Here are some recommendations to improve your Chem Phys score:
1. Check your pacing. Chem Phys is one of the most challenging sections when it comes to timing due to the challenging math-based questions. If you find yourself struggling to finish this section, do some reflection. Were there any questions that you spent too much time on (as in, 3 or more minutes)?
2. Know your formulas. We know, there are a LOT of formulas you need to know (and the MCAT doesn’t even have the decency to provide you a formula sheet). There are a few different ways that you can learn the formulas, either through making your own flashcards or creating a formula sheet. Don’t stop there! Make sure you are comfortable applying the formulas on MCAT questions. Working through the end of chapter questions can be a great way to do some content specific practice.
3. Make connections. Physics is applied math. Chemistry is applied physics. Organic chemistry is chemistry, but sold at Whole Foods a specific love of a small subset of chemistry. Biochemistry is applied organic chemistry. Biology is big picture biochemistry. Whew… that was a lot. But hopefully you see the big picture here! All of the sciences are incredibly interconnected and drawing connections between them will set you up for success on the MCAT. For example, as you are learning about atomic structure, consider how it relates to electrostatics. Elaborative interrogation, a study method in which you ask questions of the content as you learn, is a great way to do this!
4. Don’t plug and chug, round and pound! While you don’t have a calculator on any of the MCAT sections, the test is designed to be completed without a calculator. Use the answer choices to determine the minimum amount of precision needed to differentiate between them and round accordingly. If you are multiplying or adding, round the numbers in opposite directions, i.e. 25 * 25 becomes 20 * 30. If you are subtracting or dividing, round in the same direction, i.e. 47/18 becomes 50/20. The more you practice your arithmetic skills, the more proficient you will become!