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AP Chemistry can seem pretty intimidating at first when you don't know much about it, so here's some basic info about the class and exam to ease your mind before your first day! 

The Class 📚

  • No hard math needed. As long as you've taken Algebra 1, you should be fine with the math used in AP Chemistry.
  • Lots of labs. The College Board requires AP Chemistry classes to do at least 16 labs throughout the year. Expect to write more than you did for the labs you had in your first year chemistry class. Lab procedure is also an important concept to know for the exam, so make sure you're paying attention to what you're doing!
  • Understanding is more important than memorization. While you're expected to memorize things like bond angles, this knowledge is likely only going to score you one or two points on the exam, if any. Having a deep understanding of equilibrium, however, will get you much farther. So, when you're studying, gauge what skills you should be devoting your time to. If you struggle with stoichiometry and you also don't remember molecular geometry, you should probably put those shapes on the back burner and make stoichiometry your first priority.

The Exam ✏️

  • No calculator on the multiple choice. You'll have to brush up on your mental math skills throughout the year, but the good news is that any math you do on the multiple choice should give you neat numbers.
  • The periodic table does not have element names. However, you'll only need to know the symbol for commonly used elements like sodium (Na) or copper (Cu), so you won't have to find the symbol for wacky elements like lawrencium on the exam.
  • All of the hard equations are on the formula sheet. There are still a few simple ones you need to know, but you will not have to use the more difficult equations you might come across in class like the Nernst equation or the Arrhenius equation.

Finally, it's not as scary as it seems.

AP Chemistry seems to be notorious for being one of the most difficult AP classes. While it's certainly not easy, it's still very manageable. You might struggle here and there, but as long as you're making sure to study and understand the material as you go along, you'll do fine on the exam!

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