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Course: MCAT > Unit 3

Lesson 2: Foundation 5: Chemical structures, reactions, and interactions

What is this passage set and how is it organized?

This article introduces this passage set, which covers topics from Foundation 5 of the MCAT. It also discusses how the Foundation 5 passages are organized by topic, roughly in line with the AAMC blueprint.
The passages you’ll find in this set cover chemical and physical science topics from AAMC Foundation 5. This foundation, along with Foundation 4 (which was tested in the previous Unit 3 passage set), is part of the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Sciences section of the MCAT. Whereas the Foundation 4 passages covered topics in physics and atomic chemistry, Foundation 5 passages cover topics in general and organic chemistry, as well as biochemistry.
This statement by the AAMC describes the significance of Foundation 5 topics for pre-medical students: “The principles that govern chemical interactions and reactions form the basis for a broader understanding of the molecular dynamics of living systems.” Accordingly, many of the MCAT passages in this section apply chemistry concepts to topics in biology and medicine.
Passages in this set are labeled with topics that roughly align with those listed in the AAMC Chemical and Physical Foundations blueprint, under Foundation 5. The main topic of each passage is indicated by its subtitle, and passages are ordered by topic, in line with the AAMC blueprint.
For example, the topics of these consecutive passages are circled here:

Here is the full list of topics covered by these passages. Topics are listed under their corresponding AAMC content categories:
Content Category 5A: Unique nature of water and its solutions
  • Acid-base chemistry
  • Ions in solution
Content Category 5B: Nature of molecules and intermolecular interactions
  • Molecular bonding
  • Intermolecular forces
  • Phase changes
Content Category 5C: Separation and purification methods
  • Separations and purifications
  • Chromatography
Content Category 5D: Structure, function, and reactivity of biologically relevant molecules *
  • Biomolecules
  • Organic chemistry
Content Category 5E: Principles of chemical thermodynamics and kinetics
  • Enzymes
  • Bioenergetics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Kinetics and rate processes
*The biomolecules and organic chemistry topics include a diverse range of subtopics, including DNA, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates, as well as organic chemistry reactions involving aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, carboxylic acids and derivatives, phenols, and other aromatic compounds.

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