# Unit conversions

#### postponemastudentloan

Hi, I‘m currently using the Kaplan books for mcat review and the math portion states that “conversion factors will be provided as necessary.” I just wanted to clarify does that mean conversion factors for basic things we’ve learned in classes such as Celsius/Fahrenheit/Kelvin, miles to feet, eV to joules, etc will be provided? Or should I have these conversion factors memorized? Thank you in advance!

#### FrameshiftAndrew

Vendor
Interestingly, Kaplan's wording here directly reflects what the AAMC says, which is that test-takers are required to "use metric units, including converting units within the metric system and between metric and English units (conversion factors will be provided when needed)."

So I wouldn't worry too much about miles to feet and so on, and even something like eV to joules will be given to you (there was actually a controversy back in 2015-2016 or so when the AAMC omitted something very similar from a practice test, but then re-added it after an outcry and lots of confusion). What you should absolutely get good at is converting back and forth between different scales in the metric system, using scientific notation. As a quick diagnostic, how good would you feel about expressing the wavelengths of visible light in micrometers? Or in standardized scientific notation (i.e., __ x 10^___ m), or even picometers just for laughs? The ability to do conversions like that, especially using scientific notation, can really pay off.

[Also, as a quick edit -- I do recommend knowing basic temperature conversions and things like that. But your MCAT books/materials will generally give you a good sense of the limited amount of units you should know.]

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#### jhmmd

##### supernatural
Hi, I‘m currently using the Kaplan books for mcat review and the math portion states that “conversion factors will be provided as necessary.” I just wanted to clarify does that mean conversion factors for basic things we’ve learned in classes such as Celsius/Fahrenheit/Kelvin, miles to feet, eV to joules, etc will be provided? Or should I have these conversion factors memorized? Thank you in advance!
I would memorize basic things like prefixes, Farenheit to Celcius, and basic physics/chemistry/biology formulas. You can use those laminated sheets from your university's bookstore for the basic formulas.

If you are referring to unit conversion factors, remember to write down knowns vs. unknowns. Remember to write down all steps so that you know what you're working with. Remember to use reciporcal f(x)s when necessary. Remember that you can derive what you need to know for the MCAT--all of the needed information will be given (for the most part); you just need to be able to put together what you've learned + apply that to the passages.

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#### PlsLetMeIn21

2+ Year Member
Numbers found in passages, tables, and questions always come with units. You MUST be able to manipulate units that are both familiar and unfamiliar. Do not waste time memorizing obscure conversion factors, but know things like 8.314, 4.18, and so on.

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