MCAT Formulas

Average Speed

Unit: m/s

Average Velocity

Unit: m/s


Unit: m/s^2

Newton's Second Law

Unit: Newtons (kg*m/s^2)

Static Friction

Unit: Newtons (kg*m/s^2)

Kinetic Friction

Unit: Newtons (kg*m/s^2)

Normal Force Calculation Inclined Plane

Unit: Newtons (kg*m/s^2)mgcos(theta)

Force of gravity parallel to an inclined plane that must overcome static friction

Unit: Newtons (kg*m/s^2)mgsin(theta)


Units: Newton * meters (Joule)


Unit: Newton * meters (Joule)FDcos(theta)

Work (PV curve)

Unit: JoulesP * V

Center of mass

the point in an object that moves as if all the object's mass were concentrated at that point

Mechanical Advantage

amount by which a machine increases applied force

Power formula

Unit: Watt (J/S)

Power formula related to velocity

Unit: W (J/S)

Kinetic Energy

Unit: Jenergy of motion

Work-Kinetic Energy Theorem

Unit: Jthe net work done by all the forces acting on an object is equal to the change in the object's kinetic energy

Gravitational Potential Energy

Unit: JPotential energy that depends on the height of an object

Elastic Potential Energy (spring)

Unit: J

Force of a spring (Hooke's Law)

Unit: Newtons

Speed of a Wave

Unit: m/s


Unit: g/cm^3

specific gravity

Relative density

Buoyant Force

Unit: NewtonsFb = mg = d(fluidV)gthe upward force exerted by a fluid on a submerged object

Pascal's Law

Law stating that a change in pressure at any point in an enclosed fluid is transmitted equally throughout the fluid.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Pressure exerted by a volume of fluid against a wall, membrane, or some other structure that encloses the fluid.

Poiseuille's Law

calculates rate of flow through a pipe of confined space (laminar flow)

Poiseuille's Law resistance to fluid flow

Resistance is equal to 1/r^4

Continuity Equation

velocity increases as cross-sectional area decreases. Increasing velocity decreases pressure. Used to describe ideal fluids

Pressure Formula

Unit: atm

Bernoulli's Equation

High fluid velocity results in low fluid pressure

Resistors in series

-same current travels through all the resistors (I1 = I2 = I3)

Resistors in parallel

-Current splits into parallel branches so they add- same voltage drop in each branch b/c all pathways start and end at a common point I1 = I2 + I3 V = V1 = V2

Resistance formula with resistivity

Unit: Ohma measure of the resisting power of a specified material to the flow of an electric current.


Unit: 1 F = 1 c/vthe ability of a conductor to store energy in the form of electrically separated charges

Energy of a capacitor


Capacitors in series

Unit: Farad

Capacitors in Parallel

Unit: Farad

Magnetic Force

Unit: 1 T = (1 Ns)/(mc)the attraction or repulsion between magnetic poles

Lorentz Force

sum of the electrostatic and magnetic forces acting on a body

Maximum number of electrons in a shell

where n = principal quantum numbers

Kinetic Energy of a photoelectron

Unit: eVKEmax = hf - work function

Formal Charge

The number of valence electrons in an isolated atom minus the number of electrons assigned to the atom in the Lewis structure

Dipole moment

Unit: C * ma property of a molecule whose charge distribution can be represented by a center of positive charge and a center of negative charge

Specific Rotation

A standardized measure of a compound's ability to rotate plane-polarized light.

Electrodeposition Equation

Moles of metal ion being deposited on a plate

Optics Equation

f = focal lengtho = object distanceI = image distancer = radius of optic


the ratio of an image size to the object size

Lens Power

Unit: DioptersFarsighted (hyperopia) = -P (diverging) lensNearsighted (myopia) = +P (converging) lens

Focal length of lenses in series


Power of lenses in a series

Unit: Diopters

Magnification for a system of lenses


Coulomb's law

Unit: Newtonselectric force between charged objects depends on the distance between the objects and the magnitude of the charges.

Magnitude of Electric Field

Unit: N/C or V/Mk = constanta field of force surrounding a charged particle

Electrical Potential Energy

Unit: JoulesQ and q are charges of electronsr = distancethe ability to move an electric charge from one point to another

Intensity of Uniform Electric Field

Unit: V/mVoltage/distance

Voltage (Potential Difference)

Unit: Voltthe difference in electric potential between two points in an electric circuit; expressed in volts (V)

Power Formula

the rate at which work is done

Current Formula

Unit: 1 C/S

Ohm's Law


Retardation Factor

A ratio used in thin-layer chromatography to identify a compound; calculated as how far the compound traveled relative to how far the solvent front traveled.

Henry's Law Formula

the solubility of a gas in a liquid is directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas on the surface of the liquid

Electrophoresis (migration velocity of a molecule)

AA = 110 Da


Helps measure changes in allele frequencies over time . Provides an "ideal" population to use as a basis of comparison.

Michaelis Menten


Vmax Equation


Michaelis Menten constant equation

Km = [S] to reach 1/2 Vmax

Enzyme efficiency


Nernst Equation

a mathematical relationship used to calculate an ionic equilibrium potential

Osmotic Pressure

pressure that must be applied to prevent osmotic movement across a selectively permeable membrane

Cell Potential Formula

Reduction potential - oxidation potential

Rate Law Formula

rate = k[A]^x[B]^yan expression relating the rate of a reaction to the concentration of the reactants

Arrhenius Equation

to find activation energy use the...


Unit: cm^-11/wavelength An analog of frequency used for infrared spectra instead of wavelength.

Kw formula

Kw= [H+] [OH-] = 10^-14

pH Formula


pOH Formula


Acid Dissociation Constant

the ratio of the concentration of the dissociated form of an acid to the concentration of the undissociated form

Base Dissociation Constant

the ratio of the concentration of the conjugate acid times the concentration of the hydroxide ion to the concentration of the base

pKa Formula


pKb Formula




Solubility Product Constant (Ksp)

the equilibrium expression for a chemical equation representing the dissolution of a slightly to moderately soluble ionic compound

Ideal Gas Law


Boyle's Law

A principle that describes the relationship between the pressure and volume of a gas at constant temperature

Charle's Law

Charles Schroeder is very/talkative

Avogadro's Law

equal volumes of gases at the same temperature and pressure contain equal numbers of molecules

Average KE of a gas particle

Unit: JkB = Boltzmann constantKE = 3/2nRT also

Heat capacity at constant volume for ideal monatomic gas

Unit: J/K3/2R for molar heat capacity"V3 is the best

Heat capacity at constant pressure for ideal monatomic gas

Unit: J/K5/2R for molar heat capacity"P5"2 causes pressure when you get cancer

Dalton's law of Partial Pressures

states that the total pressure of a mixture of gases is equal to the sum of the pressures of all the gases in the mixture

Heat Transferred


Standard Heat of Reaction

The change in enthalpy of a reaction under standard conditions

Standard Heat of Reaction with bonds


Change in Gibbs free energy

Unit:Kj/mol-G = spontaneous+G = non spontaneous

Linear Expansion (solids)


Volumetric expansions (solids & liquid)


Sound Level

Unit: dBthe logarithmic scale that measures the amplitudes of sounds that humans can hear

Sound level with Bf and Bi

Unit: dB

Intensity Formula

Unit: W/m^2the amount of energy in a light or sound wave, which we perceive as brightness or loudness, as determined by the wave's amplitude

Doppler effect

An observed change in the frequency of a wave when the source or observer is moving

Waves in Open Pipes

Open pipe = only "2" lengths

Waves in Close Pipes

Closed Pipe = all "4" lengths

Speed of light formula

Unit: m/s3.00x10^8 m/s

Energy of a Photon


Law of Reflection

the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection

Index of Refraction

a measure of the amount a ray of light bends when it passes from one medium to another

Snell's Law

The ratio of the sine of the angle of incidence to the sine of the angle of refraction is a constant, for a given frequency.

Critical Angle Formula

the angle of incidence that produces an angle of refraction of 90 degrees

Kinematics Equations

used for problems involving linear motion with constant acceleration

Starling equation

an equation that demonstrates the fluid movement out of the capillary membrane (filtration) as well as back into the capillary (reabsorption)

Diverging lens (concave lens)

Produces virtual upright image (located on object side of lens)

Converging lens (convex lens)

Produces real inverted image

Diopter Unit


Constructive waves

X = 0, wavelength, 2wavelength, 3wavelength

Destructive waves

X = wavelength/2, 3wavelength/2

What image is produced when an object is at the focal point with a covering lens?

No image formed