mcat physics equations

How To Ace The MCAT Physics Equations?

MCAT Physics Equations is one of the most necessary parts of the MCAT exam. Follow this article to find out how to ace this test portion.

June 16, 2022

For the purpose of getting and achieving a high MCAT physics equations performance, would you have to be familiar with a certain set of linear equations? The MCAT’s chemistry and physics part, or the physics and chemistry portion for short, may be difficult, specifically if you don’t study for it.

It is essential that you master a few physics equations before taking this portion of the MCAT. If you think about it, all of the actions that take place in organisms are guided by physical principles! Each physics equation you’ll really have to understand for the MCAT is covered here, along with some pointers about how to apply them well on examination day.

mcat physics equations

How Much of the MCAT is Devoted to Physics?

How much physics will there be on the MCAT, you ask? The first portion of the MCAT, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems will test your proficiency in physics. The AAMC estimates that around a quarter of the primary data collection methods will be based on material from a beginning physics course.

How do we define the term “initial physics”? This portion of the MCAT will not require you to use extremely difficult physics equations, but you must be able to use physics principles from your 2 different entry-level undergraduate physics classes to show a comprehensive comprehension of the dynamics of biological systems. In addition to the passage-based physics questions, you may anticipate seeing several stand-alone discontinuous physics problems as well. After taking basic physics, it is a good idea to take a few practice tests to see how much of what you learned sticks.

Understanding how living creatures carry resources, detect their surroundings, analyze signals and react in terms of physical principles is an important part of the MCAT. 40% of the MCAT chemistry and physics part will concentrate on this fundamental principle and cover the following physics-related content:

  • 4A – Transverse movement in living organisms, forces and work, energy and equilibrium
  • 4B – A vital role in the circulatory system, oxygenation, and other metabolic processes
  • 4C –   Electrochemistry and the components of electrical circuits.
  • 4D – Light, noise, and matter interaction in four dimensions.
  • 4E – Atomic chemistry, nuclear decay, atomic electronic properties, and atom biochemical activity

Important Physics Equations MCAT

Many physics equations for MCAT may be found online, and which ones are essential for the MCAT? The AAMC advises that you understand the following physics equations in order of importance:

4A – Transverse movement in living organisms, forces and work, energy and equilibrium

Different forms of renewable energy and the processes by which they may be converted are the emphasis of this portion of the website.

  1. Newton’s Second Law: F = ma

An object’s net force (which is called F for short) is inversely proportional to its mass (or the m) and acceleration (or the a). This equation is Newton’s second law (a).

An object’s net force (which is called F for short) is inversely proportional to its mass (or the m) and acceleration (or the a). This equation is Newton’s second law (a).

  1. Work By a Constant Force: W = Fd cosθ

This equation illustrates the concept of work energy or the amount of work (W) a constant force (F) may accomplish on a moving object. When a force is applied to an item, it travels a distance equal to its cosine theta (cos), and this is the equation used to calculate the displacement.

  1. Work Kinetic Energy Theorem: Wnet = ΔKE

Work (Wnet) on a moving item, particle, or network is equal to the difference in angular momentum (KE) of such a particle moving together.

  1. Kinetic Energy: KE = ½ mv2

There are two forms of energy in movement: gravitational and kinetic. In this case, the energy is associated with a specific mass (m) and a specific velocity (v) (v). A particle’s kinetic energy is inversely related to its acceleration (v2).

  1. Potential Energy: PE = mgh

Gravitational potential energy (which is often called PE for short) is described by this equation, which is dependent on the location of an item. It’s important to know how much mass the item has (m), how fast the object is moving due to gravity (g), and the organism’s height in m in order to utilize this equation (h).

  1. Potential Energy: PE=½kx2

It’s important to know how much mass the item has (m), how fast the object is moving due to gravity (g), and the organism’s height in m in order to utilize this calculation (h). Potential Energy (PE) is defined as 12kx2 and has a value of 6. A spring, for example, exerts an elastic force when stretched or compressed. k is the spring constant, and x is the distance the spring is stretched in this potential energy (PE) equation. The stiffness of a spring is determined by its spring constant.

4B – A vital role in the circulatory system, oxygenation, and other metabolic processes

In this topic, we’ll discuss fluid dynamics and how they affect the respiratory and regulating systems.

  1. Pascal’s Law of Hydrostatic Pressure: P = ρgh

Static fluids are subject to this rule, which states that pressure increases with depth. Hydrostatic pressure increases the pressure in a fluid at a certain depth, and this pressure rises as depth decreases. Hydrostatic pressure (P), (liquid density), g (gravitational acceleration), and h (liquid depth/height) are the variables in this equation.

  1. Continuity Equation: A∙v = constant

Fluids are defined by their ability to flow indefinitely. Continuity of flow is ensured by the conservation of mass in a fluid system. A represents the flow’s cross-sectional area, and v is its velocity in this equation. A fluid system’s velocity fluctuates inversely in relation to its cross-sectional area, which is necessary to keep the flow continuous.

  1. Bernoulli’s Equation: P + ½ρv2 + ρgh = constant

It is possible to calculate the value of gh by using Bernoulli’s Equation, which states: P + ½ρv2 + ρgh = constant.

In this equation, the velocity and pressure of a fluid may be determined by analyzing it as it travels through a tube. Fluid pressure is lower in fast-moving parts than in slow-moving sections of a varying-diameter horizontal tube. Bernoulli’s equation applies energy conservation concepts to a moving fluid. Hydrostatic pressure (P), (liquid density), v (velocity), g (gravitational acceleration, 9.8 m/s2), and h (liquid height) are all variables in this equation.

  1. Ideal Gas Law: PV = nRT

There are several different gas laws that are combined into the ideal gas law to explain how an ideal gas acts. There are four variables in this equation: P stands for pressure, V stands for volume, n stands for moles, R stands for the universal gravitational constant, and T is for temperature in Kelvin. The units you choose in the calculation will affect the value of R.

  1. Boyle’s Law: PV = constant, P1V1 = P2V2

Gasses have an inverse relationship between their volume (V) and their pressure (P) at a given temperature, according to this gas law. Using Boyle’s Law, you can predict how well the pressure of a given will vary as the pressure imposed on it varies.

  1. Charles’ Law: V/T = constant, V1/T1 = V2/T2

The volume (V) of a gas is proportional to temperature (T) according to this gas equation while the pressure remains constant. You can use Charles’ Law to predict how a gas’s volume will vary as its temperature varies, and the other way around.

  1. Avogadro’s Law: V/n = constant, V1/n1 = V2/n2

The volume of a gas is directly proportional to the number of moles present in the gas, according to this gas equation. As the number of moles in a gas increases, its volume decreases. Moles take up a bigger volume at the same temperature and pressure. Calculating the volume flow rate in relation to the number of moles is easy according to Avogadro’s Law.

  1. Avogadro’s Law: V/n = constant, V1/n1 = V2/n2

For a gas combination, Dalton’s Law states that the maximum pressure (PTotal) represents the total of the various pressures (P1, P2, etc.) produced according to each gas.

mcat physics equations

4C – Electrochemistry and the components of electrical circuits

Energy conversion into electromagnetic forms, which may then be employed to execute chemistry processes or activities, is a major focus of this section of the content catalog. Also included is how electrical currents travel via the neurological system across extended distances.

  1. Coulomb’s Law: F = k(q1q2/r2).

Force among 2 electromagnetic energy may be measured using this law. Repugnance or magnetism between two substances is proportional to the product of their charges (q) and inversely proportional to the resistance of their distance (r2). Coulomb’s constant, k, appears in this formula.

  1. Constant Current: I = ΔQ/Δt

It follows that I = Q/t for constant current.  Calculate the circuit’s electrical current (I) as an electric charge (Q) runs through it for a certain amount of time (t).

  1. Ohm’s Law: I = V/R

Voltage and resistance are the two variables that Ohm’s Law uses to calculate the amount of current (I) passing through some kind of circuit (R). When the voltage is multiplied by the impedance in ohms, the current is the result.

  1. Resistivity: ρ = R∙A/L

This impedance equation shows that a substance’s resistance (R) in ohms, divided by its cross-sectional area (A), and multiplied by its height (L) equals the substance’s impedance (L).

4D – Light, noise, and matter interaction in four dimensions

An organism may employ light and sound interactions with matter to perceive its surroundings, and these connections could also be utilized to component suppliers’ information or images, both of which fall within the purview of this content category.

  1. Photon Energy: E = hf

A photon’s energy (E) in electromagnetic radiation is inversely proportional to the wavelength of the wave (f). Planck’s constant, h, is used in this formula.

  1. Snell’s Law: n1sinθ1 = n2sinθ2

When a light beam goes from one medium including one refractive index (n1) to some other medium with a lower refractive index, it changes direction according to Snell’s Law (n2). Using a surface normal, the angle (sin1) of incidence and the angle (sin2) of refractive index are evaluated with respect to each other.

  1. Lens Equation: 1/f = 1/p + 1/q

The Lens Equation summarizes the curving of different wavelengths via a narrow lens. The field of view of both the lens, the object’s distance from the lens, and the image’s distance from the lens are all included in this equation. The focal length of a convex lens is always positive, but the focal length of a concave lens is always negative, therefore you’ll need to be familiar with the equation’s sign conventions.

4E – Atomic chemistry, nuclear decay, atomic electronic properties, and atom biochemical activity

Here, you’ll find information about crystalline nuclei and how they would be used to forecast physicochemical characteristics, as well as elementary particles, atomic nuclei, and nuclear radiation. When it comes to the MCAT’s Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems part, there are no specific physics equations that you’ll need to master.

Tips for MCAT Physics Equations

Always keep in mind that passing the MCAT does not automatically imply that you will become a world-class physicist

However, although there are several MCAT physics equations or MCAT physics formulas that you’ll need to memorize and correctly comprehend for the MCAT, they represent just a small portion of all possible physics equations that occur in the real world. Furthermore, they aren’t the most difficult physics equations to solve, and they’re often utilized to address concerns that may be resolved in a short period of time by following a simple procedure. The chemistry and physics parts of the MCAT will be primarily concerned with simple physics equations and basic concepts, respectively.

It is critical to understand when and how to use these equations in a confident and time-efficient manner. As soon as you’ve learned all of the physics equations you’ll need for the MCAT, start attempting to complete as many chemistry and physics mock exams as you can to improve your test-taking abilities. Assume you’ll need to know the fundamental equations of physics: if you’ve already spent a few minutes on calculations, you should rethink your approach to tackling the problem at hand.

Units should be avoided

If you’ve just spent 5 minutes completing hard arithmetic only to discover that your solution isn’t one of the alternatives, what do you do? We’ve all been in that situation. After wasting five minutes and still not knowing the answer, you start to stress and worry that you’ll never find out what you’re supposed to do. In many circumstances, a simple unit conversion will provide the correct answer, or you may have just entered the incorrect units into your computation.

If you want to be successful on the MCAT in chemistry and physics, you must be able to convert between various units of measurement quickly and accurately without the use of a calculator. Avoid making errors on exam day by being acquainted with the process of rearranging formulae in order to compute for a certain variable.

Make use of your knowledge of physics in this situation

The utilization of living systems will be used in the verification of theoretical physics concepts. To put it another way, you will not discover questions on the MCAT that are similar to those on your collegiate physics examinations. There will be no in-depth 30-minute physics calculations conducted this year. It is intended that fundamental physics concepts, such as fluid circulation via the aorta in the heart, would be adapted to the human body. In order to be ready for the MCAT, it is important to think about how physics subjects might be applied to the live creature. You should investigate this more if you are unfamiliar with the relationship between physics topics and biological systems.

FAQs About MCAT Physics Equations

mcat physics equations

How long is the MCAT’s chemistry and/or physics section?

One of the MCAT’s 4 components is the science component, which includes chemistry and physics. The time limit for this portion is 95 minutes, with 59 questions to accomplish. 44 of the 59 questions in this section are based on passages. 10 passages on chemistry and physics subjects will be given to you, and 4 to 7 passage-based questionnaires were distributed to you after each reading. In addition, there will be 15 separate questions sprinkled throughout the text. 

When preparing for the MCAT, how much time should I spend studying physics?

If you want to start preparing for the MCAT, you’ll need to know your starting point. A comprehensive MCAT assessment exam is required for this purpose. As you begin your MCAT preparations, it’s critical to have a clear picture of where you are. The AAMC website has a full-length test you may utilize for your diagnosis. Take your assessment test in a setting that is similar to the one you will face on the day of the test. Assess your strong and weak points as you go through the findings of your diagnosis.

What was your score on the physics questions? What physics equations or topics eluded you while you were studying for your exams? Are you able to apply what you learned in physics to concerns about biology and the human body?

On exam day, what are the best methods of remembering physics equations?

It is common to discover that standard techniques of learning mathematics, such as memory cards, do not work for you while you prepare for the MCAT. Why not give it another go? Here are some other MCAT preparation strategies to consider:

  • Once you have memorized the equation, practice saying it aloud until you can do so without looking at your notes or notes from other students.
  • Attempt to express the meaning of an equation in the form of a sentence by expanding it.
  • Complete a few practice problems with the equation.
  • To determine whether the equations you’re having trouble with are comparable to those you’ve previously mastered, try putting them together according to the subject.
  • Ask a buddy if they know of any good mnemonic methods for remembering the physics equations you’ll need for the MCAT exam.

Remember that the key to memorizing an equation is to comprehend it completely. Go into detail for each component of the equation and make an effort to understand how each portion works together. Consider going back over your notes and re-examining any equations relevant to earlier lessons on the foundations of calculus. You may not be capable of learning equations if you have gaps in your prior knowledge.

When solving physics formulas for MCAT, may I use a calculator?

Practicing for the MCAT without the assistance of a calculator is critical since you won’t be allowed to use one on any portions of the test. It is critical that you prepare for the MCAT in a way that mimics the circumstances of the actual exam. The months coming up to the MCAT are ideal for honing your arithmetic skills, both mentally and by hand.

Will the MCAT need me to be able to draw free-body diagrams?

Unlike the SAT, the MCAT does not include any free-response questions that measure your ability to draw diagrams. Don’t skip practice drawing free body diagrams for force calculations if you’re taking physics multiple-choice exams; this knowledge will come in useful.

Is Physics enough to ace the MCAT’s physics section?

How well you fared in your AP Physics course will have a role in this question’s response. AP Physics should provide you with the same foundation in fundamentals of physics as you would get in an introductory physics course at a university. The diagnostic test is a great opportunity to see how comfortable you are with the MCAT’s physics equations and ideas. If your MCAT chemistry and physics scores are strong, you may expand on your AP Physics knowledge by reviewing essential equations and ideas. This will help you ace the exam. For those who took the AP Physics course, you may still need to examine how basic physics principles apply to biological systems.

I’m confused as to why just these equations are deemed crucial. Isn’t there more I should know?

Naturally, you may need more details, but you will be able to infer or deduce them more rapidly if you start with these fundamentals. If you don’t understand the basics, you won’t be able to infer or deduce the remainder of the information.

How often should I take the MCAT, and when should I do so?

The only time you should take the exam is if you are entirely prepared. Having a score in the 90th percentile or above on your practice tests implies that you have consistently achieved high marks.

Is it possible for me to educate myself in physics for the MCAT?

Member in full. Yes, it is a possibility. Similar to other scientific disciplines, the degree of information required for the MCAT was less than the level that is appropriate for Physics I/II in college. It is recommended that you visit the website Hyperphysics. Animated films are also beneficial, and there are several available on YouTube.

Why are MCAT physics equations included on the MCAT? Physics is simply one of several basic components that you’ll need to understand about the physiological processes of the pulmonary, circulatory, and neurologic systems in both health and sickness as a health professional. As a result, the MCAT physics sections of the MCAT provide you with a chance to show your comprehension of how basic scientific principles will relate to your future medical profession. One of the most important components of your MCAT preparation will be to begin memorizing and genuinely comprehending every one of the physics equations presented in this blog post.

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!