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Getting to the Know AP Chemistry Course

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 course and exam.

AP Chemistry Course and Exam Description

Hands-On Labs

If you’re teaching an AP science course for the first time, please submit evidence for the hands-on lab curricular requirement following the same process as in a typical school year.

If the coronavirus pandemic is preventing your school from providing onsite access to a laboratory environment, instruments, and materials, the 25% instructional time spent on the hands-on lab requirement can be met in the following ways:

  • Virtual labs
  • Simulations accompanied by student work (data collection, data analysis, etc.)
  • Labs that can be safely conducted at home

Regardless of the way the hands-on laboratory requirement is met, all student laboratory experiences must continue to be supervised by a science educator. As outlined in the curricular requirements, these experiences must be recorded and maintained by the student.


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 is structured to incorporate the big ideas and required content outlined in each of the units described in the AP Chemistry Course and Exam Description (CED).The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills related to:
    • 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
  • 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 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. The list is not exhaustive and the texts listed should not be regarded as endorsed, authorized, recommended, or approved by 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 Course Audit curricular requirements. Earlier editions of these textbooks or other textbooks not listed here may meet the AP Course Audit curricular requirements if published within the last 10 years. While every effort is made to keep this list current, it can take a few months for newly published titles and revised editions to be reviewed.

For discussions regarding the usefulness of these texts and other teaching materials in the AP Chemistry classroom, please consult the AP Chemistry Teacher Community.

  • Atkins, Peter, Loretta Jones, and Leroy Laverman. Chemical Principles: The Quest for Insight. 7th Edition. W.H. Freeman, 2016.
  • Brown, Lemay, Bursten, Murphy, Woodward, and Stolfzus. Chemistry: The Central Science. 14th edition. Pearson.
  • Chang, Raymond. Chemistry, AP Edition. 13th edition. McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Ebbing and Gammon. General Chemistry. 11th edition. National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning.
  • Flowers, Paul, Klaus Theopold, Richard Langley, and William R. Robinson. Chemistry 2e. 2nd edition. OpenStax CNX.
  • Gilbert, Kirss, Bretz, Foster. Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach, AP Edition. 1st Edition. W.W. Norton, 2020.
  • Jespersen, Neil D., and Alison Hyslop. Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter. 7th edition. Wiley.
  • Kotz, John C., Paul M. Treichel, John R. Townsend, and David Treichel. Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity. 10th edition. National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning.
  • Masterson and Hurley. Chemistry: Principles and Reactions. 8th edition. National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning.
  • Silberberg, Martin. Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change, AP Edition. 8th edition. McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Smith, Cheri, Gary Davidson, Megan Ryan, and David Toth. AP Chemistry 1 and AP Chemistry 2. 1st edition. Edvantage Interactive.
  • Spencer, James N., George M. Bodner, and Lyman H. Rickard. Chemistry: Structure and Dy namics. 5th Edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2012.
  • Trivedi, Ketan M. AP Chemistry Flash Drive for PC. Trivedi Chemistry.
  • Tro, Nivaldo. Chemistry: A Molecular Approach Edition. 10th edition. National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning.
  • Zumdahl, Steven S. and Susan A. Zumdahl. Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach. 2nd Edition. Cengage Learning, 2015.
  • Zumdahl, Steven S., Susan A. Zumdahl, and Donald J. DeCoste. Chemistry (AP Edition). 10th edition. National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning.

This annotated sample AP Chemistry syllabus shows how the curricular requirements can be demonstrated in a syllabus and what level of detail you’ll need to include.

AP Chemistry Sample Syllabus 1 (.pdf/301 KB)

Review this document for help creating your syllabus.

Syllabus Development Guide: AP Chemistry (.pdf/202.96 KB)

This resource includes the guidelines reviewers use to evaluate syllabi along with three samples of evidence for each requirement. This guide also specifies the level of detail required in the syllabus to receive course authorization.

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