|A wave is a disturbance traveling through a medium, a function varying both in time and position. Mechanical waves propagate by virtue of the elastic and inertial properties of their medium. Light is a form of wave which propagates by virtue of the electric and magnetic properties of space. Keep in mind that as a wave passes, it is energy that is moving. After the wave has passed, displacements in the medium return to zero.|
In one form or another, the topic of Waves comes up on nearly every MCAT. There are usually going to be a few uncomplicated waves problems. The test-writers will make sure you know how to move between wavelength, wave speed, and frequency, for example. Usually these simple questions are nested within a discussion of a more advanced scenario from wave optics or modern physics, for example. Occassionaly, one might run into a waves passage that represents a more advanced take on a familiar topic, such as two dimensional standing waves on a drumhead or a complex seismic wave. With waves as with most topics,the MCAT likes to give you unfamiliar, difficult-seeming phenomena and then ask questions which are pretty easy if you know the fundamentals.