Looking for MCAT chemistry practice questions and answers? Below, you will find the hardest practice passages to test your MCAT knowledge! Whether you are just creating your MCAT schedule or deep into your MCAT test prep, make sure to include some practice questions and answers to see how well you can apply your chemistry knowledge!

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MCAT Chemistry Practice Questions: Advice from Our MD Experts MCAT Chemistry/Biochemistry Practice Passage #1 MCAT Chemistry/Biochemistry Practice Passage #2 MCAT Chemistry/Biochemistry Practice Passage #3 FAQs

MCAT Chemistry Practice Questions: Advice from Our MD Experts

To ace the MCAT chemistry section, you’ll need to use similar strategies as you would for the MCAT biology and MCAT physics sections. First, master the content covered on this section with active learning techniques and thorough prep.

“The passage format can be a bit involved in the chemistry mechanisms, and problem-solving will be heavy on stoichiometry concepts. Staying organized is important. Checking your work and using pen and paper.” – Dr. Sruveera Sathi, MD


The most challenging aspect for me was definitely the application of knowledge … One strategy that helped me study for these sections was breaking down the content into smaller, manageable chunks and studying consistently over time rather than cramming. I also made use of active learning techniques such as teaching the material to myself and creating concept maps to organize information … I made a conscious effort to relate biology and chemistry concepts to real-life applications and examples.” – Cathleen Kuo, MD

 

“Read a lesson then do questions immediately after in order to apply what [you] learned and see how much [you] understood the material. After, I would look into whatever deficits [you] had … I used the pomodoro technique where I would do 30 minutes of work and then a 5-10 minute break in order to make sure I didn’t overwork my mind and limit burnout.” – Dr. Christian Cuevas, MD


Don’t forget to review the MCAT chemistry equations you’ll need to know for the exam, and the tools you’ll have access to, including the MCAT periodic table.

After that, it’s all about applying your chemistry knowledge with real MCAT chemistry practice questions and answers, so let’s try a few!

MCAT Chemistry Practice Passage, Questions and Answers #1

Alzheimer’s Disease(AD) is a neurodegenerative disease. One of the pathological events in the progression of AD is the conformational changes and misfolding of the amyloid beta protein(Aβ), concentrated in the synapses of neurons. Aβ has physiological importance and is mainly produced by amyloidogenic metabolism of amyloid precursor protein, by sequential action of β- and γ-secretases, leading to the liberation of peptide between 39 and 42 amino-acid residues. However, the production of amyloid beta exceeds the clearance from the body in a diseased condition, leading to target proteins attain toxicity following their transition from a α-helix to a β-sheet form. Such abnormal conformational transition exposes hydrophobic amino acid residues and promotes protein aggregation. Aβ senile plaques are extracellular depositions of Aβ that are largely 40 or 42 amino acid in length (Aβ40 and Aβ420). The Aβ40 form is the more common of the two, whereas Aβ42, consequent to the additional two hydrophobic C-terminus amino acids (isoleucine and alanine), is the more fibrillogenic and hence associated with AD. In    a study on the disease-associated mutant, (D23N)Aβ40, the researchers reported stabilized parallel and antiparallel β-sheets within the amyloid fibrils. A number of small molecule probes able to track and/or inhibit protein aggregation have been developed recently. Synthetic peptide derivatives, termed ‘β-sheet breakers’, have been developed that are able to inhibit amyloid formation by binding to monomeric precursors or by preventing fibril elongation by blocking fibril ends. Substitution of key residues in synthetic peptides corresponding to the amyloid core regions with prolines or incorporating N-methyl modified amino acids, prevents hydrogen bond formation crucial to the cross-β structure. Small molecules have several advantages over peptide-based owing to there small size and lack of peptide bonds.

MCAT Chemistry Practice Questions and Answers #1

Ref: CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014 ; 13(7): 1280–1293

Ref: Agnès Rioux Bilan* et. al. Neural Regen Res 13(6):955-961.

MCAT Chemistry Practice Passage, Questions and Answers #2

In order to function properly, the human body needs to maintain an optimal blood pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Large deviations from this range are extremely dangerous. Any condition in which the blood pH drops below 7.35 is known as acidosis. If the pH rises above 7.45, it is known as alkalosis. To prevent acidosis or alkalosis, the balanced functioning of body’s chemical buffer system in the blood with the body's respiratory and urinary systems is very important. The chemical buffer system functioning in blood plasma include plasma proteins, phosphate, bicarbonate and carbonic acid buffers. In the bicarbonate-carbonic acid buffer system, bicarbonate is regulated in the blood by sodium. When sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), comes into contact with a strong acid, such as HCl, carbonic acid (H2CO3), which is a weak acid, and NaCl are formed. When carbonic acid comes into contact with a strong base, such as NaOH, bicarbonate and water are formed. Bicarbonate ions and carbonic acid are present in the blood in a 20:1 ratio at biological pH. With 20 times more bicarbonate than carbonic acid, this capture system is most efficient at buffering changes that would make the blood more acidic. This is useful because most of the body’s metabolic wastes, such as lactic acid and ketones, are acids. Carbonic acid levels in the blood are controlled by the expiration of CO2 through the lungs. The level of bicarbonate in the blood is controlled by the renal system, where bicarbonate ions in the renal filtrate are conserved and passed back into the blood. The respiratory system contributes to the balance of acids and bases in the body by regulating the blood levels of carbonic acid . CO2 in the blood readily reacts with water to form carbonic acid, and the levels of CO2 and carbonic acid in the blood are in equilibrium. When the CO2 level in the blood rises (as it does when you hold your breath), the excess CO2 reacts with water to form additional carbonic acid, lowering blood pH. Increasing the rate and/or depth of respiration (which you might feel the “urge” to do after holding your breath) allows you to exhale more CO2. The loss of CO2 from the body reduces blood levels of carbonic acid and thereby adjusts the pH upward, toward normal levels. As you might have surmised, this process also works in the opposite direction. Excessive deep and rapid breathing (as in hyperventilation) rids the blood of CO2 and reduces the level of carbonic acid, making the blood too alkaline. This brief alkalosis can be remedied by rebreathing air that has been exhaled into a paper bag. Rebreathing exhaled air will rapidly bring blood pH down toward normal.

MCAT Chemistry Practice Questions and Answers #2

MCAT Chemistry Practice Passage, Questions and Answers #3

Polycyclic aromatic compound formed by fusing two or more aromatic rings together. They are known environmental contaminants. The inherent properties of PAHs such as heterocyclic aromatic ring structures, hydrophobicity, and thermostability have made them recalcitrant and highly persistent in the environment. The existence of dense π electrons on aromatic rings is responsible for the biochemical persistence of PAHs and their resistant to nucleophilic attack. Phenanthrene, Napthalene, Anthracene, Pyrenes are some of the most common PAHs found in environment. All these structures have significant resonance stabilization due to its three aromatic rings. All of the resonance structures are aromatic as described by Huckel Rule.

Bacteria play an important role in the removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from polluted environments. In marine environments, Cycloclasticus is one of the most prevalent PAH-degrading bacterial genera. Cycloclasticus sp. is known to degrade naphthalene, phenanthrene, pyrene, and other aromatic hydrocarbons. To study the degradation capacity, Cells were grown supplemented with naphthalene, phenanthrene, or pyrene as the sole carbon source. Cultures of bacteria were incubated for between 0 and 10 days. Abiotic control assays without bacterial inoculation were conducted in parallel. After induction, cells were harvested by centrifugation and resuspended in 100 ml ASM. Bacterial growth was monitored by measuring culture ODs at 600 nm.

FIG 1 PAH degradation efficiency and growth of Cycloclasticus sp. P1 with several PAHs as the sole carbon source. The left axis shows PAH degradation efficiency as the residual PAH percentage after growth. The right axis shows cell density (OD600) under optimal growth conditions of 28°C, 3.0% salinity, and pH of 7.0. Vertical bars represent means ± standard deviations (SDs) of results from triplicate treatments.

The results clearly indicate at the ability of the Cycloclasticus in degrading the PAH and facilitating the cell proliferation. The study is important in understanding the biodegradation of ecotoxic PAHs and its future application

Wang et.al. ASM Journals, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 84, No. 21.

Want to learn how to ace the MCAT with a 528 score? Watch this video!

MCAT Chemistry Practice Questions and Answers #3

FAQs

1. How much chemistry is on the MCAT?

The chemistry/biochemistry part makes 60% of the Chemical and Physical Foundations of the Biological Systems section on the MCAT exam. 

2. What is the best way to prepare for the chemistry/biochemistry section?

Take all the relevant medical school prerequisites that cover the topics you are tested on. While preparing for the content material, make sure to use ACTIVE learning. Do not just try to memorize concepts, but apply them in solving MCAT chemistry practice questions. 

3. How can I practice to see if I am ready for the MCAT chemistry section?

Once you have taken all the coursework to cover the relevant topics and have mastered the content, it’s time to test yourself by doing MCAT style passages. Test yourself under actual exam conditions i.e., no food, no drinks and limited time.

4. Does content knowledge guarantee success in this section?

You need to be able to apply that content knowledge by working with MCAT practice passages. Remember, you are tested for your knowledge in a limited time and answer strategies come in handy when you are under stress and time constraint.

5. Who can help me with MCAT chemistry content?

You can always hire an MCAT tutor who will help you learn content basics or enroll in an MCAT prep course.

6. Do I have to write the MCAT if I want to become a doctor?

There are some medical schools that do not require the MCAT, but these are few!

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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