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AP Chem Review

AP Chem Review

Ace your AP Chemistry exam with our helpful guide!

AP Chemistry is an in-depth course that covers the fundamentals of lab work and the field. Students will cover topics such as ionic compounds, chemical bonds, electron configuration, chemical changes, molar mass values of elements and more, culminating in hands-on experiments and exam review. After the bulk of the foundational coursework is complete, students can take the AP Chemistry exam for college credit. 

Taking AP Chemistry in high school can help to set you ahead of the curve in college, especially if you’re pursuing a degree in a healthcare or science-related field. Passing the AP exam is the first step to leveraging the college credit benefits and preparing for advanced education in the field. Here’s what you need to know to prepare ahead of exam season. 

Understanding the AP Chemistry Exam Structure 

Before we begin to prepare for the exam, we have to know what we’re going to be dealing with. Per the College Board, the AP Chemistry exam has two primary sections. 

Section 1: Multiple Choice

This section has individual questions as well as sets of questions, prompting students to evaluate data sets and deduce information from the text. 

Section 2: Free Response 

The free response section features both long- and short-answer questions. Questions are designed to test student’s abilities across six primary course skill areas: Model analysis, mathematical routines, question and method, models and representations, representing data and phenomena, and argumentation. 

*Note: At the time of this publication, calculators are allowed for both sections of the exam. 

Key AP Chemistry Exam Topics to Review 

Now that we know what to expect as far as exam structure goes, it’s time to start figuring out where to start with our review process. 

We’ve compiled a list of the exam’s primary areas of focus below, giving you a good jumping-off point for your exam season prep. 

AP Chem Exam Tips from ALVS Instructors

We know what the test will “look” like, we know what topics will be on them  — now, we have to determine how to best study the topics. Thankfully, our instructors have helped put together a few AP Chem exam tips so that you can hit the ground running. Grab your notebook, paper, and pencils! 

Develop a Study Schedule 

Practice tests, crash course, study guides, books, and more — where, when, and how do you start? 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of material to get through (and there’s no such thing as “easy” or free energy!) That’s why a study schedule can be so handy, helping you to make the most out of every minute you spend studying for the AP Chemistry exam.

The best part? Any schedule works. You can use Google Calendar, apps, manual paper planners, or whatever method works for you.

Use AP Chemistry Review Material

Whether you buy a reputable chemistry book online, or you use text, videos, and study guides provided by your Apex Learning Virtual School teacher, we want to encourage you to do one thing: Review the material and summarize it in your own words. 

Taking the information out of the books and videos and applying it is one of the best ways to learn, helping you to cement those correct answers for test day. Many people choose to do this by designing their own concept pages, a master study guide, and using practice questions provided by the College Board or the instructor. 

Review Key Concepts 

Half of the battle when it comes to preparing for your AP Chemistry test is determining what key concepts are compared to other areas of study. 

Key areas to focus on for the AP Exam include:

Not sure how to study these areas of chemistry? Begin by mastering the periodic table, and then move on to equation creation and application. Then, work to identify the compounds and elements via diagrams — familiarizing yourself with the unique properties of each. 

Reach out to your AP instructor

It’s never a bad idea to ask for help. Our instructors are here to help you find success throughout the AP exam preparation process. We’ll be more than happy to provide you with personalized insights about where to go next in your study journey. 

ALVS’ AP teachers provide resources to help students prepare as best as possible. ALVS students gain access to AP Classroom as part of their enrollment — this suite of digital tools and resources come straight from the College Board and are aligned with the exams. Leveraging AP Classroom, students can join individual teachers’ classrooms to access resources like daily videos, topic questions, and progress checks. Plus, students have access to AP Classroom even if they complete their AP course prior to the exam date. 

AP Chem Practice Exams

Now that you’ve studied, it’s time to test what you know. Many people find that the best way to put their study strategies to the test is to use AP Chem practice exams, allowing you to get a real “feel” for certain areas of the exam (such as the multiple-choice questions and the free-response section(s)). 

Before you begin, though, we want to ensure that you’re aware of the resources that you have access to. If you’re looking to supercharge your AP Chem practice exam sessions, consider… 

AP Chem Exam Scoring 

The College Board has published the AP Chemistry scoring guidelines. We’ve summarized everything that you need to know below. 


# of Opportunities

Points Available 

Free-response questions


50% Score

Multiple-choice questions


50% Score 

You’ve reached the end! By now, we’re confident that you know everything that you need to absolutely ace your AP Chemistry exam. If you’re an ALVS student preparing for the exam, be sure to leverage support from our dedicated team of experienced AP teachers, digital tools and resources, and engaging College Board-approved courses. We want to help you to feel as comfortable as possible before exam day kicks off. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is the AP Chem exam difficult? 

Many students do find the AP Chem exam difficult — however, it can be successfully completed with the right background and preparation! Apex Learning Virtual School is your premier choice of prep, connecting you to experts who can help and College-Board-approved review courses. 

What topics are covered on the AP Chemistry exam?

There are many different topics covered in the AP Chemistry exam. Some of the most critical areas of study include kinetics, acids and bases, atomic structure, intermolecular forces, and chemical reactions. Ask your teacher for a study guide or for areas of focus if you’re not sure where to start! 

What percentage of students get a 5 on AP Chem? 

The College Board estimates that about 16% of AP Chemistry students get a 5 on the exam. 

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