**Increase your Chem/Phys score quickly by meeting a C/P master and watching these videos →**

Have you ever felt that despite knowing all of the formulas required for the MCAT, somehow we are faced with a question that asks you to apply them, and you are still kind of lost?

Well in this article, one of your MedLife Mentors, Sherry Gu, sheds some light on **how to study better for the MCAT - especially for your chemistry and physics formulas. **

## Master the Formulas First

Before we jump in, let's first make sure that we have a solid understanding of the formulas themselves. The question you should be asking yourself right now is:

1. Do I know what each of the variables stands for? Do I know their units?

2. Do I know when and where I should apply these formulas?

For instance, let's take the acceleration formulas as an example.

Learn more about the acceleration formulas on this page.

I'm sure that at this point you're good friends and very familiar with them. You should have a solid understanding of these formulas. **You should know what each of the variables stands for in their units.**

Within this formula, you should know that V stands for velocity and its units are meters per second. Additionally, you should also know that this set of formulas can only be used when there's constant acceleration.

## Choosing the Right Formula

We have four formulas that all talk about acceleration, velocity, and time, right? So how do I choose when to use which formula?

Well, if you look at them closely, you’ll realize that the first formula is missing a variable, which is the distance (d) traveled. If the distance traveled is irrelevant in a question, you'll know that it is best to use the first formula.

Let's look at another example: If you recall the third acceleration formula, you'll also realize that time is not included. So, you would know that when time is irrelevant in that question. Therefore, it's best to use the third acceleration formula.

## Steps to Dissecting a Chem/Phys Question

**1. When we are first presented with a question, you want to make sure you understand what subject this question is testing you on. **

To do this, take a brief look at the question stem and get a general feel for what subject the question will ask you about. For instance, if you see words like moles, dilution, or solutions, it is probably going to ask something about chemistry.

On the other hand, if you see things like weight, speed, or distance traveled, it is probably related to physics.

**2. Read the question more carefully and use keywords to identify a specific topic within that subject that the question is asking you about. **

For instance, solution polarity, acidity, or titration might indicate a dilution question in chemistry.

On the other hand, terms like pressure and fluid dynamics might indicate a physics question. Your mind should be prepped for a list of formulas relevant to the question.

**3. The next thing you want to do is to find one formula that can be applied and used in this question. **

The way to do that is to look for the numbers given to you in the question and identify them as variables. In the meantime, also pay attention to what variable you are being asked to find.

Using these two pieces of information, try to see if there's one formula that matches your expectation. Notice that we are trying to find the correct formula.

There might be a case where there is a perfect formula that fits everything except that it's missing one or two more variables that are not being talked about or given in the original question. This is very common in passage-based questions. In this case, it is very likely that there is one more known variable hidden somewhere in the passage. It is very easy to go back and scan the passage to look for the variable that you are missing.

**4. Once you have all of the pieces, you can rearrange the equation so that all of your known variables are on one side and your unknowns on the other side. **

One way to know that you've rearranged the equation correctly is to multiply out the units. If your final unit matches the correct answer unit in the answer choices, you've done a good job.

## Example Question + The Key To Answering Tough Questions

Now, all that might sound really intuitive to you, so let's walk through an example together to demonstrate what I mean by these steps. Pay more attention to the process that I've taken to solve this question.

I know that most of you, by just looking at the question, will know exactly what formula to use and how to solve this question. However, if we are faced with something more complicated and confusing, you will have the correct methodology and you will not lose confidence when faced with those types of questions.

The key to answering CP questions, or any question on the MCAT, is to** not be scared or intimidated by the complicated scenario and wording in the question.** With more practice, you can master your approach, even to complex questions.

**1. Let's first think about what subject this question is about.**

Just taking a brief look at the question, it seems they are talking about chemistry by mentioning nuclei and ionization.

**2. What exact topic is this question asking us about? **

They are asking us to find a certain amount of time in the unit of years. They also mention something like remaining nuclei, which implies that some other nuclei were decayed in the past. What topic in chemistry involves both of these elements? That sounds pretty much like a half-life problem.

**3. Once you realize that, you'll have no trouble finding the half-life formula from your knowledge of formulas. **

However, looking at this formula more carefully, we see that we're missing some essential variables. We're missing the half-life and the initial amount of nuclei present in this case. We might want to go back to the passage and see if we can find additional information there. Assuming you've done that, I’m happy to let you know that is the correct thing to do. The half-life of those nuclei is 430 years, and the initial amount of nuclei is 6 million.

**4. Plug in the values and rearrange the equation **

Now we have all the variables necessary for us to solve for the unknown time. It will be very easy to just plug in the values and rearrange the equation so that you can find the amount of time it takes for that 6 million nuclei to decay.

## Bonus: Use Flashcards for Formula Mastery + Free Downloads

Most of your mentors here at MedLife used Anki for regular review, practice questions, active recall, and more.

Using flashcards in general, is extremely high yield, and one of the best ways to use Anki is with **premade decks**.

There are a bunch of good ones out there and **we’ve curated a list for you** (link below), but there was one missing:

An Anki deck to **memorize Chem/Phys formulas** to use on test day!

If you memorize the formulas and their SI units, it gets easier to identify the correct formula to use given the passage and questions presented. Which is why **we compiled all of the MCAT math formulas on Anki** for you 🙂

If you use it to practice in this C/P, you'll also start to see an **increase in your confidence levels, as well as in your progress.**

That was free Anki Resource 1 (download link below), here's the second:

A **guide to the most popular MCAT Anki Extensions**! In this free PDF download, you'll discover some awesome extensions that will:

✓ Train your attention and speed

✓ Organize your study routine with progress tracking and stats

✓ Look up related facts from certain terms on your cards

✓ Add custom images/backgrounds

And a lot more.

Doing the research on the best Anki extensions is a waste of your time, so we did that for you too 😇

With all that said, here are **your action steps:**

**1.** **Download** the MCAT Math Formulas Deck & The Popular Anki Extensions Guide PDF

**2.** Follow these **instructions** to add the MCAT Math Formulas deck to your Anki dashboard:

Step 1: Open Anki and put the Anki .apkg file in an easy-access location that will make it easier to drag and drop.

Step 2: Drag and drop the .apkg file into Anki homepage. A window will prompt you with information regarding the deck. You can click ‘Close’ to proceed.

Step 3: When the upload is successful, you can access the deck through your dashboard and begin practicing spaced repetition for the math deck!

**3.** **Ask yourself:** where else are you wasting time? If you spend a day in MCAT prep reviewing content or practice exams inefficiently, you waste the day.

Don't measure your progress by hours studied, but by the **quality of those hours**.

The quality jumps drastically when a mentor validates your study methods, stops you from doing the **same thing we've seen hundreds of students do** and have done ourselves, that we thought was productive...

But was simply ineffective and in essence, **holding us back** from getting med-school admission. We can help you get through this.

You can book sessions with us here and just let us know if you have any questions.

**4.** **Check out this module** in the Free MCAT Strategy Video Course: Long-Term Memorization Hacks (Flashcards)

**5.** Check out this **article**: 13 Best MCAT Anki Decks

**6.** Check out this **article & YT Video**: How I Used Anki To Score 517 on the MCAT

## You Can Improve In Chem/Phys (success Story): *"I was out of mind angry that this one section"*

# Renata Buffalino

**Increased her score from 503/505 to 511 in the last 2 weeks!**

**Increased her score from 503/505 to 511 in the last 2 weeks!**

...I first emailed The MedLife Mastery Team in a total panic. I may have started with a 493, but I had my eye on a 512.... I even started to compromise my dream score, asking them if a 510 was even feasible for me at this stage.

That's when they assigned me to my tutor, who helped to calm the heck down. Not only did he help me with my problem areas and send me high-yield equation sheets, he helped me understand that what was really holding me back was my mental hang up on C/P. I was out of mind angry that this one section was going to blow my chances at almost every medical school I was interested in, despite me hammering it into my head for months on end.

My tutor helped me to see the math for what it is... my score started to skyrocket! I just got my official MCAT score back this week and I am proud to say I made it out with a 511 overall and a 126 C/P!.

Thank you guys! You came in clutch when I needed you most.