does this ion have?

(a) 32 electrons
(b) 30 electrons
(c) 18 electrons
(d) 16 electrons

10
of 12

Question 10

An ion of 80Br35 is found to have a charge of 5+. How many electrons does this ion have?

(a) 30 electrons
(b) 35 electrons
(c) 40 electrons
(d) 75 electrons

11
of 12

Answers

1. (b) S - Sulfur
2. (c) Ag - Silver
3. (a) 73
4. (d) 35
5. (b) 35 neutrons
6. (b) 81 neutrons
7. (a) 37 electrons
8. (d) 10 electrons
9. (c) 18 electrons
10. (a) 30 electrons

12
of 12

Key Takeaways

  • Isotope symbols of atoms and atomic ions are written using a one or two-letter element symbol, numerical superscripts, numerical subscripts (sometimes), and a superscript to indicate whether the net charge is positive (+) or negative (-).
  • The subscript gives the number of protons in the atom or its atomic number. Sometimes the subscript is omitted because the element symbol indirectly indicates the number of protons. For example, a helium atom always contains two protons, regardless of its electrical charge or isotope.
  • The subscript may be written either before or after the element symbol.
  • The superscript cites the number of protons and neutrons in the atom (its isotope). The number of neutrons may be calculated by subtracting the atomic number (protons) from this value.
  • Another way to write the isotope is to give the element name or symbol, followed by a number. For example, carbon-14 is the name for a carbon atom that contains 6 protons and 8 neutrons.
  • A superscript with a + or - after the element symbol gives the ionic charge. If there is no number, that charge is 1. The number of electrons can be determined by comparing this value with the atomic number.