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Ch 21: Light & Geometrical Optics for the MCAT: Help and Review

About This Chapter

The light and geometrical optics chapter of this MCAT Help and Review course is the simplest way to master light and geometrical optics. This chapter uses simple and fun videos that are about five minutes long, plus lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to ensure students learn the essentials of light and geometrical optics.

Who's it for?

Anyone who needs help learning or mastering MCAT material will benefit from taking this course. You will be able to grasp the subject matter faster, retain critical knowledge longer and earn higher scores. You're in the right place if you:

  • Have fallen behind in understanding the properties of electromagnetic waves or the behavior of visible light
  • Need an efficient way to learn about light and geometrical optics
  • Learn best with engaging auditory and visual tools
  • Struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD
  • Experience difficulty understanding your teachers
  • Missed class time and need to catch up
  • Can't access extra MCAT review resources at school

How it works:

  • Start at the beginning, or identify the topics that you need help with.
  • Watch and learn from fun videos, reviewing as needed.
  • Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
  • Submit questions to one of our instructors for personalized support if you need extra help.
  • Verify you're ready by completing the light and geometrical optics chapter exam.

Why it works:

  • Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Use the light and geometrical optics chapter exam to be prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any light and geometrical optics question. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.

Students will review:

In this chapter, you'll learn the answer to questions including:

  • What are some sources of electromagnetic waves?
  • What are some properties of electromagnetic radiation?
  • What are the regions of the electromagnetic spectrum?
  • How do waves reflect off surfaces?
  • How does the law of reflection apply to different surfaces and wave types?
  • What makes an object transparent or opaque?
  • How do objects get their color?
  • What is Snell's law?

20 Lessons in Chapter 21: Light & Geometrical Optics for the MCAT: Help and Review
Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

1. Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

In this lesson, learn the basics of electromagnetic waves and how they make up the electromagnetic spectrum. We will explore the major trends and categories within the spectrum, as well as the various sources of electromagnetic waves.

The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

2. The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

This lesson will walk you through each of the major regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Explore the unique characteristics of X-rays, microwaves, radio waves, UV rays, infrared, gamma rays, and of course, visible light.

The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency

3. The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency

This lesson introduces the basics of visible light and color. Learn how the visible light spectrum is divided into the six color ranges. We'll also discuss why different people name colors in different ways.

Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces

4. Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces

How do waves reflect off of surfaces? How do we account for the images that we see reflected in various objects? Discover the answers to these questions as we investigate the rays and angles defining the law of reflection.

Diffuse Reflection: Definition, Examples & Surfaces

5. Diffuse Reflection: Definition, Examples & Surfaces

This lesson explores the law of reflection and how it applies to different surfaces and wave types. We'll learn the difference between specular and diffuse reflection and investigate how diffuse reflection affects our perception of sound and light.

Transparent and Opaque Materials in Electromagnetic Waves

6. Transparent and Opaque Materials in Electromagnetic Waves

What makes an object transparent or opaque? How does light pass through some objects and not others? And what about the other types of electromagnetic waves? We'll investigate all these questions in this lesson about the transparency and opacity of materials.

Color: White Light, Reflection & Absorption

7. Color: White Light, Reflection & Absorption

What gives color to objects? How do light waves interact with materials to produce red and green or white and black? In this lesson, learn how white light is composed of all colors and how absorption and reflection influence our color perception.

Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction

8. Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction

Refraction explains why light bends in water. But, did you know that mathematical laws determine exactly how light waves are bent? In this lesson, we'll explore the mechanics of wave refraction, including Snell's Law and the index of refraction.

Convex Lens: Definition, Equation & Examples

9. Convex Lens: Definition, Equation & Examples

Convex lenses are used in eyeglasses, projectors, microscopes, telescopes, and many more optical instruments. In this lesson, learn what a convex lens is and what kinds of images it can form.

Single-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

10. Single-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

After watching this lesson, you will be able to explain what single-slit diffraction is, describe and picture the pattern that it creates on a distant screen and use the equation of single-slit diffraction to solve problems. A short quiz will follow.

Double-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

11. Double-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

This lesson explores double-slit diffraction, including the significance of Young's double slit experiment and how the diffraction pattern forms. You will also learn to use equations to calculate the positions of minima and maxima in the pattern.

Polarization of Light & Malus's Law

12. Polarization of Light & Malus's Law

After watching this video, you will be able to explain what polarization of light is, list a number of examples of how polarization of light is used, state Malus's Law, and use it to solve problems involving the intensity of light through a polarizer.

What is Electromagnetic Radiation? - Wavelength, Spectrum & Energy

13. What is Electromagnetic Radiation? - Wavelength, Spectrum & Energy

Light, microwaves, X-rays, and cell phone transmissions are all examples of electromagnetic radiation. Read more about this fascinating, mostly invisible phenomenon that has been harnessed by humans for so many purposes. A quiz is included.

Infrared Radiation: Definition, Uses & Effects

14. Infrared Radiation: Definition, Uses & Effects

This lesson will explain what infrared radiation is and discuss a number of practical uses and effects of infrared, including its connection to climate change and the way the atmosphere responds to infrared waves. A short quiz will follow.

Spectroscopy: Definition and Types

15. Spectroscopy: Definition and Types

In this video lesson, we will introduce and discuss different spectroscopic techniques used by scientists in an analytical lab. We will understand the importance of these techniques and show how they can be employed in identification and analysis.

Diffraction & Huygen's Principle

16. Diffraction & Huygen's Principle

After watching this video, you will be able to explain what diffraction is, provide some real-life examples of diffraction, state Huygen's Principle, and explain how Huygen's Principle applies to those real-life examples. A short quiz will follow.

Mirrors: Difference Between Plane & Spherical

17. Mirrors: Difference Between Plane & Spherical

After watching this lesson, you will be able to explain what a mirror is and how plane mirrors and spherical mirrors are different, including the images they produce. A short quiz will follow.

Thin Lenses: Types & Measurement

18. Thin Lenses: Types & Measurement

We are around many thin lenses throughout our daily lives, but most of us don't really know what this means. In this lesson, we'll explore the measurements of lenses, the common types of thin lenses, and the different ways they affect light.

How the Combination of Lenses Improves Optical Aberration

19. How the Combination of Lenses Improves Optical Aberration

Even the best simple lenses can come with some basic problems. In this lesson, we'll examine the issue of optical aberrations and see how we can fix them with more complex lenses.

Ray Tracing with Mirrors: Reflected Images

20. Ray Tracing with Mirrors: Reflected Images

After watching this lesson, you will be able to explain what a mirror is and use ray tracing diagrams, along with the law of reflection, to explain what you see when you look in a mirror. A short quiz will follow.

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Other Chapters

Other chapters within the MCAT Prep: Help and Review course

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