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AP Chemistry is ranked one of the hardest APs in the College Board world. As a former AP Chemistry student, I can say it was hard. But at the end of the day, I passed! And, you can too! Here are my biggest tips for AP Chemistry.
1. Use Your Resources
This is number one for a reason. I cannot stress this enough. USE. YOUR. RESOURCES. There are so many students out there struggling with chemistry, just like you. Thus, there are billions of resources for you. Using my online resources was the biggest thing that helped me in AP Chemistry. Even if you are an in-class learner, you will need help on those late nights.
Please use your online resources! More than likely, all your questions are on the internet, sometimes even word by word. Don’t be afraid to look at online solutions if they help you understand. I compiled a document full of my most helpful resources while in AP Chemistry Everyone is different, but these were my favorites! Explore Youtube, Google Images, Reddit (very helpful), etc. Watching Youtube videos will help you find which channels help you the most. Just anything you’re struggling with–look it up!
Your teachers are here to help you. It’s their job! If you need help, try talking to them and ask if you can come during a free period or lunch.
c. Friends + Upperclassmen
If teachers are too intimidating, don’t be afraid to ask your classmates. Build that group at the beginning of the year because you can all help each other throughout the year. In fact, some people understand better from their friends because they are the same age and things click more. Additionally, you can ask upperclassmen who have taken the course. Nine times out of ten, they are willing to help.
If you want to fully master the content, even past the requirements, read the class textbook. “Chemistry” by Zumdahl was the one I used and it is the BEST. Loads of visuals (3D models, images, charts, tables, graphs, etc), great explanations, quality introductions, and many, many, many, many practice problems.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice is the KEY to a five. If you don’t practice, your score will probably be 1-3. Practice as much as you can. There is so much material, and it can be hard for your mind to grasp all the information. Practice will make you recall information within a millisecond. Additionally, chemistry problems aren’t all the same. Every problem is different and requires a different approach and setup. Thus, make sure to practice challenging problems that require a different technique (buffer questions will demonstrate variety the most!).
3. Don’t Suffer in Silence
Everyone wants to pass. However, you need to understand that you have to do whatever you can to help yourself pass. If you suffer in silence, you will not pass. Trust me! Asking for help doesn’t make you seem dumb or slow. Would you rather not be embarrassed but fail the exam, or muster up the courage to ask and pass? Ask as many questions as you can. Ask in class, outside of class, ask the internet, your friends, your teacher, online tutoring services, ask, ask, ask. This is the only way you will learn.
4. Make Your Own Summary Sheets
There are so many formulas, rules, and exceptions to know. One of my biggest tips is to write your own summary sheet for a specific unit before a test. This will ensure you have everything organized and memorized. You can make it fun by using colors and washi tape!
5. What to do 1-2 Months Before Exam
Please don’t start studying the week before the exam. I started studying about a month before the exam but wasn’t that serious until two weeks before (don’t be like me). You will run out of time. Trust me, you will. Eliminate all the stress and panic and just study two months before. I highly recommend buying a prep book ideally at the beginning of the second semester, but defiantly have one two months before. Go through the whole book, do all the questions. Its an awesome review!
6. What to do Day Before Exam
Do NOT study the day before the exam. Even if you haven’t covered something yet, do not study. I got sick the weekend before the AP (which was on Monday) and studying all of Sunday made me even more sick and exhausted. Not only was my nose like a waterfall, but my head and eyes hurt due to burnout. Take the day to relax. If you MUST, don’t learn any new material; just skim through some review sheets.
7. What to do After Exam
You’re finally done! Shove your papers in the trash, or keep them to remind future you of suffering. Try not to overthink the exam. There is absolutely nothing to do in this world to go back and take the exam again and “do better”. It is what it is! Time to relax!