AP Chemistry exams are perceived as difficult and complex, and scholars often find studying for this exam quite intimidating. Whether you are studying all by yourself and you are attempting to find the right resources, courses and materials, or you are working with the help of a teacher or a friend, it’s been shown that this is a stressful experience, especially if you’re not familiar with the subject and everything seems new and intimidating to you.
Difficult or Not?
Several factors might determine whether your AP class is hard or not. If you peek at the data, you will be able to find out which classes have the highest and the lowest scores and the info about the percentage of students who successfully passed the test. This way, you’ll go through several years of data and spot the differences or the patterns that are present. However, it’s not a clear indicator of difficulty, although you can consider this aspect, along with all the others. Unfortunately, seeing Chemistry at the bottom of the list for the past year, doesn’t give you any confidence – quite the opposite.
Data says that only a couple of exams have even lower percentages when it comes to the scoring rate and pass rate, and those are exams such as physics, environmental science or world history. On the other hand, there are classes on top of the list that are quite close to 100% and those are languages, arts or design or calculus BC. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
A Demanding Exam
If we eliminate the factors of difficulties such as a tough teacher, or the fact that Chemistry is not your personal favorite, some general factors have to be considered. If we talk about the grade of difficulty of AP exams, AP classes that are the toughest according to the majority of schools and students, are the ones that have large curriculums, a lot of material to absorb and comprehend, as well as difficult final exams plus the tests in between. Considering your personal preferences you might find History easier than Math or you may find Physics easier than Languages.
But when it comes to the amount of time and effort you need to put in to pass these exams at high score rates, as well as the huge amount of memorization to succeed, the hardest AP tests are History, Biology, Physics C and finally –Chemistry, which is on top of many students’ list of nightmares. What is so challenging about AP Chemistry? This test consists of 9 to 10 units. Atomic structure and properties, molecular structure, chemical reaction, thermodynamics or equilibrium are only some of them. As someone who has chosen this course, you’ll have to explain all the chemical processes and you have to memorize a lot of information, as well as to differentiate crucial data in tons of material.
Although this test is made of multiple choice and free response questions, long free-response questions are the most difficult part of the exam, since they require a thorough explanation of a given phenomenon. The basic principles of why substances act or react the way they act are the priority of Chemistry exams, and the course itself. Also, prepare to do a lot of calculations. This is why cramming the night or two nights before the big day is hardly ever an option. To be able to pass the exam, you have to invest more time in studying and more effort in practice.
What Can You Do About It?
There are several tips and tricks that can aid you tremendously on your AP Chemistry rehearsal journey. We’ve made a list of the top 5 to assist you to reach your final goal:
Go for the logic, not the result
Unless you understand the process of getting the right answer, you shouldn’t go further into studying. The importance of reviewing the very concept until you entirely comprehend it cannot be accentuated enough, because if you miss out on something during the process — be sure that it will arise as a problem later. Chemistry is like a big, complex puzzle and if you don’t solve it correctly, there will be pieces that are missing or that are positioned the way they shouldn’t be. Therefore, memorising certain answers or making lucky guesses shouldn’t be an option for you.
However, when it comes to memorization, it’s important to remember everything you need and by that, we mean formulas. It’s often tempting for students to just read the formulas, especially if you know in advance that you will get a sheet with all of them, but it’s different when you have a formula in your mind and you know how to utilize it, than when you just read it off the paper. Memorizing them will also save your time during the test. Even if it seems like you know them well enough, don’t be afraid to over memorise until you’re really sure you can remember every single thing you need.
Practice makes perfect
However, memorising things and understanding the processes and concepts is still not enough. You have to rehearse until you master the subject. This means going through all the available test examples and exam materials. There are several sources of the internet from which you can download and practice the questions from the previous years. It would be the best option to choose sample exams that have answers as well, to be able to evaluate your answers and compare them. Another thing you should do is buy a review book, which can tremendously help you organise your studying and understand every aspect of a complex course like this.
A couple of nights before your exam you should sleep well, so being sleepless all night or staying up late shouldn’t be an option if you want to have the best score possible. When you are tired it’s more likely to make accidental mistakes, read the question wrongly, misunderstand something or miss out a number when calculating, and you certainly don’t need that.
Hire a teacher
Unless you are a natural talent when it comes to chemistry, chances are it’s going to be overwhelming for you to organise and discipline yourself to understand everything you are supposed to. That’s why hiring the teacher is a great option since teachers’ guidance can make your studying journey less stressful, more efficient and finally, a lot easier. There are useful platforms such as FineGrades, where you can find numerous highly qualified tutors, schedule a free demo and choose the right person to help you out. Combined with all the tips we’ve already mentioned, chances are you’ll get the highest score on your exam. Good luck!