How to Ace the AP Chemistry Exam

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How to Ace the AP Chemistry Exam

As a subject chemistry is a combination of memorization, mathematical application, and conceptual understanding. If the core concepts are well understood then the rest of the material will be very easy. When I took AP Chemistry, my teacher did not allow us to use calculators on the daily quizzes despite the fact that the quizzes contained calculations that involved large numbers like Avogadro’s number.

At first, I was not even getting a 50 on the quizzes, but after a few months passed through the year, I realized that the quizzes were about conceptual understanding and not about arithmetic. If you truly understand the concepts, the math will be easy. A lot of chemistry concepts require a photographic memory that can visualize 3D concepts like atoms, ionization, and molecular shapes. The key to truly understanding these concepts is by using the right material to study.

Key Steps to getting a five

  1. Use Top Quality Material

Many student wonder how they could possibly study for hours and yet still not get good marks. Before learning to use quality materials I was always one of those students. My parents always emphasized that I spend a lot of time studying. So what I did was grab any book or any review sheet that I found and just do practice problems. Then I would go take a test and find problems that I never expected would be on there unlike all of those that were on the review sheet. The process would last forever and my grades would not improve.

Instead I should have been using top quality material from online instead of the ineffective material my teachers gave me. Top Quality material is supposed to be very versatile and supposed to allow fast understanding of complex concepts instead of slow understanding of individual parts.

This site is full of links to high quality material that you can use

  1. Start Studying as Soon as Possible

Procrastination is one of the biggest problems in today’s society. One way to beat procrastination is to buy an effective practice book now, keep it on a corner of your desk and do a couple of pages from it a day. If you are unable to invest in the little time to buy the book, you are probably not confident enough to do well on the test. Take the first step by buying the book now.

Secondly investing in a book changes your mindset and puts some money on the line. Since you spent money for it, you might as well just end up using it.

To make life easy, here is a list of the highest quality books we found.

  1. Try Your Best to Avoid Reading the Textbook

Secondly even if you are planning to be very well equipped at chemistry. It is much better to read something that is reader friendly and will deeply resonate in your mind than read long redundant passages from a textbook.

This will save you a lot of time and cover only the necessary.

The textbook is full of extra information that will not be tested including extra experiments, etc. Instead use textbook alternatives like high quality teacher Power Points or notes that will only include important information to be studied on tests. Most textbooks induce information overload for students and thus cause them to focus on the wrong material that will not be tested.

  1. Study Smart not Hard

Another major mistake I took while studying in my early years was to constantly read over the mystical notes I read in class. Just like me, many students love taking very neat and organized notes in class that they soon decide to prize. Because the notes represent all their hard work, they use them to study all the time.

Reading your notes will not help you at all. This is because while you read your notes your mind will continuously recognize the ideas on the notes but will not be able to apply the ideas. Instead start studying using practice tests from the beginning. Don’t ever worry about running out of tests there are tons of tests attached on this site. At first when I used to study I would always fall in the habit of constantly reading my notes. Then on the day of the test I would realize that much of the information I was reading did not truly resonate in my head. Even If you start taking a practice test and don’t do that well on it, just do it and check your work.

For more information about the importance of quizzing yourself check out this amazing Ted Talk

  1. Use Study Guides Carefully

Again don’t aimlessly look through a study guide it will purely waste your time. Instead take a practice test, find the material you are unsure about and then go review that material on the study guide. Get A list of Study Guides Here.