MCAT Physical Sciences Introduction
I know you’re in the process of prepping for the infamous MCAT, and mastering the Physical Sciences section is just one step.
But it’s no sweat, right? You can do this stuff in your sleep.
Before you get cocky, let’s see what you really need to know when you’re staring this MCAT section down eyeball to eyeball.
MCAT Physical Sciences BasicsPhysical Sciences, one of the four sections on the MCAT, is the first section you’ll encounter on this bad boy. In the seventy minutes it’ll take you to complete this multiple-choice part, you’ll encounter:
- 7 sets of passage-based questions (contain 4-7 questions a set). Here, you’ll read a passage and then answer the multiple-choice questions related to the text.
- 13 independent questions. In these, you’ll simply read one question and choose the best answer from the choices below it.
- Grand total of 52 questions
Although you won’t be assessed on rote memorization of scientific facts, your problem-solving skills will come in handy as you take on the challenges of General Chemistry and Physics.
MCAT General Chemistry Concepts To Know
If it’s been a while since your last Chem class, I suggest studying up on the following topics in full. The examples I give behind each section are just a small segment of the whole. But you already knew that, right?
- Electronic Structure and Periodic Table: Absorption and emission spectra, Bohr atom, classification of elements into groups by electronic structure
- Bonding: The ionic bond, the Covalent bond
- Phases and Phase Equilibria: Gas and liquid phases, Molality, Henry’s Law, colloids
- Stoichiometry: Molecular weight, oxidation number, Mole concept
- Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry: Endothermic and exothermic reactions, calorimetry, Zeroth law
- Rate Processes in Chemical Reactions – Kinetics and Equilibrium: Reaction rates, catalysts, kinetic control
- Solutions Chemistry: Ions in solution, solubility, hydration
- Acids and Bases: Bronsted definition of acid/base, equilibrium constants, titration
- Electrochemistry: Electrolytic cell, galvanic or voltaic cell
MCAT Physics Concepts To Know
How’s your equilibrium? Remember the ins and outs of electrostatic induction? If your answer is a resounding no, then read ahead to find out the Physics concepts you’re going to have to understand inside and out.
- Translational Motion: Units and dimensions, vector addition, freely falling bodies
- Force and Motion/Gravitation: Center of force, centripetal acceleration, force
- Equilibrium and Momentum: Newton’s first law, inertia, elastic collisions, torques
- Work and Energy: Mechanical advantage, potential energy, work-kinetic energy theorem
- Waves and Periodic Motion: Hooke’s Law, amplitude, resonance
- Sound: Attenuation, speed of sound, Doppler effect, harmonics
- Fluids and Solids: Density, buoyancy, Archimedes’ principle, shear, compression
- Electrostatics and Electromagnetism: Electric dipole, Gauss’ law, light and electromagnetic radiation
- Electronic Circuit Elements: Resistance, capacitance, circuits
- Light and Geometrical Optics: polarization of light, spherical mirrors, ray tracing
- Atomic and Nuclear Structure: atomic energy levels, atomic number and weight
- Basic Concepts and General Techniques: metric units, mass, length, time, random vs. systematic errors, Chi