AP Chemistry College Board Exam – How to Prepare and Ace the Exam

by Lily White
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The AP chemistry College Board course is created with the help of college professors of several leading colleges in the US.

Being a highly coveted examination, it comes as no surprise that there are a number of ways to prepare for this exam. This makes preparing well for the examination a much more time-consuming process than it would seem to be.

How to Prepare for the AP Chemistry Exam

To ace the AP exam there are a few things you need to keep in mind:


Knowing the structure of the exam:


Unit 1:  Atomic Structure and Properties:

Subtopics are:

  • Moles and molar mass
  • Mass spectroscopy of elements
  • Elemental composition of pure substances
  • Composition of mixtures
  • Atomic structure and electron configuration
  • Photoelectron spectroscopy
  • Periodic trends
  • Valence electrons and ionic compounds


Unit 2: Molecular and Ionic Compound structure and properties:

Subtopics are:

  • Types of chemical bonds
  • Intramolecular force and potential energy
  • Structure of ionic solids
  • Structure of metals and alloys
  • Lewis diagrams
  • Resonance and formal charge
  • VSEPR and bond hybridization


Unit 3: Intermolecular Forces and Properties: 

Subtopics are:

  • Intermolecular forces
  • Solids, liquids, and gases
  • Kinetic molecular theory
  • Solutions and mixtures
  • Photoelectric effect


Unit 4: Chemical Reactions:

Subtopics are:

  • Introduction for reactions
  • Net ionic equations
  • Representations of reactions
  • Physical and chemical changes
  • Stoichiometry
  • Types of chemical reactions


Unit 5:  Kinetics:

Subtopics are:

  • Reaction rate
  • Introduction to rate law
  • Elementary reactions
  • Collision model
  • Introduction to reaction mechanisms
  • Multistep reaction energy profile
  • Catalysis


Unit 6: Thermodynamics:

Subtopics are:

  • Endothermic and exothermic processes
  • Heat transfer and thermal equilibrium
  • Heat capacity and calorimetry
  • The energy of the phase changes
  • Introduction to the enthalpy of reaction
  • Enthalpy of formation
  • Hess’s law


Unit 7: Equilibrium:

Subtopics are:

  • Introduction to equilibrium
  • Calculating the equilibrium constant
  • Calculating equilibrium concentrations
  • Introduction to Le Châtelier’s principle
  • Introduction to solubility equilibria
  • pH and solubility
  • Free energy of dissolution


Unit 8: Acids and Bases:

Subtopics are:

  • Introduction to acids and bases
  • pH and pOH of strong acids and bases
  • Acid-base reactions and buffers
  • Molecular structure of acids and bases
  • pH and pKa
  • Properties of buffers


Unit 9: Applications of Thermodynamics:

Subtopics are:

  • Introduction to entropy
  • Gibbs free energy and thermodynamic favorability
  • Thermodynamic and kinetic control
  • Free energy and equilibrium
  • Galvanic (voltaic) and electrolyte cells
  • Electrolysis and Faraday’s law


Having a good study pattern:

A good schedule is absolutely crucial when it comes to acing an exam. Making a schedule that helps you plan studies and play will help you ensure that you get your work completed on time. It will also allow you to have sufficient rest and extra-curricular time so you do not spend too much time in front of a book and get sufficient sleep and exercise.

As you already know, a good mix of work and play is much more helpful than simply restricting yourself from leisure time.


  • Regular Practice:

Regular practice is another key piece of advice from students who have previously performed well in this examination. It is a lot easier to maintain a regular schedule rather than having a rushed schedule as the exams approach.

One highly recommended method to practice is the Pomodoro method that suggests  25 minutes of studies followed by 5 minutes of breaks. This is said to be the most effective long-duration study method.

Apart from studying, ensure that you solve as many question papers as you can before the actual exam.


  • Eating and sleeping regularly:

A good sleep along with a healthy diet will keep your body fit and ready to perform at its maximum potential, at all times.

A good sleep schedule keeps both your mind and body fresh as a cucumber.


  • Online Tutoring:

So, one of the easiest ways to prepare for the AP Chemistry exam is to take help from someone. It can be online coaching, offline tutoring,  a senior, or a friend.

A helping hand will always enable you to excel in the field of your choice. A big benefit of online tutoring over other kinds of tutoring is the availability of experienced tutors, lots of resources, and the ease with which you can communicate with them.

Keeping these simple things in mind when following your daily schoolwork will ensure that you perform exceptionally well in the AP examinations. For all you know, you might even surprise yourself. So work hard and give it your all.

All the best.

By Kavita Paliwal

Bio: Kavita is an Outreach Specialist cum Content writer. When not glued to her laptop, she can be found making travel plans that rarely happen.

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