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Ch 42: Respiratory System for the MCAT: Help and Review

About This Chapter

The respiratory system chapter of this MCAT Help and Review course is the simplest way to master respiratory system components. 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 the respiratory system.

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 airway and lung anatomy or the processes involved in gas exchange
  • Need an efficient way to learn about the respiratory system
  • 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 Respiratory System for the MCAT 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 Respiratory System for the MCAT chapter exam to be prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any respiratory system 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:

  • How can pulmonary function be tested?
  • How does the nervous system control breathing?
  • How are carbon dioxide and oxygen transported?
  • What is pulmonary surfactant?
  • What factors contribute to gas exchange efficiency?
  • What are diffusion and partial pressure gradients?
  • How do muscles cause inspiration and expiration?
  • How do external and internal respiration vary?
  • What are the conducting and respiratory zones?
  • How do the pleural cavities and pleural membranes function?

14 Lessons in Chapter 42: Respiratory System for the MCAT: Help and Review
Gross Anatomy of the Airway and Lungs: Conducting & Respiratory Zones

1. Gross Anatomy of the Airway and Lungs: Conducting & Respiratory Zones

The respiratory system includes the lungs as well as other organs that help to get oxygen into the blood and carbon dioxide out of the blood. The conducting zone of the respiratory system carries oxygen into the lungs and carbon dioxide out of the lungs. The respiratory zone is where oxygen and carbon dioxide move into and out of the blood.

Function of Pleural Cavities and Pleural Membranes

2. Function of Pleural Cavities and Pleural Membranes

Each lung is contained within a pleural cavity, the space between the outside of the lung and inside of the chest wall. Pleural membranes cover the outside of the lungs and line the inside of the chest wall. The lungs remain expanded when we breathe due to a vacuum effect within the pleural cavity.

How Ventilation Muscles Cause Inspiration and Expiration

3. How Ventilation Muscles Cause Inspiration and Expiration

What is ventilation? It includes both inspiration and expiration, the movement of air into and out of our lungs. In this lesson, learn about how the diaphragm contracts and relaxes and its impact on lung volume.

The Respiratory Surface and Gas Exchange Efficiency

4. The Respiratory Surface and Gas Exchange Efficiency

The respiratory membrane includes millions of alveoli with a surface area as large as a tennis court. This large respiratory surface area, combined with other factors, makes for efficient gas exchange to meet our metabolic needs.

Pulmonary Surfactant Function and Ventilation

5. Pulmonary Surfactant Function and Ventilation

Our lungs are lined with a thin layer of water. The water creates surface tension, which makes it difficult for the lungs to expand and allow for gas exchange. Pulmonary surfactant is made by our lungs and decreases the surface tension so we can breathe.

Gas Exchange: Diffusion & Partial Pressure Gradients

6. Gas Exchange: Diffusion & Partial Pressure Gradients

If you've ever experienced shortness of breath on top of a mountain, this lesson is for you. Oxygen and carbon dioxide move into and out of our blood by diffusion. The rate of diffusion is determined by partial pressure gradients across the respiratory membrane in our lungs. Partial pressure is a function of both concentration and atmospheric pressure.

External and Internal Respiration in the Lungs: Definition & Process

7. External and Internal Respiration in the Lungs: Definition & Process

This lesson explores the process by which oxygen and carbon dioxide get into and out of the blood located in the lungs and in our metabolizing tissues. The partial pressure gradient for each gas determines both the direction and rate of diffusion across the respiratory membrane.

Gas Transport: Oxygen and Hemoglobin

8. Gas Transport: Oxygen and Hemoglobin

Did you know that almost all of the oxygen transported in our blood is bound to hemoglobin? Hemoglobin is loaded with oxygen in the lungs and unloaded of oxygen in the metabolizing tissues. This lesson will describe how oxygen is transported in our blood.

Gas Transport: Cooperative Binding of Oxygen with Hemoglobin

9. Gas Transport: Cooperative Binding of Oxygen with Hemoglobin

Our cells need oxygen. Most of the oxygen is delivered to our cells bound to hemoglobin. This lesson describes how cooperative binding of hemoglobin maximizes oxygen delivery to our metabolizing tissues.

Gas Transport: Effect of Temperature, pH & Metabolism

10. Gas Transport: Effect of Temperature, pH & Metabolism

Hemoglobin carries almost all the oxygen to our metabolizing tissues. This lesson discusses physiological factors that stimulate hemoglobin to unload oxygen in our tissues. For example, temperature, carbon dioxide, pH and metabolism all influence the affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen.

Carbon Dioxide Transport in the Blood

11. Carbon Dioxide Transport in the Blood

While carbon dioxide is a metabolic waste product, it plays some important physiological roles as well. This lesson describes how carbon dioxide is transported in our blood, how carbon dioxide is converted into a pH buffer, and how carbon dioxide helps with oxygen transport.

Autonomic Breathing: How Ventilation is Regulated

12. Autonomic Breathing: How Ventilation is Regulated

Did you know that our nervous system controls our breathing? This lesson describes the basic elements of the homeostatic system responsible for balancing oxygen supply with metabolic demand.

What Are Pulmonary Function Tests?

13. What Are Pulmonary Function Tests?

Pulmonary function tests are used to measure air movement into and out of the lungs. Spirometry is the most common way to measure airflow. This lesson will describe the use of spirometry to measure lung volumes and flow rates as well as how breathing disorders are diagnosed.

Ciliated Epithelium: Function, Structure & Diagram

14. Ciliated Epithelium: Function, Structure & Diagram

In this lesson, you'll learn about what ciliated epithelial tissue is and where it is located. You'll also discover why it is important to our health and see diagrams of this tissue.

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Other Chapters

Other chapters within the MCAT Prep: Help and Review course

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