At the top of this page, you’ll find a button that unlocks full access to the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (MCAT) practice test. Right below it, you have the opportunity to engage with a comprehensive practice test aimed at thorough review. These tests are crucial for demonstrating your knowledge, pinpointing areas for improvement, and refining your study strategy.

To enhance your preparation further, particularly in areas that require additional attention, we’ve developed specialized quizzes. These quizzes are carefully crafted to address distinct aspects of the MCAT exam, providing a focused and efficient study experience.

MCAT Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems Domain Exams

The Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section of the MCAT exam is designed to assess your understanding of the physical, chemical, and biochemical foundations of biological systems. This section of the MCAT is one of the four sections that make up the test, emphasizing the processes that lead to the functioning of the human body and the principles underlying the mechanisms operating in the human body. It integrates concepts from chemistry, physics, and biology, and applies these concepts in the context of living systems. 

Here’s a breakdown of the areas covered:

Domain 1: Biochemistry

  • Percentage of Exam: 25%
  • Content Areas: Structure and function of proteins and enzymes, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates; principles of metabolism and bioenergetics.
  • Importance: Biochemistry bridges the gap between biology and chemistry, focusing on the molecular basis of life. Understanding biochemistry is crucial for grasping how biological molecules contribute to the processes that occur within living cells.

Welcome to your MCAT Chem Domain 1: Biochemistry

Domain 2: General Chemistry

  • Percentage of Exam: 30%
  • Content Areas: Atomic structure, chemical kinetics, equilibrium, phases and phase changes, thermodynamics, acids and bases.
  • Importance: General chemistry provides a foundational understanding of how substances interact at the molecular level, which is essential for understanding many physiological processes.

Welcome to your MCAT Chem Domain 2: General Chemistry

Domain 3: Physics

  • Percentage of Exam: 25%
  • Content Areas: Force and motion, work and energy, fluids and solids, electrostatics and circuits, light and sound, atomic and nuclear phenomena.
  • Importance: Physics principles are fundamental to understanding the physical forces that govern biological systems, such as blood circulation, breathing, and movement.

Welcome to your MCAT Chem Domain 3: Physics

Domain 4: Organic Chemistry

  • Percentage of Exam: 15%
  • Content Areas: Structure, function, and reactivity of biomolecules; principles of organic reactions; stereochemistry.
  • Importance: Organic chemistry focuses on the chemistry of carbon compounds and provides insight into the chemical basis of life, including the structure and function of various biomolecules.

Welcome to your MCAT Chem Domain 4: Organic Chemistry

Domain 5: Biology

  • Percentage of Exam: 5%
  • Content Areas: General principles of cellular biology, genetics, and evolution that provide a basis for understanding the physical and chemical principles that govern the human body.
  • Importance: Biology is fundamental to understanding the complexities of life and provides the context for applying chemical and physical principles in biological systems.

Welcome to your MCAT Chem Domain 5: Biology

Exam Domain% of ExamContent Areas
Biochemistry25%Structure and function of proteins and enzymes, nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates; metabolism, bioenergetics.
General Chemistry30%Atomic structure, kinetics, equilibrium, thermodynamics, acids and bases.
Physics25%Force and motion, energy, fluids, electrostatics, circuits, light and sound.
Organic Chemistry15%Biomolecules structure and function, organic reactions, stereochemistry.
Biology5%Cellular biology, genetics, evolution.

Additional Information

  • Total Questions: 59 questions
  • Format: Combination of passage-based and discrete questions.
  • Time Allotted: 95 minutes.
  • Skills Tested: This section tests your problem-solving abilities, understanding of scientific inquiry, reasoning skills, and ability to integrate scientific knowledge across disciplines.

Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (MCAT) Exam Breakdown

The Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (CPBS) section is one of the four sections that comprise the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a standardized examination administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for prospective medical students in the United States and Canada. This section tests candidates’ understanding of the physical and chemical principles that underlie the mechanisms operating in the human body, and their ability to apply these principles in solving complex problems. The CPBS section, like the MCAT itself, is designed to assess readiness for the rigorous environment of medical school.

Breakdown of the CPBS Section:

  • Content Areas:
    • This section primarily focuses on biochemistry, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. It integrates these disciplines in the context of the human body and its systems, emphasizing the chemical and physical basis of biological systems.
  • Skills Tested:
    • Scientific Reasoning and Problem Solving: Ability to analyze and solve problems using scientific principles and concepts.
    • Research Methods and Statistics: Understanding of basic research methods and statistical principles, as applied to scientific studies and experiments.
    • Reasoning about the Design and Execution of Research: Evaluation of scientific explanations and design of research studies.
  • Question Format:
    • The section consists of passage-based and discrete questions. Passage-based questions are associated with text passages that describe scientific scenarios or studies, while discrete questions are standalone and do not relate to a passage.
  • Scoring:
    • Scores for this section range from 118 to 132, with a median score of around 125. The score is combined with the other sections for a total MCAT score ranging from 472 to 528.
  • Duration:
    • Test-takers have 95 minutes to complete this section, which contains 59 questions: 44 passage-based questions and 15 independent questions.

How to Become Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (MCAT) Certified

To excel in the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section of the MCAT and effectively navigate the process from initial qualification to exam day and beyond, follow this comprehensive pathway:

Step 1: Assess Eligibility and Understand the MCAT

Before embarking on your MCAT journey, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. The MCAT is designed for prospective medical school applicants, so you should have a solid foundation in the sciences and be at a point in your education where medical school is your next step.

Step 2: Plan Your Preparation

  • Content Review: Begin with a thorough content review in the subjects covered on the test: general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, biology, and biochemistry. Tailor your study plan to address your weaker areas more heavily.
  • Practice: Regular practice with MCAT-style questions and full-length practice tests is crucial. The AAMC offers official practice materials that are invaluable for understanding the test format and timing.
  • Strategy: Develop test-taking strategies that work for you, focusing on timing, guessing strategies, and stress management.

Step 3: Register for the MCAT

Once you’re preparing and have a target test date in mind, register for the MCAT early. Spots can fill up quickly, especially in popular testing locations.

Step 4: Final Preparation and Test Day Strategy

In the weeks leading up to the exam, focus on consolidating your knowledge, refining your test-taking strategies, and building your stamina for the nearly 7.5-hour exam. Pay special attention to the logistics of test day:

  • What to Bring: Check the AAMC’s list of approved items for test day, including identification requirements.
  • Test Day Protocol: Familiarize yourself with the test center’s rules and the test day schedule to reduce any day-of anxiety.

Step 5: After the Exam

After completing the exam, you’ll wait for your scores, which are typically released about a month after your test date. During this time, you can start preparing your medical school applications or plan for a retake if you feel your score might not meet your target schools’ requirements.

Step 6: Continuous Learning and Application

Whether you achieve your desired score on the first try or plan to retake the exam, the learning process is ongoing. Continue to build on your knowledge base, gain clinical experience, and engage in activities that strengthen your application to medical schools.

This journey from qualification through registration and taking the MCAT to applying to medical schools is rigorous and requires dedication, but it’s designed to prepare you for the challenges of medical school and a career in medicine. Utilize the resources available from the AAMC and other reputable providers, and don’t hesitate to seek support from mentors, advisors, and your peers.

Our Experience Teaching Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (MCAT) Candidates To Pass The Exam

The development journey of our Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (MCAT) practice tests at Career Employer has been an extraordinary path, filled with notable successes and formidable challenges. Driven by the exam’s wide array of subjects, we set out to meet the distinct needs of our learners.

Our approach has been thoughtfully designed to guarantee that each student is thoroughly equipped for triumph in the exam. This dedication is evident in the extensive range and careful precision of our practice materials, underscoring our commitment to the success of our students.

Teaching the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section of the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) presents a unique and rewarding challenge for educators. This section of the exam tests students on a broad range of topics at the intersection of chemistry, physics, and biology, specifically as they apply to human systems and living organisms. Here’s a perspective from a lecturer’s viewpoint, including aspects like curriculum design, student engagement, and resources:

Curriculum Design and Content Delivery

  • Interdisciplinary Approach: This section requires an understanding of how chemical and physical principles apply to biological systems. A lecturer must integrate concepts from organic and inorganic chemistry, physics, and biochemistry, making connections between these disciplines. Teaching these concepts in an interdisciplinary manner helps students appreciate their relevance to medicine and biology.
  • Application-Oriented Teaching: The MCAT focuses on applying knowledge to solve problems. Lecturers should design their curriculum around application-based learning, using clinical scenarios and research findings to illustrate how basic science concepts are fundamental to medicine. This approach helps students understand and retain complex ideas.
  • Skill Development: Beyond memorizing facts, students must develop strong analytical and reasoning skills. Lecturers should incorporate activities that enhance these skills, such as data analysis, interpreting scientific literature, and solving complex problems through a step-by-step approach.

Student Engagement and Support

  • Interactive Learning: Engaging students in active learning through discussions, group work, and hands-on experiments can make challenging concepts more accessible. Tools like audience response systems (clickers) or online platforms can facilitate interactive learning even in large classes.
  • Personalized Feedback: Given the wide range of topics, students will have varying degrees of familiarity and comfort with the material. Offering personalized feedback and support, including office hours, review sessions, and online forums, can help address individual needs.
  • Practice Exams and Questions: Regular practice with MCAT-style questions and full-length exams is crucial. This not only familiarizes students with the format but also helps identify areas where they need further study or support.

Teaching Resources

  • AAMC Official Materials: The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides official practice tests and question banks. These are invaluable resources for understanding the exam format and level of difficulty.
  • Textbooks and Review Books: Comprehensive textbooks and review books specifically designed for the MCAT can be crucial. Publishers like Kaplan and Princeton Review offer detailed materials covering all sections of the test.
  • Online Platforms: Websites and platforms such as Khan Academy, Coursera, and Udemy offer courses and resources tailored to MCAT preparation. These can supplement classroom instruction with videos, quizzes, and interactive lessons.
  • Peer and Mentor Support: Encouraging the formation of study groups and pairing students with mentors who have successfully navigated the MCAT can provide both academic and emotional support.
  • Scientific Journals and Articles: Introducing students to current research through scientific journals can enhance their understanding of how foundational concepts are applied in real-world biological research and medical advancements.

Balancing the breadth of content with the depth of understanding required by the MCAT is a significant challenge. A lecturer’s role is not only to convey information but also to inspire, motivate, and guide students through one of the most demanding phases of their pre-medical education. By leveraging a range of teaching strategies and resources, educators can play a pivotal role in their student’s success on the MCAT and their future medical careers.

At Career Employer, our practice tests for the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (MCAT) certification are the culmination of an intensive collaborative effort by a team of devoted experts. Each team member contributes vast knowledge and extensive experience in preparing candidates for the MCAT exam, guiding over 1000 medical students to secure their MCAT certifications. This focus is particularly geared towards addressing the intricate requirements of medical assistants.

Our team is comprised of seasoned professionals, each boasting at least a decade of specialized experience in the field of entry-level medicine. This ensures that our practice materials are crafted by leading authorities, making them highly effective tools for candidates on their certification journey. Our dedication to excellence means that those who use our resources receive comprehensive preparation, empowering them with the confidence and knowledge needed to achieve their certification goals.

Effective Study Strategies and Methods

To effectively study for the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section of the MCAT, a strategic and multifaceted approach is recommended. Here are some effective study strategies, supported by insights from various reputable sources:

  • Focus on High-Yield Content: Concentrating on high-yield topics is crucial. These include areas that are most likely to be tested and can significantly impact your MCAT score. This approach is essential due to the forgetting curve, which shows memory decay over time. By focusing on high-yield information, you optimize your study time and improve retention. Key high-yield topics span across biochemistry, organic chemistry, general chemistry, and biology, including amino acids, carbohydrates, lipid structures, enzymes, nucleotides, and various biochemistry cycles​.
  • Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses: Tailor your study plan based on your personal strengths and weaknesses. If certain subjects like chemistry or physics pose more challenges, allocate more study time to them. Similarly, identify your learning style and adapt your study habits accordingly to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Utilize Quality Tools and Resources: Leverage reputable resources for studying, such as AAMC materials, MCAT prep books, and online platforms like Khan Academy and Memm for flashcards and comprehensive sheets. These tools are designed to cater to a wide range of learning preferences and provide high-quality, exam-relevant material​.
  • Practice Tests and Mock Exams: Practice exams are vital for familiarizing yourself with the test format and time constraints. They help identify weak areas for further review and improve test-taking speed and accuracy. Use AAMC practice tests and third-party resources for a variety of practice questions and exams​.
  • Time Management and Study Environment: Create a study schedule that allows adequate time for each section of the MCAT, ensuring a balanced preparation. Organize your study space to minimize distractions and make study materials easily accessible, facilitating focused study sessions​.
  • Active Learning Techniques: Engage actively with the study material through flashcards, summarizing information, teaching concepts to others, and using visual aids like diagrams and flowcharts. These techniques enhance understanding, retention, and memory recall, making your study sessions more productive.
  • Understanding the Exam Structure: Familiarize yourself with the structure of the MCAT, including the types of questions and topics covered in the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section. This understanding will help you allocate study time efficiently and focus on the most relevant material​​.
  • Effective Study Habits: Develop a consistent study routine that includes regular breaks to prevent burnout. Use a mix of study materials and methods, such as textbooks, online resources, and group study, to reinforce understanding and maintain motivation​​.

By integrating these strategies into your MCAT preparation, you can enhance your study efficiency and performance on the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section. Remember, successful MCAT preparation is not just about how much you study, but how effectively you use your study time and resources.


Standard Registration FeeUSD 335
Fee Assistance Program RegistrationUSD 140
International FeeUSD 120 (Additional, Non-refundable)
Total Content Time6 hours and 15 minutes
Total Seated TimeApproximately 7 hours and 30 minutes
Study Material CostsVaries (from a few hundred to several thousand dollars)
Additional CostsPossible travel, rescheduling fees

The cost of the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section, as part of the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), encompasses various fees from the application process to post-exam stages. Here’s a breakdown of the associated costs, including registration, study materials, and other relevant fees for 2024.

Registration Fees

The standard registration fee for all MCAT testing dates in 2024 is USD 335. For those who qualify for the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program, the registration fee is reduced to USD 140. If you’re taking the exam outside of the US, Canada, or US Territories, there’s an additional USD 120 non-refundable international fee​​.

Exam Structure and Duration

The MCAT exam includes sections on Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, and Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems. The total content time of the exam is 6 hours and 15 minutes, with the total “seated” time, excluding check-in, being approximately 7 hours and 30 minutes​.

Study and Training Costs

Costs for study materials and training can vary widely depending on the resources you choose. The Princeton Review, Kaplan, and other test prep companies offer a range of MCAT preparation courses, books, and practice exams. Prices can range from a few hundred dollars for self-study materials to several thousand dollars for comprehensive courses​.

Other Costs

Additional costs might include travel expenses if you need to travel to a testing center, as well as any rescheduling fees if you need to change your test date. The AAMC outlines specific zones (Gold, Silver, Bronze) that dictate the flexibility and cost associated with changing or canceling your exam registration​.

Remember, these costs are only part of the journey to becoming board-certified. After passing the MCAT, you’ll face tuition and fees for medical school, which can vary significantly.

Reliable Study Materials and Resources

To prepare for the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section of the MCAT, several online resources stand out for their comprehensive coverage, practice materials, and strategies tailored to this challenging section:

  • Khan Academy: Offers a wide range of practice questions and informational content on topics such as the physics of nerve cells, sound in medical applications, light and optics, and radioactivity, all of which are relevant to the Chemical and Physical Foundations section. Khan Academy is well-known for its effective teaching methods and clear explanations, making complex topics more understandable​​.
  • AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges): Provides detailed overviews of what to expect in the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section, including the types of questions and the skills assessed. Their resources are essential since they’re the official MCAT administrators, offering practice materials that closely mirror the actual exam in terms of format and content​​.
  • Med School Insiders: Offers strategies for assessing your strengths and weaknesses, prioritizing comprehension over rote memorization, and utilizing quality tools and resources for your study plan. Their guide emphasizes the importance of understanding and applying knowledge rather than just memorizing facts​​.
  • UWorld: Their MCAT QBank includes detailed explanations for questions and a user-friendly interface that simulates the actual MCAT exam. It’s recommended for those seeking a large volume of practice questions that cover a wide range of topics. UWorld’s resources are designed to improve your test-taking skills and deepen your understanding of key concepts.
  • Mometrix: Offers study guides, flashcards, and online courses to help you prepare for the MCAT. Their materials focus on all sections of the MCAT, providing practice questions and tips to boost your score. Mometrix is praised for its comprehensive content and ability to break down complex topics into manageable segments​​.
  • Recommends understanding the format, requirements, and exam-day procedures of the MCAT as part of your preparation. They emphasize that knowing what to expect on test day can significantly impact your performance​.
  • Grad School Center: Lists Khan Academy and UWorld among the best online MCAT prep courses, highlighting the affordability and comprehensive coverage of Khan Academy’s free MCAT prep course, as well as UWorld’s detailed explanations and user-friendly interface. These resources are invaluable for candidates seeking to understand the test format and content thoroughly​.

Each of these resources offers unique benefits, whether it’s the depth of content, practice questions, or test-taking strategies. You may find it helpful to use a combination of these resources to ensure a well-rounded preparation for the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section of the MCAT.

Tips for Exam Day

To excel on the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section of the MCAT, integrating strategic study habits with effective exam day techniques is crucial. Here’s a compilation of tips from various reputable sources to help you perform your best:

Before Exam Day

  1. Understanding Key Concepts: Dive deep into understanding rather than memorizing. Focus on foundational concepts, such as forces, energy, electrochemistry, atomic structure, bonding, equilibrium, acids and bases, and many others. Each topic is a building block for more complex ideas​​.
  2. Visual Data Analysis: Get comfortable with interpreting different types of visual data and statistics. Knowing what results are considered statistically significant will help you analyze exam questions more effectively​​.
  3. Memorization: While understanding concepts is crucial, memorization plays a significant role too. This includes organic structures, functional groups, common chemical reactions, experimental techniques, and physics equations. However, the key lies in understanding the relationship between equations and the meaning behind each variable​​.
  4. Practice Without a Calculator: Since calculators are not allowed, practice doing math manually. Use rounding and estimation techniques to save time, and familiarize yourself with physics equations as some may not be provided during the exam​​.

Exam Day Tips

  1. Skip Questions Initially: If you’re stumped by a question, skip it initially. Focus first on questions where you can make an educated guess or are more certain of the answer. This strategy helps in managing your time more efficiently​.
  2. Pace Yourself: Avoid spending too much time on any single question. Being aware of the time without becoming paranoid is key. Pay attention to the “section almost over” announcements to ensure you have answered all questions, even if some are educated guesses​.
  3. Eliminate Incorrect Choices: On difficult questions, start by eliminating clearly wrong answers. This simplifies your decision-making process, narrowing down the options.
  4. Rely on High-Yield Materials: Prioritize studying high-yield materials that cover the most important topics and concepts. Resources directly from AAMC, practice questions, and full-length practice tests are invaluable in preparing for the MCAT​​.

Remember, the MCAT is not just about knowing the content; it’s about applying that knowledge critically under timed conditions. Utilize resources like AAMC practice tests and third-party preparation materials to familiarize yourself with the exam format and question types. Incorporate active reading and problem-solving strategies into your study plan to improve both your comprehension and your speed on exam day.

Post-Exam: Next Steps

After completing the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section of the MCAT, it’s crucial to focus on several strategies to navigate the post-exam phase effectively. Considering your performance, if you find yourself with a score around the lower end, remember that MCAT scores are just one aspect of the medical school application process. Your GPA, clinical experiences, research activities, and personal statement are also critical components that medical schools consider.

If you’re contemplating the next steps and how to improve your prospects for medical school admission, consider these strategies:

  1. Holistic Application Enhancement: Beyond MCAT scores, work on strengthening other parts of your application, such as gaining more clinical experience, engaging in research, and crafting a compelling personal statement that highlights your passion and commitment to medicine​.
  2. Reflection and Reevaluation: If your score is significantly lower than anticipated, take the time to reflect on your exam preparation and identify areas for improvement. This may involve revisiting challenging content areas, adjusting study habits, or seeking additional resources like tutoring or prep courses​​.
  3. Consider a Retake: If you believe that you can significantly improve your score, preparing for and retaking the MCAT might be a worthwhile consideration. Focus on targeted study for weak areas, practice under exam conditions, and adopt effective study habits to enhance your score on a subsequent attempt​​.
  4. Research and Apply Strategically: Look for medical schools that adopt a holistic review process or have mission-driven programs that align with your experiences and goals. Some schools may weigh other aspects of your application more heavily than the MCAT score, especially if you can demonstrate strong qualities in other areas​​.

Remember, every medical school applicant’s journey is unique, and a lower MCAT score does not preclude success in the admission process. Focus on showcasing your strengths, dedication, and holistic qualities that make you a compelling candidate for medical school.


  1. “MCAT Study Guide.” Med School Insiders,
  2. “High-Yield MCAT Topics.” MedSchoolCoach,
  3. “Chem/Phys Section of the MCAT.” Med School Insiders,
  4. “How to Study for the MCAT: Effective Tips and Strategies.” Leland,
  5. “The Ultimate Guide to Achieving a Competitive MCAT Score for Medical School Admissions.” 2 Minute Medicine,
  6. “MCAT Guide.” Medistudents,
  7. “MCAT Sections.” The Princeton Review,
  8. “MCAT.” Edvoy,
  9. “Physical Sciences Practice.” Khan Academy,
  10. “Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems Section Overview.” Association of American Medical Colleges,
  11. “Strategies for Each MCAT Section.” UWorld,
  12. “Best Online MCAT Prep Courses.” Grad School Center,
  13. “MCAT Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems.” Mometrix Test Preparation,
  14. “MCAT Prep Courses.”,
  15. “Premature MCAT Studying Inquiry.” Reddit,
  16. “MCAT Tips & Topics.” Test Prep HQ,
  17. “482 MCAT Score.” MCAT101,
  18. “Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological.” Reddit,
  19. “Chemistry & Physics MCAT Section Review.” YouTube, uploaded by [Uploader’s Name],
  20. “Exam Format: Chemistry & Physics.” Med Life Mastery,

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