Welcome to the AP Chemistry Five-Step Program. The fact that you are reading this preface suggests that you will be taking the AP exam in chemistry. The AP Chemistry exam is constantly evolving and so this guide has evolved. In this edition, we have updated the book to match the new AP Chemistry exam, especially the changes in the free-response section. In the new exam, questions about laboratory experiments will be treated differently than in previous years. We have revised our presentation to reflect this change. We have also significantly revised the reaction chapter to mirror the extensive changes made in the reaction question on the AP exam.
The AP Chemistry exam certainly isn’t easy, but the rewards are worth it—college credit and the satisfaction of a job well done. You will have to work and study hard to do well, but we will, through this book, help you to master the material and get ready for the exam.
Both of us have many years of experience in teaching introductory general chemistry at the university level. John Moore is the author of Chemistry for Dummies and he and Richard “Doc” Langley have also written Chemistry for the Utterly Confused, a guide for college/high school students. Each of us has certain skills and experiences that will be of special help in presenting the material in this book. Richard has also taught high school science and John has years of experience teaching chemistry to both public school teachers and students. Both of us have been graders for the AP Exam chemistry free-response questions for years and have first-hand knowledge of how the exam is graded and scored. We have tried not only to make the material understandable, but also to present the problems in the format of the AP Chemistry exam. By faithfully working the problems you will increase your familiarity with the exam format, so that when the time comes to take the exam there will be no surprises.
Use this book in addition to your regular chemistry text. We have outlined three different study programs to prepare you for the exam. If you choose the year-long program, use it as you are taking your AP Chemistry course. It will provide additional problems in the AP format. If you choose one of the other two programs, use it with your chemistry textbook also; but you may need to lean a little more on this review book. Either way, if you put in the time and effort, you will do well.
Now it’s time to start. Read the Introduction: The Five-Step Program; Chapter 1, What You Need to Know About the AP Chemistry Exam; and Chapter 2, How to Plan Your Time. Then, take the Diagnostic Exam in Chapter 3. Your score will show how well you understand the material right now and point out weak areas that may need a little extra attention. Use the review exams at the end of the chapters to check your comprehension. Also pay attention to the free-response questions. That is where you can really shine, and they are worth almost as much as the multiple-choice part. Use the Rapid Reviews to brush up on the important points in the chapters. Keep this book handy—it is going to be your friend for the next few weeks or months.
Good luck: but remember that luck favors the prepared mind.