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Transition states are where two molecules hit each other with enough force to create a combined complex that can either form the products or separate back into the reactants. This requires a lot of energy because the products might be more thermodynamically stable in the product form, but a lot of energy is still needed to break the bonds of the original molecules in order for them to form new bonds.
To see how high the energy of the transition state is, just look at the graph of a reaction. The transition states are the peaks of each slope. Therefore, they are at the highest point of each step, so they have high energy.
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