What Types of Questions Are on the ACS Biochemistry Exam?

The American Chemical Society Biochemistry Exam is a problem-oriented test that covers material typically presented in an advanced undergraduate survey course, and as such, it requires a thorough understanding of glycolysis, gluconeogenesis and the Kreb's cycle. A student can also expect questions about hemoglobin, competitive and uncompetitive inhibition, and the structures of TPP and PLP.

Other topics that have been reported to have appeared on the exam include the differences between bacterial and eukaryotic DNA replication, the enzymes in the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex and the differences between anabolic and catabolic pathways. Students should know when ATP is required and when it is released in glycolysis, and they need to understand which pathways and which enzymes ATP inhibit. Students should prepare to provide thorough answers to questions such as: "What is NADPH produced in HMP used for? Is it used in anabolic or catabolic reactions?"

The exam's general topics include buffers and pH, protein structure and function, metabolic pathways, photosynthesis, thermodynamics, carbohydrate structure and function, and nucleic acid structure and function.

Thoroughly studying the most recent editions of the biochemistry texts by Lehninger, Stryer, Zubay and Mathews should adequately prepare a student for the exam. As of 2014, study guides and past exams are available for purchase from the ACS Examinations Institute.