Are these subjects still tested?

Post Reply
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:33 pm

Are these subjects still tested?

Post by DPTtoMed » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:49 pm

I have been covering content review videos for the past few weeks, because I am a non-traditional student. Currently, I have an abysmal understanding of content and I have been using additional video resources to understand topics. I'm shooting for a March-April exam date, but I want to make the most out of my time. I don't mind studying low-yield information, as long as it "shows up" on the MCAT, but I have a question about the content review videos. If I'm not mistaken, aren't the following subjects no longer covered on the Physics section:

Projectile motion
Universal Gravitation law
Solids (density, elastic, shear, compression etc.)
Springs & Pendulums in regards to periodic motion (Spring potential energy still tested)
Circular motion
Alternating current
Power in circuits (not sure)
Gauss' Law
Mass Deficit/Energy liberated/Binding energy

If so, do I need to watch the the videos in the Content Review section that cover Circular Motion, Pulleys, etc...? I know this sounds crazy, but I am 4-5 months out from my test date and I am beginning to panic over the amount of content that I need to master. Physics has always been my weakest subject and it is beginning to beat me down. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Site Admin
Posts: 520
Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 1:47 pm

Re: Are these subjects still tested?

Post by NS_Tutor_Andrew » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:59 pm

Hi DPTtoMed,

Excellent question -- I definitely understand the need to study efficiently! In general, when you're wondering about this question, the best resource to turn to is the AAMC (you can download the full 128-page PDF here). The tricky thing is understanding the implications of the bullet points. For instance, you're right that there is no specific bullet point for the properties of solids you mention, but there is a bullet point regarding the speed of sound in solids, liquids, and gases, which in turn is determined by the shear modulus, density, and compressibility. Typically, in a situation like that, you can expect not to be tested directly on a really nitty-gritty analysis of the factors affecting the speed of sound in a given medium, but you should be aware of it conceptually and it could conceivably show up in a passage. Considerations like this—that is, incorporating our experiences of how a topic is tested—shape what we include in our materials.

W/ regard to the specific topics you asked about:

Projectile motion, ropes/pulleys, and circular motion are not specifically identified as separate content points, but we still think they are important to understand, because they are classic ways to test the concepts of translational motion (i.e. kinematics) and force that are tested. You're not likely to get a complicated problem involving these concepts, but you should be prepared to apply core kinematics and force-related concepts in these contexts.

Momentum is indeed gone.

Universal gravitation is not specifically mentioned in the AAMC content outline. Personally, I think it's good to know in general terms (don't memorize G!) because it is structurally very similar to Coulomb's law, and building comparisons between gravity and electromagnetism is a good way to develop an intuitive understanding of electricity, which is often a confusing topic.

Re: power in circuits, the equation P=IV is not specifically listed, but it is good to know, because it is important to understanding why we care about resistors and how they function in real-world applications. There is a bullet point indicating that you need to know the units for power, and the general concept that power = work (energy) over time is very important.

Gauss's law is out.

Binding energy is absolutely a testable concept.

Hope this helps clarify things! For the topics that are more useful as background info (like compressibility, etc., as a way to understand the speed of sound, or even P=IV), I wouldn't spend a ton of energy on them, but I would suggest being familiar with them conceptually.
Andrew D.
Content Manager, Next Step Test Prep.
Post Reply