Introduction ii. Section 1: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems 1

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1 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Table f Cntents Intrductin Page Number ii Sectin 1: Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems 1 Sectin 2: Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems 38 Sectin 3: Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir 67 Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills (related t Sectins 1-3) 98 Sectin 4: Critical Analysis and Reasning Skills AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. i

2 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Intrductin This dcument draws frm the nline resurce What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? at It cntains a cmplete descriptin f the cmpetencies yu are respnsible fr knwing n the MCAT 2015 exam. It describes the new exam s cntent and frmat. It als lists and discusses the new exam s cnceptual framewrk which is rganized arund fundatinal cncepts, cntent categries, and scientific inquiry and reasning skills. Als included are sample test questins that demnstrate hw the cmpetencies are tested n the exam. While the cntent is written fr yu, the prspective MCAT examinee, the infrmatin it prvides is likely t be useful t pre-health advisrs, ther baccalaureate faculty, medical schl admissin fficers, and medical schls. Hw is the MCAT Exam Structured? The MCAT exam has fur test sectins: Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Critical Analysis and Reasning Skills The first three sectins are rganized arund fundatinal cncepts r big ideas in the sciences. They reflect current research abut the mst effective ways fr students t learn and use science, emphasizing deep knwledge f the mst imprtant scientific cncepts ver knwledge simply f many discrete scientific facts. Leaders in science educatin say that sme f the mst imprtant fundatinal cncepts in the sciences ask students t integrate and analyze infrmatin frm different disciplines. In that vein, questins in these sectins will ask yu t cmbine yur scientific knwledge frm multiple disciplines with yur scientific inquiry and reasning skills. Yu will be asked t demnstrate fur different scientific inquiry and reasning skills n the exam: Knwledge f scientific cncepts and principles Scientific reasning and prblem slving Reasning abut the design and executin f research Data-based and statistical reasning The furth sectin f the MCAT exam, Critical Analysis and Reasning Skills, will be similar t many f the verbal reasning tests yu have taken in yur academic career. It includes passages and questins that test yur ability t cmprehend and analyze what yu read. The Critical Analysis and Reasning Skills sectin asks yu t read and think abut passages frm 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. ii

3 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? a wide range f disciplines in the scial sciences and humanities, including thse in ppulatin health, ethics and philsphy, and studies f diverse cultures. Passages are fllwed by a series f questins that lead yu thrugh the prcess f cmprehending, analyzing, and reasning abut the material yu have read. This sectin is unique because it has been develped specifically t measure the analytical and reasning skills yu will need t be successful in medical schl AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. iii

4 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems What will the Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Sectin Test? The Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems sectin asks yu t slve prblems by cmbining yur knwledge f bilgical and bichemical cncepts with yur scientific inquiry and reasning skills. This sectin tests prcesses that are unique t living rganisms, such as grwing and reprducing, maintaining a cnstant internal envirnment, acquiring materials and energy, sensing and respnding t envirnmental changes, and adapting. It als tests hw cells and rgan systems within an rganism act independently and in cncert t accmplish these prcesses, and it asks yu t reasn abut these prcesses at varius levels f bilgical rganizatin within a living system. This sectin is designed t: test intrductry-level bilgy, rganic chemistry, and inrganic chemistry cncepts; test bichemistry cncepts at the level taught in many clleges and universities in first-semester bichemistry curses; test cellular and mlecular bilgy tpics at the level taught in many clleges and universities in intrductry bilgy sequences and first-semester bichemistry curses; test basic research methds and statistics cncepts described by many baccalaureate faculty as imprtant t success in intrductry science curses; and require yu t demnstrate yur scientific inquiry and reasning, research methds, and statistics skills as applied t the natural sciences. Test Sectin Number f Questins Time Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems 59 (nte that questins are a cmbinatin f passage-based and discrete questins) 95 minutes 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 1

5 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills As a reminder, the scientific inquiry and reasning skills that yu will be asked t demnstrate n this sectin f the exam are: Knwledge f Scientific Cncepts and Principles Demnstrating understanding f scientific cncepts and principles Identifying the relatinships between clsely-related cncepts Scientific Reasning and Prblem Slving Reasning abut scientific principles, theries, and mdels Analyzing and evaluating scientific explanatins and predictins Reasning abut the Design and Executin f Research Demnstrating understanding f imprtant cmpnents f scientific research Reasning abut ethical issues in research Data-Based and Statistical Reasning Interpreting patterns in data presented in tables, figures, and graphs Reasning abut data and drawing cnclusins frm them 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 2

6 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems General Mathematical Cncepts and Techniques It s imprtant fr yu t knw that questins n the natural, behaviral, and scial sciences sectins will ask yu t use certain mathematical cncepts and techniques. As the descriptins f the scientific inquiry and reasning skills suggest, sme questins will ask yu t analyze and manipulate scientific data t shw that yu can Recgnize and interpret linear, semilg, and lg-lg scales and calculate slpes frm data fund in figures, graphs, and tables Demnstrate a general understanding f significant digits and the use f reasnable numerical estimates in perfrming measurements and calculatins Use metric units, including cnverting units within the metric system and between metric and English units (cnversin factrs will be prvided when needed), and dimensinal analysis (using units t balance equatins) Perfrm arithmetic calculatins invlving the fllwing: prbability, prprtin, rati, percentage, and square-rt estimatins Demnstrate a general understanding (Algebra II level) f expnentials and lgarithms (natural and base 10), scientific ntatin, and slving simultaneus equatins Demnstrate a general understanding f the fllwing trignmetric cncepts: definitins f basic (sine, csine, tangent) and inverse (sin 1, cs 1, tan 1 ) functins; sin and cs values f 0, 90, and 180 ; relatinships between the lengths f sides f right triangles cntaining angles f 30, 45, and 60 Demnstrate a general understanding f vectr additin and subtractin and the right-hand rule (knwledge f dt and crss prducts is nt required) Nte als that an understanding f calculus is nt required, and a peridic table will be prvided during the exam AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 3

7 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems References During the actual exam, yu will have access t the peridic table belw while answering questins in this sectin f the exam AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 4

8 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Distributin f Questins by Discipline, Fundatinal Cncept, and Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skill Yu may wnder hw much bichemistry yu ll see n this sectin f the MCAT exam, hw many questins yu ll get abut a particular fundatinal cncept, r hw the scientific inquiry and reasning skills will be distributed n yur exam. The questins that yu see are likely t be distributed in the ways described belw. These are the apprximate percentages f questins yu ll see n a test fr each discipline, fundatinal cncept, and scientific inquiry and reasning skill. * Discipline: First-semester bichemistry, 25% Intrductry bilgy, 65% General chemistry, 5% Organic chemistry, 5% Fundatinal Cncept: Fundatinal Cncept 1, 55% Fundatinal Cncept 2, 20% Fundatinal Cncept 3, 25% Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skill: Skill 1, 35% Skill 2, 45% Skill 3, 10% Skill 4, 10% * These percentages have been apprximated t the nearest 5% and will vary frm ne test t anther fr a variety f reasns. These reasns include, but are nt limited t, cntrlling fr questin difficulty, using grups f questins that depend n a single passage, and using unscred field-test questins n each test frm AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 5

9 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Framewrk f Fundatinal Cncepts and Cntent Categries Fundatinal Cncept 1: Bimlecules have unique prperties that determine hw they cntribute t the structure and functin f cells and hw they participate in the prcesses necessary t maintain life. The cntent categries fr this fundatinal cncept include 1A. Structure and functin f prteins and their cnstituent amin acids 1B. Transmissin f genetic infrmatin frm the gene t the prtein 1C. Transmissin f heritable infrmatin frm generatin t generatin and the prcesses that increase genetic diversity 1D. Principles f bienergetics and fuel mlecule metablism Fundatinal Cncept 2: Highly-rganized assemblies f mlecules, cells, and rgans interact t carry ut the functins f living rganisms. The cntent categries fr this fundatinal cncept include 2A. Assemblies f mlecules, cells, and grups f cells within single cellular and multicellular rganisms 2B. The structure, grwth, physilgy, and genetics f prkarytes and viruses 2C. Prcesses f cell divisin, differentiatin, and specializatin Fundatinal Cncept 3: Cmplex systems f tissues and rgans sense the internal and external envirnments f multicellular rganisms, and thrugh integrated functining, maintain a stable internal envirnment within an ever-changing external envirnment. The cntent categries fr this fundatinal cncept include 3A. Structure and functins f the nervus and endcrine systems and ways in which these systems crdinate the rgan systems 3B. Structure and integrative functins f the main rgan systems 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 6

10 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Hw Fundatinal Cncepts and Cntent Categries Fit Tgether The MCAT exam asks yu t slve prblems by cmbining yur knwledge f cncepts with yur scientific inquiry and reasning skills. Figure 1 illustrates hw fundatinal cncepts, cntent categries, and scientific inquiry and reasning skills intersect t create test questins. Skill 1 Skill 2 Skill 3 Skill 4 Cntent Categry 1A Fundatinal Cncept 1 Fundatinal Cncept 2 Cntent Cntent Cntent Cntent Categry Categry Categry Categry 1B 1C 2A 2B Each cell represents the pint at which fundatinal cncepts, cntent cat egries, and scientific inquiry and reasning skills crss. Test questins are written at the intersectins f the knw ledge and skills. Cntent Categry 2C 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 7

11 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Understanding the Fundatinal Cncepts and Cntent Categries in the Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Sectin The fllwing are detailed explanatins f each fundatinal cncept and related cntent categries tested in the Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems sectin. T help yu prepare fr the MCAT exam, we prvide cntent lists that describe specific tpics and subtpics that define each cntent categry fr this sectin. The same cntent lists are prvided t the writers wh develp the cntent f the exam. Here is an excerpt frm the cntent list. EXCERPT FROM BIOLOGICAL AND BIOCHEMICAL FOUNDATIONS OF LIVING SYSTEMS OUTLINE Metablism f Fatty Acids and Prteins (BIO, BC) Tpic Descriptin f fatty acids (BC) Subtpic Digestin, mbilizatin, and transprt f fats Oxidatin f fatty acids Saturated fats Unsaturated fats Ketne bdies (BC) Anablism f fats (BIO) Nn-template synthesis: bisynthesis f lipids and plysaccharides (BIO) Metablism f prteins (BIO) The abbreviatins in parentheses indicate the curses in which undergraduate students at many clleges and universities learn abut the tpics and assciated subtpics. The curse abbreviatins are BC: first-semester bichemistry BIO: tw-semester sequence f intrductry bilgy GC: tw-semester sequence f general chemistry OC: tw-semester sequence f rganic chemistry In preparing fr the MCAT exam, yu will be respnsible fr learning the tpics and assciated subtpics at the levels at which they are taught at many clleges and universities in the curses listed in parentheses. A small number f subtpics have curse abbreviatins indicated in parentheses. In thse cases, yu are respnsible nly fr learning the subtpics as they are taught in the curse(s) indicated. Using the excerpt abve as an example, Yu are respnsible fr learning abut the tpic Metablism f Fatty Acids and Prteins at the level at which it is taught in a typical tw-semester intrductry bilgy sequence and in a typical first-semester bichemistry curse. Yu are respnsible fr learning abut the subtpics Anablism f fats, Nn-template synthesis: bisynthesis f lipids and plysaccharides, and Metablism f prteins nly at the levels at which they are taught in a typical tw-semester sequence f intrductry bilgy. Yu are respnsible fr learning abut the subtpics Descriptin f fatty acids and Ketne bdies nly at the levels at which they are taught in a typical first-semester bichemistry curse AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 8

12 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Remember that curse cntent at yur schl may differ frm curse cntent at ther clleges and universities. The tpics and subtpics described in this and the next tw chapters may be cvered in curses with titles that are different frm thse listed here. Yur pre-health advisr and faculty are imprtant resurces fr yur questins abut curse cntent AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 9

13 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Fundatinal Cncept 1 Bimlecules have unique prperties that determine hw they cntribute t the structure and functin f cells, and hw they participate in the prcesses necessary t maintain life. The unique chemical and structural prperties f bimlecules determine the rles they play in cells. The prper functining f a living system depends n the many cmpnents acting harmniusly in respnse t a cnstantly changing envirnment. Bimlecules are cnstantly frmed r degraded in respnse t the perceived needs f the rganism. Cntent Categries Categry 1A fcuses n the structural and functinal cmplexity f prteins, which is derived frm their cmpnent amin acids, the sequence in which the amin acids are cvalently bnded, and the three-dimensinal structures the prteins adpt in an aqueus envirnment. Categry 1B fcuses n the mlecular mechanisms respnsible fr the transfer f sequencespecific bilgical infrmatin between biplymers which ultimately results in the synthesis f prteins. Categry 1C fcuses n the mechanisms that functin t transmit the heritable infrmatin stred in DNA frm generatin t generatin. Categry 1D fcuses n the bimlecules and regulated pathways invlved in harvesting chemical energy stred in fuel mlecules, which serves as the driving frce fr all f the prcesses that take place within a living system. With these building blcks, medical students will be prepared t learn hw the majr bichemical energy prductin pathways are regulated, hw the synthesis and degradatin f macrmlecules functins t maintain health, and hw varius frms f bichemical dysfunctin result in disease AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 10

14 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Cntent Categry 1A: Structure and functin f prteins and their cnstituent amin acids Macrmlecules frmed frm amin acids adpt well-defined, three-dimensinal structures with chemical prperties that are respnsible fr their participatin in virtually every prcess ccurring within and between cells. The three-dimensinal structure f prteins is a direct cnsequence f the nature f the cvalently-bnded sequence f amin acids, their chemical and physical prperties, and the way in which the whle assembly interacts with water. Enzymes are prteins that interact in highly regi- and stere-specific ways with disslved slutes. They either facilitate the chemical transfrmatin f these slutes, r allw fr their transprt inncuusly. Disslved slutes cmpete fr prtein-binding sites, and prtein cnfrmatinal dynamics give rise t mechanisms capable f cntrlling enzymatic activity. The infinite variability f ptential amin acid sequences allws fr adaptable respnses t pathgenic rganisms and materials. The rigidity f sme amin acid sequences makes them suitable fr structural rles in cmplex living systems. Cntent in this categry cvers a range f prtein behavirs which riginate frm the unique chemistry f amin acids themselves. Amin acid classificatins and prtein structural elements are cvered. Special emphasis is placed n enzyme catalysis, including mechanistic cnsideratins, kinetics, mdels f enzyme-substrate interactin, and regulatin. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Amin Acids (BC, OC) Descriptin Reactins Abslute cnfiguratin at the α psitin Amin acids as diplar ins Classificatins Acidic r basic Hydrphbic r hydrphilic Sulfur linkage fr cysteine and cystine Peptide linkage: plypeptides and prteins Hydrlysis Please Nte Tpics that appear n multiple cntent lists will be treated differently. Questins will fcus n the tpics as they are described in the narrative fr the cntent categry. Prtein Structure (BIO, BC, OC) Structure Cnfrmatinal stability 1 structure f prteins 2 structure f prteins 3 structure f prteins; rle f prline, cystine, hydrphbic bnding 4 structure f prteins (BIO, BC) Denaturing and flding Hydrphbic interactins Slvatin layer (entrpy) (BC) Separatin techniques Iselectric pint 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 11

15 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Electrphresis Nn-Enzymatic Prtein Functin (BIO, BC) Binding (BC) Immune system Mtrs Enzyme Structure and Functin (BIO, BC) Functin f enzymes in catalyzing bilgical reactins Enzyme classificatin by reactin type Reductin f activatin energy Substrates and enzyme specificity Active Site Mdel Induced-fit Mdel Mechanism f catalysis Cfactrs Cenzymes Water-sluble vitamins Effects f lcal cnditins n enzyme activity Cntrl f Enzyme Activity (BIO, BC) Kinetics General (catalysis) Michaelis Menten Cperativity Feedback regulatin Inhibitin types Regulatry enzymes Cmpetitive Nn-cmpetitive Mixed (BC) Uncmpetitive (BC) Allsteric enzymes Cvalently-mdified enzymes Zymgen 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 12

16 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Cntent Categry 1B: Transmissin f genetic infrmatin frm the gene t the prtein Bimlecules and bimlecular assemblies interact in specific, highly-regulated ways t transfer sequence infrmatin between biplymers in living rganisms. By string and transferring bilgical infrmatin, DNA and RNA enable living rganisms t reprduce their cmplex cmpnents frm ne generatin t the next. The nucletide mnmers f these biplymers, being jined by phsphdiester linkages, frm a plynucletide mlecule with a backbne cmpsed f repeating sugar-phsphate units and appendages f nitrgenus bases. The unique sequence f bases in each gene prvides specific infrmatin t the cell. DNA mlecules are cmpsed f tw plynucletides that spiral arund an imaginary axis, frming a duble helix. The tw plynucletides are held tgether by hydrgen bnds between the paired bases and van der Waals interactins between the stacked bases. The pairing between the bases f tw plynucletides is very specific, and its cmplementarity allws fr a precise replicatin f the DNA mlecule. The DNA inherited by an rganism leads t specific traits by dictating the synthesis f the bimlecules (RNA mlecules and prteins) invlved in prtein synthesis. While every cell in a multicellular rganism inherits the same DNA, its expressin is precisely regulated such that different genes are expressed by cells at different stages f develpment, by cells in different tissues, and by cells expsed t different stimuli. The tpics included in this categry cncern nt nly the mlecular mechanisms f the transmissin f genetic infrmatin frm the gene t the prtein (transcriptin and translatin), but als the bisynthesis f the imprtant mlecules and mlecular assemblies that are invlved in these mechanisms. The cntrl f gene expressin in prkarytes and eukarytes is als included. Bradly speaking, the field f bitechnlgy uses bilgical systems, living rganisms, r derivatives theref, t make r mdify prducts r prcesses fr specific use. The bitechnlgical techniques emphasized in this categry, hwever, are thse that take advantage f the cmplementary structure f duble-stranded DNA mlecules t synthesize, sequence, and amplify them, and t analyze and identify unknwn plynucletide sequences. Included within this treatment f bitechnlgy are thse practical applicatins which directly impact humans, such as medical applicatins, human gene therapy, and pharmaceuticals. Cntent in this categry cvers the biplymers, including ribnucleic acid (RNA), dexyribnucleic acid (DNA), prteins, and the bichemical prcesses invlved in carrying ut the transfer f bilgical infrmatin frm DNA. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Nucleic Acid Structure and Functin (BIO, BC) Descriptin Nucletides and nuclesides Sugar phsphate backbne Pyrimidine, purine residues Dexyribnucleic acid (DNA): duble helix, Watsn Crick mdel f DNA structure Base pairing specificity: A with T, G with C Functin in transmissin f genetic infrmatin (BIO) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 13

17 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems DNA denaturatin, reannealing, hybridizatin DNA Replicatin (BIO) Mechanism f replicatin: separatin f strands, specific cupling f free nucleic acids Semi-cnservative nature f replicatin Specific enzymes invlved in replicatin Origins f replicatin, multiple rigins in eukarytes Replicating the ends f DNA mlecules Repair f DNA (BIO) Repair during replicatin Repair f mutatins Genetic Cde (BIO) Central Dgma: DNA RNA prtein The triplet cde Cdn anticdn relatinship Degenerate cde, wbble pairing Missense, nnsense cdns Initiatin, terminatin cdns Messenger RNA (mrna) Transcriptin (BIO) Transfer RNA (trna); ribsmal RNA (rrna) Mechanism f transcriptin mrna prcessing in eukarytes, intrns, exns Ribzymes, splicesmes, small nuclear ribnucleprteins (snrnps), small nuclear RNAs (snrnas) Functinal and evlutinary imprtance f intrns Translatin (BIO) Rles f mrna, trna, rrna Rle and structure f ribsmes Initiatin, terminatin c-factrs Pst-translatinal mdificatin f prteins Eukarytic Chrmsme Organizatin (BIO) Chrmsmal prteins Single cpy vs. repetitive DNA Superciling Heterchrmatin vs. euchrmatin Telmeres, centrmeres Cntrl f Gene Expressin in Prkarytes (BIO) Opern Cncept, Jacb Mnd Mdel 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 14

18 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Gene repressin in bacteria Psitive cntrl in bacteria Cntrl f Gene Expressin in Eukarytes (BIO) Transcriptinal regulatin DNA binding prteins, transcriptin factrs Gene amplificatin and duplicatin Pst-transcriptinal cntrl, basic cncept f splicing (intrns, exns) Cancer as a failure f nrmal cellular cntrls, ncgenes, tumr suppressr genes Regulatin f chrmatin structure DNA methylatin Rle f nn-cding RNAs Recmbinant DNA and Bitechnlgy (BIO) Gene clning Restrictin enzymes DNA libraries Generatin f cdna Hybridizatin Expressing clned genes Plymerase chain reactin Gel electrphresis and Suthern bltting DNA sequencing Analyzing gene expressin Determining gene functin Stem cells Practical applicatins f DNA technlgy: medical applicatins, human gene therapy, pharmaceuticals, frensic evidence, envirnmental cleanup, agriculture Safety and ethics f DNA technlgy 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 15

19 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Cntent Categry 1C: Transmissin f heritable infrmatin frm generatin t generatin and the prcesses that increase genetic diversity The infrmatin necessary t direct life functins is cntained within discrete nucletide sequences transmitted frm generatin t generatin by mechanisms that, by nature f their varius prcesses, prvide the raw materials fr evlutin by increasing genetic diversity. Specific sequences f dexyribnucleic acids stre and transfer the heritable infrmatin necessary fr the cntinuatin f life frm ne generatin t the next. These sequences, called genes being part f lnger DNA mlecules are rganized, alng with varius prteins, int bimlecular assemblies called chrmsmes. Chrmsmes pass frm parents t ffspring in sexually-reprducing rganisms. The prcesses f meisis and fertilizatin maintain a species chrmsme cunt during the sexual life cycle. Because parents pass n discrete heritable units that retain their separate identities in ffspring, the laws f prbability can be used t predict the utcme f sme, but nt all, genetic crsses. The behavir f chrmsmes during meisis and fertilizatin is respnsible fr mst f the genetic variatin that arises each generatin. Mechanisms that cntribute t this genetic variatin include independent assrtment f chrmsmes, crssing ver, and randm fertilizatin. Other mechanisms, such as mutatin, randm genetic drift, bttlenecks, and immigratin, exist with the ptential t affect the genetic diversity f individuals and ppulatins. Cllectively, the genetic diversity that results frm these prcesses prvides the raw material fr evlutin by natural selectin. The cntent in this categry cvers the mechanisms by which heritable infrmatin is transmitted frm generatin t generatin, and the evlutinary prcesses that generate and act upn genetic variatin. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Evidence that DNA is Genetic Material (BIO) Mendelian Cncepts (BIO) Phentype and gentype Gene Lcus Allele: single and multiple Hmzygsity and heterzygsity Wild-type Recessiveness Cmplete dminance C-dminance Incmplete dminance, leakage, penetrance, expressivity Hybridizatin: viability Gene pl Meisis and Other Factrs Affecting Genetic Variability (BIO) Significance f meisis 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 16

20 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Imprtant differences between meisis and mitsis Segregatin f genes Independent assrtment Linkage Recmbinatin Mutatin Single crssvers Duble crssvers Synaptnemal cmplex Tetrad Sex-linked characteristics Very few genes n Y chrmsme Sex determinatin Cytplasmic/extranuclear inheritance General cncept f mutatin errr in DNA sequence Types f mutatins: randm, translatin errr, transcriptin errr, base substitutin, inversin, additin, deletin, translcatin, mispairing Advantageus vs. deleterius mutatin Inbrn errrs f metablism Relatinship f mutagens t carcingens Genetic drift Synapsis r crssing-ver mechanism fr increasing genetic diversity Analytic Methds (BIO) Hardy Weinberg Principle Testcrss (Backcrss; cncepts f parental, F1, and F2 generatins) Gene mapping: crssver frequencies Bimetry: statistical methds Evlutin (BIO) Natural selectin Fitness cncept Selectin by differential reprductin Cncepts f natural and grup selectin Evlutinary success as increase in percent representatin in the gene pl f the next generatin Speciatin Plymrphism Adaptatin and specializatin Inbreeding Outbreeding Bttlenecks Evlutinary time as measured by gradual randm changes in genme 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 17

21 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Cntent Categry 1D: Principles f bienergetics and fuel mlecule metablism Living things harness energy frm fuel mlecules in a cntrlled manner in rder t sustain all f the prcesses respnsible fr maintaining life. Cell maintenance and grwth is energetically cstly. Cells harness the energy stred in fuel mlecules, such as carbhydrates and fatty acids, and cnvert it int smaller units f chemical ptential knwn as adensine triphsphate (ATP). The hydrlysis f ATP prvides a ready surce f energy fr cells that can be cupled t ther chemical prcesses in rder t make them thermdynamically favrable. Fuel mlecule mbilizatin, transprt, and strage are regulated accrding t the needs f the rganism. The cntent in this categry cvers the principles f bienergetics and fuel mlecule catablism. Details f xidative phsphrylatin including the rle f chemismtic cupling and bilgical electrn transfer reactins are cvered, as are the general features f fatty acid and glucse metablism. Additinally, regulatin f these metablic pathways, fuel mlecule mbilizatin, transprt, and strage are cvered. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Principles f Bienergetics (BC, GC) Bienergetics/thermdynamics Free energy/keq Equilibrium cnstant Relatinship f the equilibrium cnstant and ΔG Cncentratin Le Châtelier s Principle Endthermic/exthermic reactins Free energy: G Spntaneus reactins and ΔG Phsphryl grup transfers and ATP ATP hydrlysis ΔG << 0 ATP grup transfers Bilgical xidatin-reductin Carbhydrates (BC, OC) Descriptin Half-reactins Sluble electrn carriers Flavprteins Nmenclature and classificatin, cmmn names Abslute cnfiguratin Cyclic structure and cnfrmatins f hexses Epimers and anmers Hydrlysis f the glycside linkage Mnsaccharides Disaccharides Plysaccharides 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 18

22 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Glyclysis, Glucnegenesis, and the Pentse Phsphate Pathway (BIO, BC) Glyclysis (aerbic), substrates and prducts Feeder pathways: glycgen, starch metablism Fermentatin (anaerbic glyclysis) Glucnegenesis (BC) Pentse phsphate pathway (BC) Net mlecular and energetic results f respiratin prcesses Principles f Metablic Regulatin (BC) Regulatin f metablic pathways (BIO, BC) Maintenance f a dynamic steady state Regulatin f glyclysis and glucnegenesis Metablism f glycgen Regulatin f glycgen synthesis and breakdwn Allsteric and hrmnal cntrl Analysis f metablic cntrl Citric Acid Cycle (BIO, BC) Acetyl-CA prductin (BC) Reactins f the cycle, substrates and prducts Regulatin f the cycle Net mlecular and energetic results f respiratin prcesses Metablism f Fatty Acids and Prteins (BIO, BC) Descriptin f fatty acids (BC) Digestin, mbilizatin, and transprt f fats Oxidatin f fatty acids Saturated fats Unsaturated fats Ketne bdies (BC) Anablism f fats (BIO) Nn-template synthesis: bisynthesis f lipids and plysaccharides (BIO) Metablism f prteins (BIO) Oxidative Phsphrylatin (BIO, BC) Electrn transprt chain and xidative phsphrylatin, substrates and prducts, general features f the pathway Electrn transfer in mitchndria NADH, NADPH Flavprteins Cytchrmes ATP synthase, chemismtic cupling Prtn mtive frce Net mlecular and energetic results f respiratin prcesses 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 19

23 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Regulatin f xidative phsphrylatin Mitchndria, apptsis, xidative stress (BC) Hrmnal Regulatin and Integratin f Metablism (BC) Higher level integratin f hrmne structure and functin Tissue specific metablism Hrmnal regulatin f fuel metablism Obesity and regulatin f bdy mass 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 20

24 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Fundatinal Cncept 2 Highly-rganized assemblies f mlecules, cells, and rgans interact t carry ut the functins f living rganisms. Cells are the basic unit f structure in all living things. Mechanisms f cell divisin prvide nt nly fr the grwth and maintenance f rganisms, but als fr the cntinuatin f the species thrugh asexual and sexual reprductin. The unique micr-envirnment t which a cell is expsed during develpment and divisin determines the fate f the cell by impacting gene expressin and ultimately the cell s cllectin and distributin f macrmlecules, and its arrangement f subcellular rganelles. In multicellular rganisms, the prcesses necessary t maintain life are executed by grups f cells that are rganized int specialized structures with specialized functins bth f which result frm the unique prperties f the cells cmpnent mlecules. Cntent Categries Categry 2A fcuses n the assemblies f mlecules, cells, and grups f cells within single cellular and multicellular rganisms that functin t execute the prcesses necessary t maintain life. Categry 2B fcuses n the structure, grwth, physilgy, and genetics f prkarytes, and the structure and life cycles f viruses. Categry 2C fcuses n the prcesses f cell and nuclear divisin, and the mechanisms gverning cell differentiatin and specializatin. With these building blcks, medical students will be prepared t learn abut the mrphlgical and bichemical events that ccur when smatic r germ cells divide, the mechanisms that regulate cell divisin and cell death, and the characteristics that distinguish nrmal frm abnrmal grwth and develpment. These building blcks als prepare them t learn abut the micr- and macrscpic structures f cells, tissues, and rgans that lead t their unique and integrated functins, and hw perturbatins cntribute t disease AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 21

25 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Categry 2A: Assemblies f mlecules, cells, and grups f cells within single cellular and multicelluar rganisms The prcesses necessary t maintain life are executed by assemblies f mlecules, cells, and grups f cells, all f which are rganized int highly-specific structures as determined by the unique prperties f their cmpnent mlecules. The prcesses necessary t maintain life require that cells create and maintain internal envirnments within the cytplasm and within certain rganelles that are different frm their external envirnments. Cell membranes separate the internal envirnment f the cell frm the external envirnment. The specialized structure f the membrane, as described in the fluid msaic mdel, allws the cell t be selectively permeable and dynamic, with hmestasis maintained by the cnstant mvement f mlecules acrss the membranes thrugh a cmbinatin f active and passive prcesses driven by several frces, including electrchemical gradients. Eukarytic cells als maintain internal membranes that partitin the cell int specialized regins. These internal membranes facilitate cellular prcesses by minimizing cnflicting interactins and increasing surface area where chemical reactins can ccur. Membrane-bund rganelles lcalize different prcesses r enzymatic reactins in time and space. Thrugh interactins between prteins bund t the membranes f adjacent cells, r between membranebund prteins and elements f the extracellular matrix, cells f multicellular rganisms rganize int tissues, rgans, and rgan systems. Certain membrane-assciated prteins als play key rles in prviding identificatin f tissues r recent events in the cell s histry fr purpses f recgnitin f self versus freign mlecules. The cntent in this categry cvers the cmpsitin, structure, and functin f cell membranes; the structure and functin f the membrane-bund rganelles f eukarytic cells; and the structure and functin f the majr cytskeletal elements. It cvers the energetics f and mechanisms by which mlecules, r grups f mlecules, mve acrss cell membranes. It als cvers hw cell cell junctins and the extracellular matrix interact t frm tissues with specialized functins. Epithelial tissue and cnnective tissue are cvered in this categry. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Plasma Membrane (BIO, BC) General functin in cell cntainment Cmpsitin f membranes Lipid cmpnents (BIO, BC, OC) Phsphlipids (and phsphatids) Sterids Waxes Prtein cmpnents Fluid msaic mdel Membrane dynamics Slute transprt acrss membranes Thermdynamic cnsideratins 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 22

26 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Osmsis Clligative prperties; smtic pressure (GC) Passive transprt Active transprt Sdium/ptassium pump Membrane channels Membrane ptential Membrane receptrs Excytsis and endcytsis Intercellular junctins (BIO) Gap junctins Tight junctins Desmsmes Membrane-Bund Organelles and Defining Characteristics f Eukarytic Cells (BIO) Defining characteristics f eukarytic cells: membrane bund nucleus, presence f rganelles, mittic divisin Nucleus Cmpartmentalizatin, strage f genetic infrmatin Nuclelus: lcatin and functin Nuclear envelpe, nuclear pres Mitchndria Site f ATP prductin Inner and uter membrane structure (BIO, BC) Self-replicatin Lyssmes: membrane-bund vesicles cntaining hydrlytic enzymes Endplasmic reticulum Rugh and smth cmpnents Rugh endplasmic reticulum site f ribsmes Duble membrane structure Rle in membrane bisynthesis Rle in bisynthesis f secreted prteins Glgi apparatus: general structure and rle in packaging and secretin Perxismes: rganelles that cllect perxides Cytskeletn (BIO) General functin in cell supprt and mvement Micrfilaments: cmpsitin and rle in cleavage and cntractility Micrtubules: cmpsitin and rle in supprt and transprt Intermediate filaments, rle in supprt Cmpsitin and functin f cilia and flagella Centriles, micrtubule rganizing centers Tissues Frmed Frm Eukarytic Cells (BIO) Epithelial cells 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 23

27 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Cnnective tissue cells 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 24

28 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Cntent Categry 2B: The structure, grwth, physilgy, and genetics f prkarytes and viruses The highly-rganized assembly f mlecules that is the cell represents the fundamental unit f structure, functin, and rganizatin in all living rganisms. In the hierarchy f bilgical rganizatin, the cell is the simplest cllectin f matter capable f carrying ut the prcesses that distinguish living rganisms. As such, cells have the ability t underg metablism; maintain hmestasis, including inic gradients; the capacity t grw; mve in respnse t their lcal envirnments; respnd t stimuli; reprduce; and adapt t their envirnment in successive generatins. Life at cellular levels arises frm structural rder and its dynamic mdulatin. It des s in respnse t signals, thereby reflecting prperties that result frm individual and interactive features f mlecular assemblies, their cmpartmentalizatin, and their interactin with envirnmental signals at many spatial and tempral scales. The cntent in this categry cvers the classificatin, structure, grwth, physilgy, and genetics f prkarytes, and the characteristics that distinguish them frm eukarytes. Viruses are als cvered here. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Cell Thery (BIO) Histry and develpment Impact n bilgy Classificatin and Structure f Prkarytic Cells (BIO) Prkarytic dmains Archaea Bacteria Majr classificatins f bacteria by shape Bacilli (rd-shaped) Spirilli (spiral-shaped) Ccci (spherical) Lack f nuclear membrane and mittic apparatus Lack f typical eukarytic rganelles Presence f cell wall in bacteria Flagellar prpulsin, mechanism Grwth and Physilgy f Prkarytic Cells (BIO) Reprductin by fissin High degree f genetic adaptability, acquisitin f antibitic resistance Expnential grwth Existence f anaerbic and aerbic variants Parasitic and symbitic Chemtaxis Genetics f Prkarytic Cells (BIO) Existence f plasmids, extragenmic DNA 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 25

29 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Transfrmatin: incrpratin int bacterial genme f DNA fragments frm external medium Cnjugatin Transpsns (als present in eukarytic cells) Virus Structure (BIO) General structural characteristics (nucleic acid and prtein, envelped and nnenvelped) Lack rganelles and nucleus Structural aspects f typical bacteriphage Genmic cntent RNA r DNA Size relative t bacteria and eukarytic cells Viral Life Cycle (BIO) Self-replicating bilgical units that must reprduce within specific hst cell Generalized phage and animal virus life cycles Attachment t hst, penetratin f cell membrane r cell wall, and entry f viral genetic material Use f hst synthetic mechanism t replicate viral cmpnents Self-assembly and release f new viral particles Transductin: transfer f genetic material by viruses Retrvirus life cycle: integratin int hst DNA, reverse transcriptase, HIV Prins and virids: subviral particles 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 26

30 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Cntent Categry 2C: Prcesses f cell divisin, differentiatin, and specializatin The ability f rganisms t reprduce their wn kind is the characteristic that best distinguishes living things. In sexually reprducing rganisms, the cntinuity f life is based n the prcesses f cell divisin and meisis. The prcess f cell divisin is an integral part f the cell cycle. The prgress f eukarytic cells thrugh the cell cycle is regulated by a cmplex mlecular cntrl system. Malfunctins in this system can result in unabated cellular divisin, and ultimately the develpment f cancer. In the embrynic develpment f multicellular rganisms, a fertilized egg gives rise t cells that differentiate int many different types f cells, each with a different structure, crrespnding functin, and lcatin within the rganism. During develpment, spatial tempral gradients in the interactins between gene expressin and varius stimuli result in the structural and functinal divergence f cells int specialized structure, rgans, and tissues. The interactin f stimuli and genes is als explained by the prgressin f stem cells t terminal cells. The cntent in this categry cvers the cell cycle; the causes, genetics, and basic prperties f cancer; the prcesses f meisis and gametgenesis; and the mechanisms gverning cell specializatin and differentiatin. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Mitsis (BIO) Mittic prcess: prphase, metaphase, anaphase, telphase, interphase Mittic structures Centriles, asters, spindles Chrmatids, centrmeres, kinetchres Nuclear membrane breakdwn and rerganizatin Mechanisms f chrmsme mvement Phases f cell cycle: G0, G1, S, G2, M Grwth arrest Cntrl f cell cycle Lss f cell cycle cntrls in cancer cells Bisignalling (BC) Oncgenes, apptsis Reprductive System (BIO) Gametgenesis by meisis Ovum and sperm Differences in frmatin Differences in mrphlgy Relative cntributin t next generatin Reprductive sequence: fertilizatin; implantatin; develpment; birth Embrygenesis (BIO) Stages f early develpment (rder and general features f each) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 27

31 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Fertilizatin Cleavage Blastula frmatin Gastrulatin First cell mvements Frmatin f primary germ layers (endderm, mesderm, ectderm) Neurulatin Majr structures arising ut f primary germ layers Neural crest Envirnment gene interactin in develpment Mechanisms f Develpment (BIO) Cell specializatin Determinatin Differentiatin Tissue types Cell cell cmmunicatin in develpment Cell migratin Pluriptency: stem cells Gene regulatin in develpment Prgrammed cell death Existence f regenerative capacity in varius species Senescence and aging 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 28

32 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Fundatinal Cncept 3 Cmplex systems f tissues and rgans sense the internal and external envirnments f multicellular rganisms, and thrugh integrated functining, maintain a stable internal envirnment within an ever-changing external envirnment. As a result f the integratin f a number f highly specialized rgan systems, cmplex living things are able t maintain hmestasis while adapting t a cnstantly changing envirnment and participating in grwth and reprductin. The interactins f these rgan systems invlves cmplex regulatry mechanisms that help maintain a dynamic and healthy equilibrium, regardless f their current state and envirnment. Cntent Categries Categry 3A fcuses n the structure and functins f the nervus and endcrine systems, and the ways in which the systems wrk tgether t crdinate the respnses f ther bdy systems t bth external and internal stimuli. Categry 3B fcuses n the structure and functins f the rgan systems circulatry, respiratry, digestive, immune, lymphatic, muscular, skeletal, and reprductive and the ways these systems interact t fulfill their cncerted rles in the maintenance and cntinuance f the living rganism. With these building blcks, medical students will be prepared t learn hw the crdinated interactins f rgan systems explain hw the human bdy functins in health and in disease. They will als be prepared t learn hw the principles f feedback cntrl explain hmestatic and reprductive systems maintenance f the internal envirnment, hw perturbatins in these systems may result in disease, and hw hmestasis can be changed by disease AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 29

33 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Cntent Categry 3A: Structure and functins f the nervus and endcrine systems and ways in which these systems crdinate the rgan systems The nervus and endcrine systems wrk tgether t detect external and internal signals, transmit and integrate infrmatin, and maintain hmestasis. They d all f this by prducing apprpriate respnses t internal and external cues and stressrs. The integratin f these systems bth with ne anther, and with the ther rgan systems, ultimately results in the successful and adaptive behavirs that allw fr the prpagatin f the species. Animals have evlved a nervus system that senses and prcesses internal and external infrmatin that is used t facilitate and enhance survival, grwth, and reprductin. The nervus system interfaces with sensry and internal bdy systems t crdinate physilgical and behaviral respnses ranging frm simple mvements and small metablic changes t lng-distance migratins and scial interactins. The physilgical prcesses fr nerve signal generatin and prpagatin invlve specialized membranes with assciated prteins that respnd t ligands and/r electrical field changes, signaling mlecules and, by extensin, the establishment and replenishment f inic electrchemical gradients requiring ATP. The endcrine system f animals has evlved t prduce chemical signals that functin internally t regulate stress respnses, reprductin, develpment, energy metablism, grwth, and varius individual and interactive behavirs. The integrated cntributins f the nervus and endcrine systems t bdily functins are exemplified by the prcess whereby the signaling f neurns regulates hrmne release, and by the targeting f membrane r nuclear receptrs n neurns by circulating hrmnes. The cntent in this categry cvers the structure, functin, and basic aspects f nervus and endcrine systems, and their integratin. The structure and functin f nerve cells is als included in this categry. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Nervus System: Structure and Functin (BIO) Majr Functins Reflexes High level cntrl and integratin f bdy systems Adaptive capability t external influences Organizatin f vertebrate nervus system Sensr and effectr neurns Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervus systems: antagnistic cntrl Feedback lp, reflex arc Rle f spinal crd and supraspinal circuits Integratin with endcrine system: feedback cntrl Nerve Cell (BIO) Cell bdy: site f nucleus, rganelles Dendrites: branched extensins f cell bdy Axn: structure and functin Myelin sheath, Schwann cells, insulatin f axn Ndes f Ranvier: prpagatin f nerve impulse alng axn Synapse: site f impulse prpagatin between cells 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 30

34 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Synaptic activity: transmitter mlecules Resting ptential: electrchemical gradient Actin ptential Threshld, all-r-nne Sdium/ptassium pump Excitatry and inhibitry nerve fibers: summatin, frequency f firing Glial cells, neurglia Electrchemistry (GC) Cncentratin cell: directin f electrn flw, Nernst equatin Bisignalling (BC) Gated in channels Vltage gated Ligand gated Receptr enzymes G prtein-cupled receptrs Lipids (BC, OC) Descriptin; structure Sterids Terpenes and terpenids Endcrine System: Hrmnes and Their Surces (BIO) Functin f endcrine system: specific chemical cntrl at cell, tissue, and rgan level Definitins f endcrine gland, hrmne Majr endcrine glands: names, lcatins, prducts Majr types f hrmnes Neurendrcrinlgy relatin between neurns and hrmnal systems Endcrine System: Mechanisms f Hrmne Actin (BIO) Cellular mechanisms f hrmne actin Transprt f hrmnes: bld supply Specificity f hrmnes: target tissue Integratin with nervus system: feedback cntrl Regulatin by secnd messengers 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 31

35 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Categry 3B: Structure and integrative functins f the main rgan systems Animals use a number f highly-rganized and integrated rgan systems t carry ut the necessary functins assciated with maintaining life prcesses. Within the bdy, n rgan system is an island. Interactins and crdinatin between rgan systems allw rganisms t engage in the prcesses necessary t sustain life. Fr example, the rgans and structures f the circulatry system carry ut a number f functins, such as transprting: nutrients absrbed in the digestive system; gases absrbed frm the respiratry system and muscle tissue; hrmnes secreted frm the endcrine system; and bld cells prduced in bne marrw t and frm cells in the bdy t help fight disease. The cntent in this categry cvers the structure and functin f the majr rgan systems f the bdy including the respiratry, circulatry, lymphatic, immune, digestive, excretry, reprductive, muscle, skeletal, and skin systems. Als cvered in this categry is the integratin f these systems and their cntrl and crdinatin by the endcrine and nervus systems. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Respiratry System (BIO) General functin Structure f lungs and alveli Breathing mechanisms Alvelar gas exchange Gas exchange, thermregulatin Prtectin against disease: particulate matter Diaphragm, rib cage, differential pressure Resiliency and surface tensin effects Thermregulatin: nasal and tracheal capillary beds; evapratin, panting Particulate filtratin: nasal hairs, mucus/cilia system in lungs Diffusin, differential partial pressure Henry s Law (GC) ph cntrl Regulatin by nervus cntrl CO2 sensitivity Circulatry System (BIO) Functins: circulatin f xygen, nutrients, hrmnes, ins and fluids, remval f metablic waste Rle in thermregulatin Fur-chambered heart: structure and functin Endthelial cells Systlic and diastlic pressure Pulmnary and systemic circulatin 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 32

36 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Arterial and venus systems (arteries, arteriles, venules, veins) Structural and functinal differences Pressure and flw characteristics Capillary beds Mechanisms f gas and slute exchange Mechanism f heat exchange Surce f peripheral resistance Cmpsitin f bld Plasma, chemicals, bld cells Erythrcyte prductin and destructin; spleen, bne marrw Regulatin f plasma vlume Cagulatin, cltting mechanisms Oxygen transprt by bld Hemglbin, hematcrit Oxygen cntent Oxygen affinity Carbn dixide transprt and level in bld Nervus and endcrine cntrl Lymphatic System (BIO) Structure f lymphatic system Majr functins Equalizatin f fluid distributin Transprt f prteins and large glycerides Prductin f lymphcytes invlved in immune reactins Return f materials t the bld Immune System (BIO) Innate (nn-specific) vs. adaptive (specific) immunity Adaptive immune system cells T-lymphcytes B-lymphcytes Innate immune system cells Macrphages Phagcytes Tissues Bne marrw Spleen Thymus Lymph ndes Cncept f antigen and antibdy Antigen presentatin Clnal selectin Antigen-antibdy recgnitin Structure f antibdy mlecule 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 33

37 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Recgnitin f self vs. nn-self, autimmune diseases Majr histcmpatibility cmplex Digestive System (BIO) Ingestin Stmach Liver Bile Pancreas Small Intestine Large Intestine Saliva as lubricatin and surce f enzymes Ingestin; esphagus, transprt functin Strage and churning f fd Lw ph, gastric juice, mucal prtectin against self-destructin Prductin f digestive enzymes, site f digestin Structure (grss) Structural relatinship f liver within gastrintestinal system Prductin f bile Rle in bld glucse regulatin, detxificatin Strage in gall bladder Functin Prductin f enzymes Transprt f enzymes t small intestine Absrptin f fd mlecules and water Functin and structure f villi Prductin f enzymes, site f digestin Neutralizatin f stmach acid Structure (anatmic subdivisins) Absrptin f water Bacterial flra Structure (grss) Rectum: strage and eliminatin f waste, feces Muscular cntrl Peristalsis Endcrine cntrl Hrmnes Target tissues Nervus cntrl: the enteric nervus system Excretry System (BIO) Rles in hmestasis Bld pressure Osmregulatin 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 34

38 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Acid base balance Remval f sluble nitrgenus waste Kidney structure Crtex Medulla Nephrn structure Glmerulus Bwman s capsule Prximal tubule Lp f Henle Distal tubule Cllecting duct Frmatin f urine Glmerular filtratin Secretin and reabsrptin f slutes Cncentratin f urine Cunter-current multiplier mechanism Strage and eliminatin: ureter, bladder, urethra Osmregulatin: capillary reabsrptin f H2O, amin acids, glucse, ins Muscular cntrl: sphincter muscle Reprductive System (BIO) Male and female reprductive structures and their functins Gnads Genitalia Differences between male and female structures Hrmnal cntrl f reprductin Muscle System (BIO) Imprtant functins Male and female sexual develpment Female reprductive cycle Pregnancy, parturitin, lactatin Integratin with nervus cntrl Supprt: mbility Peripheral circulatry assistance Thermregulatin (shivering reflex) Structure f three basic muscle types: striated, smth, cardiac Muscle structure and cntrl f cntractin Regulatin f cardiac muscle cntractin T-tubule system Cntractile apparatus Sarcplasmic reticulum Fiber type Cntractile velcity f different muscle types 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 35

39 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Oxygen debt: fatigue Nervus cntrl Mtr neurns Neurmuscular junctin, mtr end plates Sympathetic and parasympathetic innervatin Vluntary and invluntary muscles Specialized Cell - Muscle Cell (BIO) Structural characteristics f striated, smth, and cardiac muscle Abundant mitchndria in red muscle cells: ATP surce Organizatin f cntractile elements: actin and mysin filaments, crssbridges, sliding filament mdel Sarcmeres: I and A bands, M and Z lines, H zne Presence f trpnin and trpmysin Calcium regulatin f cntractin Skeletal System (BIO) Functins Skeletal structure Bne structure Structural rigidity and supprt Calcium strage Physical prtectin Specializatin f bne types, structures Jint structures Endskeletn vs. exskeletn Calcium/prtein matrix Cellular cmpsitin f bne Cartilage: structure and functin Ligaments, tendns Endcrine cntrl Skin System (BIO) Structure Layer differentiatin, cell types Relative impermeability t water Functins in hmestasis and smregulatin Functins in thermregulatin Physical prtectin Hair, erectile musculature Fat layer fr insulatin Sweat glands, lcatin in dermis Vascnstrictin and vasdilatin in surface capillaries Nails, calluses, hair Prtectin against abrasin, disease rganisms 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 36

40 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems Hrmnal cntrl: sweating, vasdilatin, and vascnstrictin 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 37

41 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems What will the Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems sectin test? The Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems sectin asks yu t slve prblems by cmbining yur knwledge f chemical and physical fundatinal cncepts with yur scientific inquiry and reasning skills. This sectin tests yur understanding f the mechanical, physical, and bichemical functins f human tissues, rgans, and rgan systems. It als tests yur knwledge f the basic chemical and physical principles that underlie the mechanisms perating in the human bdy and yur ability t reasn abut and apply yur understanding f these basic chemical and physical principles t living systems. This sectin is designed t: test intrductry-level bilgy, rganic and inrganic chemistry, and physics cncepts; test bichemistry cncepts at the level taught in many clleges and universities in first-semester bichemistry curses; test cellular and mlecular bilgy tpics at the level taught in many clleges and universities in intrductry bilgy sequences and first-semester bichemistry curses; test basic research methds and statistics cncepts described by many baccalaureate faculty as imprtant t success in intrductry science curses; and require yu t demnstrate yur scientific inquiry and reasning, research methds, and statistics skills as applied t the natural sciences. Test Sectin Number f Questins Time Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems 59 (nte that questins are a cmbinatin f passage-based and discrete questins) 95 minutes 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 38

42 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills As a reminder, the scientific inquiry and reasning skills that yu will be asked t demnstrate n this sectin f the exam are: Knwledge f Scientific Cncepts and Principles Demnstrating understanding f scientific cncepts and principles Identifying the relatinships between clsely-related cncepts Scientific Reasning and Prblem Slving Reasning abut scientific principles, theries, and mdels Analyzing and evaluating scientific explanatins and predictins Reasning abut the Design and Executin f Research Demnstrating understanding f imprtant cmpnents f scientific research Reasning abut ethical issues in research Data-Based and Statistical Reasning Interpreting patterns in data presented in tables, figures, and graphs Reasning abut data and drawing cnclusins frm them 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 39

43 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems General Mathematical Cncepts and Techniques It s imprtant fr yu t knw that questins n the natural, behaviral, and scial sciences sectins will ask yu t use certain mathematical cncepts and techniques. As the descriptins f the scientific inquiry and reasning skills suggest, sme questins will ask yu t analyze and manipulate scientific data t shw that yu can Recgnize and interpret linear, semilg, and lg-lg scales and calculate slpes frm data fund in figures, graphs, and tables Demnstrate a general understanding f significant digits and the use f reasnable numerical estimates in perfrming measurements and calculatins Use metric units, including cnverting units within the metric system and between metric and English units (cnversin factrs will be prvided when needed), and dimensinal analysis (using units t balance equatins) Perfrm arithmetic calculatins invlving the fllwing: prbability, prprtin, rati, percentage, and square-rt estimatins Demnstrate a general understanding (Algebra II level) f expnentials and lgarithms (natural and base 10), scientific ntatin, and slving simultaneus equatins Demnstrate a general understanding f the fllwing trignmetric cncepts: definitins f basic (sine, csine, tangent) and inverse (sin 1, cs 1, tan 1 ) functins; sin and cs values f 0, 90, and 180 ; relatinships between the lengths f sides f right triangles cntaining angles f 30, 45, and 60 Demnstrate a general understanding f vectr additin and subtractin and the right-hand rule (knwledge f dt and crss prducts is nt required) Nte als that an understanding f calculus is nt required, and a peridic table will be prvided during the exam AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 40

44 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems References During the actual exam, yu will have access t the peridic table belw while answering questins in this sectin f the exam AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 41

45 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Distributin f Questins by Discipline, Fundatinal Cncept, and Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skill Yu may wnder hw much chemistry yu ll see n this sectin f the MCAT exam, hw many questins yu ll get abut a particular fundatinal cncept, r hw the scientific inquiry and reasning skills will be distributed n yur exam. The questins that yu see are likely t be distributed in the ways described belw. These are the apprximate percentages f questins yu ll see n a test fr each discipline, fundatinal cncept, and scientific inquiry and reasning skill.* Discipline: First-semester bichemistry, 25% Intrductry bilgy, 5% General chemistry, 30% Organic chemistry, 15% Intrductry physics, 25% Fundatinal Cncept: Fundatinal Cncept 4, 40% Fundatinal Cncept 5, 60% Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skill: Skill 1, 35% Skill 2, 45% Skill 3, 10% Skill 4, 10% *These percentages have been apprximated t the nearest 5% and will vary frm ne test t anther fr a variety f reasns. These reasns include, but are nt limited t, cntrlling fr questin difficulty, using grups f questins that depend n a single passage, and using unscred field-test questins n each test frm AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 42

46 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Framewrk f Fundatinal Cncepts and Cntent Categries Fundatinal Cncept 4: Cmplex living rganisms transprt materials, sense their envirnment, prcess signals, and respnd t changes using prcesses understd in terms f physical principles. The cntent categries fr this fundatinal cncept include 4A. Translatinal mtin, frces, wrk, energy, and equilibrium in living systems 4B. Imprtance f fluids fr the circulatin f bld, gas mvement, and gas exchange 4C. Electrchemistry and electrical circuits and their elements 4D. Hw light and sund interact with matter 4E. Atms, nuclear decay, electrnic structure, and atmic chemical behavir Fundatinal Cncept 5: The principles that gvern chemical interactins and reactins frm the basis fr a brader understanding f the mlecular dynamics f living systems. The cntent categries fr this fundatinal cncept include 5A. Unique nature f water and its slutins 5B. Nature f mlecules and intermlecular interactins 5C. Separatin and purificatin methds 5D. Structure, functin, and reactivity f bilgically-relevant mlecules 5E. Principles f chemical thermdynamics and kinetics 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 43

47 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Hw Fundatinal Cncepts and Cntent Categries Fit Tgether The MCAT exam asks yu t slve prblems by cmbining yur knwledge f cncepts with yur scientific inquiry and reasning skills. Figure 1 illustrates hw fundatinal cncepts, cntent categries, and scientific inquiry and reasning skills intersect t create test questins. Skill 1 Skill 2 Skill 3 Skill 4 Cntent Categry 1A Fundatinal Cncept 1 Fundatinal Cncept 2 Cntent Cntent Cntent Cntent Categry Categry Categry Categry 1B 1C 2A 2B Each cell represents the pint at which fundatinal cncepts, cntent cat egries, and scientific inquiry and reasning skills crss. Test questins are written at the intersectins f the knw ledge and skills. Cntent Categry 2C 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 44

48 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Understanding the Fundatinal Cncepts and Cntent Categries in the Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Outline The fllwing are detailed explanatins f each fundatinal cncept and related cntent categries tested in this sectin. As with the Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems sectin, lists describing the specific tpics and subtpics that define each cntent categry fr this sectin are prvided. The same cntent list is prvided t item writers wh develp the cntent f the exam. Here is an excerpt frm the cntent list. EXCERPT FROM THE CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS OUTLINE Separatins and Purificatins (OC, BC) Extractin: distributin f slute between tw immiscible slvents Distillatin Chrmatgraphy Basic principles invlved in separatin prcess Clumn chrmatgraphy, gas-liquid chrmatgraphy High pressure liquid chrmatgraphy Paper chrmatgraphy Thin-layer chrmatgraphy Separatin and purificatin f peptides and prteins (BC) Electrphresis Quantitative analysis Chrmatgraphy Size-exclusin In-exchange Affinity Racemic mixtures, separatin f enantimers (OC) Tpic Subtpic The abbreviatins fund in parentheses indicate the curse(s) in which undergraduate students at many clleges and universities learn abut the tpics and assciated subtpics. The curse abbreviatins are BC: first semester f bichemistry BIO: tw-semester sequence f intrductry bilgy GC: tw-semester sequence f general chemistry OC: tw-semester sequence f rganic chemistry PHY: tw-semester sequence f intrductry physics In preparing fr the MCAT exam, yu will be respnsible fr learning the tpics and assciated subtpics at the levels at which they are taught at many clleges and universities in the curses listed in parentheses. A small number f subtpics have curse abbreviatins indicated in parentheses. In thse cases, yu are respnsible nly fr learning the subtpics as they are taught in the curse(s) indicated AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 45

49 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Using the excerpt abve as an example: Yu are respnsible fr learning abut the tpic Separatins and Purificatins at the level at which it is taught in a typical tw-semester rganic chemistry sequence and in a typical firstsemester bichemistry curse. Yu are respnsible fr learning abut the subtpic Separatin and purificatins f peptides and prteins (and sub-subtpics) nly at the level at which it is taught in a first-semester bichemistry curse. Yu are respnsible fr learning abut the subtpic Racemic mixtures, separatin f enantimers nly at the level at which it is taught in a tw-semester rganic chemistry curse. Remember that curse cntent at yur schl may differ frm curse cntent at ther clleges and universities. The tpics and subtpics described in this chapter may be cvered in curses with titles that are different frm thse listed here. Yur pre-health advisr and faculty are imprtant resurces fr yur questins abut curse cntent AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 46

50 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Fundatinal Cncept 4 Cmplex living rganisms transprt materials, sense their envirnment, prcess signals, and respnd t changes using prcesses that can be understd in terms f physical principles. The prcesses that take place within rganisms fllw the laws f physics. They can be quantified with equatins that mdel the behavir at a fundamental level. Fr example, the principles f electrmagnetic radiatin, and its interactins with matter, can be explited t generate structural infrmatin abut mlecules r t generate images f the human bdy. S, t, can atmic structure be used t predict the physical and chemical prperties f atms, including the amunt f electrmagnetic energy required t cause inizatin. Cntent Categries Categry 4A fcuses n mtin and its causes, and varius frms f energy and their intercnversins. Categry 4B fcuses n the behavir f fluids, which is relevant t the functining f the pulmnary and circulatry systems. Categry 4C emphasizes the nature f electrical currents and vltages; hw energy can be cnverted int electrical frms that can be used t perfrm chemical transfrmatins r wrk; and hw electrical impulses can be transmitted ver lng distances in the nervus system. Categry 4D fcuses n the prperties f light and sund; hw the interactins f light and sund with matter can be used by an rganism t sense its envirnment; and hw these interactins can als be used t generate structural infrmatin r images. Categry 4E fcuses n sub-atmic particles, the atmic nucleus, nuclear radiatin, the structure f the atm, and hw the cnfiguratin f any particular atm can be used t predict its physical and chemical prperties. With these building blcks, medical students will be able t apply their understanding f basic physical principles such as mass flw, transprt, electricity, bimechanics, and signal detectin and prcessing, t the understanding f living systems and hw perturbatins frm the nrmal functining f specialized tissues cntribute t disease AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 47

51 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Cntent Categry 4A: Translatinal mtin, frces, wrk, energy, and equilibrium in living systems The mtin f any bject can be described in terms f displacement, velcity, and acceleratin. Objects accelerate when subjected t external frces and are at equilibrium when the net frce and the net trque acting upn them are zer. Many aspects f mtin can be calculated with the knwledge that energy is cnserved, even thugh it may be cnverted int different frms. In a living system, the energy fr mtin cmes frm the metablism f fuel mlecules, but the energetic requirements remain subject t the same physical principles. The cntent in this categry cvers several physics tpics relevant t living systems including translatinal mtin, frces, wrk, energy, and equilibrium. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Translatinal Mtin (PHY) Units and dimensins Vectrs, cmpnents Vectr additin Speed, velcity (average and instantaneus) Acceleratin Please Nte Tpics that appear n multiple cntent lists will be treated differently. Questins will fcus n the tpics as they are described in the narrative fr the cntent categry. Frce (PHY) Newtn s First Law, inertia Newtn s Secnd Law (F = ma) Newtn s Third Law, frces equal and ppsite Frictin, static and kinetic Center f mass Equilibrium (PHY) Vectr analysis f frces acting n a pint bject Trques, lever arms Wrk (PHY) Wrk dne by a cnstant frce: W = Fd csθ Mechanical advantage Wrk Kinetic Energy Therem Cnservative frces Energy f Pint Object Systems (PHY) Kinetic Energy: KE = ½ mv 2 ; units Ptential Energy PE = mgh (gravitatinal, lcal) PE = ½ kx 2 (spring) Cnservatin f energy Pwer, units 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 48

52 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Peridic Mtin (PHY) Amplitude, frequency, phase Transverse and lngitudinal waves: wavelength and prpagatin speed 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 49

53 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Cntent Categry 4B: Imprtance f fluids fr the circulatin f bld, gas mvement, and gas exchange Fluids are featured in several physilgically imprtant prcesses, including the circulatin f bld, gas mvement int and ut f the lungs, and gas exchange with the bld. The energetic requirements f fluid dynamics can be mdeled using physical equatins. A thrugh understanding f fluids is necessary t understand the rigins f numerus frms f disease. The cntent in this categry cvers hydrstatic pressure, fluid flw rates, viscsity, the Kinetic Mlecular Thery f Gases, and the Ideal Gas Law. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Fluids (PHY) Density, specific gravity Buyancy, Archimedes Principle Hydrstatic pressure Pascal s Law Hydrstatic pressure; P = ρgh (pressure vs. depth) Viscsity: Piseuille Flw Cntinuity equatin (A v = cnstant) Cncept f turbulence at high velcities Surface tensin Bernulli s equatin Venturi effect, pitt tube Circulatry System (BIO) Arterial and venus systems; pressure and flw characteristics Gas Phase (GC, PHY) Ideal gas Abslute temperature, (K) Kelvin Scale Pressure, simple mercury barmeter Mlar vlume at 0 C and 1 atm = 22.4 L/ml Definitin Ideal Gas Law: PV = nrt Byle s Law: PV = cnstant Charles Law: V/T = cnstant Avgadr s Law: V/n = cnstant Kinetic Mlecular Thery f Gases Deviatin f real gas behavir frm Ideal Gas Law Qualitative Quantitative (Van der Waals Equatin) Partial pressure, mle fractin Daltn s Law relating partial pressure t cmpsitin Heat capacity at cnstant vlume and at cnstant pressure (PHY) Bltzmann s Cnstant (PHY) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 50

54 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Cntent Categry 4C: Electrchemistry and electrical circuits and their elements Charged particles can be set in mtin by the actin f an applied electrical field, and can be used t transmit energy r infrmatin ver lng distances. The energy released during certain chemical reactins can be cnverted t electrical energy, which can be harnessed t perfrm ther reactins r wrk. Physilgically, a cncentratin gradient f charged particles is set up acrss the cell membrane f neurns at cnsiderable energetic expense. This allws fr the rapid transmissin f signals using electrical impulses changes in the electrical vltage acrss the membrane under the actin f sme external stimulus. The cntent in this categry cvers electrical circuit elements, electrical circuits, and electrchemistry. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Electrstatics (PHY) Electric field E Charge, cnductrs, charge cnservatin Insulatrs Culmb s Law Field lines Field due t charge distributin Electrstatic energy, electric ptential at a pint in space Circuit Elements (PHY) Resistance Current I = ΔQ/Δt, sign cnventins, units Electrmtive frce, vltage Capacitance Cnductivity Meters Magnetism (PHY) Ohm s Law: I = V/R Resistrs in series Resistrs in parallel Resistivity: ρ = RA / L Parallel plate capacitr Energy f charged capacitr Capacitrs in series Capacitrs in parallel Dielectrics Metallic Electrlytic 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 51

55 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Definitin f magnetic field B Mtin f charged particles in magnetic fields; Lrentz frce Electrchemistry (GC) Electrlytic cell Electrlysis Ande, cathde Electrlyte Faraday s Law relating amunt f elements depsited (r gas liberated) at an electrde t current Electrn flw; xidatin, and reductin at the electrdes Galvanic r Vltaic cells Half-reactins Reductin ptentials; cell ptential Directin f electrn flw Cncentratin cell Batteries Electrmtive frce, Vltage Lead-strage batteries Nickel-cadmium batteries Specialized Cell - Nerve Cell (BIO) Myelin sheath, Schwann cells, insulatin f axn Ndes f Ranvier: prpagatin f nerve impulse alng axn 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 52

56 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Cntent Categry 4D: Hw light and sund interact with matter Light is a frm f electrmagnetic radiatin waves f electric and magnetic fields that transmit energy. The behavir f light depends n its frequency (r wavelength). The prperties f light are explited in the ptical elements f the eye t fcus rays f light n sensry elements. When light interacts with matter, spectrscpic changes ccur that can be used t identify the material n an atmic r mlecular level. Differential absrptin f electrmagnetic radiatin can be used t generate images useful in diagnstic medicine. Interference and diffractin f light waves are used in many analytical and diagnstic techniques. The phtn mdel f light explains why electrmagnetic radiatin f different wavelengths interacts differently with matter. When mechanical energy is transmitted thrugh slids, liquids, and gases, scillating pressure waves knwn as sund are generated. Sund waves are audible if the sensry elements f the ear vibrate in respnse t expsure t these vibratins. The detectin f reflected sund waves is utilized in ultrasund imaging. This nn-invasive technique readily lcates dense subcutaneus structures, such as bne and cartilage, and is very useful in diagnstic medicine. The cntent in this categry cvers the prperties f bth light and sund and hw these energy waves interact with matter. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Sund (PHY) Prductin f sund Relative speed f sund in slids, liquids, and gases Intensity f sund, decibel units, lg scale Attenuatin (Damping) Dppler Effect: mving sund surce r bserver, reflectin f sund frm a mving bject Pitch Resnance in pipes and strings Ultrasund Shck waves Light, Electrmagnetic Radiatin (PHY) Prperties f electrmagnetic radiatin Cncept f Interference; Yung Duble-slit Experiment Thin films, diffractin grating, single-slit diffractin Other diffractin phenmena, X-ray diffractin Plarizatin f light: linear and circular Velcity equals cnstant c, in vacu Electrmagnetic radiatin cnsists f perpendicularly scillating electric and magnetic fields; directin f prpagatin is perpendicular t bth Classificatin f electrmagnetic spectrum, phtn energy E = hf Visual spectrum, clr 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 53

57 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Mlecular Structure and Absrptin Spectra (OC) Infrared regin Visible regin (GC) Ultravilet regin π-electrn and nn-bnding electrn transitins Cnjugated systems NMR spectrscpy Prtns in a magnetic field; equivalent prtns Spin-spin splitting Gemetrical Optics (PHY) Spherical mirrrs Intramlecular vibratins and rtatins Recgnizing cmmn characteristic grup absrptins, fingerprint regin Absrptin in visible regin gives cmplementary clr (e.g., cartene) Effect f structural changes n absrptin (e.g., indicatrs) Reflectin frm plane surface: angle f incidence equals angle f reflectin Refractin, refractive index n; Snell s law: n1 sin θ1 = n2 sin θ2 Dispersin, change f index f refractin with wavelength Cnditins fr ttal internal reflectin Thin lenses Center f curvature Fcal length Real and virtual images Cnverging and diverging lenses Use f frmula 1/p + 1/q = 1/f, with sign cnventins Lens strength, dipters Cmbinatin f lenses Lens aberratin Optical Instruments, including the human eye 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 54

58 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Cntent Categry 4E: Atms, nuclear decay, electrnic structure, and atmic chemical behavir Atms are classified by their atmic number: the number f prtns in the atmic nucleus, which als includes neutrns. Chemical interactins between atms are the result f electrstatic frces invlving the electrns and the nuclei. Because neutrns are uncharged, they d nt dramatically affect the chemistry f any particular type f atm, but d affect the stability f the nucleus itself. When a nucleus is unstable, decay results frm ne f several different prcesses, which are randm, but ccur at well-characterized average rates. The prducts f nuclear decay (alpha, beta, and gamma rays) can interact with living tissue, breaking chemical bnds and inizing atms and mlecules in the prcess. The electrnic structure f an atm is respnsible fr its chemical and physical prperties. Only discrete energy levels are allwed fr electrns. These levels are described individually by quantum numbers. Since the utermst, r valence, electrns are respnsible fr the strngest chemical interactins, a descriptin f these electrns alne is a gd first apprximatin t describe the behavir f any particular type f atm. Mass spectrmetry is an analytical tl that allws characterizatin f atms r mlecules, based n well recgnized fragmentatin patterns and the charge t mass rati (m/z) f ins generated in the gas phase. The cntent in this categry cvers atmic structure, nuclear decay, electrnic structure, and the peridic nature f atmic chemical behavir. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Atmic Nucleus (PHY, GC) Radiactive decay Atmic number, atmic weight Neutrns, prtns, istpes Nuclear frces, binding energy α, β, γ decay Half-life, expnential decay, semi-lg plts Mass spectrmeter Electrnic Structure (PHY, GC) Orbital structure f hydrgen atm, principal quantum number n, number f electrns per rbital (GC) Grund state, excited states Absrptin and emissin line spectra Use f Pauli Exclusin Principle Paramagnetism and diamagnetism Cnventinal ntatin fr electrnic structure (GC) Bhr atm Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Effective nuclear charge (GC) Phtelectric effect 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 55

59 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems The Peridic Table - Classificatin f Elements int Grups by Electrnic Structure (GC) Alkali metals Alkaline earth metals: their chemical characteristics Halgens: their chemical characteristics Nble gases: their physical and chemical characteristics Transitin metals Representative elements Metals and nn-metals Oxygen grup The Peridic Table - Variatins f Chemical Prperties with Grup and Rw (GC) Valence electrns First and secnd inizatin energy Definitin Predictin frm electrnic structure fr elements in different grups r rws Electrn affinity Definitin Variatin with grup and rw Electrnegativity Definitin Cmparative values fr sme representative elements and imprtant grups Electrn shells and the sizes f atms Electrn shells and the sizes f ins Stichimetry (GC) Mlecular weight Empirical versus mlecular frmula Metric units cmmnly used in the cntext f chemistry Descriptin f cmpsitin by percent mass Mle cncept, Avgadr s number NA Definitin f density Oxidatin number Cmmn xidizing and reducing agents Disprprtinatin reactins Descriptin f reactins by chemical equatins Cnventins fr writing chemical equatins Balancing equatins, including redx equatins Limiting reactants Theretical yields 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 56

60 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Fundatinal Cncept 5 The principles that gvern chemical interactins and reactins frm the basis fr a brader understanding f the mlecular dynamics f living systems. The chemical prcesses that take place within rganisms are readily understd within the framewrk f the behavir f slutins, thermdynamics, mlecular structure, intermlecular interactins, mlecular dynamics, and mlecular reactivity. Cntent Categries Categry 5A emphasizes the nature f slutin frmatin, factrs that affect slubility, and the prperties and behavir f aqueus slutins, with special emphasis n the acid-base behavir f disslved slutes. Categry 5B fcuses n mlecular structure and hw it affects the strength f intermlecular interactins. Categry 5C emphasizes hw differential intermlecular interactins can be used t effect chemical separatins. Categry 5D emphasizes the varied nature f bilgically-relevant mlecules, and hw patterns f cvalent bnding can be used t predict the chemical reactivity f these mlecules and their structure and functin within a living system. Categry 5E emphasizes hw relative energy dictates the verall favrability f chemical prcesses and the rate at which these prcesses can ccur. With these building blcks, medical students will be able t apply the understanding f basic chemical principles t an understanding f living systems, and will be prepared t learn hw the atmic and mlecular characteristics f bilgical cnstituents can be used t predict nrmal and pathlgical mlecular functin AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 57

61 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Cntent Categry 5A: Unique nature f water and its slutins In rder t fully understand the cmplex and dynamic nature f living systems, it is first necessary t understand the unique nature f water and its slutins. The unique prperties f water allw it t strngly interact with and mbilize many types f slutes, including ins. Water is als unique in its ability t absrb energy and buffer living systems frm the chemical changes necessary t sustain life. The cntent in this categry cvers the nature f slutins, slubility, acids, bases, and buffers. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Acid/Base Equilibria (GC, BC) Brønsted Lwry definitin f acid, base Inizatin f water Cnjugate acids and bases (e.g., NH4 + and NH3) Strng acids and bases (e.g., nitric, sulfuric) Weak acids and bases (e.g., acetic, benzic) Kw, its apprximate value (Kw = [H + ][OH ] = at 25 C, 1 atm) Definitin f ph: ph f pure water Dissciatin f weak acids and bases with r withut added salt Hydrlysis f salts f weak acids r bases Calculatin f ph f slutins f salts f weak acids r bases Equilibrium cnstants Ka and Kb: pka, pkb Buffers Definitin and cncepts (cmmn buffer systems) Influence n titratin curves Ins in Slutins (GC, BC) Anin, catin: cmmn names, frmulas and charges fr familiar ins (e.g., NH4 + ammnium, PO4 3 phsphate, SO4 2 sulfate) Hydratin, the hydrnium in Slubility (GC) Units f cncentratin (e.g., mlarity) Slubility prduct cnstant; the equilibrium expressin Ksp Cmmn-in effect, its use in labratry separatins Cmplex in frmatin Cmplex ins and slubility Slubility and ph Titratin (GC) Indicatrs Neutralizatin Interpretatin f the titratin curves Redx titratin 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 58

62 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Cntent Categry 5B: Nature f mlecules and intermlecular interactins Cvalent bnding invlves the sharing f electrns between atms. If the result f such interactins is nt a netwrk slid, then the cvalently bnded substance will be discrete and mlecular. The shape f mlecules can be predicted based n electrstatic principles and quantum mechanics since nly tw electrns can ccupy the same rbital. Bnd plarity (bth directin and magnitude) can be predicted based n knwledge f the valence electrn structure f the cnstituent atms. The strength f intermlecular interactins depends n mlecular shape and the plarity f the cvalent bnds present. The slubility and ther physical prperties f mlecular substances depend n the strength f intermlecular interactins. The cntent in this categry cvers the nature f mlecules and includes cvalent bnding, mlecular structure, nmenclature, and intermlecular interactins. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Cvalent Bnd (GC) Lewis Electrn Dt frmulas Resnance structures Frmal charge Lewis acids and bases Partial inic character σ and π bnds Rle f electrnegativity in determining charge distributin Diple Mment Hybrid rbitals: sp 3, sp 2, sp and respective gemetries Valence shell electrn pair repulsin and the predictin f shapes f mlecules (e.g., NH3, H2O, CO2) Structural frmulas fr mlecules invlving H, C, N, O, F, S, P, Si, Cl Delcalized electrns and resnance in ins and mlecules Multiple bnding Effect n bnd length and bnd energies Rigidity in mlecular structure Sterechemistry f cvalently bnded mlecules (OC) Ismers Structural ismers Stereismers (e.g., diasteremers, enantimers, cis/trans ismers) Cnfrmatinal ismers Plarizatin f light, specific rtatin Abslute and relative cnfiguratin Cnventins fr writing R and S frms Cnventins fr writing E and Z frms 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 59

63 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Liquid Phase - Intermlecular Frces (GC) Hydrgen bnding Diple Interactins Van der Waals Frces (Lndn dispersin frces) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 60

64 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Cntent Categry 5C: Separatin and purificatin methds Analysis f cmplex mixtures f substances especially bilgically relevant materials typically requires separatin f the cmpnents. Many methds have been develped t accmplish this task, and the methd used is dependent n the types f substances which cmprise the mixture. All f these methds rely n the magnificatin f ptential differences in the strength f intermlecular interactins. The cntent in this categry cvers separatin and purificatin methds including: extractin, liquid and gas chrmatgraphy, and electrphresis. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Separatins and Purificatins (OC, BC) Extractin: distributin f slute between tw immiscible slvents Distillatin Chrmatgraphy Basic principles invlved in separatin prcess Clumn chrmatgraphy, gas-liquid chrmatgraphy High pressure liquid chrmatgraphy Paper chrmatgraphy Thin-layer chrmatgraphy Separatin and purificatin f peptides and prteins (BC) Electrphresis Quantitative analysis Chrmatgraphy Size-exclusin In-exchange Affinity Racemic mixtures, separatin f enantimers (OC) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 61

65 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Cntent Categry 5D: Structure, functin, and reactivity f bilgically-relevant mlecules The structure f bilgical mlecules frms the basis f their chemical reactins including ligmerizatin and plymerizatin. Unique aspects f each type f bilgical mlecule dictate their rle in living systems, whether prviding structure r infrmatin strage, r serving as fuel and catalysts. The cntent in this categry cvers the structure, functin, and reactivity f bilgically-relevant mlecules including the mechanistic cnsideratins that dictate their mdes f reactivity. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Nucletides and Nucleic Acids (BC, BIO) Nucletides and nuclesides: cmpsitin Sugar phsphate backbne Pyrimidine, purine residues Dexyribnucleic acid: DNA; duble helix Chemistry (BC) Other functins (BC) Amin Acids, Peptides, Prteins (OC, BC) Amin acids: descriptin Abslute cnfiguratin at the α psitin Diplar ins Classificatin Acidic r basic Hydrphilic r hydrphbic Synthesis f α-amin acids (OC) Strecker Synthesis Gabriel Synthesis Peptides and prteins: reactins Sulfur linkage fr cysteine and cystine Peptide linkage: plypeptides and prteins Hydrlysis (BC) General Principles Primary structure f prteins Secndary structure f prteins Tertiary structure f prteins Iselectric pint The Three-Dimensinal Prtein Structure (BC) Cnfrmatinal stability Hydrphbic interactins Slvatin layer (entrpy) Quaternary structure Denaturing and Flding 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 62

66 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Nn-Enzymatic Prtein Functin (BC) Binding Immune system Mtr Lipids (BC, OC) Descriptin, Types Strage Structural Carbhydrates (OC) Descriptin Triacyl glycerls Free fatty acids: sapnificatin Phsphlipids and phsphatids Sphinglipids (BC) Waxes Signals/cfactrs Fat-sluble vitamins Sterids Prstaglandins (BC) Nmenclature and classificatin, cmmn names Abslute cnfiguratin Cyclic structure and cnfrmatins f hexses Epimers and anmers Hydrlysis f the glycside linkage Ket-enl tautmerism f mnsaccharides Disaccharides (BC) Plysaccharides (BC) Aldehydes and Ketnes (OC) Descriptin Nmenclature Physical prperties Imprtant reactins Nuclephilic additin reactins at C=O bnd Acetal, hemiacetal Imine, enamine Hydride reagents Cyanhydrin Oxidatin f aldehydes Reactins at adjacent psitins: enlate chemistry Ket-enl tautmerism (α-racemizatin) Aldl cndensatin, retr-aldl Kinetic versus thermdynamic enlate 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 63

67 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems General principles Effect f substituents n reactivity f C=O; steric hindrance Acidity f α-h; carbanins Alchls (OC) Descriptin Imprtant reactins Nmenclature Physical prperties (acidity, hydrgen bnding) Oxidatin Substitutin reactins: SN1 r SN2 Prtectin f alchls Preparatin f mesylates and tsylates Carbxylic Acids (OC) Descriptin Nmenclature Physical prperties Imprtant reactins Carbxyl grup reactins Amides (and lactam), esters (and lactne), anhydride frmatin Reductin Decarbxylatin Reactins at 2-psitin, substitutin Acid Derivatives (Anhydrides, Amides, Esters) (OC) Descriptin Nmenclature Physical prperties Imprtant reactins Nuclephilic substitutin Transesterificatin Hydrlysis f amides General principles Relative reactivity f acid derivatives Steric effects Electrnic effects Strain (e.g., β-lactams) Phenls (OC, BC) Oxidatin and reductin (e.g., hydrquinnes, ubiquinnes): bilgical 2e redx centers Plycyclic and Hetercyclic Armatic Cmpunds (OC, BC) Bilgical armatic hetercycles 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 64

68 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Cntent Categry 5E: Principles f chemical thermdynamics and kinetics The prcesses that ccur in living systems are dynamic, and they fllw the principles f chemical thermdynamics and kinetics. The psitin f chemical equilibrium is dictated by the relative energies f prducts and reactants. The rate at which chemical equilibrium is attained is dictated by a variety f factrs: cncentratin f reactants, temperature, and the amunt f catalyst (if any). Bilgical systems have evlved t harness energy, and utilize it in very efficient ways t supprt all prcesses f life, including hmestasis and anablism. Bilgical catalysts, knwn as enzymes, have evlved t allw all f the relevant chemical reactins required t sustain life t ccur bth rapidly and efficiently, and under the narrw set f cnditins required. The cntent in this categry cvers all principles f chemical thermdynamics and kinetics including enzymatic catalysis. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Enzymes (BC, BIO) Classificatin by reactin type Mechanism Kinetics Substrates and enzyme specificity Active site mdel Induced-fit mdel Cfactrs, cenzymes, and vitamins General (catalysis) Michaelis Menten Cperativity Effects f lcal cnditins n enzyme activity Inhibitin Regulatry enzymes Allsteric Cvalently mdified Principles f Bienergetics (BC) Bienergetics/thermdynamics Free energy/keq Cncentratin Phsphrylatin/ATP ATP hydrlysis ΔG << 0 ATP grup transfers Bilgical xidatin reductin Half-reactins Sluble electrn carriers Flavprteins 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 65

69 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems Energy Changes in Chemical Reactins Thermchemistry, Thermdynamics (GC, PHY) Thermdynamic system state functin Zerth Law cncept f temperature First Law cnservatin f energy in thermdynamic prcesses PV diagram: wrk dne = area under r enclsed by curve (PHY) Secnd Law cncept f entrpy Entrpy as a measure f disrder Relative entrpy fr gas, liquid, and crystal states Measurement f heat changes (calrimetry), heat capacity, specific heat Heat transfer cnductin, cnvectin, radiatin (PHY) Endthermic/exthermic reactins (GC) Enthalpy, H, and standard heats f reactin and frmatin Hess Law f Heat Summatin Bnd dissciatin energy as related t heats f frmatin (GC) Free energy: G (GC) Spntaneus reactins and ΔG (GC) Cefficient f expansin (PHY) Heat f fusin, heat f vaprizatin Phase diagram: pressure and temperature Rate Prcesses in Chemical Reactins - Kinetics and Equilibrium (GC) Reactin rate Dependence f reactin rate n cncentratin f reactants Rate law, rate cnstant Reactin rder Rate-determining step Dependence f reactin rate upn temperature Activatin energy Activated cmplex r transitin state Interpretatin f energy prfiles shwing energies f reactants, prducts, activatin energy, and ΔH fr the reactin Use f the Arrhenius Equatin Kinetic cntrl versus thermdynamic cntrl f a reactin Catalysts Equilibrium in reversible chemical reactins Law f Mass Actin Equilibrium Cnstant Applicatin f Le Châtelier s Principle Relatinship f the equilibrium cnstant and ΔG 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 66

70 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir What will the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin test? The Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin asks yu t slve prblems by cmbining yur knwledge f fundatinal cncepts with yur scientific inquiry and reasning skills. This sectin tests yur understanding f the ways psychlgical, scial, and bilgical factrs influence perceptins and reactins t the wrld; behavir and behavir change; what peple think abut themselves and thers; the cultural and scial differences that influence well-being; and the relatinships between scial stratificatin, access t resurces, and well-being. The Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin emphasizes cncepts that tmrrw s dctrs need t knw in rder t serve an increasingly diverse ppulatin and have a clear understanding f the impact f behavir n health. Further, it cmmunicates the need fr future physicians t be prepared t deal with the human and scial issues f medicine. This sectin is designed t test psychlgy, scilgy, and bilgy cncepts that prvide a slid fundatin fr learning in medical schl abut the behaviral and scicultural determinants f health; test cncepts taught at many clleges and universities in first-semester psychlgy and scilgy curses; test bilgy cncepts that relate t mental prcesses and behavir that are taught at many clleges and universities in intrductry bilgy; test basic research methds and statistics cncepts described by many baccalaureate faculty as imprtant t success in intrductry science curses; and require yu t demnstrate yur scientific inquiry and reasning, research methds, and statistics skills as applied t the scial and behaviral sciences. Test Sectin Number f Questins Time Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir 59 (nte that questins are a cmbinatin f passage-based and discrete questins) 95 minutes 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 67

71 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills As a reminder, the scientific inquiry and reasning skills that yu will be asked t demnstrate n this sectin f the exam are: Knwledge f Scientific Cncepts and Principles Demnstrating understanding f scientific cncepts and principles Identifying the relatinships between clsely-related cncepts Scientific Reasning and Prblem Slving Reasning abut scientific principles, theries, and mdels Analyzing and evaluating scientific explanatins and predictins Reasning abut the Design and Executin f Research Demnstrating understanding f imprtant cmpnents f scientific research Reasning abut ethical issues in research Data-Based and Statistical Reasning Interpreting patterns in data presented in tables, figures, and graphs Reasning abut data and drawing cnclusins frm them 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 68

72 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir General Mathematical Cncepts and Techniques It s imprtant fr yu t knw that questins n the natural, behaviral, and scial sciences sectins will ask yu t use certain mathematical cncepts and techniques. As the descriptins f the scientific inquiry and reasning skills suggest, sme questins will ask yu t analyze and manipulate scientific data t shw that yu can Recgnize and interpret linear, semilg, and lg-lg scales and calculate slpes frm data fund in figures, graphs, and tables Demnstrate a general understanding f significant digits and the use f reasnable numerical estimates in perfrming measurements and calculatins Use metric units, including cnverting units within the metric system and between metric and English units (cnversin factrs will be prvided when needed), and dimensinal analysis (using units t balance equatins) Perfrm arithmetic calculatins invlving the fllwing: prbability, prprtin, rati, percentage, and square-rt estimatins Demnstrate a general understanding (Algebra II level) f expnentials and lgarithms (natural and base 10), scientific ntatin, and slving simultaneus equatins Demnstrate a general understanding f the fllwing trignmetric cncepts: definitins f basic (sine, csine, tangent) and inverse (sin 1, cs 1, tan 1 ) functins; sin and cs values f 0, 90, and 180 ; relatinships between the lengths f sides f right triangles cntaining angles f 30, 45, and 60 Demnstrate a general understanding f vectr additin and subtractin and the right-hand rule (knwledge f dt and crss prducts is nt required) Nte als that an understanding f calculus is nt required, and a peridic table will be prvided during the exam AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 69

73 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Distributin f Questins by Discipline, Fundatinal Cncept, and Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skill Yu may wnder hw much psychlgy, scilgy, and bilgy yu ll see n this sectin f the MCAT exam, hw many questins yu ll get abut a particular fundatinal cncept, r hw the scientific inquiry and reasning skills will be distributed n yur exam. The questins that yu see are likely t be distributed in the ways described belw. These are the apprximate percentages f questins yu ll see n a test fr each discipline, fundatinal cncept, and scientific inquiry and reasning skill.* Discipline: Intrductry psychlgy, 65%** Intrductry scilgy, 30% Intrductry bilgy, 5% Fundatinal Cncept: Fundatinal Cncept 6, 25% Fundatinal Cncept 7, 35% Fundatinal Cncept 8, 20% Fundatinal Cncept 9, 15% Fundatinal Cncept 10, 5% Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skill: Skill 1, 35% Skill 2, 45% Skill 3, 10% Skill 4: 10% * These percentages have been apprximated t the nearest 5% and will vary frm ne test t anther fr a variety f reasns. These reasns include, but are nt limited t, cntrlling fr questin difficulty, using grups f questins that depend n a single passage, and using unscred field-test questins n each test frm. ** Please nte that abut 5% f this test sectin will include psychlgy questins that are bilgically relevant. This is in additin t the discipline target f 5% fr intrductry bilgy specified fr this sectin AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 70

74 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Framewrk f Fundatinal Cncepts and Cntent Categries Fundatinal Cncept 6: Bilgical, psychlgical, and scicultural factrs influence the ways that individuals perceive, think abut, and react t the wrld. The cntent categries fr this fundatinal cncept include 6A. Sensing the envirnment 6B. Making sense f the envirnment 6C. Respnding t the wrld Fundatinal Cncept 7: Bilgical, psychlgical, and scicultural factrs influence behavir and behavir change. The cntent categries fr this fundatinal cncept include 7A. Individual influences n behavir 7B. Scial prcesses that influence human behavir 7C. Attitude and behavir change Fundatinal Cncept 8: Psychlgical, scicultural, and bilgical factrs influence the way we think abut urselves and thers, as well as hw we interact with thers. The cntent categries fr this fundatinal cncept include 8A. Self-identity 8B. Scial thinking 8C. Scial interactins Fundatinal Cncept 9: Cultural and scial differences influence well-being. The cntent categries fr this fundatinal cncept include 9A. Understanding scial structure 9B. Demgraphic characteristics and prcesses Fundatinal Cncept 10: Scial stratificatin and access t resurces influence well-being. The cntent categry fr this fundatinal cncept is 10A. Scial inequality 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 71

75 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Hw Fundatinal Cncepts and Cntent Categries Fit Tgether The MCAT exam asks yu t slve prblems by cmbining yur knwledge f cncepts with yur scientific inquiry and reasning skills. Figure 1 illustrates hw fundatinal cncepts, cntent categries, and scientific inquiry and reasning skills intersect t create test questins. Skill 1 Skill 2 Skill 3 Skill 4 Cntent Categry 1A Fundatinal Cncept 1 Fundatinal Cncept 2 Cntent Cntent Cntent Cntent Categry Categry Categry Categry 1B 1C 2A 2B Each cell represents the pint at which fundatinal cncepts, cntent cat egries, and scientific inquiry and reasning skills crss. Test questins are written at the intersectins f the knw ledge and skills. Cntent Categry 2C 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 72

76 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Understanding the Fundatinal Cncepts and Cntent Categries in the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Sectin The fllwing are detailed explanatins f each fundatinal cncept and related cntent categry tested by the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin. As with the natural sciences sectins, cntent lists describing specific tpics and subtpics that define each cntent categry are prvided. The same cntent list is prvided t the writers wh develp the cntent f the exam. Here is an excerpt frm the cntent list: EXCERPT FROM THE PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, AND BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOR OUTLINE Self-presentatin and Interacting with Others (PSY, SOC) Tpic Expressing and detecting emtin Presentatin f self Subtpic The rle f gender in the expressin and detectin f emtin The rle f culture in the expressin and detectin f emtin Impressin management Frnt stage vs. back stage self (Dramaturgical apprach) (SOC) Verbal and nnverbal cmmunicatin Animal signals and cmmunicatin (PSY, BIO) The abbreviatins fund in parentheses indicate the curse(s) in which undergraduate students at many clleges and universities learn abut the tpics and assciated subtpics. The curse abbreviatins are PSY: ne semester f intrductry psychlgy SOC: ne semester f intrductry scilgy BIO: tw-semester sequence f intrductry bilgy In preparing fr the MCAT exam, yu will be respnsible fr learning the tpics and assciated subtpics at the levels at which they are taught in the curses listed in parentheses. A small number f subtpics have curse abbreviatins indicated in parentheses. In thse cases, yu are respnsible nly fr learning the subtpics as they are taught in the curse(s) indicated. Using the excerpt abve as an example, Yu are respnsible fr learning abut the tpic Self-presentatin and Interacting with Others at the level at which it is taught in a typical intrductry psychlgy curse and in a typical intrductry scilgy curse. Yu are respnsible fr learning abut the sub-subtpic Frnt stage vs. back stage self (Dramaturgical apprach) nly at the level at which it is taught in a typical intrductry scilgy curse. Yu are respnsible fr learning abut the subtpic Animal signals and cmmunicatin at the level at which it is taught in a typical intrductry psychlgy curse and in a typical intrductry bilgy curse AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 73

77 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Remember that curse cntent at yur schl may differ frm curse cntent at ther clleges and universities. The tpics and subtpics described in this chapter may be cvered in curses with titles that are different frm thse listed here. Yur pre-health advisr and faculty are imprtant resurces fr yur questins abut curse cntent AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 74

78 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Fundatinal Cncept 6 Bilgical, psychlgical, and scicultural factrs influence the ways that individuals perceive, think abut, and react t the wrld. The way in which we sense, perceive, think abut, and react t stimuli affects ur experiences. Fundatinal cncept 6 fcuses n these cmpnents f experience, starting with the initial detectin and perceptin f stimuli thrugh cgnitin, and cntinuing t emtin and stress. Cntent Categries Categry 6A fcuses n the detectin and perceptin f sensry infrmatin. Categry 6B fcuses n cgnitin, including ur ability t attend t the envirnment, think abut and remember what we experience, and use language t cmmunicate with thers. Categry 6C fcuses n hw we prcess and experience emtin and stress. These are the building blcks medical students need in rder t learn abut the ways in which cgnitive and perceptual prcesses influence their and thers understanding f health and illness AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 75

79 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 6A: Sensing the envirnment Psychlgical, scicultural, and bilgical factrs affect ur sensatin and perceptin f the wrld. All sensry prcessing begins with first detecting a stimulus in the envirnment thrugh sensry cells, receptrs, and bilgical pathways. After cllecting sensry infrmatin, we then interpret and make sense f it. Althugh sensatin and perceptin are distinct functins, they are bth influenced by psychlgical, scial, and bilgical factrs and therefre becme almst indistinguishable in practice. This cmplexity is illuminated by examining human sight, hearing, tuch, taste, and smell. The cntent in this categry cvers sensatin and perceptin acrss all human senses. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Sensry Prcessing (PSY, BIO) Sensatin Threshld Weber s Law (PSY) Signal detectin thery (PSY) Sensry adaptatin Psychphysics Sensry receptrs Visin (PSY, BIO) Visual prcessing Hearing (PSY, BIO) Structure and functin f the ear Auditry prcessing (e.g., auditry pathways in the brain) Sensry receptin by hair cells Other Senses (PSY, BIO) Smell Sensry pathways Types f sensry receptr Structure and functin f the eye Visual pathways in the brain Parallel prcessing (PSY) Feature detectin (PSY) Smatsensatin (e.g., pain perceptin) Taste (e.g., taste buds/chemreceptrs that detect specific chemicals) Olfactry cells/chemreceptrs that detect specific chemicals Phermnes (BIO) Olfactry pathways in the brain (BIO) Kinesthetic sense (PSY) Vestibular sense 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 76

80 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Perceptin (PSY) Bttm-up/Tp-dwn prcessing Perceptual rganizatin (e.g., depth, frm, mtin, cnstancy) Gestalt principles 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 77

81 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 6B: Making sense f the envirnment The way we think abut the wrld depends n ur awareness, thughts, knwledge, and memries. It is als influenced by ur ability t slve prblems, make decisins, frm judgments, and cmmunicate. Psychlgical, scicultural, and bilgical influences determine the develpment and use f these different yet cnvergent prcesses. Bilgical factrs underlie the mental prcesses that create ur reality, shape ur perceptin f the wrld, and influence the way we perceive and react t every aspect f ur lives. The cntent in this categry cvers critical aspects f cgnitin including cnsciusness, cgnitive develpment, prblem slving and decisin making, intelligence, memry, and language. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Attentin (PSY) Selective attentin Divided attentin Cgnitin (PSY) Infrmatin-prcessing mdel Cgnitive develpment Piaget s stages f cgnitive develpment Cgnitive changes in late adulthd Rle f culture in cgnitive develpment Influence f heredity and envirnment n cgnitive develpment Bilgical factrs that affect cgnitin (PSY, BIO) Prblem slving and decisin making Intellectual functining Types f prblem slving Barriers t effective prblem slving Appraches t prblem slving Heuristics and biases (e.g., vercnfidence, belief perseverance) Theries f intelligence Influence f heredity and envirnment n intelligence Variatins in intellectual ability Cnsciusness (PSY) States f cnsciusness Alertness (PSY, BIO) Sleep Stages f sleep Sleep cycles and changes t sleep cycles Sleep and circadian rhythms (PSY, BIO) Dreaming Sleep wake disrders Hypnsis and meditatin Cnsciusness-altering drugs 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 78

82 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Memry (PSY) Encding Strage Retrieval Frgetting Types f cnsciusness-altering drugs and their effects n the nervus system and behavir Drug addictin and the reward pathway in the brain Prcess f encding infrmatin Prcesses that aid in encding memries Types f memry strage (e.g., sensry, wrking, lng-term) Semantic netwrks and spreading activatin Recall, recgnitin, and relearning Retrieval cues The rle f emtin in retrieving memries (PSY, BIO) Prcesses that aid retrieval Aging and memry Memry dysfunctins (e.g., Alzheimer s disease, Krsakff s syndrme) Decay Interference Memry cnstructin and surce mnitring Changes in synaptic cnnectins underlie memry and learning (PSY, BIO) Neural plasticity Memry and learning Lng-term ptentiatin Language (PSY) Theries f language develpment (e.g., learning, Nativist, Interactinist) Influence f language n cgnitin Brain areas that cntrl language and speech (PSY, BIO) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 79

83 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 6C: Respnding t the wrld We experience a barrage f envirnmental stimuli thrughut the curse f ur lives. In many cases, envirnmental stimuli trigger physilgical respnses, such as an elevated heart rate, increased perspiratin, r heightened feelings f anxiety. Hw we perceive and interpret these physilgical respnses is cmplex and influenced by psychlgical, scicultural, and bilgical factrs. Emtinal respnses, such as feelings f happiness, sadness, anger, r stress are ften brn ut f ur interpretatin f this interplay f physilgical respnses. Our experience with emtins and stress nt nly affects ur behavir, but als shapes ur interactins with thers. The cntent in this categry cvers the basic cmpnents and theries f emtin and their underlying psychlgical, scicultural, and bilgical factrs. It als addresses stress, stress utcmes, and stress management. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Emtin (PSY) Three cmpnents f emtin (i.e., cgnitive, physilgical, behaviral) Universal emtins (i.e., fear, anger, happiness, surprise, jy, disgust, and sadness) Adaptive rle f emtin Theries f emtin James Lange thery Cannn Bard thery Schachter Singer thery The rle f bilgical prcesses in perceiving emtin (PSY, BIO) Brain regins invlved in the generatin and experience f emtins The rle f the limbic system in emtin Emtin and the autnmic nervus system Physilgical markers f emtin (signatures f emtin) Stress (PSY) The nature f stress Appraisal Different types f stressrs (e.g., cataclysmic events, persnal) Effects f stress n psychlgical functins Stress utcmes/respnse t stressrs Physilgical (PSY, BIO) Emtinal Behaviral Managing stress (e.g., exercise, relaxatin, spirituality) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 80

84 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Fundatinal Cncept 7 Bilgical, psychlgical, and scicultural factrs influence behavir and behavir change. Human behavir is cmplex and ften surprising, differing acrss individuals in the same situatin and within an individual acrss different situatins. A full understanding f human behavir requires knwledge f the interplay between psychlgical, scicultural, and bilgical factrs that are related t behavir. This interplay has imprtant implicatins fr the way we behave and the likelihd f behavir change. Fundatinal Cncept 7 fcuses n individual and scial determinants f behavir and behavir change. Cntent Categries Categry 7A fcuses n the individual psychlgical and bilgical factrs that affect behavir. Categry 7B fcuses n hw scial factrs, such as grups and scial nrms, affect behavir. Categry 7C fcuses n hw learning affects behavir, as well as the rle f attitude theries in behavir and behavir change. These are the building blcks medical students need in rder t learn abut behaviral pathways fr prmting health and preventing disease, including behavirs that pse a risk t health. Students entering medical schl with this knwledge will als be better equipped t learn abut interventins that help patients adpt healthy behavirs AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 81

85 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 7A: Individual influences n behavir A cmplex interplay f psychlgical and bilgical factrs shapes behavir. Bilgical structures and prcesses serve as the pathways by which bdies carry ut activities. They als affect predispsitins t behave in certain ways, shape persnalities, and influence the likelihd f develping psychlgical disrders. Psychlgical factrs als affect behavir, and cnsequently, health and well-being. The cntent in this categry cvers bilgical bases f behavir, including the effect f genetics and hw the nervus and endcrine systems affect behavir. It als addresses hw persnality, psychlgical disrders, mtivatin, and attitudes affect behavir. Sme f these tpics are learned in the cntext f nn-human animal species. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Bilgical Bases f Behavir (PSY, BIO) The nervus system Neurns (e.g., the reflex arc) Neurtransmitters Structure and functin f the peripheral nervus system Structure and functin f the central nervus system The brain The spinal crd Frebrain Midbrain Hindbrain Lateralizatin f crtical functins Methds used in studying the brain Neurnal cmmunicatin and its influence n behavir (PSY) Influence f neurtransmitters n behavir (PSY) The endcrine system Cmpnents f the endcrine system Effects f the endcrine system n behavir Behaviral genetics Genes, temperament, and heredity Adaptive value f traits and behavirs Interactin between heredity and envirnmental influences Influence f genetic and envirnmental factrs n the develpment f behavirs Human physilgical develpment (PSY) Experience and behavir (PSY) Regulatry genes and behavir (BIO) Genetically based behaviral variatin in natural ppulatins Prenatal develpment Mtr develpment Develpmental changes in adlescence Persnality (PSY) Theries f persnality Psychanalytic perspective 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 82

86 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Humanistic perspective Trait perspective Scial cgnitive perspective Bilgical perspective Behavirist perspective Situatinal apprach t explaining behavir Psychlgical Disrders (PSY) Understanding psychlgical disrders Types f psychlgical disrders Bimedical vs. bipsychscial appraches Classifying psychlgical disrders Rates f psychlgical disrders Anxiety disrders Obsessive cmpulsive disrder Trauma- and stressr-related disrders Smatic symptm and related disrders Biplar and related disrders Depressive disrders Schizphrenia Dissciative disrders Persnality disrders Bilgical bases f nervus system disrders (PSY, BIO) Schizphrenia Depressin Alzheimer s disease Parkinsn s disease Stem cell-based therapy t regenerate neurns in the central nervus system (BIO) Mtivatin (PSY) Factrs that influence mtivatin Instinct Arusal Drives (e.g., negative feedback systems) (PSY, BIO) Needs Theries that explain hw mtivatin affects human behavir Drive reductin thery Incentive thery Other theries (e.g., cgnitive, need-based) Bilgical and scicultural mtivatrs that regulate behavir (e.g., hunger, sex drive, substance addictin) Attitudes (PSY) Cmpnents f attitudes (i.e., cgnitive, affective, and behaviral) The link between attitudes and behavir Prcesses by which behavir influences attitudes (e.g., ft-in-the dr phenmenn, rle-playing effects) Prcesses by which attitudes influence behavir Cgnitive dissnance thery 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 83

87 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 7B: Scial prcesses that influence human behavir Many scial prcesses influence human behavir; in fact, the mere presence f ther individuals can influence ur behavir. Grups and scial nrms als exert influence ver ur behavir. Oftentimes, scial prcesses influence ur behavir thrugh unwritten rules that define acceptable and unacceptable behavir in sciety. Our understanding f grups and scial nrms is learned thrugh the prcess f scializatin. What we learn abut the grups and sciety t which we belng affects ur behavir and influences ur perceptins and interactins with thers. The cntent in this categry cvers hw the presence f thers, grup decisin-making prcesses, scial nrms, and scializatin shape ur behavir. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Hw the Presence f Others Affects Individual Behavir (PSY) Scial facilitatin Deindividuatin Bystander effect Scial lafing Scial cntrl (SOC) Peer pressure (PSY, SOC) Cnfrmity (PSY, SOC) Obedience (PSY, SOC) Grup Decisin-making Prcesses (PSY, SOC) Grup plarizatin (PSY) Grupthink Nrmative and Nn-nrmative Behavir (SOC) Scial nrms (PSY, SOC) Sanctins (SOC) Flkways, mres, and tabs (SOC) Anmie (SOC) Deviance Perspectives n deviance (e.g., differential assciatin, labeling thery, strain thery) Aspects f cllective behavir (e.g., fads, mass hysteria, rits) Scializatin (PSY, SOC) Agents f scializatin (e.g., the family, mass media, peers, wrkplace) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 84

88 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 7C: Attitude and behavir change Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavir brught abut by experience. There are a number f different types f learning, which include habituatin as well as assciative, bservatinal, and scial learning. Althugh peple can learn new behavirs and change their attitudes, psychlgical, envirnmental, and bilgical factrs influence whether thse changes will be shrt-term r lng-term. Understanding hw peple learn new behavirs, change their attitudes, and the cnditins that affect learning helps us understand behavir and ur interactins with thers. The cntent in this categry cvers learning and theries f attitude and behavir change. This includes the elabratin likelihd mdel and scial cgnitive thery. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Habituatin and Dishabituatin (PSY) Assciative Learning (PSY) Classical cnditining (PSY, BIO) Operant cnditining (PSY, BIO) drift) (PSY, BIO) Neutral, cnditined, and uncnditined stimuli Cnditined and uncnditined respnse Prcesses: acquisitin, extinctin, spntaneus recvery, generalizatin, discriminatin Prcesses f shaping and extinctin Types f reinfrcement: psitive, negative, primary, cnditinal Reinfrcement schedules: fixed-rati, variable-rati, fixed-interval, variable-interval Punishment Escape and avidance learning The rle f cgnitive prcesses in assciative learning Bilgical prcesses that affect assciative learning (e.g., bilgical predispsitins, instinctive Observatinal Learning (PSY) Mdeling Bilgical prcesses that affect bservatinal learning Mirrr neurns Rle f the brain in experiencing vicarius emtins Applicatins f bservatinal learning t explain individual behavir Theries f Attitude and Behavir Change (PSY) Elabratin likelihd mdel Scial cgnitive thery Factrs that affect attitude change (e.g., changing behavir, characteristics f the message and target, scial factrs) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 85

89 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Fundatinal Cncept 8 Psychlgical, scicultural, and bilgical factrs influence the way we think abut urselves and thers, as well as hw we interact with thers. The cnnectin between hw peple think abut themselves and thers is cmplex and affects scial interactins. The interplay between thughts abut urselves, thughts abut thers, and ur bilgy has imprtant implicatins fr ur sense f self and interpersnal relatinships. Fundatinal Cncept 8 fcuses n the physical, cgnitive, and scial cmpnents f ur identity, as well as hw these cmpnents influence the way we think abut and interact with thers. Cntent Categries Categry 8A fcuses n the ntin f self and identity frmatin. Categry 8B fcuses n the attitudes and beliefs that affect scial interactin. Categry 8C fcuses n the actins and prcesses underlying scial interactins. These are the building blcks medical students need t learn abut interacting and cllabrating with patients, their families, and ther health prfessinals, as well as the factrs that influence patient prvider interactins AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 86

90 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 8A: Self-identity The self refers t the thughts and beliefs we have abut urselves. Our ntin f self is cmplex and multifaceted. It includes gender, racial, and ethnic identities, as well as beliefs abut ur ability t accmplish tasks and exert cntrl ver different situatins. Our ntin f self develps ver time and is shaped by a variety f factrs, including sciety, culture, individuals and grups, and ur unique experiences. Hw we view urselves influences ur perceptins f thers, and by extensin, ur interactins with them. The cntent in this categry cvers the ntins f self-cncept and identity, alng with the rle f selfesteem, self-efficacy, and lcus f cntrl in the develpment f self-cncept. Identity frmatin, including develpmental stages and the scial factrs that affect identity frmatin, is als cvered here. Theries are included t prvide histrical cntext fr the field f identity frmatin. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Self-Cncept, Self-identity, and Scial Identity (PSY, SOC) The rle f self-esteem, self-efficacy, and lcus f cntrl in self-cncept and self-identity (PSY) Different types f identities (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual rientatin, class) Frmatin f Identity (PSY, SOC) Theries f identity develpment (e.g., gender, mral, psychsexual, scial) Influence f scial factrs n identity frmatin Influence f individuals (e.g., imitatin, lking-glass self, rle-taking) Influence f grups (e.g., reference grup) Influence f culture and scializatin n identity frmatin 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 87

91 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 8B: Scial thinking Scial thinking refers t the ways in which we view thers and ur envirnment, as well as hw we interpret thers behavirs. A variety f factrs persnality, envirnment, and culture factr int the beliefs and attitudes we develp. Our beliefs and attitudes abut thers and the envirnment als shape the way we interact with each ther. T interact with thers, we need t interpret different aspects f a situatin, including ur perceptin f urselves, the behavir f thers, and the envirnment. The cntent in this categry cvers ur attitudes abut thers and hw thse attitudes develp, including hw perceptins f culture and envirnment affect attributins f behavir. It als cvers hw ur attitudes abut different grups prejudice, steretypes, stigma, and ethncentrism may influence ur interactins with grup members. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Attributing Behavir t Persns r Situatins (PSY) Attributinal prcesses (e.g., fundamental attributin errr, rle f culture in attributins) Hw self-perceptins shape ur perceptins f thers Hw perceptins f the envirnment shape ur perceptins f thers Prejudice and Bias (PSY, SOC) Prcesses that cntribute t prejudice Pwer, prestige, and class (SOC) The rle f emtin in prejudice (PSY) The rle f cgnitin in prejudice (PSY) Steretypes Stigma (SOC) Ethncentrism (SOC) Ethncentrism vs. cultural relativism Prcesses Related t Steretypes (PSY) Self-fulfilling prphecy Steretype threat 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 88

92 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 8C: Scial interactins Humans are scial beings by nature. Thugh the sentiment is simple, the actins and prcesses underlying and shaping ur scial interactins are nt. The changing nature f scial interactin is imprtant fr understanding the mechanisms and prcesses thrugh which peple interact with each ther, bth individually and within grups. A variety f factrs envirnment, culture, and bilgy affect hw we present urselves t thers and hw we treat them. Fr example, perceptins f prejudice and steretypes can lead t acts f discriminatin, whereas psitive attitudes abut thers can lead t the prvisin f help and scial supprt. The cntent in this categry cvers the mechanisms f self-presentatin and scial interactin including expressing and detecting emtin, impressin management, cmmunicatin, the bilgical underpinning f scial behavir, and discriminatin. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Elements f Scial Interactin (PSY, SOC) Status (SOC) Types f status (e.g., achieved, ascribed) Rle Rle cnflict and rle strain (SOC) Rle exit (SOC) Grups Primary and secndary grups (SOC) In-grup vs. ut-grup Grup size (e.g., dyads, triads) (SOC) Netwrks (SOC) Organizatins (SOC) Bureaucracy Self-presentatin and Interacting with Others (PSY, SOC) Expressing and detecting emtin Presentatin f self Verbal and nnverbal cmmunicatin Animal signals and cmmunicatin (PSY, BIO) Scial Behavir (PSY) Attractin Aggressin Attachment Frmal rganizatin Characteristics f an ideal bureaucracy Perspectives n bureaucracy (e.g., irn law f ligarchy, McDnaldizatin) The rle f gender in the expressin and detectin f emtin The rle f culture in the expressin and detectin f emtin Impressin management Frnt stage vs. back stage self (Dramaturgical apprach) (SOC) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 89

93 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Altruism Scial supprt (PSY, SOC) Bilgical explanatins f scial behavir in animals (PSY, BIO) Fraging behavir (BIO) Mating behavir and mate chice Applying game thery (BIO) Altruism Inclusive fitness (BIO) Discriminatin (PSY, SOC) Individual vs. institutinal discriminatin (SOC) The relatinship between prejudice and discriminatin Hw pwer, prestige, and class facilitate discriminatin (SOC) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 90

94 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Fundatinal Cncept 9 Cultural and scial differences influence well-being. Scial structure and demgraphic factrs influence peples health and well-being. Knwledge abut basic scilgical theries, scial institutins, culture, and demgraphic characteristics f scieties is imprtant t understand hw these factrs shape peples lives and their daily interactins. Fundatinal Cncept 9 fcuses n scial variables and prcesses that influence ur lives. Cntent Categries Categry 9A fcuses n the link between scial structures and human interactins. Categry 9B fcuses n the demgraphic characteristics and prcesses that define a sciety. Medical students will build upn these cncepts, learning abut the ways in which demgraphics and scial factrs influence health care and are determinants f health utcmes. Knwledge f these cncepts will prepare students t learn abut the ways in which patients backgrunds and experiences influence their expectatins f the healthcare system, interactins with healthcare prviders, and respnses t treatment AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 91

95 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 9A: Understanding scial structure Scial structure rganizes all human scieties. Elements f scial structure include scial institutins and culture. These elements are linked in a variety f ways and shape ur experiences and interactins with thers a prcess that is reciprcal. The cntent in this categry prvides a fundatin fr understanding scial structure and the varius frms f interactins within and amng scieties. It includes theretical appraches t studying sciety and scial grups, specific scial institutins relevant t student preparatin fr medical schl, and the cnstruct f culture. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Theretical Appraches (SOC) Micrscilgy vs. macrscilgy Functinalism Cnflict thery Symblic interactinism Scial cnstructinism Exchange-ratinal chice Feminist thery Scial Institutins (SOC) Educatin Family (PSY, SOC) Religin Gvernment and ecnmy Health and medicine Hidden curriculum Teacher expectancy Educatinal segregatin and stratificatin Frms f kinship (SOC) Diversity in family frms Marriage and divrce Vilence in the family (e.g., child abuse, elder abuse, spusal abuse) (SOC) Religisity Types f religius rganizatins (e.g., churches, sects, cults) Religin and scial change (e.g., mdernizatin, secularizatin, fundamentalism) Pwer and authrity Cmparative ecnmic and plitical systems Divisin f labr Medicalizatin The sick rle Delivery f health care Illness experience Scial epidemilgy 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 92

96 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Culture (PSY, SOC) Elements f culture (e.g., beliefs, language, rituals, symbls, values) Material vs. symblic culture (SOC) Culture lag (SOC) Culture shck (SOC) Assimilatin (SOC) Multiculturalism (SOC) Subcultures and cuntercultures (SOC) Mass media and ppular culture (SOC) Evlutin and human culture (PSY, BIO) Transmissin and diffusin (SOC) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 93

97 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 9B: Demgraphic characteristics and prcesses In rder t understand the structure f a sciety, it is imprtant t understand the demgraphic characteristics and prcesses which define it. Knwledge f the demgraphic structure f scieties and an understanding f hw scieties change helps us t cmprehend the distinct prcesses and mechanisms thrugh which scial interactin ccurs. The cntent in this categry cvers the imprtant demgraphic variables at the cre f understanding scieties, and als includes cncepts related t demgraphic shifts and scial change. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Demgraphic Structure f Sciety (PSY, SOC) Age Aging and the life curse Age chrts (SOC) Scial significance f aging Gender Race and ethnicity (SOC) Immigratin status (SOC) Sexual rientatin Demgraphic Shifts and Scial Change (SOC) Fertility, migratin, and mrtality Scial mvements Glbalizatin Sex versus gender The scial cnstructin f gender (SOC) Gender segregatin (SOC) The scial cnstructin f race Racializatin Racial frmatin Patterns f immigratin Intersectins with race and ethnicity Theries f demgraphic change (i.e., Malthusian thery and demgraphic transitin) Ppulatin grwth and decline (e.g., ppulatin prjectins, ppulatin pyramids) Fertility and mrtality rates (e.g., ttal, crude, age-specific) Patterns in fertility and mrtality Push and pull factrs in migratin Relative deprivatin Organizatin f scial mvements Mvement strategies and tactics Factrs cntributing t glbalizatin (e.g., cmmunicatin technlgy, ecnmic interdependence) Perspectives n glbalizatin Scial changes in glbalizatin (e.g., civil unrest, terrrism) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 94

98 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Urbanizatin Industrializatin and urban grwth Suburbanizatin and urban decline Gentrificatin and urban renewal 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 95

99 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Fundatinal Cncept 10 Scial stratificatin and access t resurces influence well-being. Scial stratificatin and inequality affect all human scieties, and shape the lives f all individuals by affrding privileges t sme and psitining thers at a disadvantage. Fundatinal Cncept 10 fcuses n the aspects f scial inequality that influence hw we interact with ne anther, as well as hw we apprach ur health and the healthcare system. Cntent Categry Categry 10A fcuses n a brad understanding f scial class, including theries f stratificatin, scial mbility, and pverty. In medical schl, students will learn the ways in which scial stratificatin influences health care and hw scial inequality can be a determinant f health. Knwledge f these cncepts will prepare students t learn abut the ways by which patients scial class and living cnditins affect their access t health care, interactins with prviders, and health utcmes AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 96

100 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir Cntent Categry 10A: Scial inequality Barriers t the access f institutinal resurces exist fr the segment f the ppulatin that is disenfranchised r lacks pwer within a given sciety. Barriers t access might include language, gegraphic lcatin, sciecnmic status, immigratin status, and racial/ethnic identity. Institutinalized racism and discriminatin are als factrs which prevent sme grups frm btaining equal access t resurces. An understanding f the barriers t the access f institutinal resurces, infrmed by perspectives such as scial justice, is essential t address health and healthcare disparities. The cntent in this categry cvers spatial inequality, the structure and patterns f scial class, and health disparities in relatin t class, race/ethnicity, and gender. The tpics and subtpics in this categry are the fllwing: Spatial Inequality (SOC) Residential segregatin Neighbrhd safety and vilence Envirnmental justice (lcatin and expsure t health risks) Scial Class (SOC) Aspects f scial stratificatin Patterns f scial mbility Pverty Scial class and sciecnmic status Class cnsciusness and false cnsciusness Cultural capital and scial capital Scial reprductin Pwer, privilege, and prestige Intersectinality (e.g., race, gender, age) Sciecnmic gradient in health Glbal inequalities Intergeneratinal and intrageneratinal mbility Vertical and hrizntal mbility Meritcracy Relative and abslute pverty Scial exclusin (segregatin and islatin) Health Disparities (SOC) (e.g., class, gender, and race inequalities in health) Healthcare Disparities (SOC) (e.g., class, gender, and race inequalities in health care) 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 97

101 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY AND REASONING SKILLS Leaders in medical educatin believe that tmrrw s physicians need t be able t cmbine scientific knwledge with skills in scientific inquiry and reasning. With that in mind, the MCAT exam will ask yu t demnstrate fur scientific inquiry and reasning skills that natural, behaviral, and scial scientists rely n t advance their wrk: Knwledge f Scientific Cncepts and Principles Demnstrating understanding f scientific cncepts and principles Identifying the relatinships between clsely-related cncepts Scientific Reasning and Prblem Slving Reasning abut scientific principles, theries, and mdels Analyzing and evaluating scientific explanatins and predictins Reasning abut the Design and Executin f Research Demnstrating understanding f imprtant cmpnents f scientific research Reasning abut ethical issues in research Data-Based and Statistical Reasning Interpreting patterns in data presented in tables, figures, and graphs Reasning abut data and drawing cnclusins frm them The discussin that fllws describes each f the skills and hw yu may be asked t demnstrate them. Three sample test questins are prvided t illustrate each skill: ne frm the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin; ne frm the Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems sectin; and ne frm the Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems sectin. Als included are explanatins f hw each questin tests a specific scientific inquiry and reasning skill. Skill 1: Knwledge f Scientific Cncepts and Principles 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 98

102 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills The questins in this skill categry will ask yu t demnstrate yur knwledge f the 10 fundatinal cncepts described earlier in this chapter. These questins will ask yu t recgnize, recall, r define basic cncepts in the natural, behaviral, and scial sciences as well as their relatinships with ne anther. The cncepts and scientific principles may be represented by wrds, graphs, tables, diagrams, r frmulas. As yu wrk n these questins, yu may be asked t recgnize a scientific fact r define a cncept. Or yu may be asked t apply a scientific principle t a prblem. Questins may ask yu t identify the relatinships between clsely-related cncepts r relate verbal t graphic representatins f science cntent. They may ask yu t identify examples f bservatins that illustrate scientific principles. Questins may ask yu t recgnize a scientific cncept shwn in a diagram r represented in a graph. Or they may give yu a mathematical equatin and ask yu t use it t slve a prblem. Questins that test this skill will ask yu t shw that yu understand scientific cncepts and principles by, fr example, Recgnizing crrect scientific principles Identifying the relatinships amng clsely-related cncepts Identifying the relatinships between different representatins f cncepts (e.g., verbal, symblic, graphic) Identifying examples f bservatins that illustrate scientific principles Using mathematical equatins t slve prblems By way f example, questins frm the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin may ask yu t demnstrate yur knwledge f scientific cncepts and principles by Recgnizing the principle f retractive interference Using Weber s Law t identify physical differences that are detectable Identifying the behaviral change (extinctin) that will ccur when a learned respnse is n lnger fllwed by a reinfrcer Identifying the relatinship between perant cnditining and classical cnditining Identifying a graph that illustrates the relatinship between educatinal attainment and life expectancy Recgnizing cnditins that result in learned helplessness Recgnizing a demgraphic trend that is represented in a ppulatin pyramid The three sample questins that fllw illustrate Skill 1 questins frm, respectively, the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin; the Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems sectin; and the Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical System sectin f the MCAT exam AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 99

103 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills SKILL 1 EXAMPLE FROM THE PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, AND BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOR SECTION: Which series crrectly sequences the types f cells invlved in the transmissin f infrmatin frm sund detectin t the mment when an individual turns his r her head in respnse t the sund? A. Sensry neurns, interneurns, afferent neurns, skeletal muscle cells B. Sensry neurns, efferent neurns, interneurns, skeletal muscle cells C. Mechanreceptrs, sensry neurns, interneurns, mtr neurns, skeletal muscle cells D. Mechanreceptrs, sensry neurns, interneurns, afferent neurns, skeletal muscle cells The crrect answer is C. This Skill 1 questin tests yur knwledge f the scientific cncepts and principles described by Cntent Categry 6A, Sensing the envirnment, and is a Skill 1 questin because it requires yu t relate scientific cncepts. This questin asks yu t recgnize and sequence the crrect rder f receptrs and neurns invlved in sensry prcessing and t cnclude that C is the crrect answer. SKILL 1 EXAMPLE FROM THE BIOLOGICAL AND BIOCHEMICAL FOUNDATIONS OF LIVING SYSTEMS SECTION: Hw are the basal layer f the epidermis and the innermst lining f the small intestine similar? A. Bth are nndividing tissues. B. Bth are derived frm ectderm. C. Bth are cmpsed f squamus cells. D. The cells f bth are cnnected by tight junctins. The crrect answer is D. It is a Skill 1 questin and assesses knwledge f Cntent Categry 2A, Assemblies f mlecules, cells, and grups f cells within singular cellular and multicellular rganisms. It is a Skill 1 questin because it requires yu t recall the structural and embrylgical characteristics f tw tissues and relate them t ne anther. T answer this questin crrectly, yu must identify a similarity between the basal layer f the epidermis and the innermst lining f the small intestine. SKILL 1 EXAMPLE FROM THE CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS SECTION: In Michaelis-Menten enzyme kinetics, what is the velcity f the reactin when the substrate cncentratin is equal t KM? A. ¼Vmax B. ½Vmax C. Vmax D. 2Vmax 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 100

104 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills The crrect answer is B. This is a Skill 1 questin and relates t Cntent Categry 5E, Principles f chemical thermdynamics and kinetics. It is a Skill 1 questin because yu must recgnize the relatinship between tw variables in the cntext f an experiment. T answer the questin, yu must recgnize KM, recall its significance in Michaelis-Menten enzyme kinetics, and relate it t anther fundamental variable, Vmax. Skill 2: Scientific Reasning and Prblem Slving Questins that test scientific reasning and prblem-slving skills differ frm questins in the previus categry by asking yu t use yur scientific knwledge t slve prblems in the natural, behaviral, and scial sciences. As yu wrk n questins that test this skill, yu may be asked t use scientific theries t explain bservatins r make predictins abut natural r scial phenmena. Questins may ask yu t judge the credibility f scientific explanatins r t evaluate arguments abut cause and effect. Or they may ask yu t use scientific mdels and bservatins t draw cnclusins. They may ask yu t recgnize scientific findings that call a thery r mdel int questin. Questins in this categry may ask yu t lk at pictures r diagrams and draw cnclusins frm them. Or they may ask yu t determine and then use scientific frmulas t slve prblems. Yu will be asked t shw that yu can use scientific principles t slve prblems by, fr example, Reasning abut scientific principles, theries, and mdels Analyzing and evaluating scientific explanatins and predictins Evaluating arguments abut causes and cnsequences Bringing tgether thery, bservatins, and evidence t draw cnclusins Recgnizing scientific findings that challenge r invalidate a scientific thery r mdel Determining and using scientific frmulas t slve prblems By way f illustratin, questins frm the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin may ask yu demnstrate this skill by Using the main premises f symblic interactinism t reasn abut an bservatinal study f physician-patient interactins Predicting hw an individual will react t cgnitive dissnance Reasning abut whether a causal explanatin is pssible when given an example f hw smebdy s gender r persnality predicts his r her behavir Cncluding which stage f cgnitive develpment a child is in, accrding t Piaget s thery, when presented with a descriptin f hw a child respnds t a cnservatin prblem Determining whether an example, such as when an anrexic teenager restricts eating t satisfy esteem needs, is cmpatible with the premises f Maslw s hierarchy f needs 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 101

105 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills Drawing a cnclusin abut which scilgical thery wuld be mst cnsistent with a cnceptual diagram that explains hw scial and envirnmental factrs influence health Identifying the relatinship between scial institutins that is suggested by an illustratin used in a public health campaign Fr mre cntext, let s cnsider three Skill 2 questins linked t different fundatinal cncepts in the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin; the Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems sectin; and the Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems sectin. SKILL 2 EXAMPLE FROM THE PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, AND BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOR SECTION: The cncept f cultural capital predicts that: A. cultural distinctins assciated with the yung will be mre valued within a sciety. B. with imprved cmmunicatin, there will eventually be a cnvergence f cultural practices f all classes. C. cultural distinctins by class will becme less imprtant during a recessin because peple will have less mney t spend. D. cultural distinctins assciated with elite classes will be mre valued within a sciety. The crrect answer is D. It is a Skill 2 questin and assesses knwledge f Cntent Categry 10A, Scial inequality. It is a Skill 2 questin because it requires yu t make a predictin based n a particular cncept. This questin requires yu t understand the cncept f cultural capital in rder t evaluate which predictin abut scial stratificatin wuld be mst cnsistent with the cncept. SKILL 2 EXAMPLE FROM THE BIOLOGICAL AND BIOCHEMICAL FOUNDATIONS OF LIVING SYSTEMS SECTION: Starting with the translatin initiatin cdn, the fllwing sequence encdes a plypeptide f hw many amin acids? A. 2 B. 3 C. 6 D. 8 5'-CUGCCAAUGUGCUAAUCGCGGGGG-3' 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 102

106 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills The crrect answer is A. This is a Skill 2 questin, and yu must use knwledge frm Cntent Categry 1B, Transmissin f genetic infrmatin frm the gene t the prtein, t slve this prblem. In additin t recalling the sequence fr the start cdn, this is a Skill 2 questin because it requires yu t apply the scientific principle f the genetic cde t the prvided RNA sequence. As a Skill 2 questin, reasning abut the rle f the stp cdn in translatin will allw yu t arrive at the cnclusin that this plypeptide has tw amin acids. SKILL 2 EXAMPLE FROM THE CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS SECTION: The radius f the arta is abut 1.0 cm and bld passes thrugh it at a velcity f 30 cm/s. A typical capillary has a radius f abut cm with bld passing thrugh at a velcity f cm/s. Using this data, what is the apprximate number f capillaries in a human bdy? A B C D The crrect answer is C. This Skill 2 questin relates t Cntent Categry 4B, Imprtance f fluids fr the circulatin f bld, gas mvement, and gas exchange. This questin asks yu t use a mathematical mdel t make predictins abut natural phenmena. T answer this questin, yu must be able t recgnize the principles f flw characteristics f bld in the human bdy and apply the apprpriate mathematical mdel t an unfamiliar scenari. Answering this questin first requires recgnitin that the vlume f bld flwing thrugh the arta is the same vlume f bld flwing thrugh the capillaries. It is a Skill 2 questin because yu then need t use reasning skills t find the difference in the vlumes that the arta and capillaries can each carry in rder t calculate the ttal number f capillaries. Skill 3: Reasning abut the Design and Executin f Research Questins that test reasning abut the design and executin f research will ask yu t demnstrate yur scientific inquiry skills by shwing that yu can d science. They will ask yu t demnstrate yur understanding f imprtant cmpnents f scientific methdlgy. These questins will ask yu t demnstrate yur knwledge f the ways in which natural, behaviral, and scial scientists cnduct research t test and extend scientific knwledge. As yu wrk n these questins, yu may be asked t shw hw scientists use thery, past research findings, and bservatins t ask testable questins and pse hyptheses. Questins that test this skill may ask yu t reasn abut the ways in which scientists gather data frm samples f members f the ppulatin abut which they wuld like t draw inferences. They may ask yu t identify hw scientists manipulate and cntrl variables t test their hyptheses. Questins may ask yu t reasn abut the ways scientists take measurements and recrd results. These questins may ask yu t recgnize faulty research lgic r pint ut the limitatins f the research studies that are described. Or they may ask yu t identify factrs that might cnfuse the inferences yu can draw frm the results AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 103

107 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills These questins may als ask yu t demnstrate and use yur understanding f the ways scientists adhere t ethical guidelines t prtect the rights f research participants, the integrity f their wrk, and the interests f research cnsumers. Questins that test this skill will ask yu t use yur knwledge f imprtant cmpnents f scientific methdlgy by, fr example, Identifying the rle f thery, past findings, and bservatins in scientific questining Identifying testable research questins and hyptheses Distinguishing between samples and ppulatins and between results that d and d nt supprt generalizatins abut ppulatins Identifying the relatinships amng the variables in a study (e.g., independent versus dependent variables; cntrl and cnfunding variables) Reasning abut the apprpriateness, precisin, and accuracy f tls used t cnduct research in the natural sciences Reasning abut the apprpriateness, reliability, and validity f tls used t cnduct research in the behaviral and scial sciences Reasning abut the features f research studies that suggest assciatins between variables r causal relatinships between them (e.g., temprality, randm assignment) Reasning abut ethical issues in scientific research Questins frm the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin may ask yu t reasn abut the design and executin f research by, fr example, Identifying the basic cmpnents f survey methds, ethngraphic methds, experimental methds, r ther types f research designs in psychlgy and scilgy Selecting a hypthesis abut semantic activatin Identifying the extent t which a finding can be generalized t the ppulatin when given details abut hw participants were recruited fr an experiment in language develpment Identifying the experimental setup in which researchers manipulate self-cnfidence Identifying the mst apprpriate way f assessing prejudice in a study n implicit bias Reasning abut the implicatins f relying n self-reprt measures fr a specific study Identifying the third variable that may be cnfunding the findings frm a crrelatinal study Making judgments abut the reliability and validity f specific measures when given infrmatin abut the respnse patterns f participants Identifying whether researchers vilated any ethical cdes when given infrmatin abut a study 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 104

108 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills The three sample questins that fllw illustrate Skill 3 questins frm, respectively, the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin; the Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems sectin; and the Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems sectin f the MCAT exam. SKILL 3 EXAMPLE FROM THE PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, AND BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOR SECTION: Researchers cnducted an experiment t test scial lafing. They asked participants t prepare an annual reprt r a tax return. Sme participants perfrmed the task individually and thers perfrmed it as a grup. What are the independent and dependent variables? A. The independent variable is the verall prductivity f the grup, and the dependent variable is each participant s cntributin t the task. B. The independent variable is the type f task, and the dependent variable is whether the participants wrked alne r in a grup. C. The independent variable is whether the participant wrked alne r in a grup, and the dependent variable is each participant s cntributin t the task. D. The independent variable is whether the participant wrked alne r in a grup, and the dependent variable is the type f the task. The crrect answer is C. This Skill 3 questin assesses knwledge f Cntent Categry 7B, Scial prcesses that influence human behavir. This questin is a Skill 3 questin because it requires yu t reasn abut research design. This questin requires yu t understand scial lafing and draw inferences abut the dependent and independent variables based n this cncept and the descriptin f the experimental design. SKILL 3 EXAMPLE FROM THE BIOLOGICAL AND BIOCHEMICAL FOUNDATIONS OF LIVING SYSTEMS SECTION: Sdium ddecyl sulfate (SDS) cntains a 12-carbn tail attached t a sulfate grup and is used in denaturing gel electrphresis f prteins. Numerus SDS mlecules will bind t the expsed hydrphbic regins f denatured prteins. The use f SDS in this experiment allws fr the separatin f prteins by: A. charge. B. mlecular weight. C. shape. D. slubility AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 105

109 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills The crrect answer is B. This is a Skill 3 questin and requires knwledge frm Cntent Categry 1A, Structure and functin f prteins and their cnstituent amin acids. It is a Skill 3 questin because it requires yu t understand the design f a denaturing gel electrphresis experiment and the rle that SDS plays in this technique. Based n this understanding, yu will be able t determine that prteins will be separated nly by mlecular weight. SKILL 3 EXAMPLE FROM THE CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS SECTION: A test fr prteins in urine invlves precipitatin but is ften cmplicated by precipitatin f calcium phsphate. Which prcedure prevents precipitatin f the salt? A. Additin f buffer t maintain high ph B. Additin f buffer t maintain neutral ph C. Additin f calcium hydrxide D. Additin f sdium phsphate The crrect answer is B. This is a Skill 3 questin and relates t Cntent Categry 5B, Nature f mlecules and intermlecular interactins. In this Skill 3 questin, yu must identify a change in an experimental apprach that wuld eliminate a frequently encuntered cmplicatin. The cmplicatin in this case is related t the test fr prtein-invlving precipitatin. The test will give a false psitive if calcium phsphate precipitates. T answer this Skill 3 questin, yu need t reasn abut hw changing experimental parameters will eliminate the cmplicatin. Skill 4: Data-based and Statistical Reasning Like questins abut the third skill, questins that test the furth skill will ask yu t shw that yu can d science, this time by demnstrating yur data-based and statistical reasning skills. Questins that test this skill will ask yu t reasn with data. They will ask yu t read and interpret results using tables, graphs, and charts. These questins will ask yu t demnstrate that yu can identify patterns in data and draw cnclusins frm evidence. Questins that test this skill may ask yu t demnstrate yur knwledge f the ways natural, behaviral and scial scientists use measures f central tendency and dispersin t describe their data. These questins may ask yu t demnstrate yur understanding f the ways scientists think abut randm and systematic errrs in their experiments and datasets. They may als ask yu t demnstrate yur understanding f hw scientists think abut uncertainty and the implicatins f uncertainty fr statistical testing and the inferences they can draw frm their data. These questins may ask yu t shw hw scientists use data t make cmparisns between variables r explain relatinships between them r make predictins. They may ask yu t use data t answer research questins r draw cnclusins AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 106

110 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills These questins may ask yu t demnstrate yur knwledge f the ways scientists draw inferences frm their results abut assciatins between variables r causal relatinships between them. Questins that test this skill may ask yu t examine evidence frm a scientific study and pint ut statements that g beynd the evidence. Or they may ask yu t suggest alternative explanatins fr the same data. Questins that test this skill will ask yu t use yur knwledge f data-based and statistical reasning by, fr example, Using, analyzing, and interpreting data in figures, graphs, and tables Evaluating whether representatins make sense fr particular scientific bservatins and data Using measures f central tendency (mean, median, and mde) and measures f dispersin (range, inter-quartile range, and standard deviatin) t describe data Reasning abut randm and systematic errr Reasning abut statistical significance and uncertainty (e.g., interpreting statistical significance levels, interpreting a cnfidence interval) Using data t explain relatinships between variables r make predictins Using data t answer research questins and draw cnclusins Identifying cnclusins that are supprted by research results Determining the implicatins f results fr real-wrld situatins Questins frm the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin may ask yu t demnstrate yur use f data-based and statistical reasning by, fr example, Identifying the crrelatin between a demgraphic variable, such as race/ethnicity, gender, r age, with life expectancy r anther health utcme Identifying the relatinship between demgraphic variables and health variables reprted in a table r figure Explaining why incme data are usually reprted using the median rather than the mean Reasning abut what inference is supprted by a table f crrelatins between different sciecnmic variables and level f participatin in different physical activities Reasning abut the type f cmparisns made in an experimental study f cgnitive dissnance and what the findings imply fr attitude and behavir change Drawing cnclusins abut the type f memry affected by an experimental manipulatin when yu are shwn a graph f findings frm a memry experiment Distinguishing the kinds f claims that can be made when using lngitudinal data, crss-sectinal data, r experimental data in studies f scial interactin Identifying which cnclusin abut mathematical understanding in yung children is supprted by time data reprted in a develpmental study 2014 AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 107

111 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills Evaluating data cllected frm different types f research studies, such as cmparing results frm a qualitative study f mechanisms fr cping with stress with results frm a quantitative study f scial supprt netwrks Using data, such as interviews with cancer patients r a natinal survey f health behavirs, t determine a practical applicatin based n a study s results The three questins that fllw illustrate Skill 4 questins frm, respectively, the Psychlgical, Scial, and Bilgical Fundatins f Behavir sectin; the Bilgical and Bichemical Fundatins f Living Systems sectin; and the Chemical and Physical Fundatins f Bilgical Systems sectin f the MCAT exam. SKILL 4 EXAMPLE FROM THE PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, AND BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOR SECTION: Which crrelatin supprts the bystander effect? A. The number f bystanders is psitively crrelated with the time it takes fr smene t ffer help in the case f an emergency. B. The number f bystanders is negatively crrelated with the time it takes fr smene t ffer help in the case f an emergency. C. The number f bystanders is psitively crrelated with whether peple judge a situatin t be an emergency. D. The number f bystanders is negatively crrelated with whether peple judge a situatin t be an emergency. The crrect answer is A. This Skill 4 questin assesses knwledge f Cntent Categry 7B, Scial prcesses that influence human behavir. It is a Skill 4 questin because it requires yu t engage in statistical reasning. This questin requires yu t understand the distinctin between negative and psitive crrelatins and make a predictin abut data based n yur knwledge f the bystander effect. SKILL 4 EXAMPLE FROM THE BIOLOGICAL AND BIOCHEMICAL FOUNDATIONS OF LIVING SYSTEMS SECTION: In the figure, the three curves represent hemglbin xygen binding at three different ph values, ph 7.2, ph 7.4, and ph AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 108

112 What s n the MCAT 2015 Exam? Scientific Inquiry and Reasning Skills What cnclusin can be drawn frm these data abut the xygen binding f hemglbin at different ph values? A. Lw ph favrs the high affinity xygen binding state. B. Lw ph favrs the lw affinity xygen binding state. C. Oxygen affinity is independent f ph. D. Oxygen binding is nn-cperative at lw ph. The crrect answer is B. This Skill 4 questin draws n knwledge frm Cntent Categry 1A, Structure and functin f prteins and their cnstituent amin acids. This is a Skill 4 questin because it asks yu t use data t explain a prperty f hemglbin. Yu must evaluate the hemglbin xygen binding data fr each ph value and cmpare them t determine the relatinship between ph and hemglbin xygen affinity in rder t cnclude that lw ph favrs the lw affinity xygen binding state. SKILL 4 EXAMPLE FROM THE CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS SECTION: Fur different slutins f a single amin acid were titrated, and the pk values f the slute were determined AAMC. May nt be reprduced withut permissin. 109

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