The exam will include questions on the following topics (as of 2015)
Section 1: General Knowledge and Logical Reasoning (Critical Thinking and Problem Solving)
Section 1 will assess general knowledge and the logical reasoning skills that
students must possess if they are to succeed in a course of study at the highest
level. Such skills are basic to any academic studies, which often require students to
solve novel problems, or consider arguments put forward to justify a conclusion, or to
promote or defend a particular point of view.
General Knowledge & Critical Thinking
General Knowledge questions may address a range of cultural topics, including
aspects of literary, historical, philosophical, social and political culture.
Critical Thinking involves reasoning using everyday written language. Questions
focus on the skills involved in understanding and evaluating arguments. These
include: drawing and summarising conclusions, identifying assumptions and
reasoning errors, and assessing the impact of additional evidence.
Summarising the Main Conclusion
Drawing a Conclusion
Identifying an Assumption
Assessing the Impact of Additional Evidence
Detecting Reasoning Errors
Relevant Selection – Very often a real world problem will be overloaded with information, much of which
is unimportant. This kind of question demands Relevant Selection, in which the task
is to select only that information which is necessary and helpful in finding a solution.
Finding Procedures – Sometimes you will find that even if you have selected all the relevant information, no
solution presents itself. For this type of question, you have to find a method or
procedure which you can use to generate a solution.
Identifying Similarity – In this type of question you will be presented with information and asked to
identify the same information presented in a different way, or a situation in which
different information has a similar structure.
To prepare for this section, you might find the book “thinking skills” to be very usefull – see the recomended books list
Section 2: Biology
The chemistry of living things
The biological importance of weak interactions. Organic molecules in living organisms and their respective functions. The
role of enzymes.
The cell as the basis of life
Cellular theory. Cell size. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, animal and vegetal. Virus.
Cellular membrane: structure and function – transport via the membrane.
Cellular structures and their specific functions
The energy currency of cells: ATP.
The processes of oxidation and reduction in living things.
Energetic procesees: Photosynthesis. Glycolysis. Aerobic respiration.
Reproduction and Inheritance
Life cycles. Sexual and asexual reproduction.
Mendelian genetics: laws and applications.
Classical genetics: chromosome theory of inheritance – models of inheritance.
Molecular genetics: DNA structure and duplication, genetic code and its translation, protein synthesis.
DNA of prokaryotes. The chromosome structure of eukaryotes. Regulation of gene expression.
Human genetics: transmission of mono and multi-factorial treats, hereditary diseases of autosomal and X-chromosome linked types. Biotechnology: recombinant DNA and its potential bio-technological applications.
Inheritance and environment.
Mutations. Natural and artificial selection. Evolutionary theories. The genetic basis
Anatomy and Physiology of animals and humans
Animal tissues. Anatomy of the major organs and their functions and interactions in Humans. Homeostasis.
Section 3: Chemistry
The constitution of matter
States of matter; heterogeneous and homogeneous systems; compounds
The structure of the atom
Elementary particles, atomic number and mass number, isotopes, electronic
structure of atoms of the elements.
The periodic table of elements
Groups and periods, transition elements, periodic properties of elements: atomic
radius, ionization potential, electron affinity, metals and non-metals; relations
between electronic structure, position in the periodic table and properties.
The chemical bond:
Ionic bond, covalent bond, bond polarity, electronegativity.
Fundamentals of inorganic chemistry:
Nomenclature and main properties of inorganic compounds: oxides, hydroxides,
acids, salts; position in the periodic table.
Chemical reactions and stoichiometry:
Atomic and molecular weight, Avogadro constant, concept of the mole, conversion
from grams to moles and vice versa, elementary stoichiometric calculations,
balancing simple reactions, various types of chemical reactions.
Solvent properties of water, solubility, the main ways of expressing the
concentration of solutions.
Elements of chemical kinetics and catalysis.
Oxidation and reduction:
Oxidation number, the concepts of oxidising and reducing agents.
Acids and bases
Concepts of acids and bases, acidity, neutrality and basicity of aqueous
solutions, pH, buffers, hydrolysis.
Fundamentals of organic chemistry
Bonds between carbon atoms; molecular, structural and displayed formulae; concept of
isomers; aliphatic, alicyclic and aromatic hydrocarbons; functional groups: alcohols,
ethers, amines, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, esters, amides. Elements of nomeclature.
Section 4: Physics & Mathematics
Direct and indirect measures, fundamental and derived quantities, physical
dimensions of quantities, knowledge of the metric system and the CGS System of
Units, Technical (or practical) (ST) and the International System (SI) of Units (names
and relationships between fundamental and derived units), and multiples and submultiples (names and values).
Kinematic quantities, various types of motion with particular regard to uniform and
uniformly accelerating rectilinear motion, uniform circular motion, harmonic
motion (for all motion: definition and relationships between measures).
Vectors and operations on vectors. Forces, moments of forces about a point. Vector
composition of forces. Definitions of mass and weight. Acceleration due to gravity.
Density and specific gravity. Law of universal gravitation, 1st, 2nd and 3rd laws of
motion. Work, kinetic energy, potential energy. Principle of conservation of energy.
Pressure, and its units of measurement (not only in the SI system). Archimedes’
principle. Pascal’s principle. Stevino’s law.
Thermometry and calorimetry. Specific heat, heat capacity. Mechanisms of heat
propagation. Changes of state and latent heat. Ideal Gas Laws. First and second
laws of thermodynamics.
Electrostatics and electrodynamics
Coulomb’s law. Field and electric potential. Dielectric constant. Capacitors.
Capacitors in series and in parallel. Direct current. Ohm’s law. Electrical resistance
and resistivity, electrical resistors in series and in parallel. Work, Power, Joule effect.
Generators. Electromagnetic induction and alternating currents. Effects of electrical
currents (thermal, chemical and magnetic).
Algebra and numerical sets
Natural numbers, integers, rational and real numbers. Sorting and comparison,
scales and scientific notation. Operations and their properties. Proportions and
percentages. Powers with whole and rational exponents and their properties. Roots
and their properties. Logarithms (base 10 and base e) and their properties.
Elements of combinatorics. Algebraic and polynomial expressions. Special products
of binomials, n th power of a binomial, factorisation of polynomials. Algebraic
fractions. Algebraic equations and inequalities of the first and second order.
Systems of equations.
Basic concepts of functions and their graphical representations (domain, codomain,
sign, maxima and minima, increasing and decreasing, etc.). Elementary functions:
whole and fractional algebraic functions, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric
functions. Composite functions and inverse functions. Trigonometric equations and
Polygons and their properties. Circle and circumference. Measurement of length,
area and volume. Isometries, similarities and equivalences in the plane. Geometric
loci. Measure angles in degrees and radians. Sine, cosine, tangent of an angle and
their significant values. Trigonometric formulas. Solving triangles. Cartesian
reference system in a plane. Distance between two points and the midpoint of a
segment. Equation of a line. Concepts of parallel and perpendicular. Distance of a
point from a straight line. Equation of the circle, the parabola, hyperbola, ellipse and
their representation in the Cartesian plane. Pythagorean theorem.
Probability and Statistics
Frequency distributions and their graphic representations. Concepts of random
experiments and of events. Probability and frequency.
To have some tips on how to prepare for this test read here