SAT II Chemistry

How Your Knowledge of Chemistry Will Be Tested

The SAT II Chemistry tests your knowledge of Chemistry in three different ways. Knowing how your knowledge may be tested should help you better prepare yourself for the exam.

Recall Questions

These questions test your basic knowledge of the fundamental facts and terminology of Chemistry. A typical recall question might ask you to pick out the function of ribosomes or to name the nitrogenous base that DNA and RNA do not have in common. These questions are straightforward—they’re simply a matter of knowing your stuff. Some recall questions might be organized in sets around a figure, as in the example of the questions about the structure of the heart we described earlier.

Interpretation and Application Questions

These questions test your ability to digest data or biological scenarios and to extrapolate answers from that understanding. These questions often necessitate that you are able to use, in tandem, your knowledge of different topics in Chemistry. An interpretation and application question might present a scenario in which the temperature drops and then ask you to predict how this change will affect the metabolism of a lizard and a dog. To answer this question you have to realize, first, that a question about the change in metabolism due to temperature is asking about warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals. To get the question right, you must first recall that a dog is warm-blooded and a lizard cold-blooded. Then you have to understand how a lowered temperature will affect each type of animal (as temperatures decrease, the metabolism of a cold-blooded animal will slow down, while the metabolism of the warm-blooded animal will remain constant).

Laboratory Questions

Laboratory questions describe a situation in a laboratory and often provide you with data. To answer these questions, you must be able to read and understand the data, to form hypotheses and conclusions based on the data, and to be able to identify the goals and assumptions underlying the experiment.

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