Gravitation

Memorize the Law of Universal Gravitation. (Knowing the value of the gravitational constant is not important).

Demonstrate the ability to solve basic quantitative problems involving gravitational force.

Develop an understanding of how an 'inverse square law' force operates in a basic, intuitive way.

Be able to describe the concept of gravitational field and understand how to conceptualize the field as a force per unit mass. Also be able to conceptualize the gravitational field as an acceleration.

Build the skill to imaginatively visualize changes in the gravitational potential energy between two masses. Understand the 'binding energy' of a gravitational system. Master the related concept of escape velocity.

Demonstrate the capability of applying the kinematics and dynamics of uniform circular motion along with the Law of Universal Gravitation to solve problems of circular orbit.

Understand how to use Kepler's Laws to predict basic behaviors of orbiting bodies.

Electricity

Memorize Coulomb's Law and achieve a good comfort level solving basic quantitative problems involving arrangements of static charges.

Master the basic concept of the electric field. Be able to explain the meaning of a 'newton per coulomb'

Develop the capability to produce the graphical representation of the electrical fields for point charges, dipoles and charged parallel plates.

Be able to explain the meaning of 'electric potential' or 'voltage' and explain what it means to say that 'a volt is a joule per coulomb'.

Understand capacitance not only in the context of traditional capacitors but also in a general sense of capacitance as describing the relationship between the potential function and the geometry of a charge distribution.

DC Current

Be able to conceptualize how various types of charge carriers in an array of materials or environments may constitute an electric current.

Have a good, clear sense of what it means to say that a volt is a joule per coulomb and an ampere is a coulomb per second.

Understand Ohm's Law conceptually and be able to solve basic problems involving simple circuits.

Understand the basis for the trends of resistivity with temperature in metallic conductors and semiconductors.

Be prepared to discuss the molar conductivity of electrolyte solutions.

Possess a good facility for solving for unknowns in circuits involving series and parallel resistors.

Understand Kirchoff's Current Law and the Voltage Law and know how to apply these to solving for unknowns in complex circuits.

Be familiar with the concept of electric power in an intuitive, conceptual way and in quantitative problem solving.

Be able to describe what happens over time when an RC circuit (resistor and capacitor) is switched on or off.

Know how to solve problems involving the Wheatstone Bridge.

Magnetism

For a charged particle moving through a given magnetic field, be prepared to determine the magnitude and direction of the magnetic force.

Understand why particles moving through magnetic fields often follow circular or spiral trajectories.

Be able to determine the magnitude and direction of the force on a wire carrying current within an external magnetic field and understand how a torque may be produced on a current loop within a magnetic field.

Understand how to use the right hand rule for magnetic fields to determine the orientation of the magnetic field around a current carrying conductor.

Be able to predict the direction of the magnetic force operating between two parallel current carrying wires.

Understand what the magnetic field looks like within a solenoid.

Be able to distinguish diamagnetism, paramagnetism, and ferromagnetism.

Understand the concept of magnetic susceptibility and know how to interpret magnetization curves.

The Properties of Light

Be able to describe the speed of light in a vacuum as a fundamental constant.

Be able to give a conceptual summary of the meaning of the electric permittivity and magnetic permeability of space.

Understand basic properties of electromagnetic waves such as their transverse wave nature, the ability to travel in a vacuum, and polarizability.

Be able to identify the transitions as you move up in frequency through the electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to gamma rays.

Possess a good comfort level carrying out basic harmonic wave computations involving wave speed, frequency, and wavelength in the context of electromagnetic radiation.

Understand the significance of particle-wave duality in the context of light and be able to compute the energy of a photon based on its frequency.

Understand basic problem solving involving reflection of light.

Know Snell's Law backwards and forwards and how to solve the basic conceptual and quantitative problems involving the transmission of light between media.

Be able to explain what is happening with the dispersion of light by a prism.

Be able to find the critical angle for light traveling between two media.

Geometric Optics

Know how to distinguish virtual and real images and understand how examples of each are produced. Have a clear idea of what an optical image is.

Be prepared to construct a ray diagram for a concave or convex mirror as well as a converging or diverging simple lens.

Starting with the object on the principal axis very far away from a concave mirror, be able to imagine the transitions the image undergoes as you move the object closer in terms of the location of the image on the axis, whether it is real or virtual, upright or inverted, and magnified or diminished. Understand how to do the same thing with a converging lens.

Remember that the image created by a simple diverging lens as well as a convex mirror is always diminished, erect, and virtual (DEV).

Be able to interpret the lens makers equation in various contexts in a straightforward, common-sense way.

Know how to apply the principals of converging lenses to understanding the function of the human eye. Be able to relate these principals to farsightedness and nearsightedness.

Understand the meaning of the near point.

Be familiar with how to interpret compound optical devices such as the astronomical telescope and the compound microscope.

Understand how the primary types of optical aberration are caused and various methods used in optical design to minimize aberration.

Wave Optics

Understand diffraction in terms of Huygens' Principal.

Comprehend how interference produces the pattern of light and dark fringes in Young's double slit diffraction experiment.

Remember the distinction between hard and soft reflection.

Be able to describe how thin film interference produces the iridescent colors of soap bubbles. Be able to extend this understanding to similar interference phenomona such as observed with an air wedge.

Understand how the Michelson interferometer can be used to measure very small distances.

With regard to the Fraunhofer type of pattern produced with single slit diffraction, understand what determines the width of the central fringe and the location of maxima and minima.

Be able to apply principles from single slit diffraction to understanding the pattern of an airy disc which governs the resolution of optical instruments such as microscopes and astronomical telescopes. Remember Rayleigh's criterion.

Be able to recall the means by which polarized light may be produced. Be familiar with Brewster's angle.

Bird's Eye View

Make sure you can reproduce the topical outline of general chemistry

Hold yourself accountable for having a mental picture of the field of reference for each subtopic of chemistry. Try to think of the simplest situation describing the phenomena. What is the simplest model system that can embody the situation described by main concepts of the topic?

Knowledge Mapping

Be prepared to compare and contrast the classical gravitational and electrostatic forces.

Be able to describe the binding energy of a gravitational system composed of two masses or an electrostatic system composed of two particles of unlike charge.

Learn how to use the classical language of electrostatic potential energy to describe changes in the internal energy of matter at the atomic level, molecular level, and intermolecular level. (Although you always keep in mind that quantum electrodynamics provides a more complete description than classical electrodynamics, the classical model is nevertheless extremely useful).

Psychology & Sociology

Critical Analysis and Reasoning

Understand the intentions of the writers of Verbal Reasoning questions on the MCAT.

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