Cracking the AP Chemistry Exam

Part I

Using This Book to Improve Your AP Score

PREVIEW ACTIVITY: YOUR KNOWLEDGE, YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Your route to a high score on the AP Chemistry Exam depends a lot on how you plan to use this book. Please respond to the following questions.

  1. Rate your level of confidence about your knowledge of the content tested by the Chemistry AP Exam:

A.   Very confident—I know it all

B.   I’m pretty confident, but there are topics for which I could use help

C.   Not confident—I need quite a bit of support

D.   I’m not sure

  2. Circle your goal score for the AP Chemistry Exam.

  3. What do you expect to learn from this book? Circle all that apply to you.

A.   A general overview of the test and what to expect

B.   Strategies for how to approach the test

C.   The content tested by this exam

D.   I’m not sure yet

YOUR GUIDE TO USING THIS BOOK

This book is organized to provide as much—or as little—support as you need, so you can use this book in whatever way will be most helpful to improving your score on the AP Chemistry Exam.

·        The remainder of Part I will provide guidance on how to use this book and help you determine your strengths and weaknesses

·        Part II of this book will

·  provide information about the structure, scoring, and content of the Chemistry Exam

·  help you to make a study plan

·  point you towards additional resources

·        Part III of this book will explore

·  how to attack multiple-choice questions

·  how to write high-scoring free-response answers

·  how to manage your time to maximize the number of points available to you

·        Part IV of this book covers the content you need for your exam.

·        Part V of this book contains practice tests.

You may choose to use some parts of this book over others, or you may work through the entire book. This will depend on your needs and how much time you have. Let’s now look how to make this determination.

HOW TO BEGIN

1.    Take a Test

Before you can decide how to use this book, you need to take a practice test. Doing so will give you insight into your strengths and weaknesses, and the test will also help you make an effective study plan. If you’re feeling test-phobic, remind yourself that a practice test is a tool for diagnosing yourself—it’s not how well you do that matters but how you use information gleaned from your performance to guide your preparation.

So, before you read further, take AP Chemistry Practice Test 1 starting at this page of this book. Be sure to do so in one sitting, following the instructions that appear before the test.

2.    Check Your Answers

Using the answer key on this page, count how many multiple-choice questions you got right and how many you missed. Don’t worry about the explanations for now, and don’t worry about why you missed questions. We’ll get to that soon.

3.    Reflect on the Test

After you take your first test, respond to the following questions:

·        How much time did you spend on the multiple-choice questions?

·        How much time did you spend on each long form free-response question? What about each short form free-response question?

·        How many multiple-choice questions did you miss?

·        Do you feel you had the knowledge to address the subject matter of the free-response questions?

·        Do you feel you wrote well organized, thoughtful answers to the free-response questions?

·        Circle the content areas that were most challenging for you and draw a line through the ones in which you felt confident/did well.

·        Big Idea #1: Atoms, Elements, and the Building Blocks of Matter

·        Big Idea #2: Chemical and Physical Properties of Matter

·        Big Idea #3: Chemical Reactions, Energy Changes, and Redox Reactions

·        Big Idea #4: Chemical Reactions and their Rates

·        Big Idea #5: Laws of Thermodynamics and Changes in Matter

·        Big Idea #6: Equilibrium, Acids and Bases, Titrations and Solubility

4.    Read Part II of this Book and Complete the Self-Evaluation

As discussed previously, Part II will provide information on how the test is structured and scored. As you read Part II, re-evaluate your answers to the questions on the previous page. You will then be able to make a study plan, based on your needs and time available, that will allow you to use this book most effectively.

5.    Engage with Parts III and IV as Needed

Notice the word engage. You’ll get more out of this book if you use it intentionally than if you read it passively, hoping for an improved score through osmosis.

The strategy chapters will help you think about your approach to the question types on this exam. Part III will open with a reminder to think about how you approach questions now and then close with a reflection section asking you to think about how/whether you will change your approach in the future.

The content chapters are designed to provide a review of the content tested on the AP Chemistry Exam, including the level of detail you need to know and how the content is tested. You will have the opportunity to assess your mastery of the content of each chapter through test-appropriate questions.

6.            Take Test 2 and Assess Your Performance

Once you feel you have developed the strategies you need and gained the knowledge you lacked, you should take Test 2, which starts at this page of this book. You should do so in one sitting, following the instructions at the beginning of the test.

When you are done, check your answers to the multiple-choice sections. See if a teacher will read your answers to the free-response questions and provide feedback.

Once you have taken the test, reflect on what areas you still need to work on, and revisit the chapters in this book that address those deficiencies. Through this type of reflection and engagement, you will continue to improve.

7.            Keep Working

After you have revisited certain chapters in this book, continue the process of testing, reflecting, and engaging with the second test. Each time, consider what additional work you need to do and how you will change your strategic approach to different parts of the test.