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tMCAT Verbal Reasoning Skills 7. Bohr atom 3. Molar volume at 0°C and 1 atm = 22.

4 mol/L
I. Comprehension 8. Effective nuclear charge 4. Ideal gas
A. Identify the Central concern or thesis of the passage. B. THE PERIODIC TABLE: CLASSIFICATION OF ELEMENTS INTO GROUPS a. definition
B. Identify the reasons or evidence offered in support of a thesis. BY ELECTRONIC STRUCTURE b. ideal gas law PV=nRT
C. Identify the background knowledge contained in the passage or 1. Alkali metals; their chemical characteristics i. Boyle’s law
question that is relevant to a particular interpretation. 2. Alkaline earth metals; their chemical characteristics ii. Charles’ law
D. Determine, from context, the meaning of significant terminology or iii. Avogadro’s number
vocabulary used in the passage. 3. Halogens; their chemical characteristics
5. Kinetic molecular theory of gases
E. Recognize an accurate paraphrase of complex information presented 4. Noble gases; their physical and chemical characteristics
6. Deviation of real-gas behavior from ideal gas law
in the passage. 5. Transition metals a. qualitative
F. Identify comparative relationships among ideas or pieces of 6. Representative elements b. quantitative (Van der Waals’ equation)
information contained in the passage. 7. Metals and non-metals 7. Partial pressure, mole fraction
G. Identify stated or unstated assumptions contained in the passage. 8. Oxygen group 8. Dalton’s law relating partial pressure to composition
H. Recognize appropriate questions of clarification. C. THE PERIODIC TABLE: VARIATIONS OF CHEMICAL PROPERTIES WITH B. LIQUID PHASE: INTERMOLECULAR FORCES
II. Evaluation GROUP AND ROW 1. Hydrogen bonding
A. Judge the soundness of an argument or a step of reasoning presented 1. Electronic structure 2. Dipole interactions
in the passage. a. the representative elements 3. Van der Waals’ forces (London dispersion forces)
B. Judge the credibility of a source. b. the noble gases
C. Judge whether a conclusion follows necessarily from the reasons given C. PHASE EQUILIBRIA
c. transition metals
in the passage. 1. Phase changes and phase diagrams
2. Valence electrons 2. Freezing point, melting point, boiling point
D. Appraise the strength of the evidence for a generalization,
conclusion, or claim. 3. First and second ionization energy 3. Molality
E. Distinguish between supported and unsupported claims. a. definition 4. Colligative properties
F. Judge the relevance of information to an argument or claim. b. prediction from electronic structure for elements in a. vapor pressure lowering (Raoult’s law)
III. Application different groups or rows b. boiling point elevation ((.Tb = kbm)
A. Predict a result on the basis of passage content and specific facts 4. Electron affinity c. freezing point depression ((.Tƒ = –kƒm)
about a hypothetical situation. a. definition d. osmotic pressure
B. Use given information to solve a specified problem. b. variation with group and row 5. Colloids
C. Identify the probable cause of a particular event or result based on 5. Electronegativity 6. Henry’s Law
information presented. a. definition Stoichiometry
D. Determine the implications of conclusions or results for real-world b. comparative values for some representative elements and
Physical Sciences – General Chemistry
situations important groups
1. Molecular weight
E. Recognize the scope of application of hypothesis, explanations, and 6. Electron shells and the sizes of atoms 2. Empirical formula versus molecular formula
conclusions. Bonding 3. Metric units commonly used in the context of chemistry
F. Identify a general theory or model based on given information. A. THE IONIC BOND (ELECTROSTATIC FORCES BETWEEN IONS) 4. Description of composition by % mass
IV. Incorporation of new information 1. E = kQ1Q2/d 5. Mole concept; Avagadro’s number
A. Judge the bearing of new evidence on conclusions presented in the
2. E = lattice energy 6. Definition of density
passage.
3. Force attraction = R(n+e)(n-e)/d2 7. Oxidation number
B. Recognize methods or results that would challenge hypotheses,
models, or theories given in the passage. Physical Sciences – General Chemistry a. common oxidizing and reducing agents
C. Determine how a conclusion from the passage can be modified to be B. THE COVALENT BOND b. disproportionation reactions
made consistent with additional information. 1. σ and π bonds c. redox titration
D. Recognize plausible alternative hypotheses or solutions. a. hybrid orbitals: sp3, sp2, sp and respective geometries 8. Description of reactions by chemical equations
Physical Sciences – General Chemistry b. valence shell electron pair repulsion and the prediction of a. conventions for writing chemical equations
Physical Sciences shapes of molecules (e.g., NH3, H2O, CO2) b. balancing equations, including oxidation-reduction
General Chemistry 2. Lewis electron dot formulas equations
Electronic Structure and Periodic Table a. resonance structures c. limiting reactants
A. ELECTRONIC STRUCTURE b. formal change d. theoretical yields
1. Orbital structure of hydrogen atom, principal quantum c. Lewis acids and bases Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry
number n, number of electrons per orbital 3. Partial ionic character A. ENERGY CHANGES IN CHEMICAL REACTIONS-THERMOCHEMISTRY
2. Ground state, excited states a. role of electronegativity in determining charge distribution 1. Thermodynamic system, state function
b. dipole moment 2. Conservation of energy
3. Absorption and emission spectra
Phases and Phase Equilibria 3. Endothermic/exothermic reactions
4. Quantum numbers l, m, s, and number of quantum states
(electrons) per orbital] A. GAS PHASE a. enthalpy H and standard heats of reaction and formation
5. Common names and geometric shapes for orbitals s, p, d 1. Absolute temperature, K scale b. Hess’ law of heat summation
6. Conventional notation for electronic structure 2. Pressure, simple mercury barometer 4. Bond dissociation energy as related to heats of formation

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5. Measurement of heat changes (calorimetry); heat capacity; 4. Strong acids and bases (common examples, e.g., nitric, A. EQUILIBRIUM
specific heat (specific heat of water = 1 cal/°C) sulfuric) 1. Concept of force, units
6. Entropy as a measure of "disorder"; relative entropy for gas, 5. Weak acids and bases (common examples, e.g. acetic, 2. Translational equilibrium (ΣFi = 0)
liquid, and crystal states benzoic) 3. Rotational equilibrium (ΣτI = 0)
7. Free energy G a. dissociation of weak acids and bases with or without added 4. Analysis of forces acting on an object
8. Spontaneous reactions and .G° salt 5. Newton’s first law, inertia
B. THERMODYNAMICS b. hydrolysis of salts of weak acids or bases 6. Torques, lever arms
1. Zeroth law: concept of temperature c. calculation of pH of solutions of salts of weak acids or 7. Weightlessness
2. First law: (.E = Q – W (conservation of energy) bases r2Physical Sciences – General Chemistry
3. Equivalence of mechanical, chemical, electrical and thermal 6. Equilibrium constants Ka and Kb: pKa, pKb B. MOMENTUM
energy units 7. Buffers 1. Momentum = mv
4. Second law: concept of entropy a. definition and concepts (common buffer systems) 2. Impulse = Ft
5. Temperature scales, conversion b. influence on titration curves
3. Conservation of linear momentum
6. Heat transfer: conduction, convection, radiation B. TITRATION
4. Elastic collisions
7. Specific heat, specific heat of water (1 cal / °C·g) 1. Indicators
5. Inelastic collisions
8. Heat of fusion, heat of vaporization 2. Neutralization
Work and Energy
9. PV diagram: work done = area under or enclosed by curve 3. Interpretation of titration curves A. WORK
10. Calorimetry 4. Redox titration 1. Derived units, sign conventions
Rate Processes in Chemical Reactions – Kinetics and Equlibrium Electrochemistry 2. Amount of work done in gravitational field is path-
1. Reaction rates 1. Electrolytic cell independent
2. Dependence of reaction rate upon concentration of a. electrolysis 3. Mechanical advantage
reactants; rate law b. anode, cathode
4. Work-kinetic energy theorem
a. rate constant c. electrolyte
5. Power
b. reaction order d. Faraday’s law relating amount of elements deposited (or
gas liberated) at an electrode to current B. ENERGY
3. Rate determining step 1. Kinetic energy: KE = 1/2 mv2; units
e. electron flow; oxidation, and reduction at the electrodes
5. Kinetic control versus thermodynamic control of a reaction 2. Potential energy
2. Galvanic or voltaic cell
6. Catalysts; the special case of enzyme catalysis a. PE = mgh (gravitational, local)
Physical Sciences – General Chemistry
Physical Sciences – General Chemistry b. PE = 1/2kx2 (spring)
a. half reactions
7. Equilibrium in reversible chemical reactions c. PE = –GmM/r (gravitational, general)
b. reduction potentials; cell potential
a. Law of Mass Action 3. Conservation of energy
c. direction of electron flow
b. the equilibrium constant 4. Conservative forces
c. application of LeChatelier’s principle Physics
5. Power, units
8. Relationship of the equilibrium constant and .G° Translational Motion
Waves and Periodic Motion
Solution Chemistry 1. Units and dimensions
A. PERIODIC MOTION
A. IONS IN SOLUTION 2. Vectors, components
1. Amplitude, period, frequency
1. Anion, cation; common names, formulas and charges for 3. Vector addition
2. Phase
+ 4. Speed, velocity (average and instantaneous)
familiar ions (e.g., NH4 ammonium, PO43– phosphate, SO42– 3. Hooke’s law, force F= –kx
5. Acceleration
sulfate) 4. Simple harmonic motion; displacement as a sinusoidal
6. Freely falling bodies
2. Hydration, the hydronium ion function of time
Force and Motion, Gravitation
B. SOLUBILITY 5. Motion of a pendulum
1. Center of mass
1. Units of concentration (e.g., molarity) 6. General periodic motion: velocity, amplitude
2. Newton’s first law, inertia
2. Solubility product constant; the equilibrium expression B. WAVE CHARACTERISTICS
3. Newton’s second law (F = ma)
3. Common-ion effect; its use in laboratory separations 1. Transverse and longitudinal waves
4. Newton’s third law, forces equal and opposite
a. complex ion formation ] 2. Wavelength, frequency, velocity
5. Concept of a field
b. complex ions and solubility 3. Amplitude, intensity
6. Law of gravitation (F = KGm1m2/)
c. solubility and pH 4. Supposition of waves, interference, addition
7. Uniform circular motion
Acids/Bases 5. Resonance
8. Centripetal acceleration (F=mv2/r)
A. ACID/BASE EQUILIBRIA 6. Standing waves, nodes
9. Weight
1. Brønsted definition of acid, base 7. Beat frequencies
10. Friction, static and kinetic
2. Ionization of water 8. Refraction and diffraction
11. Motion on an inclined plane
– –14 Sound
a. Kw, its approximate value (Kw = [H+][OH ] = 10 at STP) 12. Analysis of pulley systems
1. Production of sound
b. definition of pH; pH of pure water 13. Force
2. Relative speed of sound in solids, liquids and gases
3. Conjugate acids and bases (e.g., amino acids) Equilibrium and Momentum

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3. Intensity of sound, decibel units, log scale 1. Properties of electromagnetic radiation (General properties 4. Conditions for total internal reflection
4. Attenuation only) 5. Spherical mirrors
Physical Sciences – General Chemistry a. velocity equals constant c, in vacuo a. center of curvature
5. Doppler effect: moving sound source or observer, reflection b. electromagnetic radiation consists of perpendicularly b. focal length
of sound from a moving object oscillating electric and magnetic fields; direction of c. real and virtual images
6. Pitch propagation is perpendicular to both 6. Thin lenses
7. Resonance in pipes and strings 2. Classification of electromagnetic spectrum (x-rays) a. converging and diverging lenses
8. Harmonics A. MAGNETISIM b. use of formula 1/p + 1/q = 1/f, with sign conventions
9. Ultrasound 1. Orbits of charged particles moving in magnetic field c. lens strength, diopters
Fluids and Solids 2. General concepts of sources of the magnetic field 7. Combination of lenses
A. FLUIDS 3. Nature of solenoid, toroid 8. Lens aberration
1. Density, specific gravity 4. Ampere’s law for magnetic field induced by current in 9. Ray tracing
2. Buoyancy, Archimededs’ principle straight wire and other simple configurations 10. Optical instruments
3. Hydrostatic pressure 5. Comparison of E and B relations Atomic and Nuclear Structure
a. Pascal’s law a. force of B on a current I. PHYSICS
b. P = ρgh (pressure vs. depth) b. energy A. Atomic Structure and Spectra
4. Viscosity: Poiseuille flow Electronic Circuit Elements 1. Emission spectrum of hydrogen (Bohr model)
5. Continuity equation (A·v = constant) A. CIRCUIT ELEMENTS 2. Atomic energy levels
6. Concept of turbulence at high velocities 1. Current I = .Q/.t, sign conventions, units a. quantized energy levels for electrons
7. Surface tension 2. Battery, electromotive force, voltage b. calculation of energy emitted or absorbed when an
8. Bernoulli’s equation 3. Terminal potential, internal resistance of battery electron changes energy levels
B. SOLIDS 4. Resistance B. Atomic Nucleus
1. Density a. Ohm’s law: I = V/R 1. Atomic number, atomic weight
2. Elastic properties (elementary properties) b. resistors in series 2. Neutrons, protons, isotopes
c. resistors in parallel 3. Nuclear forces
3. Elastic limit
d. resistivity (r = R A/t) 4. Radioactive decay: α, β, γ, half-life, exponential decay,
4. Thermal expansion coefficient
5. Capacitance semi-log plots
5. Shear
a. concept of parallel plate capacitor 5. General nature of fission
6. Compression
b. energy of charged capacitor 6. General nature of fusion
Electrostatics and Electromagnetism c. capacitors in series
A. ELECTROSTATICS 7. Mass deficit, energy liberated
d. capacitors in parallel II. CHEMISTRY
1. Charge, conductors, charge conservation e. ddielectric
2. Insulators Atomic and Nuclear Structure
6. Discharge of a capacitor through a resistor 1. Nuclear particles
3. Coulomb’s law: F = kq1q2/, sign conventions B. CIRCUITS
4. Electric field 2. Atomic number, atomic weight
Power in circuits: P = VI, P = R 3. Isotopes
a. field lines C. ALTERNATING CURRENTS AND REACTIVE CIRCUITS
b. field due to charge distribution 4. Binding energy
1. Root-mean-square current 5. Nuclear decay
5. Potential difference, absolute potential at point in space 2. Root-mean-square voltage
6. Equipotential lines a. α, β and γ decay
Light and Geometrical Optics b. stability, half-life
7. Electric dipole A. LIGHT, ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION
a. definition of dipole Physical Sciences – General Chemistry
1. Concept of interference; Young double slit experiment Basic Concepts and General
b. behavior in electric field
2. Thin films, diffraction grating, single slit diffraction Techniques
c. potential due to dipole
3. Other diffraction phenomena, x-ray diffraction A. UNITS AND DIMENSIONS
8. Electrostatic induction
4. Polarization of light 1. Metric units:
9. Gauss’ law
5. Visual spectrum, color a. conversions within metric system
B. MAGNETISIM
a. energy b. conversion from metric to English units
1. Definition of the magnetic field B b. lasers c. conversion within English system
2. Existence and direction of force on charge moving in
Physical Sciences – General Chemistry 2. Dimensional balance, checking equations for dimensional
magnetic field
B. GEOMETRICAL OPTICS correctness
r2Physical Sciences – General Chemistry
1. Reflection from plane surface: angle of incidence equals 3. Significant figures
C. LIGHT, ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION
angle of reflection 4. Numerical estimation
2. Refraction, refractive index n; Snell’s law: n1 sin θ1 = n2 B. BASIC CONCEPTS
sin θ2 1. Mass, length, time
3. Dispersion, change of index of refraction with wavelength 2. Role of experiment and measurement

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C. GRAPHING TECHNIQUES B. ENERGY 3. Elastic limit
1. Cartesian co-ordinate system 1. Kinetic energy: KE = 1/2 mv2; units 4. Thermal expansion coefficient
2. Use of semi-log graph paper 2. Potential energy 5. Shear
3. Use of log-log graph paper Topics : Physical Sciences 6. Compression
D. ERROR ANALYSIS a. PE = mgh (gravitational, local) Electrostatics and Electromagnetism
1. Random vs. systematic errors b. PE = 1/2kx2 (spring) A. ELECTROSTATICS
2. Propagation of errors c. PE = –GmM/r (gravitational, general) 1. Charge, conductors, charge conservation
3. Mean and standard deviation 3. Conservation of energy 2. Insulators
4. Conservative forces 3. Coulomb’s law: F = kq1q2/r2, sign conventions
4. Chi
5. Power, units 4. Electric field
5. Student t
Waves and Periodic Motion a. field lines
Topics : Physical Sciences A. PERIODIC MOTION b. field due to charge distribution
Physics 1. Amplitude, period, frequency 5. Potential difference, absolute potential at point in space
Translational Motion 2. Phase 6. Equipotential lines
1. Units and dimensions 3. Hooke’s law, force F= –kx 7. Electric dipole
2. Vectors, components 4. Simple harmonic motion; displacement as a sinusoidal a. definition of dipole
3. Vector addition function of time b. behavior in electric field
4. Speed, velocity (average and instantaneous) 5. Motion of a pendulum c. potential due to dipole
5. Acceleration 6. General periodic motion: velocity, amplitude 8. Electrostatic induction
6. Freely falling bodies B. WAVE CHARACTERISTICS 9. Gauss’ law
Force and Motion, Gravitation 1. Transverse and longitudinal waves B. MAGNETISIM
1. Center of mass 2. Wavelength, frequency, velocity 1. Definition of the magnetic field B
2. Newton’s first law, inertia 3. Amplitude, intensity 2. Existence and direction of force on charge moving in
3. Newton’s second law (F = ma) 4. Supposition of waves, interference, addition magnetic field
4. Newton’s third law, forces equal and opposite 5. Resonance C. LIGHT, ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION
5. Concept of a field 6. Standing waves, nodes 1. Properties of electromagnetic radiation (General properties
6. Law of gravitation (F = KGm1m2/r2) 7. Beat frequencies only)
7. Uniform circular motion 8. Refraction and diffraction a. velocity equals constant c, in vacuo
8. Centripetal acceleration (F=mv2/r) Sound b. electromagnetic radiation consists of
9. Weight 1. Production of sound perpendicularly oscillating electric and
10. Friction, static and kinetic 2. Relative speed of sound in solids, liquids and gases magnetic fields; direction of propagation is
11. Motion on an inclined plane 3. Intensity of sound, decibel units, log scale perpendicular to both
12. Analysis of pulley systems 4. Attenuation 2. Classification of electromagnetic spectrum (x-rays)
13. Force 5. Doppler effect: moving sound source or observer, reflection A. MAGNETISIM
Equilibrium and Momentum of sound from a moving 1. Orbits of charged particles moving in magnetic field
A. EQUILIBRIUM object 2. General concepts of sources of the magnetic field
1. Concept of force, units 6. Pitch 3. Nature of solenoid, toroid
2. Trans i = 0) 7. Resonance in pipes and strings 4. Ampere’s law for magnetic field induced by current in
I = 0) 8. Harmonics straight wire and other simple
4. Analysis of forces acting on an object 9. Ultrasound configurations
5. Newton’s first law, inertia Fluids and Solids 5. Comparison of E and B relations
6. Torques, lever arms A. FLUIDS a. force of B on a current
7. Weightlessness 1. Density, specific gravity b. energy
B. MOMENTUM 2. Buoyancy, Archimededs’ principle Electronic Circuit Elements
1. Momentum = mv 3. Hydrostatic pressure A. CIRCUIT ELEMENTS
2. Impulse = Ft a. Pascal’s law 1. Current
3. Conservation of linear momentum 2. Battery, electromotive force, voltage
4. Elastic collisions 4. Viscosity: Poiseuille flow 3. Terminal potential, internal resistance of battery
5. Inelastic collisions 5. Continuity equation (A·v = constant) 4. Resistance
Work and Energy 6. Concept of turbulence at high velocities Topics : Physical Sciences
A. WORK 7. Surface tension a. Ohm’s law: I = V/R
1. Derived units, sign conventions 8. Bernoulli’s equation b. resistors in series
2. Amount of work done in gravitational field is path- Topics : Physical Sciences c. resistors in parallel
independent B. SOLIDS d. resistivity (r = R A/t)
3. Mechanical advantage 1. Density 5. Capacitance
4. Work-kinetic energy theorem 2. Elastic properties (elementary properties) a. concept of parallel plate capacitor
5. Power
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b. energy of charged capacitor 6. General nature of fusion A. DNA STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
c. capacitors in series 7. Mass deficit, energy liberated 1. Watson-Crick model of DNA; double helix
d. capacitors in parallel II. CHEMISTRY 2. DNA composition: purine and pyrimidine bases, sugars,
e. dielectric Atomic and Nuclear Structure phosphate
6. Discharge of a capacitor through a resistor 1. Nuclear particles 3. Base pairing specificity: A with T, G with C
B. CIRCUITS 2. Atomic number, atomic weight 4. Function in transmission of genetic information
Power in circuits: P = VI, P = I2R 3. Isotopes B. DNA REPLICATION
C. ALTERNATING CURRENTS AND REACTIVE CIRCUITS 4. Binding energy 1. Mechanism of replication: separation of strands,
1. Root-mean-square current 5. Nuclear decay specific coupling of free nucleic acids
2. Root-mean-square voltage 2. Semi-conservative nature of replication
Light and Geometrical Optics b. stability, half-life
C. REPAIR OF DNA
A. LIGHT, ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION Basic Concepts and General Techniques
1. Repair during replication
1. Concept of interference; Young double slit experiment A. UNITS AND DIMENSIONS
2. Thin films, diffraction grating, single slit diffraction 1. Metric units: 2. Repair of mutations
3. Other diffraction phenomena, x-ray diffraction a. conversions within metric system D. RECOMBINANT DNA
4. Polarization of light b. conversion from metric to English units 1. Restriction enzymes
5. Visual spectrum, color c. conversion within English system 2. Hybridization
a. energy 2. Dimensional balance, checking equations for dimensional 3. Gene cloning
b. lasers correctness II. PROTEIN SYNTHESIS
B. GEOMETRICAL OPTICS 3. Significant figures A. GENETIC CODE
1. Reflection from plane surface: angle of incidence equals 4. Numerical estimation 1. Central Dogma: DNA . RNA . protein
angle of reflection B. BASIC CONCEPTS 2. Codon- anticodon relationship
2. Refraction, refractive index n; Snell’s law: n1 sin 1 = n2 sin 1. Mass, length, time 3. Missense, nonsense codons
2 2. Role of experiment and measurement 4. Initiation, termination codons
3. Dispersion, change of index of refraction with wavelength C. GRAPHING TECHNIQUES B. TRANSCRIPTION
4. Conditions for total internal reflection 1. Cartesian co-ordinate system 1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT
5. Spherical mirrors 2. Use of semi-log graph paper 1. Messenger RNA
a. center of curvature 3. Use of log-log graph paper 2. tRNA, rRNA
b. focal length D. ERROR ANALYSIS 3. Mechanism of transcription
c. real and virtual images 1. Random vs. systematic errors
C. TRANSLATION
6. Thin lenses 2. Propagation of errors
1. Roles of mRNA, tRNA, rRNA
a. converging and diverging lenses 3. Mean and standard deviation
2. Role and structure of ribosomes
b. use of formula 1/p + 1/q = 1/f, with sign 4. Chi
conventions 5. Student t Molecular Biology: Eukaryotes
c. lens strength, diopters Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT A. EUKARYOTIC CHROMOSOME ORGANIZATION
7. Combination of lenses Topics for Biological Sciences Section of the MCAT 1. Chromosomal proteins
8. Lens aberration Biology 2. Telomeres, centromeres
9. Ray tracing Molecular Biology: Enzymes and Metabolism B. CONTROL OF GENE EXPRESSION IN EUKARYOTES
10. Optical instruments A. ENZYME STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION 1. Transcription regulation
Atomic and Nuclear Structure 1. Function of enzymes in catalyzing biological reactions 2. DNA binding proteins, transcription factors
I. PHYSICS 2. Reduction of activation energy 3. Cancer as a failure of normal cellular controls, oncogenes
A. Atomic Structure and Spectra 3. Substrates and enzyme specificity 4. Post-transcriptional control [GEC]
1. Emission spectrum of hydrogen (Bohr model) B. CONTROL OF ENZYME ACTIVITY Genetics
2. Atomic energy levels 1. Feedback inhibition A. MENDELIAN CONCEPTS
Copyright 2003 AAMC. All rights reserved. Topics : Physical Sciences 2. Competitive inhibition 1. Phenotype and genotype
a. quantized energy levels for electrons 2. Gene
3. Non-competitive inhibition
b. calculation of energy emitted or absorbed when 3. Locus
C. BASIC METABOLISM
an electron changes energy 4. Allele: single and multiple
levels 1. Glycolysis, anaerobic and aerobic, substrates and products
2. Krebs cycle, substrates and products, general features of the 5. Homo- and heterozygosity
B. Atomic Nucleus
pathway 6. Wild type
1. Atomic number, atomic weight
3. Electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation, 7. Recessiveness
2. Neutrons, protons, isotopes
3. Nuclear forces substrates and products, general features of the pathway 8. Complete dominance
-life, exponential decay, 4. Metabolism of fats and proteins 9. Co-dominance
semi-log plots Molecular Biology: DNA and Protein Synthesis 10. Incomplete dominance, leakage, penetrance, expressivity
5. General nature of fission I. DNA STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION 11. Gene pool

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B. MEIOSIS AND GENETIC VARIABILITY 5. Flagellar propulsion, mechanism 3. Microtubules: composition and role in support and transport
1. Significance of meiosis D. PROKARYOTIC CELL: GROWTH AND PHYSIOLOGY 4. Intermediate filaments, role in support
2. Important differences between meiosis and mitosis 1. Reproduction by fission 5. Composition and function of eukaryotic cilia and flagella
3. Segregation of genes 2. High degree of genetic adaptability, acquisition of antibiotic 6. Centrioles, microtubule organizing centers
a. Independent assortment resistance Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT
b. linkage 3. Exponential growth E. MITOSIS
c. recombination 4. Existence of anaerobic and aerobic variants 1. Mitotic process: prophase, metaphase, anaphase,
d. single crossovers 5. Parasitic and symbiotic telophase, interphase
e. double crossovers 1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT 2. Mitotic structures:
4. Sex-linked characteristics E. PROKARYOTIC CELL: GENETICS a. centrioles, asters, spindles
a. very few genes on Y chromosome 1. Existence of plasmids, extragenomic DNA b. chromatids, centromeres, kinetochores
b. sex determination 2. Transformation: incorporation into bacterial genome of DNA c. nuclear membrane breakdown and reorganization
c. cytoplasmic inheritance fragments from external medium d. mechanisms of chromosome movement
1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT Generalized Eukaryotic Cell 3. Phases of cell cycle: G0, G1, S, G2, M
5. Mutation A. NUCLEUS 4. Growth arrest
a. general concept of mutation-error in DNA sequence 1. Defining characteristics: membrane bound nucleus, presence Specialized Eukaryotic Cells and Tissues
b. types of mutations: random, translation error, of organelles, meiotic division A. NERVE CELL/NEURAL
transcription error, base substitution, inversion, addition, 1. Cell body: site of nucleus, organelles
2. Nucleus: compartmentalization, storage of genetic
deletion, translocation, mispairing 2. Axon: structure and function
information
c. advantageous vs. deleterious mutation 3. Dendrites: branched extensions of cell body
3. Nucleolus: location and function
d. inborn errors of metabolism
4. Nuclear envelope, nuclear pores 4. Myelin sheath, Schwann cells, insulation of axon
e. relationship of mutagens to carcinogens]
B. MEMBRANE-BOUND ORGANELLES 5. Nodes of Ranvier: propagation of nerve impulse along axon
C. ANALYTIC METHODS
1. Mitochondria 6. Synapse: site of impulse propagation between cells
1. Hardy-Weinberg Principle
a. site of ATP production 7. Synaptic activity
2. Test cross: back cross, concepts of parental, F1 and F2
b. self-replication a. transmitter molecules
generations
c. inner and outer membrane b. synaptic knobs
Microbiology
2. Lysosomes: membrane vesicle containing hydrolytic enzymes c. fatigue
A. FUNGI d. propagation between cells without resistance loss
3. Endoplasmic reticulum:
1. General characteristics 8. Resting potential: electrochemical gradient
a. rough and smooth components
2. General aspects of life cycle b. rough endoplasmic reticulum site of ribosomes 9. Action potential
B. VIRUS STRUCTURE c. double membrane structure, role in membrane a. threshold, all-or-none
1. General structural characteristics, nucleic acid and protein biosynthesis b. sodium/potassium pump
2. Lack organelles, nucleus d. role in biosynthesis of secreted proteins 10. Excitatory and inhibitory nerve fibers: summation,
3. Structural aspects of typical bacteriophage 4. Golgi apparatus: general structure and role in packaging and frequency of firing
4. Genomic content RNA or DNA secretion B. MUSCLE CELL/CONTRACTILE
5. Size relative to bacteria and eukaryotic cells C. PLASMA MEMBRANE 1. Structural characteristics of striated, smooth, and cardiac
C. VIRAL LIFE CYCLE 1. General function in cell containment muscle
1. Self-replicating biological units that must reproduce within 2. Protein and lipid components, fluid mosaic model 2. Abundant mitochondria in red muscle cells-ATP source
specific host cell 3. Osmosis 3. Organization of contractile elements: actin and myosin
2. Generalized phage and animal virus life cycles: 4. Passive and active transport filaments, crossbridges, sliding filament model
a. attachment to host, penetration of cell membrane or cell 5. Membrane channels 4. Calcium regulation of contraction
wall, and entry of viral genetic material 6. Sodium/potassium pump 5. Sacromeres: ―I‖ and ―A‖ bands, ―M‖ and ―Z‖ lines, ―H‖
b. use of host synthetic mechanism to replicate viral 7. Membrane receptors zone (General structure only)
components 6. Presence of troponin and tropomyosin
8. Membrane potential
c. self-assembly and release of new viral particles
9. Exocytosis and endocytosis 7. Calcium regulation of contraction
3. Retrovirus life cycle: integration into host DNA
10. Cell-cell communication (General concepts of cellular C. OTHER SPECIALIZED CELL TYPES
4. Transduction: transfer of genetic material by viruses [MIC]
adhesion) 1. Epithelial cells (cell types, simple epithelium, stratified
C. PROKARYOTIC CELL: STRUCTURE, BACTERIA a. gap junctions epithelium)
1. Lack of nuclear membrane, mitotic apparatus b. tight junctions 2. Endothelial cells
2. Lack of typical eukaryotic organelles c. desmosomes 3. Connective tissue cells (major cell types, fiber types, loose
3. Major classifications of bacteria by shape: bacilli (rod- D. CYTOSKELETON vs. dense, cartilage, extracellular matrix)
shaped); spirilli (spiral shaped); cocci (spherical); eubacteria; 1. General function in cell support and movement 1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT
archaea 2. Microfilaments: composition and role in cleavage and Nervous and Endocrine Systems
4. Presence of cell wall in bacteria contractility A. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM: HORMONES

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1. Function of endocrine system: specific chemical control at 8. Composition of blood b. protection against abrasion, disease organisms
cell, tissue, and organ level a. plasma, chemicals, blood cells
2. Definition of endocrine gland, hormone b. erythrocyte production and destruction; spleen, bone 4. Structure (detail structure)
3. Major endocrine glands: names, locations, products marrow a. layer differentiation
4. Major types of hormones c. regulation of plasma volume b. relative impermeability to water
B. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM: MECHANISMS OF HORMONE ACTION d. coagulation, clotting mechanisms Digestive and Excretory Systems
1. Cellular mechanisms of hormone action 9. Oxygen transport by blood A. DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
2. Transport of hormones: blood supply a. hemoglobin, hematocrit 1. Ingestion
3. Specificity of hormones: target tissue b. oxygen content a. saliva as lubrication and source of enzymes
4. Integration with nervous system: feedback control c. oxygen affinity b. epiglottal action
10. Details of oxygen transport (biochemical characteristics of c. pharynx function in swallowing
C. NERVOUS SYSTEM: STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
hemoglobin) d. esophagus, transport function
1. Major functions
modification of oxygen affinity 2. Stomach
a. high level control and integration of body systems
b. adaptive capability to external influences B. LYMPHATIC SYSTEM a. storage and churning of food
Major functions b. low pH, gastric juice, mucal protection against self-
c. sensory input
a. equalization of fluid distribution destruction
d. integrative and cognitive ability
b. transport of proteins and large glycerides c. production of digestive enzymes, site of digestion
2. Organization of vertebrate nervous system
c. production of lymphocytes involved in immune reactions d. structure
3. Sensor and effector neurons
d. return of materials to the blood 3. Liver
4. Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems:
e. Composition of lymph: similarity to blood plasma; a. production of bile
antagonistic control
substances transported b. role in nutrient metabolism, vitamin storage
5. Reflexes c. role in blood glucose regulation, detoxification
f. Source of lymph: diffusion from capillaries by differential
a. feedback loop, reflex arc d. gross structure
pressure
b. role of spinal cord, brain
g. Lymph nodes: activation of lymphocytes 4. Bile
c. efferent control
C. IMMUNE SYSTEM a. storage in gall bladder
D. NERVOUS SYSTEM: SENSORY RECEPTION AND PROCESSING b. function
1. Cells
1. Skin, proprioceptive, and somatic sensors 5. Pancreas
a. T-lymphocytes
2. Olfaction, taste b. B-lymphocytes a. production of enzymes
3. Hearing 2. Tissues b. transport of enzymes to small intestine
a. ear structure a. bone marrow c. structure (gross)
b. mechanism of hearing b. spleen 6. Small Intestine
4. Vision c. thymus a. absorption of food molecules
a. light receptors d. lymph nodes b. function and structure of villi
b. eye structure 3. Concept of antigen and antibody c. production of enzymes, site of digestion
c. visual image processing d. neutralization of stomach acid
4. Structure of antibody molecule
Circulatory, Lymphatic, and Immune Systems e. structure (gross)
5. Mechanism of stimulation by antigen
A. CIRCULATORY SYSTEM 7. Large Intestine
Respiration System
1. Functions: circulation of oxygen, nutrients, hormones, ions a. anatomic subdivisions
A. RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
and fluids, removal of metabolic waste b. absorption of water
1. General function
2. Role in thermoregulation c. bacterial flora
a. gas exchange, thermoregulation
3. Four-chambered heart: structure and function b. protection against disease, particulate matter d. structure (gross)
4. Systolic and diastolic pressure 2. Breathing mechanisms 1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT
5. Pulmonary and systemic circulation a. diaphragm, rib cage, differential pressure 8. Rectum: storage and elimination of waste, feces
6. Arterial and venous systems b. resiliency and surface tension effects 9. Muscular control
a. structural and functional differences 1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT a. sphincter muscle
b. pressure and flow characteristics Skin System b. peristalsis
1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT A. SKIN SYSTEM B. EXCRETORY SYSTEM
7. Capillary beds 1. Functions in homeostasis and osmoregulation 1. Roles in homeostasis
a. mechanisms of gas and solute exchange 2. Functions in thermoregulation a. blood pressure
b. mechanism of heat exchange a. hair, erectile musculature b. osmoregulation
c. source of peripheral resistance b. fat layer for insulation c. acid-base balance
c. sweat glands, location in dermis d. removal of soluble nitrogenous waste
d. vasoconstriction and vasodilation in surface capillaries 2. Kidney structure
3. Physical protection a. cortex
a. nails, calluses, hair b. medulla

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3. Nephron structure B. EMBRYOGENESIS 1. σ and π bonds (No Alkenes)
a. glomerulus 1. Stages of early development: order and general features of a. hybrid orbitals: sp3, sp2, sp and respective geometries
b. Bowman’s capsule each b. valence shell electron pair repulsion and the prediction
c. proximal tubule a. fertilization of shapes of molecules (e.g., NH3, H2O, CO2)
d. loop of Henle b. cleavage c. structural formulas for molecules involving H, C, N, O,
e. distal tubule c. blastula formation F, S, P, Si, Cl
f. collecting duct d. gastrulation d. delocalized electrons and resonance in ions and
4. Formation of urine i. first cell movements molecules
a. glomerular filtration ii. formation of primary germlayers: endoderm, mesoderm, 2. Multiple bonding (No Alkenes)
b. secretion and reabsorption of solutes ectoderm a. its effect on bond length and bond energies
c. concentration of urine e. neurulation b. rigidity in molecular structure
d. counter-current multiplier mechanism 2. Major structures arising out of primary germ layers 3. Stereochemistry of covalently bonded molecules
5. Storage and elimination: ureter, bladder, urethra C. DEVELOPMENTAL MECHANISMS a. isomers
Muscle and Skeletal Systems 1. Cell specialization i. structural isomers
A. MUSCLE SYSTEM a. determination ii. stereoisomers (e.g. diastereomers, enantiomers,
1. Important functions b. differentiation cis/trans isomers)
a. support, mobility c. tissue types iii. conformational isomers
b. peripheral circulatory assistance 2. Cell communication in development b. polarization of light, specific rotation
c. thermoregulation (shivering reflex) 3. Gene regulation in development c. absolute and relative configuration
2. Structure of three basic muscle types: striated, smooth, 4. Programmed cell death i. conventions for writing R and S forms
cardiac Evolution ii. conventions for writing E and Z forms
3. Nervous control A. EVOLUTION d. racemic mixtures, separation of enantiomers by
a. motor neurons biological means
1. Natural selection
b. neuromuscular junctions, motor end plates a. fitness concept Molecular Strucure and Spectra
c. voluntary and involuntary muscles b. selection by differential reproduction 1. Absorption spectroscopy
d. sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation c. concepts of natural and group selection a. infrared region
B. SKELETAL SYSTEM d. evolutionary success as increase in percent representation i. intramolecular vibrations and rotations
1. Functions in the gene pool of the next generation ii. recognizing common characteristic group absorptions,
a. structural rigidity and support 2. Speciation fingerprint region
b. calcium storage a. definition of species b. visible region
c. physical protection b. polymorphism i. absorption in visible region gives complementary color
2. Skeletal structure a. c. adaptation and specialization (e.g., carotene)
a. specialization of bone types, structures d. concepts of ecological niche, competition ii. effect of structural changes on absorption (e.g.,
b. joint structures e. concept of population growth through indicators)
c. endo- vs. exoskeleton f. inbreeding c. ultraviolet region (No Alkenes)
3. Cartilage: structure and function g. outbreeding i. π-electron and non-bonding electron transition
Copyright 2003 AAMC MCAT. All rights reserved. 1 Topics for Biological h. bottlenecks ii. conjugated systems
and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT i. divergent, parallel, and convergent evolution 2. Mass spectroscopy: m/e ratio, parent peak
4. Ligaments, tendons j. Symbiotic relationships 3. NMR spectroscopy
5. Bone structure a. Parasitism a. protons in a magnetic field; equivalent protons
a. calcium/protein matrix b. Commensalism b. spin-spin splitting
b. bone growth 3. Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny Separations and Purifications
Reproductive System and Development 4. Evolutionary time as measured by gradual random changes in 1. Extraction: distribution of solute between two immiscible
A. REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM genome solvents
1. Male and female reproductive structures and their functions 5. Origin of life 2. Distillation
a. gonads B. COMPARATIVE ANATOMY 3. Chromatography-basic principles involved in separation
b. genitalia 1. Chordate features process
c. differences between male and female structures a. notochord a. column chromatography
b. pharangeal pouches, brachial arches i. gas-liquid chromatography
2. Gametogenesis by meiosis
c. dorsal nerve cord b. paper chromatography 1, u
3. Ovum and sperm
2. Vertebrate phylogeny: vertebrate classes and relations to c. thin-layer chromotography
a. differences in formation
b. differences in morphology each other 4. Recrystalization; solvent choice from solubility data
c. relative contribution to next generation Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT 1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT
4. Reproductive sequence: fertilization; implantation; Organic Chemistry Hydrocarbons
development; birth The Covalent Bond ALIPHATIC - ALKANES

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1. Description 3. General principles 1. Description
a. nomenclature a. effect of substituents on reactivity of C=O; steric a. nomenclature
b. physical properties hindrance b. stereochemistry and physical properties
2. Important reactions b. acidity of αH; carbanions c. infrared absorption
a. combustion c. α, β-unsaturated carbonyls—resonance structures 1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT
b. substitution reactions with halogens, etc. C. CARBOXYLIC ACIDS 2. Major reactions
3. General principles 1. Description a. amide formation
a. stability of free radicals; chain reaction mechanism; a. nomenclature b. reactions with nitrous acid
inhibition b. physical properties and solubility c. alkylation
b. ring strain in cyclic compounds c. infrared absorption d. Hoffman elimination
c. bicyclic molecules 2. Important reactions 3. General principles
Oxygen Containing Compounds a. carboxyl group reactions a. basicity
A. ALCOHOLS i. nucleophilic attack b. stabilization of adjacent carbonium ions (carbocations)
1. Description ii. reduction c. effect of substituents on basicity of aromatic amines
a. nomenclature iii. decarboxylation Biological Molecules
b. physical properties iv. esterification A. CARBOHYDRATE
c. infrared absorption of OH group b. reactions at 2 position 1. Description
2. Important reactions i. halogenation a. nomenclature and classification, common names
a. substitution reactions: SN1 or SN2, depending on alcohol ii. substitution reactions b. absolute configuration
and derived alkyl halide 3. General principles c. cyclic structure and conformations of hexoses
b. oxidation a. H bonding d. epimers and anomers
c. pinacol rearrangement in polyhydroxyalcohols; synthetic b. dimerization 2. Hydrolysis of the glycoside linkage
uses c. acidity of the carboxyl group B. AMINO ACIDS AND PROTEINS
d. protection of alcohols d. inductive effect of substituents 1. Description
e. reactions with SOCl2 and PBr3 e. resonance stability of carboxylate anion a. absolute configuration at the α position
f. preparation of mesylates and tosylates D. ACID DERIVATIVES (ACID CHLORIDES, ANHYDRIDES, AMIDES, b. amino acids as dipolar ions classification
g. esterification ESTERS) c. classification
h. inorganic esters 1. Description i. acidic or basic
3. General principles a. nomenclature ii. hydrophobic or hydrophilic
a. hydrogen bonding b. physical properties 2. Reactions
b. acidity of alcohols compared to other classes of oxygen- c. infrared absorption a. peptide linkage
containing compounds 1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT b. hydrolysis
c. effect of chain branching on physical properties 2. Important reactions 3. General principles
B. ALDEHYDES AND KETONES a. preparation of acid derivatives °
1. Description b. nucleophilic substitution a. 1 structure of proteins
a. nomenclature c. Hoffman degradation of amides; migration of aryl group b. 2° structure of proteins
b. physical properties d. transesterification C. LIPIDS
c. infrared absorption of C=O bond e. hydrolysis of fats and glycerides (saponification) Description; structure
1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT f. hydrolysis of amides a. steroids
2. Important reactions 3. General principles b. terpenes
a. nucleophilic addition reactions at C=O bond a. relative reactivity of acid derivatives c. triacyl glycerols
i. acetal, hemiacetal b. steric effects d. free fatty acids
ii. imine, enamine c. electronic effects D. PHOSPHORUS COMPOUNDS
b. reactions at adjacent positions d. strain (e.g., β-lactams) 1. Description
i. haloform reactions E. KETO ACIDS AND ESTERS a. structure of phosphoric acids (anhydrides and esters)
ii. aldol condensation 1. Description; nomenclature 2. Important reactions
iii. oxidation 2. Important reactions a. Wittig reaction
c. 1,3-dicarbonyls: internal H-bonding a. decarboxylation 1 Topics for Biological and Physical Sciences Sections of the MCAT 1
d. keto-enol tautomerism b. acetoacetic ester synthesis General Concepts in Organic Chemistry A. CLASSIFICATION OF ORGANIC
e. organometallic reagents 3. General principles COMPOUNDS
f. acetoacetic ester syntheses a. acidity of α hydrogen and β-keto ester ACCORDING TO FUNCTIONAL GROUPS
g. Wolff-Kishner reaction b. keto-enol tautomerism B. REACTIONS, REACTION MECHANISMS, AND THE PRINCIPLES
h. Grignard reagents Amines INVOLVED (metabolic enzyme-controlled reactions and pathways
are not included in this topic area)
C. STRUCTURE AND STEREOCHEMISTRY OF ORGANIC COMPOUNDS

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D. IUPAC NOMENCLATURE OF ORGANIC COMPOUNDS Before you begin to write, make sure you have read the assignment carefully either of the two responses is considered not scorable, the reported Writing
E. MULTISTEP SYNTHESIS/RETROSYNTHESIS and understand what is being asked. As you plan the content and structure of Sample score will be an ―X‖ for ―Not Ratable.‖
MCAT Student Manual your essay, you may want to jot down in your test folder a rough outline or Two readers will score your first essay, and two different readers will score
Part 4: Writing Sample some brief notes relating to each of the three tasks. your second essay. Without seeing the other scores given to your writing,
Physicians must be able to communicate effectively with patients, You may address the three writing tasks in any order. You may choose to each reader will score your response using the six-point scale. The final score
colleagues, the public and, in some cases, to contribute cogently and respond to the three tasks in the order given or in some other way, as long as for each essay is a function of the scores assigned by two readers. If an essay
persuasively to deliberations about health care policy. However, physicians you address all the tasks. As outlined in the scorepoint descriptions below, receives scores that are more than one point apart, the essay is evaluated by
are often characterized by the public and portrayed by the press as one of the requirements of the better papers is that all writing tasks be a supervisory third reader who determines the final score.
technicians, rather than compassionate, humane health care providers. They addressed. The final scores given to each of the two responses are added together and
are often criticized for a limited ability to care for and communicate with Composing Your Response to the Writing Sample converted to an alphabetic scale for reporting. As noted in the introductory
people. Patients want physicians to communicate with them as active To score well on the Writing Sample, you should develop a central idea for chapters of this Student Manual, the range for the alphabetic scale is J
participants in the delivery of health care. your response and express your ideas in an organized, coherent prose. Your (lowest) to T (highest). The score reports sent to medical schools contain
Medical school deans and faculty have reported that communication and essay should not consist of terse or blunt responses to the three tasks. percentile data and score distributions.
writing skills are often deficient among medical students and have Instead, it should be an integrated response to the topic that contains fully Copyright @ 2003 MCAT AAMC All Rights Reserved 4.3 MCAT Student Manual
emphasized the importance of analytical and communication skills for developed, logically constructed paragraphs. Copyright @ 2003 MCAT AAMC All Rights Reserved 4.4 Score Typical
physician candidates. The deans and faculty have asked that an assessment of The better essays thoroughly explore the meaning and implications of the Characteristics Displayed 6 These essays show clarity, depth, and complexity
written communication skills be added to the information available about given statement. Complex terms appearing in the statement are defined. of though. The treatment of the writing assignment is focused and coherent.
medical school applicants. The inclusion of a writing sample on the MCAT, by Generalizations are supported with illustrative examples. Word choice and Major ideas are substantially developed. A facility with language is evident. 5
requiring candidates to develop and present ideas in a cohesive manner, sentence construction accurately convey the intended meaning. And, as These essays show clarity of thought, with some depth or complexity. The
offers medical school admission committees evidence of their applicants noted earlier, the three writing tasks are addressed. treatment of the rhetorical assignment is generally focused and coherent.
writing and analytical skills. The MCAT Writing Sample provides unique Although Writing Sample assignments do not require that you state whether Major ideas are well developed. A strong control of language is evident. 4
information unavailable from other sections of the examination. or not you agree with the statement (or its opposition), you may include your These essays show clarity of thought and may show evidence of depth or
The MCAT Writing Sample consists of two 30-minute essays. The Writing opinion as part of your response if you wish. Essays are not scored on the complexity. The treatment of the writing assignment is coherent, with some
Sample is designed to assess skill in the following areas: basis of what position the writer takes but on how effectively that position is focus. Major ideas are adequately developed. An adequate control of
1. Developing a central idea articulated and supported. If you choose to take a position disagreeing with language is evident. 3 These essays show some clarity of thought but may
2. Synthesizing concepts and ideas either the statement or its opposition your response should demonstrate that lock complexity. The treatment of the writing assignment is coherent but
3. Presenting ideas cohesively and logically you have considered the complexity of the issue including the point of view may not be focused. Major ideas are somewhat developed. While there may
4.Writing clearly, following accepted practices of grammar, syntax, and opposite your own. be some mechanical errors, some control of language is evident. 2 These
punctuation, Keep the time limit in mind as you write and try to bring your essay to a essays may show some problems with clarity or complexity of thought. The
consistent with timed, first-draft composition. conclusion. Remember that the quality of the response is more important treatment of the writing assignment may show problems with integration or
Content than its length coherence. Major ideas may be underdeveloped. There may be numerous
Each Writing Sample item provides a specific topic and requires an expository Write as legibly as possible. Since your essay will be scored as a first-draft errors in mechanics, usage, or sentence structure. 1 These essays may
response. Writing Sample topics are selected from areas of general interest composition, you may cross out and make corrections in your response demonstrate a lack of understanding of the writing assignment. There may be
such as business, politics, history, art, education, or ethics. Topics will not booklet as needed. It is not necessary for you to recopy your essay. serious problems with organization. Ideas may not be developed. There may
pertain to the content of biology, chemistry, or physics; to the medical Copyright @ 2003 MCAT AAMC All Rights Reserved 4.2 MCAT Student Manual be so many errors in mechanics, usage, or sentence structure that the
school application process or reasons for the choice of medicine as a career; Evaluating Writing Sample Responses writer’s ideas are difficult to follow. Writing Sample - Sample Items Writing
to social and cultural issues not in the general experience of college students; Writing Samples are scored holistically. Whereas some other methods for Samples and Score Explanations
or to religious or other emotionally-charged issues. You will not need specific scoring essays assign several scores to a single piece of writing (separate
prior knowledge about the topic in order to complete the Writing Sample. scores for organization, development, grammar and mechanics, or fluency,
Structure of MCAT Writing Sample Items for example), holistic score regards an essay as a whole without separable
Each MCAT Writing Sample item consists of a statement expressing an aspects. This type of scoring is based on the assumption that the various
opinion, discussing a philosophy, or describing a policy-followed by three factors involved in writing are so closely interrelated that an essay should be
writing tasks. Your first task will be to explain or interpret this statement. assigned a single score based on the quality of the writing as a whole.
The statement generally is not plainly factual or self-evident and, thus, Writing Sample papers are rated by a group of trained readers, many of whom
usually cannot be explained in a single sentence. You should explain the are experienced teachers of writing. Using a scoring guide consisting of score
statement as thoroughly as possible. point descriptions similar to those summarized below and sample papers
Copyright @ 2003 MCAT AAMC All Rights Reserved 4.1 MCAT Student Manual selected to be illustrative of each score, readers are trained to reliably score
The second task will require you to explore the meaning of the given the essays. Readers who are able to assign scores accurately and reliably are
statement by considering a circumstance in which that statement might be accepted to score actual essays. Readers’ performance is closely monitored
contradicted or judged not applicable. This task will require that you throughout the scoring process to ensure that scores are assigned fairly and
describe a specific example of a situation that illustrates a viewpoint accurately.
opposite to the one presented in the statement. The example you discuss Each essay is rated in terms of its overall effectiveness. The depth,
may be either real or hypothetical cohesiveness, and clarity with which you address the writing tasks will be
Your third writing task will be to discuss ways in which the conflict between considered in determining your score.
the initial statement and its opposition (expressed in the second writing task) Because Writing Samples are written under timed conditions, it is assumed
might be resolved. This task will require the application of your that some mistakes will be made. Papers containing minor errors in grammar,
understanding of the topic to a more general problem of principle, choice, spelling, sentence structure, or punctuation can still qualify for higher scores.
judgment, or evaluation raised by the conflict between the position of the Responses that are blank, illegible, or written in a language other than
statement and the opposing position. English or that consist entirely of an obvious attempt to ignore the purpose of
Organizing Your Response to the Writing Sample the Writing Sample – such as a drawing – are considered not scorable. If

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