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Surviving AP Chemistry

Jul 11, 2009

AP Chemistry is considered one of the most rigorous courses in high school. Nevertheless, excelling on an AP Exam can get students out of a daunting intro chemistry course in college. Students who take on this challenge must prepare for challenging nightly reading as well as difficult chapter tests on material ranging from the atomic theory to electrochemistry. Many AP Chemistry courses have strong lab components that help students visualize the material they are covering in the classroom. The following tips can help make your experience in this challenging class a more pleasurable one.

• There will most likely be nightly reading assigned. Take the time to read each night so you know what to expect in class the following day. Reading the material will give you additional time to digest the material. Also, the book will probably explain a concept differently from the way your teacher explains it. Having an additional vantage point can help students tremendously

• Because there is such a wide range of topics in the course, review each section every couple of months. You do not want to start reviewing topics in April that were studied at the beginning of the year. Some topics do overlap, though.

• If there is not a perquisite for the AP version of the class, take a couple of weeks before the school year to learn the basics. The “basics” include the periodic table and the atomic theory. Learning these topics will help you understand more convoluted concepts down the road.

• Reaction writing is a part of the AP Exam that easily be mastered. Whether one needs to obtain a workbook or practice on their own, spend a couple of minutes each week/month practicing writing out reactions. These points can easily make the difference between passing and failing this exam.

THE EXAM- consists of 6 free response questions and 75 multiple choice questions (1 of the free response questions will be reaction writing which will be worth 15 points. Each reaction will be worth 5 points)

The course may seem intimidating but it is certainly manageable. These tips should help you get a head start on the course and assist you in your preparation for the exam in May.

Good luck!


seefah's picture

Thanks for the tips. (:
My main concern is the nightly reading and how time consuming the course is. I'm also taking AP Language, AP Spanish, AP US History, and other challenging (albeit not AP) courses. I don't think I would have time for all of this, but I do not plan on dropping any of these classes. Do you have any time saving tips?

Jessica_C's picture

@ seefah: What is your Chem AP textbook? Many schools use Zumdahl's, and it has a very concise practice book that you could check out. It contains neat explanations and is actually easier to understand than the actual textbook itself.

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