MCAT Physical Sciences - Need to Know Info

How to rock on the MCAT exam by beating the average score in the MCAT Physical Sciences section.

In the Physical Science section of the MCAT you are given 70 minutes to answer 52 questions. Your questions will come from:

  • General chemistry
  • Physics (non-calculus)
  • Algebra and trigonometry.

The MCAT exam will test your basic understanding of these subjects along with your ability to understand advanced material and interpret visual representations (charts and/or graphs) and then solve problems based on them.

The MCAT Physical Sciences section of the MCAT exam will contain several problem sets, each consisting of a short passage or data set followed by multiple choice questions based on the problem set.

There will also be about 12 discrete multiple-choice questions that are not based on a passage or data set. Since the discrete questions test your raw ability in the physical sciences it is best to answer all these questions first, giving yourself 10 minutes to do so.

Discrete Questions First

This is a strategic move to maximize your score in the Physical Sciences. The discrete questions will mentally prepare you to handle the passage-based problem sets which require a more in-depth analysis.

Plus, by doing the discrete questions first you can use the remaining time to tackle the more time consuming passage based questions.

I know some of you are going to be very grateful if you are reading this page and have not completed general chemistry or physics yet. Using the advice of my premed advisors look at the topics covered below because it will give you an idea where you should focus your efforts while in class. The outline will help in your MCAT preparation for the MCAT Physical Sciences section.

MCAT Chemistry Topics

Electronic Structure and Periodic Table

  • Electronic Structure
  • Periodic Table: Classification of Elements into Groups by Electronic Structure
  • Periodic Table: Variations of Chemical Properties with Group and Row


  • The Ionic Bond (Electrostatic Forces Between Ions)
  • The Covalent Bond

Phases and Phase Equilibria

  • Gas Phase
  • Liquid Phase: Intermolecular Forces
  • Phase Equilibria


Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry

  • Energy Changes in Chemical Reactions-Thermochemistry
  • Thermodynamics

Rate Processes in Chemical Reactions - Kinetics and Equilibrium

Solution Chemistry

  • Ions in Solution
  • Solubility


  • Acid/Base Equilibria
  • Titration


MCAT Physics Topics

Translational Motion

Force and Motion, Gravitation

Equilibrium and Momentum

Work and Energy

Waves and Periodic Motion

  • Periodic Motion
  • Wave Characteristics


Fluids and Solids

Electrostatics and Electromagnetism

  • Electrostatics
  • Magnetism
  • Light, Electromagnetic Radiation

Electric Circuit Elements

  • Circuit Elements
  • Circuits
  • Alternating Currents and Reactive Circuits

Light and Geometrical Objects

  • Light, Electromagnetic Radiation
  • Geometrical Optics

Atomic and Nuclear Structure


  • Atomic Structure and Spectra
  • Atomic Nucleus
  • Atomic and Nuclear Structure

Basic Concepts and General Techniques

  • Units and Dimensions
  • Graphing Techniques
  • Error Analysis

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