Question of the Day: MCAT Physical
Which of the following statements about dielectrics is false?
A dielectric material increases capacitance by increasing stored charge
A dielectric material increases voltage by decreasing stored charge
A dielectric material is non-conducting
A dielectric material increases capacitance by decreasing voltage
In contrast to the old MCAT, which tested students discretely on physical science topics in contexts unrelated to living systems, the revised 2015 MCAT integrates knowledge of biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and physics in the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section. This section is comprised of fifty-nine questions to be answered within ninety-five minutes. It will require students to integrate scientific knowledge, demonstrate an understanding of research methods, and show an ability to apply basic statistics to the natural sciences. Whether you need MCAT tutoring in Atlanta, MCAT tutoring in Houston, or MCAT tutoring in San Francisco, working one-on-one with an expert may be just the boost your studies need.
A general understanding of math concepts is fundamentally necessary for success on the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section. Students who score highly will be able to recognize and interpret various data plots, including linear, semi-log, and logarithmic-logarithmic representations of data. Additionally, students should show proficiency in scientific notation, significant digits, and conversions both within the metric system and between the English system and the metric system. Finally, a basic knowledge of trigonometry, primarily focused on the relationships between sine and cosine, will allow students to successfully answer questions about topics that require vector addition and subtraction. Varsity Tutors offers resources like free MCAT Physical Sciences Practice Tests to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an MCAT Physical Sciences tutor.
The new MCAT focuses heavily on how inorganic chemistry and physics apply to biological systems, including bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotes. Concepts that are key to biochemistry, introductory biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and introductory physics all combine in this section to test how well students can integrate seemingly abstract concepts from their undergraduate courses with their understanding of processes in living systems. Two foundational concept areas figure heavily. The first foundational concept takes topics tested in biology and asks students to understand how materials are transported across membranes, how organisms interact with their environments, and how physics can be used to model how organisms respond to changes in their immediate surroundings. While many topics have been removed from this section as compared to the previous iteration of the MCAT, students will still be required to understand translational motion, force, work, energy, and equilibrium, in addition to how fluids circulate, and how gases move and exchange between environments. Additionally, chemical and physical circuits will be tested through organ systems such as the cardiovascular and nervous systems. The interaction of light and sound with living organisms will be assessed, as well as how nuclear decay and the fundamentals of atomic structure and chemical behavior relate to treating medical diseases.
In the second foundational concept area, test takers will need to have a firm grasp of how chemistry governs both molecular interactions within a cell and between groups of cells. Given that water comprises roughly seventy percent of the human body, students will need to understand how water serves as both a solvent and a buffer, how atoms interact within a molecule, and how groups of molecules interact in an intermolecular fashion. Separation chemistry and spectroscopy will also figure heavily on this section, as these methods form the foundation of many blood-based screens and complex imaging tests such as CT and MRI scans. Additionally, the principles of chemical thermodynamics and kinetics will be used to assess how well students understand how enzymes function and how Le Chatelier’s principle can be used to understand deposition and solvation of fatty particles on artery walls, causing heart disease. In addition to the MCAT Physical Sciences Question of the Day and MCAT Physical Sciences tutoring, you may also want to consider using some of our MCAT Physical Sciences flashcards.
While the concept areas of this section seem familiar to the biochemistry and biology topics of other MCAT 2015 sections, students will be required to demonstrate more quantitative skills on these questions, as they are are more heavily based on physics and mathematical concepts. You can begin brushing up on your MCAT knowledge today by answering our free MCAT Physical Question of the Day. Every day, we feature one MCAT Physical question drawn from one of them many concepts covered on this section of the exam. As soon as you select your response, the correct answer will be revealed, and you will be able to read a full explanation of how to approach the problem and answer it correctly. Check back every day to answer a new question, and explore our other free MCAT Physical resources in the meantime for more free tools that can help you identify and master your weakest skills. The MCAT’s new changes may seem imposing, but with the right tools and preparation, you can face your test with confidence.