Talk about important. This is THE most tested subject on the ASCP MT exam – at least based on an unscientific poll of one person. It’s packed full of different topics: Endocrinology? check. Pharmacology? check. Enzymology, Diabetes and Blood gases? check check and check. This subject is essentially a catch-all with a whole variety of different topics – they’re all important!

Think silly when you need to memorize very plain facts. AFG may not mean anything but “AAAH That’s F’in Painful” might suggest which parts of the body it’s related to

Turn pages of text into a single diagram by just scribbling some notes and seeing what you come up with

simplify memorization of number ranges with a line graph

simplify memorization of number ranges with a line graph

“as serious as a heart attack” is a phrase important enough to have made its way into common usage – it’s going to be on the exam

A simplified description of the different lipoproteins, how they form, and what’s relevant to the exam for each

Questions concerning the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome come up fairly regularly during practice exams

I had one very easy acid-base disorder question which I can no longer remember. Don’t go too crazy learning how the Henderson-Hasselbach equation is derived – it’s only taught in school to fill time. DO know the reference ranges for the blood gases, as well as pH. It might be on your exam!

What else will be on the exam?
It’s very important to know the differences between Prehepatic, Hepatic and Posthepatic Jaundice. Know which type of jaundice results when you have problems like excessive RBC destruction (as during hemolytic disease of the newborn), Criggler-Najar, Dubin-Johnson Syndrome and when an obstruction (like a carcinoma or gallstone) blocks bile flow into the intestines.

74 Responses to Chemistry

  1. CheChe says:

    Hi, I’m planning to take ASCPi in California it’s been 12 years since I graduated from Medical Technology College. So hard to start over. From which book did you memorize the normal values? Polanski or Harr? Thank you wordsology your site is very helpful.

  2. belle says:

    Hi, Im scheduled to take ASCP this coming June 8,2013, im having a hard time to start reading again and Im starting today to read all my notes, I have Polanski, Harr and Success by Ciulla and BOC, an I have a copy of MLS outline of ASCP, but my problem is where do I start and what book Im gonna read it first? Im beggining to read the BOC book but i feel like all the questions in this book are so hard to understand, im stress and desperate right now to pass the ASCP cause I already failed twice for CLS licensure examination last dec and this march, pls help me and guide me how to study, cause im so desperate to pass this ASCP on June…. Thank you and have a great day always….

    • wordsology says:

      Hey Belle, it’s going to be okay. Just follow the strategies i’ve suggested and you WILL PASS. As i’ve suggested – reviewing Polanski cards, along with a complement of several dozen review questions from the Harr book every day – subject by subject, and in a systematic manner will help you pass. Be certain to review what you have learned in the past week, every single week. I also found the LABCE website subscription to be the best value for the dollar. These are thousands of questions on the computer, along with excellent explanations, for a nominal fee that will last the entire year. I would highly recommend it. Good luck and ask if you have any further questions.

  3. CheChe says:

    Thank you I’m starting to memorize them. Happy Easter !

  4. hou says:

    Hi Sohail,I have one week left for the chemistry certificate exam.Should I stick with LabcE or I use Robert Harr( I just got Robert Harr) .I have been practicing LabcE for 2 weeks and I saw that The question repete a lot and I could memorise the answers.My score in the labCE is 70-78%.
    Thank you.

  5. hou says:

    Thank you very much.

  6. hou says:

    Hi,I just came from the testing center , I passed the chemistry exam.
    Thank you for your help.

    • wordsology says:

      Hey, congratulations to you, “hou”!

    • Lisa says:

      Hey Hou! Did you find that the Chemistry exam was tougher than Labce? I’m getting upper 70% on Labce but find that Harr is a lot more difficult. I realize this is three years ago but any advice would be great πŸ™‚ Thanks!

      • Marf says:

        Hii… Lisa.. I am gonna write ASCPi Chemistry. Any suggestion (Like study material, Difficulty of questions etc?)

  7. fairlady says:

    hey thanks for your notes…Its a great help…I will be taking my ASCP MT exam in 2 weeks…wish me luck πŸ™‚

  8. Jackie says:

    Are there many calculations on the exam, worried about this. If so which ones do you suggest I focus on?

  9. Lulu says:

    I am taking the AAB MT exam soon. Do you think it would be the about the same material to study?

  10. Caleb says:

    On the Graph you made for enzymes. How does GGT come into play with Biliary tract obstructions? Does it depend where the obstruction has occured?

    • wordsology says:

      I’m sorry, I didn’t see some comments until now for some reason.

      Owing to a bile duct obstruction the liver, pressure is increased and GGT leaks out of bile duct cells.

      If ALP is also elevated, look to see HOW elevated it is. This will tell you where the obstruction is located. If it’s an intrahepatic obstruction, the ALP level is LESS THAN 3x the upper reference range for ALP. If it’s an extrahepatic obstruction, the ALP level is GREATER THAN 3x the upper reference range. Hope that helps.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Hi wordsology,

    I’m going to be taking the NYS MLS exam towards the end of April. I’ve been doing a lot of practice questions on LABCE. So far my Chem and Heme is sitting around 70-80%. However, I purchase the ASCP practice tests products where you pay $35 and you get 50 multiple choice questions in each subject area and 2 comprehensives. I did the Chem and heme since that’s all I’ve been reviewing the most the past 2-3 weeks and I score 50%. Is this a bad sign?

  12. jennifer permaul says:

    Do we need to know the chemistry instrumentation? Also do we need to know reference ranges for the blood gas parameters??

    • wordsology says:

      I think you should be familiar with both of those things – how does the equipment work in a very basic way. Reference ranges are given on the exam but I think it’s helpful to know the basics.

  13. katukatz says:

    Hi I’m planning to take up my ASCP MLS certification this coming October or November. I started reviewing since last year. I started with the textbooks, I got 3 more before doing my outline review using Harr, Therriot and Polansky. I was looking at some questions and IT seems like It is a difficult exams after all. Thanks a lot with your help, It helps a lot and gives a lot of ideas what we might encounter during the exams.

  14. Mandip says:

    Isn’t the casual glucose for diabetes should be great or equal to 200 mg/dl with symptoms of diabetes?

    • katukatz says:

      That’s what I thought. Casual /random glucose of equal or greater to 200 mg/dl with symptoms of diabetes is one of the criteria in confirmation of DM.

  15. sofie says:

    did anyone get questions dealing with calculations, normality, morality, moles, equivalents or anything of that nature…. what kind of calculations were on there .. ( people who have taken it )

  16. jhane jhane says:

    hi.. its too late for me because just few days left when i saw this site.. il be taking my exam tom and hope to pass.. PLS PRY FOR ME GUYS =(

  17. karen says:

    hi can anyone give me pointers on what to study?il be ttaking the exam by jan 2015., thanks πŸ™‚

  18. Aaron Mitton says:

    This website has been a great help in studying for my upcoming ASCP exam!

    Using your notes, I created some flashcards, if anyone is interesting in using them…

    • Catt says:

      Thanks I did print your cards in glossary form just for something portable for when I am not able to be carrying other materials with me

    • cheraroo says:

      Thank you so much for the link. I take the ASCP exam in 5 weeks. I have failed twice over the last four years and I graduated five years ago. I am having major anxiety at this point! Major crunch time!

  19. Fatima says:

    Hello Sohail, I will be taking my Chemistry exam in June. I have never been so worried and anxious in my life. Everyone is telling me it’s a hard one since it is only chemistry. Any advice?

    • wordsology says:

      I don’t have advice with regard to individual exams. On the one hand, you’ll have to know everything with respect to chemistry laboratory testing and likely also QC; On the other hand, you don’t need to study anything else!

    • Jewel says:

      Was your chemistry exam harder than the chemistry recall questions on this site? I’m taking my chemistry exam soon and feeling worried and anxious too

    • Joumanah says:

      Hello Fatima, I’m planning to take my Chemistry exam as well. Did you study in the same books cited in this website, or do you recommend others? Thank you

  20. Heather says:

    Thank you for all this information. I failed my MLT exam the first time. I am taking it again in two weeks. I really think these charts will help me. I had a really bad college experience and need all the help I can get. For those who struggle with respiratory and metabolic acidosis and alkaloids…remember ROME respiratory opposite,metabolic equal. Thanks again!

  21. Ryan says:

    Hey, awesome site really appreciate all the great charts glad I found it with a month before my exam!. Just a question, with your experience with the chemistry side of the ASCP exam, would memorizing references ranges for chemistry tests be helpful for the exam? and If so which ones? This has been bugging me, Thanks in advance πŸ™‚

    • wordsology says:

      Very good question. In general, you’ll have the reference ranges given in the question itself – or the question might say, for example, “Potassium value is high”. I don’t recall having to remember too many ranges myself. Anyone else have any input on this?

  22. Chitra S says:

    Hi, I am planning to take Technologist in Chemistry (Just applied online) exam. I am kind of a starter at this point. Can someone help me on some of my questions please ?

    1. I have softcopy of BOC. Do I need to read other than BOC Chemistry too ? on any specifc topics
    2. Would the syllabus covered under ASCP Chemistry all enough ? Or What else I need to cover. Is there any clear list of syllabus some one can suggest ?
    3. If I subscribe or purchase LAB CE Or Polansky Card, Do I need only Chemistry related ? Or Do I need anything else more ?
    4. Any other suggestions around this Exam would be great too.

    I would appreciate any ones suggestions. Thanks

  23. Nikki says:

    I have purchased the Harr book to study and other resources but I do not want to spend anymore money purchasing materials. I am having a hard time find a good example of laid out reference ranges, especially in chemistry. Does anyone have a website or resource that is free that I can have the information for? Thanks

    • Ipassed says:

      The Polansky Card showed good references ranges. I would recommend it! However, some reference ranges were included in my exam already since I got many case studies questions. I didn’t get any acid and base balance so I don’t know if the ranges would be included in those questions

  24. Ipassed says:

    I got some odd questions in chemistry subject.
    – glucose is 600, and k is 4.3… Inject insulin and 1 and 1/2 later glucose down to 300.. What is the k results?
    – amylase in numbs
    – high amylase, normal lipase, 900 glucose… Why? Lipemic, ircetus…?
    – acute pancreatic can show normal amalyse if a/ high trig, low LDL, low lipase ect …
    – high ACT but low cortisol…what disease? Cushing or Addison?
    No acid- base balance questions for me

    • Lin says:

      what does amylase in numbs mean? I believe the low cortisol high ACTH disease is Addisons. Anyone know the answers to these other questions?

      • Breanna says:

        I think the original poster may have meant amylase in mumps, and amylase is typically elevated with mumps.

        I tried to research why acute pancreatitis would have normal amylase levels and I found out that amylase can be at normal levels due to hypertriglyceridemia or alcohol use. So high triglycerides was probably the correct choice.

        I also researched the effect of insulin on potassium. Insulin activates sodium-potassium ATPases in many cells, causing a flux of potassium into cells. Meaning the serum levels of potassium would decrease.

        I found that elevated amylase with normal lipase levels can occur in:
        -intestinal ischemia
        -ruptured ectopic pregnancy
        -intestinal perforation
        -acute appendicitis
        -renal failure (causes falsely elevated serum amylase)

        Thanks to the original poster for posting some questions they ran into on the exam!

      • wordsology says:

        thank YOU for taking the time to explain it to the rest of us!

  25. henry says:

    Hi, your notes is great. just one thing, to confirm diagnosis of diabetes, physical symptoms and casual blood glucose should be >200 instead of 126. Please double check and make correction if necessary.

  26. Lin says:

    This was on my exam make sure to know this graph. I think it asked about CKMB

  27. Very helpful and easy to memorize.

  28. 1er says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you guys recommend memorizing the normal values and equations for chemistry?


  29. Jay_knee says:

    hi, I’m planning to get the ASCPi exam this year, i’d like to ask if the BOC book is useful? thank you πŸ™‚

    • wordsology says:

      I didn’t find the book useful myself, although some did like it.

      • jay_knee says:

        ok, thank you! your website really makes me inspire to study, thank you for the tips! πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

    • Starrydust says:

      I took the ASCP MLS (its not i cause its not international for me,.. but i don’t think there’ll be much difference except maybe for some bacteria name and some regulation stuff) today.. and I did fail

      but I wanted to say I kind of used the BOC book not for all the topics. when I was studying urinalysis for example, I only used lab Ce to test myself but when i got home just now and I flipped through my Harr and BOC book I instantly knew why i only got certain questions right for urinalysis (like the Cast/Crystal ID) on my test today I didn’t get the case studies like questions.. i think i got all those wrong

      So what I wanted to say is.. if you have it… use it .. at least make sure you skimmed through the questions…

  30. Marf says:


    Thanks to Sohail and Wordsology. I took my ASCP Chemistry exam yesterday and I passed. I just followed the instructions mentioned in this site. I referred Polanski, Harr and LabCE. I suggest everyone to refer Teitz also.

    • Jewel says:

      Were the chemistry questions similar to those in the recall questions on this site? I hear the subject tests are way more difficult.

  31. Starrydust says:

    Thanks for the website its been very helpful

    I took the ASCP MLS exam today.. but i failed but that doesn’t mean your website wasn’t helpful

  32. Chitra says:

    Hello everyone,
    I am planning to do specialist Chemistry,(ascp) exam.Please let me know the study guide & flash cards,Books for exam practice.I did the C- ASCP in 2 years back & also working now, I referred this site & questions, it was helped me a lot.I would appreciate your help.

  33. CHAU says:

    Is anyone have exam recalls for specialist Chemistry?Thanks in advance for your help!!

  34. Henry says:

    Hi wordsology,

    I took the Chemistry Ascp and failed today. i have recalled some questions that i remembered It would appreciated if any can answers this questions for me .

    1.Percent of Calcium in total serum/
    A. 25 %
    B. 50%
    C. 90 %
    2. PC02 concentration of 40 mm (kpa 5.6) calculating the mole/L ?
    A. 12
    B.1.2 i think this is what i picked but not sure if is right.
    C. 40
    D. 4.1
    3.calculating Anion gap
    4. coefficient of correlation
    5. clearance calculation
    6. ck-mb myocardial infarction
    7-ammonium increase – Hepatic failure
    8. cushing syndrome – high cortisol and Acth
    9. high glucose – Vit D diffiency

    • wordsology says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, Henry. If anyone can help out with these questions, it would be very much appreciated. Thanks for contributing, Henry.

    • HP says:

      Hi Henry, did they ask you any questions on instrumentation or need to know reference ranges?
      1. 50%
      2. not sure exactly what you are asking
      3. Na- (cl+hco3)- without K range 10-20
      (Na+K)- (Cl-Hco3) with K. if you do have k make sure its not hemolyzed. 7-10
      4. CV= (Sd/mean)x100 – not sure what they ask you for this
      5. CC ml/min= (Urine Concentrationx Volume flow/24hours)/(plasma concentration)(1440min)
      6. AMI: Myglobin first to increase, not specific. Troponin is specific test for AMI.
      then CK, CKMB, LD
      7. Ammonia increase; Reye’s syndrome, viral hepatits and cirrosis. Heptoma coma
      8.Cushin’s: Cortisol increase, ACTH decrease, Na and Cl increase, K decrease, Glucose increase and aldo increase
      9.Hyperglycemia: causes Diabetes Mellitus. I suggest look at this high yield notes.
      i hope this helps.
      if you remeber more questions please post.

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