In this second part of our two-part series on circuits and capacitors, we discuss how capacitors fit into the standard resister circuits. Capacitors have applications in many medical machines, like the AED and the pacemaker, and they are a great model for the cellular membrane. We will cover the basics of capacitors, how to read circuit diagrams featuring capacitors, and how to navigate specific calculations. 

At a glance


Essential skills

  • Interpret RC diagrams

  • Calculate Ceq, Req, current and voltage for RC circuits

  • Make connections between capacitors and electric fields, capacitors and scientific instruments, capacitors and biological membranes


Knowledge Fundamentals

  • Capacitance equations

  • Series versus parallel capacitors

  • The cycle of capacitor charge and discharge

  • Refer back to our circuits deck for a refresher on resistor-only circuits


On the MCAT

  • On the whole, the MCAT will test basic RC circuits, but once in a while an advanced problem will be thrown in (example problem 8 of this deck!)

  • RC circuits can be easily applied to medical instruments, circulatory system and nervous system, so look for connections and refer back to our system decks!


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