A Grab Bag of MCAT Discrete Questions

Session 77

The MCAT has four sections with a broad variability between sections. This week, we’re covering a grab bag of science questions to help you get a better score on the MCAT. Bryan of Next Step Test Prep is joining in to give out his insights as always.

Check out MedEd Media to see all of the amazing podcasts we’re producing to help you on this journey.

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[01:30] Embryology Question

Question 14: Which of the following structures developed from that mesoderm of the gastrula?

  1. Lungs
  2. Red blood cells

III. Cardiac Muscle

  • (A) II only
  • (B) I and II only
  • (C) II and III only
  • (D) I, II, and III

Bryan’s Insights:

The mesoderm develops all the things related to movement, meaning how the body physically moves around (bones and muscles). So Bryan’s mnemonic for this is the “move-o-derm.” Additionally this also develops how you move things around inside your body. Ex.circulatory system

Not only does the mesoderm moves things around your body is that it also gives you the motivation to move. Ex. urinary system and the gonads

Lungs would be from the endoderm. Endoderm means inside. So if you can’t remember and it’s an internal organ, just guess endoderm.

So the right answer here is (C), which are both part of the circulatory system.

[04:28] Psychology Question

Question 13: One of Janis’s 8 characteristics of Groupthink is self-censorship, the withholding of opposing information by group members. It’s brought on by another one of Janis’s characteristics, the pressure for conformity, which encourages uniformity of opinion and characterizes deviation from the group as disloyal. This self-censorship in the face of pressure and perceived loyalty is most similar to:

  • (A) Deindividuation
  • (B) Cognitive dissonance
  • (C) Repression
  • (D) Sublimation

Bryan’s Insights:

The correct answer here is (A), which means losing that sense of self and behaving in a group in a way that you never would by yourself. This is what people tend to do in Groupthink. They start altering the way the behave in a way they never would if they were on their own.

Repression and sublimation are ego defense mechanisms. They don’t have anything to do with the group. While cognitive dissonance is the unpleasant sensation of behaving in a way that is out of line with your other behaviors or beliefs. Or that you have a belief that is not aligned with your other belief.

Although someone in a group may experience cognitive dissonance, nothing in the question though described conflicting beliefs.

[06:34] Nucleotides vs. Nucleosides

Question 45: GTP is best classified as a member of which class of biological molecules?

  • (A) Amino acids
  • (B) Peptides
  • (C) Nucleotides
  • (D) Nucleic Acids

Bryan’s Insights:

GTP stands for guanosine triphosphate.

Nucleic acid is a polymer so you’d have to have multiple units. So by itself, it’s not a nucleic acid. Rather, it’s a nucleotide, which is the base polymer unit.

Remember the difference between a nucleotide and a nucleoside. Guanosine itself (sugar + nitrogenous base) is a nucleoside. As soon as you start tagging on phosphates, it becomes a nucleotide. (Ex. GTP, ATP, CTP, UTP)

On the other hand, peptide is a polymer of amino acids. It’s just a fancy way of saying protein.

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