Starting this week (almost exactly a month away from the first AP exams), I’m going to start writing about techniques that should be applied to specific AP exams. In the past, I’ve had a few students ask me to synthesize my random bits of advice for them during AP exam time. Think of me as your Haymitch, except way more good-looking than Woody Harrelson.
Since the Chemistry AP exam is the first exam offered this year, consider this your first “training station”.
Station 1: AP Chemistry
- Do not aim to get a 3. These days colleges are making it tougher for you to attain college credit for your AP/IB exams. A 3 doesn’t cut it for many schools. That means you need to aim to get a 4 or a 5 so that you don’t have to retake Chemistry your freshmen year. After grueling over Chem all this year, you should be more than motivated to be done with the basics. This next month should be about you trying to earn as many credits as possible so that in college you have a plethora of options such as double-majoring, graduating early, or taking electives like Sociology of Hip Hop: Jay-Z (well done Georgetown University, well done.)
- Work on every Free-Response Question Since 2009. Ever year students come back frazzled by the Free Response Questions. They really push you, and balancing those equations are tough. Part A’s Quantitative sections are like the Careers of the exam. They’re brutal, strategized, and usually come in a pack. Get as many practice problems from your teacher as possible that require you to utilize equations. The more familiar you are with the formatting and thinking about solutions on the spot, the less frazzled you’ll come back post-exam. Every single one of the Free-Response Questions I’m asking you to do is on the AP College Board website. Totally Free and Accessible.
- Make Outlines to study for the Multiple-Choice Sections. Last year people said the MC section was definitely doable so long as they took time to think about the processes of each section. Write out outlines that illustrate to you how something can be polar or non-polar. Know how to identify the different states of an element. Making outlines can help you cover every aspect of a topic. The internet is full of teachers own outlines. Cross-reference your notes with theirs.
- Do Multiple-Choice Sections Timed At Home. You don’t want to run out of time when doing the section that’s easier to tackle. Sample MC sections are available in practice books like Barrons and Princeton Review.
- Ace the Basics: Nomenclature, Solubility Rules, Patterns of Chemical Reactivity etc. Be able to recite ions and compounds in your sleep. Don’t get iffy on sig figs. Know all the classifications of matter. Don’t let the easy stuff trick you up on the hard stuff. Here are some helpful websites. You should research for more if you feel like you don’t have the necessary materials.
- For Solubility Rules: http://www.mrmontero.com/U4/SolubilityRules.pdf
- Good Practice for Balancing Equations: http://chimie.adssys.com/nya/tests_stoechio_1/index.htm
- Stoichiometry: http://www.chemmybear.com/groves/apch04_stoicprobs.pdf with Answers http://www.chemmybear.com/groves/apch04_stoic_ans.pdf
- Basic Outlines: http://www.cottonchemistry.bizland.com/chem/chemnotes1.htm
- List of Ions: http://www.chemmybear.com/groves/stuff.pdf
- Scroll down for a pretty detailed review on Nuclear Reactions: http://www.myteacherpages.com/webpages/RStepien/files/Exam_Memorization.pdf