AP Chemistry

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Advanced Placement series.
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Advanced Placement Chemistry (AP Chemistry or AP Chem) is a course and examination offered by the College Board as a part of the Advanced Placement Program to give American and Canadian high school students the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and earn college-level credit.

The course

AP Chemistry is a course geared toward students with interests in chemical and physical sciences, as well as any of the biological sciences. The course aims to prepare students to take the AP Chemistry exam toward the end of the academic year. AP Chemistry topics include atomic theory, chemical bonding, phases of matter, solutions, types of reactions, chemical equilibrium, reaction kinetics, electrochemistry, and thermodynamics.


The College Board recommends successful completion of High School Chemistry and Algebra II;[1] however, requirement of this may differ from school to school. AP Chemistry usually requires knowledge of Algebra II; however, some schools allow students to take Algebra II concurrently with this class. The requirement of regular or honors level High School Chemistry may also be waived, but usually requires completion of a special assignment or exam.

Topics covered

The exam covers most of the introductory chemistry topics (except organic chemistry), including:

Make-up of exam

The exam

The annual AP Chemistry examination, which is typically administered in May, is divided into two major sections (multiple-choice questions and free response essays).

Old test (2013 and earlier)

The old test was composed of two sections: a multiple-choice section consisting of 75 questions with five answer choices each, and a free-response section consisting of six essay prompts that required the authoring of chemical equations, solution of problems, and development of thoughtful essays in response to hypothetical scenarios.

While the use of calculators was prohibited during Section I and Section II Part B, a periodic table, a list of selected standard reduction potentials, and two pages of equations and conventions are available for use during the entirety of Section II.

New test (2014 and later)

The 2014 AP Chemistry exam was the first administration of a redesigned test as a result of a redesigning of the AP Chemistry course. The exam format is now different from the past years, with 60 multiple choice questions (now with only four answer choices per question), 3 long free response questions, and 4 short free response questions. The new exam has a focus on longer, more in depth, lab-based questions. The penalty for incorrect answers on the multiple choice section was also removed. More detailed information can be found at the related link.[2]

Grade distribution

AP Chemistry Test Grade Distribution:[3]

Score 2007[4] 2008[5] 2009[6] 2010[7] 2011[8] 2012[9] 2013[10] 2014[11] 2015[12] 2016[13]
5 15.3% 18.4% 18.0% 17.1% 17.0% 16.4% 18.9% 10.1% 8.4% 9.7%
4 18.0% 17.5% 17.9% 18.5% 18.4% 19.3% 21.5% 16.6% 15.2% 15.1%
3 23.0% 20.0% 20.2% 19.3% 19.5% 20.1% 18.8% 25.7% 28.1% 27.5%
2 18.5% 14.3% 14.2% 12.7% 14.6% 15.0% 14.9% 25.8% 25.5% 25.3%
1 25.3% 29.9% 29.8% 32.3% 30.4% 29.2% 26.0% 21.8% 22.8% 22.4%
Mean 2.79 2.80 2.80 2.76 2.77 2.79 2.92 2.67 2.61 2.64
Number of Students 97,136 100,586 104,789 115,077 122,651 132,425 140,006 148,554


External links

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