MCAT Physics Question — Snell’s Law
 by
 Feb 11, 2017
 MCAT Question of the Day
 Reviewed By: Liz Flagge
A beam of light is traveling through air (n = 1) when it passes through a transparent glass (n = 1.5) medium. Which of following is true concerning the angles θ and the velocity V?
A. θ_{1} > θ_{2 }and V_{1} > V_{2}
B. θ_{1} > θ_{2} and V_{1} < V_{2}
C. θ_{1} < θ_{2} and V_{1} > V_{2}
D. θ_{1} < θ_{2} and V_{1} < V_{2}
Click for Explanation
This question tests the examinees understanding of Snell’s law of refraction, n_{1}(sinθ _{1}) = n_{2}(sinθ _{2}). The index of refraction (n) is the ratio of the speed of light to the speed of light through a specific medium. The index of refraction for air is 1, which means V_{1 }is equal to the speed of light (3 x 10^{8} m/s). The refraction index for glass is 1.5, which makes
V_{2 }= 2 x 10^{8} m/s. Therefore, B and D are eliminated.
To compare the angle of incidence (θ _{1}) to the angle of refraction (θ _{2}), use Snell’s law to determine the ratio. Since (sinθ _{1})/(sinθ _{2}) = n_{2}/n_{1}, θ_{1} must be greater than θ_{2}. Thus, A is the correct answer.
Want more MCAT practice?
We’ve got options for every schedule and learning style!
From the best online MCAT course created by top instructors with 524+ MCAT scores to the most representative fulllength practice exams and private tutoring, we can custom tailor your MCAT prep to your goals!
Not sure which option is right for you? Schedule a free MCAT consultation with an MCAT expert using the form below. No obligation, just expert advice.
Search the Blog
Free Consultation
Interested in our Online MCAT Course, OneonOne MCAT Tutoring or Med admissions packages? Set up a free consultation with one of our experienced Senior Student Advisors.
Schedule NowPopular Posts

MCAT Blog What's on the MCAT?

MCAT Blog How to Review MCAT Full Lengths
Free MCAT Practice Account
Need great MCAT practice?Get the most representative MCAT practice possible when you sign up for our free MCAT Account, which includes a halflength diagnostic exam and one of our fulllength MCAT practice exams.
Learn More