"Hundreds of years ago, alchemists tried to make common base metals into gold and silver. Why is this impossible?"
ALCHEMY! I spazzed out. I do believe that the NJ Board of Education watches FMA; otherwise, why would they include that particular question? Sublimate much, NJBOE?
(I would also like to add that in one of my open ended, I managed to sneak in some FMA: ".....thus, explaining that which is lost. Not exactly stand-outtish and very subliminal, but it amused me nonetheless that I could manage to sneak FMA in there.)