MCAT General Chemistry Quiz

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the general chemistry that will be tested on the MCAT, try out this quiz.

Question 1
What is the highest-energy orbital of elements with valence electrons in the n = 3 shell?
A. s-orbital
B. p-orbital
C. d-orbital
D. f-orbital

C: When n = 3, l = 0, 1, or 2. The highest value for l in this case is 2, which corresponds to the d subshell. Although the 3d block appears to be part of the fourth period, it still has the principal quantum number n = 3. In general, the subshells within an energy shell increase in energy as follows: s < p < d < f (although there is no 3f subshell).

Question 2
What is the most specific characterization of the reaction shown?
mcat general chemistry
A. Single-displacement
B. Neutralization
C. Double-displacement
D. Oxidation–reduction

B: This reaction is a classic example of a neutralization reaction, in which an acid and a base react to form a salt and, usually, water. Although this reaction also fits the criteria for a double-displacement reaction, choice (C), in which two molecules essentially exchange ions with each other, neutralization is a more specific description of the process.

Question 3
Which of the following actions does NOT affect the equilibrium position of a reaction?
A. Adding or removing heat.
B. Adding or removing a catalyst.
C. Increasing or decreasing concentrations of reactants.
D. Increasing or decreasing volumes of reactants.

B: The equilibrium of a reaction can be changed by several factors. Adding or subtracting heat, choice (A), would shift the equilibrium based on the enthalpy change of the reaction. Increasing reactant concentrations would shift the equilibrium in the direction of the product, and the opposite would occur if reactant concentrations were decreased, eliminating choice (C). Changing the volume of a reactant would affect any reaction with gaseous reactants or products, eliminating choice (D). While adding or removing a catalyst would change the reaction rates, it would not change where the equilibrium lies.

Question 4
At standard temperature and pressure, a chemical process is at equilibrium. What is the free energy of reaction (ΔG) for this process?
A. ΔG> 0
B. ΔG< 0
C. ΔG = 0
D. There is not enough information to determine the free energy of the reaction.

C: Standard temperature and pressure indicates 0°C and 1 atm. Gibbs free energy is temperature dependent, but if a reaction is at equilibrium, ΔG = 0.

Question 5
Which of the following correctly lists the enthalpy changes for these three steps, respectively?
The process of formation of a salt solution can be better understood by breaking the process into three steps:
1. Breaking the solute into its individual components
2. Making room for the solute in the solvent by overcoming intermolecular forces in the solvent
3. Allowing solute–solvent interactions to occur to form the solution
A. Endothermic, exothermic, endothermic
B. Exothermic, endothermic, endothermic
C. Exothermic, exothermic, endothermic
D. Endothermic, endothermic, exothermic

D: The first step will most likely be endothermic because energy is required to break molecules apart. The second step is also endothermic because the intermolecular forces in the solvent must be overcome to allow incorporation of solute particles. The third step will most likely be exothermic be-cause polar water molecules will interact with the dissolved ions, creating a stable solution and releasing energy.