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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
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

1. Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

Electromagnetic waves are both electric and magnetic, and can travel without a medium. Learn about the definition, sources, and properties of electromagnetic waves.

The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

2. The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Unlike some other waves, electromagnetic waves don't require a medium to travel. This lesson delves into the frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum including infrared, ultraviolet, microwaves, X-rays, radio waves, and gamma rays.

The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency

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

The nature of light includes visible light and color. Explore the origin, spectrum, and color frequency of light and learn about the six color ranges and people's perception and naming of color.

Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces

4. Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces

The reflection of waves occurs when a wave changes direction after it hits a surface. Explore incident and reflected rays, the law of reflection, and reflection off curved surfaces.

Diffuse Reflection: Definition, Examples & Surfaces

5. Diffuse Reflection: Definition, Examples & Surfaces

When rays hit a rough surface, their reflections go in diverse directions. This phenomenon is called diffuse reflection. Learn its definition, its difference from specular reflection, and different examples of diffuse reflection in sound and light waves.

Transparent and Opaque Materials in Electromagnetic Waves

6. Transparent and Opaque Materials in Electromagnetic Waves

Transparency and opacity describe interactions in regions throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. Explore the differences between transparent and opaque materials, their relation to transmission and reflection, and non-visible wave types.

Color: White Light, Reflection & Absorption

7. Color: White Light, Reflection & Absorption

When you perceive color, what you're really seeing is how white light is reflected or absorbed by an object to produce different visible light frequencies. This lesson investigates the properties of white light, the color spectrum, the process of selective absorption and reflection, and how pigments work in living things.

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

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

When a light wave passes from one medium into another, it changes direction in a process called refraction. This lesson investigates the properties of refraction, including the index of refraction and the ratio known as Snell's Law.

Convex Lens: Definition, Equation & Examples

9. Convex Lens: Definition, Equation & Examples

A convex lens curves outward and bends light in the direction of a focal point and it is used in things like eyeglasses and microscopes. Explore the definition, equation, and examples of convex lenses and discover images formed and eye disorders treated by convex lenses.

Single-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

10. Single-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

Single-slit diffraction occurs when light spreads out when passing through or around an object if one color light is used and a relatively thin slit is used. See the pattern in this diffraction and learn the equation that explains the observations made.

Double-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

11. Double-slit Diffraction: Interference Pattern & Equations

A double-slit diffraction is the observed effect where light passing through two slits creates beams that interact with each other. Explore the interference pattern and equations that explain the observed phenomena with light passing through double-slits.

Polarization of Light & Malus's Law

12. Polarization of Light & Malus's Law

Polarization is essentially filtering out the chaotic light-wave oscillations to achieve a more clear, and 'polar' experience of light. Explore how glasses, screens, and radios polarize, and understand Malus's law, which calculates the way to dim light to polarize effectively.

What is Electromagnetic Radiation? - Wavelength, Spectrum & Energy

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

Electromagnetic (EM) radiation is the behavior of electric and magnetic waves through a medium. Explore an introduction to EM radiation and learn about the definition of electromagnetic radiation, the wavelength, spectrum, and energy of EM radiation.

Infrared Radiation: Definition, Uses & Effects

14. Infrared Radiation: Definition, Uses & Effects

Electromagnetic waves between 700nm and 1mm are defined as infrared radiation. Explore the uses of infrared technology radiation, and its impact on climate change through examples of every day items.

Spectroscopy: Definition and Types

15. Spectroscopy: Definition and Types

Spectroscopy uses electromagnetic radiation to determine the substance in a sample without destroying it. Learn how forensic labs analyze materials using spectroscopy, and the way spectrometers use radiation to arrive at conclusions about complex substances.

Diffraction & Huygen's Principle

16. Diffraction & Huygen's Principle

Diffraction is the spreading of a wave when encountering an obstacle, or a slit. Discover different types of diffraction in real-life examples, and explore Huygen's principle that explains the observed behavior of waves and wavelets.

Mirrors: Difference Between Plane & Spherical

17. Mirrors: Difference Between Plane & Spherical

A mirror surface can produce clear reflections due to its smooth surface. Explore the difference between the two types of mirrors, plane and spherical, and the problem with aberration that is solved using parabolic mirrors.

Thin Lenses: Types & Measurement

18. Thin Lenses: Types & Measurement

Thin lenses have a small width compared to their circumference. Explore the measurement of thin lenses and discover two main types of thin lenses known as converging and diverging lenses, as well as others such as plano and meniscus lenses.

How the Combination of Lenses Improves Optical Aberration

19. How the Combination of Lenses Improves Optical Aberration

Optical aberrations are all factors that disrupt light converging through a lens, which is addressed using specialized lens combinations. Discover the science behind chromatic aberrations, monochromatic aberrations, and how lenses can be configured to correct them both.

Ray Tracing with Mirrors: Reflected Images

20. Ray Tracing with Mirrors: Reflected Images

Ray tracing is a simple way to draw what would otherwise be dozens and dozens of photons of light to illustrate reflected images. Learn about the law of reflection and how to draw a ray tracing diagram with a mirror using an example.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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More Exams
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