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Important Updates

2019-20 AP Course Audit: What You’ll Need to Do

To give you more time to familiarize yourself with the new resources and supports that launched in August, you won’t be required to submit a syllabus for course authorization until the 2020-21 school year.

If you’re teaching a new AP Chemistry course in 2019-20, you’ll need to:

  • Submit a subject-specific AP Course Audit Form
  • Download the AP Chemistry unit guide

If you’re teaching a previously authorized AP Chemistry course, make sure your school administrator renews your course in 2019-20.

These steps will ensure that your course appears on the AP Course Ledger and you have access to online score reports in July 2020.

AP Course Audit

All schools that want to label a course “AP” must get authorization through the AP Course Audit.

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Designing Your AP Chemistry Course


The AP Chemistry course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of a one-year general chemistry college course. Your AP Chemistry course should include those topics regularly covered in a typical general chemistry college course, and differ from the usual first high school course in chemistry in respect to the kind of textbook(s) used, the range and depth of topics covered, the emphasis on chemical calculations and the mathematical formulation of principles, the nature and variety of laboratory work done by students, and the time and effort required of students.

Schools’ AP Chemistry courses are typically designed to be taken by students after the completion of a first course in high school chemistry and a second-year algebra course. Students are encouraged to keep copies of their laboratory work for use in determining college credit or placement.

Getting to Know the Course and Exam

The key document for each AP course is the course and exam description. Start by reviewing it to understand the objectives and expectations of the AP course and exam.

AP Chemistry Course and Exam Description

This is the core document for this course and is updated for the 2019-20 school year. New unit guides clearly lay out the course content and skills and recommend sequencing and pacing for them throughout the year. The CED also more clearly outlines how material will be assessed on the exam, provides instructional strategies, and gives information on the AP Program in general.

Creating Your Syllabus

Use these resources to design your AP Chemistry syllabus.


Your course must fulfill these requirements.

AP Chemistry curricular requirements:

  • The students and teacher have access to college-level resources including a recently published (within the last 10 years) college-level textbook and reference materials in print or electronic format.
  • The course provides opportunities to deepen student understanding of the required content outlined in each of the units described in the course and exam description.
  • The course provides opportunities to deepen student understanding of the big ideas.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills related to the science practices:
    • Science Practice 1: Models and Representations
    • Science Practice 2: Question and Method
    • Science Practice 3: Representing Data and Phenomena
    • Science Practice 4: Model Analysis
    • Science Practice 5: Mathematical Routines
    • Science Practice 6: Argumentation

AP Chemistry resource requirements:

  • The course provides students with opportunities to apply their knowledge of AP Chemistry concepts to real-world questions or scenarios (including societal issues or technological innovations) to help them become scientifically literate citizens.
  • Students spend a minimum of 25% of instructional time engaged in a wide range of hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory investigations to support learning required content and developing science practices throughout the course. At minimum, 16 labs are performed of which at least 6 are conducted in a guided inquiry format.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to record evidence of their scientific investigations in lab reports/notebooks (print or digital format) and present evidence of their scientific investigations through oral, written, and visual presentations.

AP Chemistry resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has a college-level chemistry textbook (in print or electronic format) published within the last 10 years for individual use inside and outside the classroom. The textbook is supplemented when necessary to meet the curricular requirements.
  • The school ensures that the teacher has a copy of the most recent edition of a college-level chemistry textbook or other appropriate materials to support instruction.
  • The school ensures that each student has access to the AP Chemistry Guided Inquiry Experiments: Applying the Science Practices or other inquiry-based or student-directed lab activities that meet the objectives listed in the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework.
  • The school ensures that students have access to scientific equipment/materials, all necessary resources, and adequate time to conduct hands-on, college-level chemistry laboratory investigations as outlined in the teacher’s course syllabus.

The list below represents examples of textbooks that meet the resource requirements of AP Chemistry and have met or exceed the required alignment to the learning objectives and skills in the course curriculum framework. The list is not exhaustive and the texts listed should not be regarded as endorsed, authorized, recommended, or approved by the College Board. Not using a book from this list does not mean that a course will not receive authorization. Syllabi submitted as part of the AP Course Audit process will be evaluated holistically, with textbooks considered along with supplementary, supporting resources to confirm that the course as a whole provides students with the content delineated in the curricular requirements of the AP Course Audit.

The specified editions of the following textbooks meet the AP Chemistry resource requirement. Earlier editions of these textbooks or other textbooks not listed here may meet the AP curricular requirements if published within the last 10 years. For discussions regarding the usefulness of these texts and other teaching materials in the AP Chemistry classroom, please consult the AP Chemistry Teacher Community.

  • Chang, Raymond. Chemistry, AP Edition.12th Edition. McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Kotz, John C., Paul M. Treichel, John R. Townsend, and David Treichel. Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity. 10th edition. National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning.
  • Silberberg, Martin. Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change, AP Edition. 7th edition. McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Smith, Cheri, Gary Davidson, Megan Ryan, and David Toth. Edvantage Chemistry. 1st edition. Edvantage Interactive.
  • Zumdahl, Steven S., Susan A. Zumdahl, and Donald J. DeCoste. Chemistry (AP Edition). 10th edition. National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning.
  • Jespersen, Neil D., and Alison Hyslop. Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter. 7th edition. Wiley.