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The reaction quotient is a ratio of the concentration of products to reactants when the system has not yet reached equilibrium. If Q<K, the forward reaction will be favored in order to create more product because there are not enough products in relation to reactants for the system to be at equilibrium. If Q>K, the system will favor the reverse reaction to create more reactant because there is not enough reactant in relation to products for the system to be at equilibrium.
I think Q is especially important in a lab setting because you can predict which direction a reaction will proceed, even if it is not at equilibrium. You can calculate Q at any point during a reaction, but K is only at equilibrium. Comparing the values will show you where you "are" in a chemical reaction.
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