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Content on this section is drawn from chemical and physical concepts of introductory-level biology (5%), organic (25%) and general (30%) chemistry (30%) and physics (25%); first-semester level of biochemistry (15%), molecular biology; research methods and statistics, and scientific inquiry skills as applied to the natural sciences.

Section structure:

  • ≈ 67 questions
  • ≈ 95 minutes of testing (a little over 1.5 hours)
  • Multiple choice questions, each with 4 answer options
  • Some questions that relate to a passage of text

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Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems Study Packages

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Foundational Concept 4:

  • Translational motion, forces work, energy and equilibrium in living systems
  • Importance of fluids in the circulation of blood, gas, movement, and gas exchange
  • Electrochemistry and electrical circuits and their elements
  • How light and sound interact with matter
  • Atoms, nuclear decay, electronic structure, and atomic chemical behavior

Foundational Concept 5:

  • Unique nature of water and its solutions
  • Nature of molecules and intermolecular interactions
  • Separation and purification methods
  • Structure, function, and reactivity of biologically-relevant molecules
  • Principles of chemical thermodynamics and kinetics

Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skills (SIRS):

Topics include:

  • knowledge of scientific principles & concepts
  • problem-solving and scientific reasoning
  • data-based and statistical reasoning
  • reasoning about the design and execution of research

How Our MCAT Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems Tutors Can Help:

Although the concepts listed constitute the background knowledge you will need in order to answer all of the questions, they are difficult because you have to deal with situations or problems you have not yet previously encountered under strict timing conditions. Our tutors will work with you to gain a mastery of the required knowledge and biological foundations, and a strategy for encountering these new situations on test day so there is no problem you cannot manage. Together you will work on real MCAT biology questions, along with other MCAT sample questions so that you will be able to apply your learned strategy to the content.

On the test, you’ll see passages that describe experiments, situations, or ideas from which questions are drawn. The information may be presented in the guise of journal or textbook articles, experimental research, data analysis, or scientific-style editorials. This passage-and-question structure allows you to demonstrate your understanding of the science presented in the passage, no matter how obscure or foreign. In addition the format tests your ability to quickly assess the kinds of situations feasible given the information in the passage. Our tutors can provide reading materials and strategies that will familiarize you with the language of these types of passages, and how to approach each type of question. This prerequisite familiarity will result in increasing your speed and accuracy on test day.

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