In collaboration with the National Science Foundation and eminent educators nationwide, the AP Program has spent several years reviewing and redesigning AP Chemistry. This collaboration has led to a robust course, with an emphasis on inquiry, analytical, and reasoning skills. Higher education faculties have endorsed the course as designed to offer students a solid foundation for further college coursework in science. AP will begin offering the redesigned course in fall 2013, followed by the exam in May 2014.
Revisions at a Glance
- A new curriculum framework describes the content knowledge and thinking skills students should demonstrate for success on the exam.
The new AP Chemistry Course and Exam Description is organized around six big ideas in chemistry, which serve to focus and structure the course. It also includes a set of learning objectives that describe the content knowledge and thinking skills that students should demonstrate to succeed on the AP Exam. Each learning objective combines science content with one or more of the thinking skills described in the science practices.
- Content has been reduced to help teachers focus on developing conceptual understanding.
By reducing content, teachers get the time and flexibility they need to explore key concepts of chemistry through the science practices and hands-on guided-inquiry labs.
- Students are encouraged to apply the science practices.
The course supports student achievement through multiple opportunities to test, evaluate, and refine explanations and predictions of natural phenomena through the following science practices:
- Generating representations and models
- Developing strategies for collecting data
- Making connections across scales, concepts, and domains.
- Students’ conceptual understanding of the particulate nature of matter is emphasized.
The redesigned course supports students in mastering the quantitative aspects of chemistry, by enhancing their qualitative understanding and visualization of the particulate nature of matter.
- Scientific inquiry and student-directed labs are stressed.
Moving away from a lecture-and-demonstration model toward a collaborative approach, the redesigned course offers students many opportunities to take risks, apply inquiry skills, and direct and monitor their own progress toward academic goals.
The AP Course Audit
AP Chemistry teachers will need to submit a new syllabus and course audit form based on the current course requirements, and have it authorized through the AP Course Audit. The audit process is designed to ensure that teachers understand the revised course requirements thoroughly and receive the support they need to create a syllabus. Teachers have the following options for creating a syllabus:
- Option 1: Design and submit a syllabus that aligns with the new curricular requirements, guided by materials found at AP Course Audit.
- Option 2: Adopt and submit one of the Annotated Sample Syllabi and use it as an approach to teaching the course.
January 31, 2014 is the deadline for submitting a revised syllabus.
AP Exam Information
In May 2014, students will take the revised AP Chemistry Exam, which is the same length as the current exam and features multiple-choice and free-response questions. See the AP Chemistry Course and Exam Description for a selection of multiple-choice and free-response exam questions.
AP Chemistry Labs
AP Chemistry Guided-Inquiry Experiments: Applying the Science Practices (teacher version) is now available online. This new resource features 16 labs where students explore chemical concepts, questions of interest, correct lab techniques and safety procedures. Students will participate in 16 labs during the year, down from 22 in previous years, a reduction that provides time for them to complete at least six guided-inquiry investigations.
- Download the Teacher Manual: Click on the PDF and type in your password. (The teacher manual is password protected, as it features answers.) All AP course authorized Chemistry teachers were emailed a password Feb. 21, 2013. For help accessing the PDF, email the AP Program.
- Preorder the Bound Teacher Manual: To preorder from the College Board Store, teachers need an access code. All course authorized AP Chemistry teachers were emailed an access code on Feb. 21, 2013. For help accessing a secure product in the College Board Store, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-297-3963.
- The Student Manual: Find out how to preorder a bound copy of the student manual.
AP offers a wide range of professional development options to ensure that teachers have access to the training they need to implement course revisions. These include one-day, face-to-face workshops and AP Summer Institutes, as well as online workshops and events, where participants learn practical ways to design a rigorous curriculum and prepare students for success in the redesigned course.
The AP Chemistry Teacher Community is an online forum, moderated by fellow educators, where AP teachers connect with colleagues, share classroom materials, and exchange ideas. Join the community today and begin conversations with peers.
For more on the topics covered above, download FAQs for AP Chemistry.
Proposed Action Plan
- Read the AP Chemistry Course and Exam Description.
- Become familiar with the AP Course Audit process. Look for updated curricular materials in March 2013.
- Plan to participate in professional development to become more familiar with the course revisions and receive support in planning.
- Join the AP Chemistry Teacher Community and collaborate with your peers in planning for the new course.