Oxidation State and Formal Charge

Oxidation State and Formal Charge

Oxidation state and formal charge are two different “accounting” systems for an atom and its bonds. Often, students struggle to differentiate between these systems. Tune into this webinar to learn how to calculate oxidation states and formal charges for all atoms and common biological molecules.  

At a glance


Essential skills

  • Use the periodic table for valence shell electrons, bonds, and bond types

  • Calculate formal charge from Lewis dot structures

  • Calculate oxidation states from electronegativity differences


Knowledge Fundamentals

  • Differentiate covalent, ionic, and coordinate covalent bonds

  • Differentiate formal charge and oxidation state

  • Use formal charge and oxidation to identify reaction types


On the MCAT

  • Formal charge and oxidation state are integral parts of atomic chemistry on the MCAT. They are very different, but most students can't articulate how. The two systems have biological relevance and can be easily tested on any molecule, organic or inorganic!


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