About AP Chemistry


The AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. The goal is that students will take the AP Exam to receive college credit or placement at the student’s college of choice. Students may be able to undertake second-year work in the chemistry sequence at their institution or take courses for which general chemistry is a prerequisite. For other students, this course fulfills the laboratory science requirement and frees time for other courses.

Why Take AP Chemistry?

According to the College Board, AP enables you to:
  • Stand out in college admission
  • Earn college credit
  • Skip introductory college classes
  • Save money on tuition
  • Build college skills and confidence
  • Explore potential majors based on your interests
  • Turn subjects you love into fulfilling career paths
Students who take Mr. Price's AP Chemistry course will:
  • Look forward to coming to class each day
  • Be challenged to exercise your brain
  • Develop deep understanding of complex subjects
  • Learn and practice advanced laboratory skills
  • Do meaningful work that enhances learning (not busywork that stifles learning)
  • Design, develop, and perform several of your own experiments (in a quided inquiry format)
  • Learn, work, and study among the best students in the school
  • Earn excellent grades for doing excellent work
  • Learn the content required to pass the AP Chemistry Exam

What about College Credit?

Most colleges and universities award college credit for passing AP Exams.  What makes AP Chemistry different than most other AP couses is that students are generally awarded more than twice as many credits for passing the AP Chemistry Exam than other AP Exams.  That is, colleges generally award 8 semester hours of credit for passing the AP Chemistry Exam, while only awarding only 3 semester hours of credit for passing most other AP Exams.
A sample of local colleges and universities and credits awarded for earning the minimum score on the AP Chemistry Exam: 
College / University
Course Equivalent
Blue Ridge CTC
CAHS 127-128
Bluefield State College
CHEM 101-104
Concord University
CHEM 101, 111, 102, 112
Fairmont State University
CHEM 1101-1102
Glenville State College
CHEM 101-102
Marshall University
CHM 203
CHM 211, 217
CHM 211, 212, 217, 218
Potomac State College
CHEM 1AP (Gen Ed Credit)
CHEM 115, 116
Shepherd University
CHEM 207-207L
CHEM 209-209L 
West Liberty University
CHEM 110, 111, 112, & 113
West Virginia University
CHEM 115 & 116
Some colleges may request more information or require additional documentation before credit is granted.  Admissions counselors may ask to review a student's AP Chemistry Laboratory Notebook prior to granting credit for the laboratory portion of the equivalent college course.  For more information about the acceptance of AP courses for credit at colleges and universities in West Virginia, see the CFWV's AP Credit Guide.   

What is AP Chemistry Lab like?

AP Chemistry labs are very much like college labs. You will use advanced equipment, learn new techniques, and explore chemistry in greater depth than before. You will be challenged both in your analytical skills and stamina.  Most labs require more than a single period.  The additional time requirement may come from a companion class (AP Seminar), Cougar Hour, or after school, depending on the periods the class is offered.  (The more people who sign up, the more flexibility students have in scheduling.)
Experiments are designed such that a typical student who has previewed the work and performed the pre-lab activities can complete most laboratory work in 90 minutes.  Conscientious students often work at a slower pace, taking their time, which means working after school.  (Students are welcome to do so by the way.)  Just about all students really enjoy AP Chem Lab. Just ask any current or former AP Chemistry student.

AP Chemistry Experiments

One day per week is designated for AP Chemistry Lab.  (The particular day of the week is selected by the students based on their other commitments.) Students will complete up to 30 labs in 36 weeks.  (No lab during final exam weeks or weeks with less than four regular school days.)
  1. Determination of the Empirical Formula of Copper Oxide
  2. Analysis of Alum
  3. Analysis of Commercial Bleach
  4. Determining the Molar Volume of a Gas
  5. Determination of the Molar Mass of Volatile Liquids
  6. Thermodynamics - Enthalpy of Reaction and Hess' Law
  7. How Can Color Be Used to Determine the Mass Percent of Copper in Brass?*
  8. Gravimetric Analysis of a Metal Carbonate
  9. Molar Mass by Freezing Point Depression
  10. What Makes Hard Water Hard?*
  11. Kinetics of a Reaction
  12. Determination of Keq for FeSCN2+
  13. Determination of Ka of Weak Acids
  14. Acid-Base Titrations
  15. Selecting Indicators for Acid-Base Titrations
  16. How Much Acid is in Fruit Juice and Soft Drinks?*
  17. Determination of the Solubility Product of an Ionic Compound
  18. Preparation and Properties of Buffer Solutions
  19. Electrochemical Cells
  20. Electrolysis
  21. What Is the Rate Law of the Fading of Crystal Violet Using Beer’s Law?*
  22. To What Extent Do Common Household Products Have Buffering Activity?*
  23. Can We Make the Colors of the Rainbow? An Application of Le Châtelier’s Principle*
  24. The Hand Warmer Design Challenge: Where Does the Heat Come From?*
  25. Finding the Ratio of Moles of Reactants in a Chemical Reaction
  26. How Do the Structure and the Initial Concentration of an Acid and a Base Influence the pH of the Resultant Solution During a Titration?*
  27. An Activity Series
  28. Oxidation-Reduction Titrations
  29. Preparation and Analysis of Tetraamminecopper(II) Sulfate Monohydrate
  30. Synthesis, Isolation, and Purification of an Ester
* Indicates a Guided inquiry experiment

Is Chemistry a prerequisite for taking AP Chemistry?
The short answer is, "Yes."
From the College Board's AP Chemistry Course and Exam Description (p.2)
The AP Chemistry course is designed to be taken only after the successful completion of a first course in high school chemistry. Surveys of students who take the AP Chemistry Exam indicate that the probability of achieving a score of 3 or higher is significantly greater for students who successfully complete a first course in high school chemistry prior to undertaking the AP course. Thus it is strongly recommended that credit in a first-year high school chemistry course be a prerequisite for enrollment in an AP Chemistry class.
This is a second year chemistry course that provides students with a foundation to support future advanced course
work in chemistry. Through inquiry-based learning, students develop critical thinking and reasoning skills. Student
cultivate their understanding of chemistry and science practices as they explore topics such as: atomic structure,
intermolecular forces and bonding, chemical reactions, kinetics, thermodynamics, and equilibrium. All student
who register for this course will be expected to take the AP exam in May. Recommended Prerequisite: Chemistry
and Math II
The longer answer is a bit more complicated. Technically, students can enroll in AP Chemistry without the recommended prerequisites. That does not mean it is a good idea.  There could be a case where a truly exceptional student with the spare time, self-motivation, and perseverence required to learn the content of chemistry, and the mental toughness to work under pressure with otherwise experienced classmates, might have a fighting chance of success.  The question is, "Why would you want to torture yourself?"
More than 90% of AP Chemistry students are seniors.  More than 99% have successfully completed Chemistry.  If you are not going to graduate next spring, TAKE CHEMISTRY FIRST.  Then, come back the following year and take AP Chemistry.

Course Outline

AP Chemistry content is divided into 9 units, each about 3 weeks in length.   Unit tests consist of the topics listed below.  Note that some content is covered extensively in Chem 1.  AP Chem lectures and labs emphasize new content. 

Unit 1: Atomic Structure and Properties

  • Moles and Molar Mass
  • Mass Spectroscopy of Elements
  • Elemental Composition of Pure Substances
  • Composition of Mixtures
  • Atomic Structure and Electron Configuration
  • Photoelectron Spectroscopy
  • Periodic Trends
  • Valence Electrons and Ionic Compounds

Unit 2: Molecular and Ionic Compound Structure and Properties

  • Types of Chemical Bonds
  • Intramolecular Force and Potential Energy
  • Structure of Ionic Solids
  • Structure of Metals and Alloys
  • Lewis Diagrams
  • Resonance and Formal Charge
  • VSEPR and Bond Hybridization

Unit 3: Intermolecular Forces and Properties

  • Intermolecular Forces
  • Properties of Solids
  • Solids, Liquids, and Gases
  • Ideal Gas Law
  • Kinetic Molecular Theory
  • Deviation from Ideal Gas Law
  • Solutions and Mixtures
  • Representations of Solutions
  • Separation of Solutions and Mixtures Chromatography
  • Solubility
  • Spectroscopy and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Photoelectric Effect
  • Beer-Lambert Law

Unit 4: Chemical Reactions

  • Introduction to Reactions
  • Net Ionic Equations
  • Representations of Reactions
  • Physical and Chemical Changes
  • Stoichiometry
  • Intro to Titrations
  • Types of Chemical Reactions
  • Introduction to Acid-Base Reactions
  • Oxidation-Reduction Reactions

Unit 5: Kinetics

  • Reaction Rates
  • Introduction to Rate Law
  • Concentration Changes Over Time
  • Elementary Reactions
  • Collision Model
  • Reaction Energy Profile
  • Introduction to Reaction Mechanisms
  • Reaction Mechanism and Rate Law
  • Steady-State Approximation
  • Mullti-Step Reaction Enetrgy Profile
  • Catalysis

Unit 6: Thermodynamics

  • Endothermic and Exothermic Processes
  • Energy Diagrams
  • Heat Transfer and Thermal Equilibrium
  • Heat Capacity and Calorimetry
  • Energy of Phase Changes
  • Introduction to Enthalpy of Reaction
  • Bond Enthalpies
  • Enthalpy of Formation
  • Hess’s Law

Unit 7: Equilibrium

  • Introduction to Equilibrium
  • Direction of Reversible Reactions
  • Reaction Quotient and Equilibrium Constant
  • Calculating the Equilibrium Constant
  • Magnitude of the Equilibrium Constant
  • Properties of the Equilibrium Constant
  • Calculating Equilibrium Concentrations
  • Representations of Equilibrium
  • Introduction to Le Châtelier’s Principle
  • Reaction Quotient and Le Châtelier’s Principle
  • Introduction to Solubility Equilibria
  • Common-Ion Effect
  • pH and Solubility
  • Free Energy of Dissolution

Unit 8: Acids and Bases

  • Introduction to Acids and Bases
  • pH and pOH of Strong Acids and Bases
  • Weak Acid and Base Equilibria
  • Acid-Base Reactions and Buffers
  • Acid-Base Titrations
  • Molecular Structure of Acids and Bases
  • pH and pKa
  • Properties of Buffers
  • Henderson-Hasselbalch Equation
  • Buffer Capacity

Unit 9: Applications of Thermodynamics

  • 1 Introduction to Entropy
  • Absolute Entropy and Entropy Change
  • Gibbs Free Energy and Thermodynamic Favorability
  • Thermodynamic and Kinetic Control
  • Free Energy and Equilibrium
  • Coupled Reactions
  • Galvanic (Voltaic) and Electrolytic Cells
  • Cell Potential and Free Energy
  • Cell Potential Under Non-Standard Conditions
  • Electrolysis and Faraday’s Law

Advice for Learning and Studying Chemistry
(Adapted from Brown et al)
  1. Don't fall behind. New topics generally build on material already presented. If you don't keep up, you will find it much harder to follow along.  The class moves at a regular pace in order to prepare students to be ready to take the AP exam in May.
  2. Focus your study. With more than 1,000 pages in the textbook and 400+ pages in the handbook, trying to figure out on your own what to study might seem like a challenge.  Pay attention and focus your attention on each day's instruction.  Important topics will be emphasized. 
  3. Keep good notes. Unlike Chem 1, the class will spend very little time on writing notes.  Most of the time in class will be spent on problem-solving and critical thinking.  You will still take notes in a notebook (or two) but it will be up to you to decide what you need to write down for further study later.
  4. Skim topics in the text before they are covered in class. Reviewing the relevant pages in the text before class will make it easier for you to take good notes.  Read the What's Ahead section at the beginning of the chapter, and then read the end-of-chapter Summary.  Don't get bogged down on complicated matters - that's what time in class is for.
  5. Be prepared for each class.  Come to class ready to think critically, to solve problems and to discuss where you are having difficulty.
  6. After class, re-read the topics covered in class.  After learning and discussing things in class, you will be better able to understand the text.
  7. Learn the language of chemistry. Take the time to learn the meanings of the many chemistry-specific words you will encounter, and spend particular time learning about the nuanced meanings behind numbers, symbols, and diagrams.
  8. Attempt the end-of-chapter exercises, even the ones not assigned as homework.  Assigned homework is meant to expose you to new topics.  Minimal repetition is intentional.  It is not supposed to be busy work, IF you understand what you are doing.  Most of the time you will find you need extra practice.  Therefore, it will be your responsibility to practice until you get it.  
  9. Learn to think like a scientist.  The ability to see the world through an objective lens takes practice.  Once developed, this skill will become very valuable to you, not only in your professional career, but in the many decisions you will make in your lifetime.
  10. Use online resources.  Books are great for words and 2-dimensional renderings.  You will find that computer graphics, videos, and computer simulations are sometimes much better at representing what really happens in our 3-dimensional world.  Check back to this site regularly for links to some of the online resources recommended for this course. 

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