AP Chemistry Course Expectations
AP CHEMISTRY POLICIES
The Advanced Placement chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. Students in this course will attain a significant depth of understand of fundamentals and a competence in dealing with chemical problems.
Chemistry: The Central Science by Brown, LeMay and Bursten
Supplements: Various handouts
Since this course is comparable to a freshman college chemistry course, it will follow a similar format. We will meet for a total of nine periods per cycle: three double periods and three regular periods. The double periods will often be used for labs or testing, the rest will be used for lecture, short quizzes and review and problem solving.
Attendance will be of the utmost importance in this course. The course will be fast-paced to cover all of the necessary material. Information presented in lecture will not be repeated, so it is extremely important not to miss class. Try to schedule any appointments before or after this class. It will be your responsibility to obtain notes of the material missed from a classmate (or the instructor). Any laboratory exercises missed will have to be made up on your time. If a test is missed, expect to take a make-up exam on the day you return. This test may be different from the original. If you know that you will be absent on the day of a test, I would prefer to make arrangements for you to take the test before the rest of the class if at all possible.
To be well prepared for class, you should bring your textbook, notebook and calculator every day. If you are doing a lab exercise that day, make sure that you have read the lab, and bring your lab handouts, prepared lab notebook, calculator and text.
The homework assignments will be made at the beginning of each unit. You will be responsible for working problems at the proper time. Homework, by chapters, will be checked and awarded a certain number of points. Late or incomplete homework will not receive full credit, however, some points are better than none. If you had an excused absence, write a note telling this date and attach it when you hand in your work. Work that is late without an excused absence will have points deducted. I will often ask you to put problems on the board. You will be expected to at least begin problems on the board, even if you do not think you have the “right” answer! Maximum points will be awarded to those who make an honest effort to solve problems and to those who ask questions about them.
Test and quiz problems will generally be similar to those assigned for homework. Satisfactory completion of the homework assignments will be the best preparation for tests. Later on in the year, AP questions from previous AP exams will be added into homework and tests. Tests will generally follow the format of the AP Exam. There will be a multiple choice section and a free response section where you will show your work for problems or answer questions on short essays.
Grades are not given. They are earned. Contributions to your grade will be achieved on a total point basis.
TESTS: 2-3 per marking period, generally after 2 chapters, expect them to be challenging, this is a college course! For multiple choice questions, some credit will be deducted for answering questions incorrectly (similar to SAT tests). For problems no credit is given if work is not shown. Partial credit is always given for what is attempted. If a problem has three parts, where the answer in part c depends on the answer to part b which depends on the answer to part a; and the answer to part a is incorrect but is used correctly in parts b and c, full credit is given for parts b and c. Points are deducted only once for the original mistake in part a. As on the AP Exam, any grade above 50% indicates that you are doing just fine!
QUIZZES: usually at least one per six-day cycle, often only one problem, occasionally take-home quizzes are given.
LABS: Lab grades will be determined after each experiment based on what appears in your lab notebook. You will keep a lab notebook in which you will do the write-ups for all experiments. The notebook must be brought to class and all data is recorded directly into the notebook at the time of the experiment. “Doing it neatly later” is not allowed.
HOMEWORK: Assignments will be collected and graded. Doing and handing in the chapter problems has several advantages for you: it helps your grade and makes you better prepared for tests. It you get "time crunched" and can't get all the assigned problems done; be smart! Try at least one or two in each section. Sometimes lengthy problems-like those that involve making and deriving information from a graph for example, will be graded separately. This also goes for past AP Test questions when assigned as homework.
GRADE ADJUSTMENT: Any "curving" is done as the discretion of the instructor and is only done at the end of a marking period. This is done so that marking period grades reflect what would typically be your grade if taking this course in college at this time. Grades in college chemistry courses for the majority of students are in the A, B and C ranges. The achievement of a C or B is college chemistry is something to be proud of!!!
Cheating is copying or giving answers to homework, tests, quizzes or lab work, or allowing someone to copy your work. Plagiarism is using ideas, quotes, pictures, charts, graphs, internet or textbook information without giving credit.
1st offense: zero, no make-up, phone home
2nd offense: same, plus loss of additional points
Additional: Administrative action.
In May you will be expected to take the AP Chemistry Exam, a standardized examination, which is graded by AP Readers on a scale of 1-5. Hopefully, we will finish covering material in time to have several weeks before the exam for review and practice tests. It would be a good idea to get an AP Chem test prep book (they are available from several publishers) now and to use it as a supplement to your text throughout the year.
You need a calculator for this course. While an inexpensive calculator with simple arithmetic functions might do, it would be to your advantage to obtain a scientific calculator with exponent and power keys, trig and log functions and some memory. If you anticipate later needing a graphing calculator for math, get it now! Once you have your calculator, be sure to read the instruction manual so that you will know how to operate your calculator. Not knowing how to do an operation on your calculator is not an acceptable reason for not solving a problem!
Due to the fast pace of this course, EVERY AP Chem student will find that there are times when they get a bit confused and need a little extra help. Even if that has NEVER happened to you before, it WILL happen this year! Please, come in and ask me questions when they occur, not the day before a test. I am available every morning from about 7:30-7:45, during B and C lunch and 7th period during first semester and any day after school if asked. If you’re looking for me and I’m not in 203, try the office (Xerox room), or faculty room.
We are fortunate to have a unique program called CHEM STUDY on Wednesday evenings from 7-9 PM. A number of volunteers from the community take turns serving as tutors. Our tutors have a variety or careers: some are doctors and pharmacists, many are chemists and chemical engineers from Merck. They've all found that doing well in chemistry was beneficial to them and would like to help you be successful too! On a CHEM STUDY evening they're here to help you with homework problems, lab notebooks or even to give you information about what they do as a chemical engineer and what kind of courses they took in college for example. CHEM STUDY is a great opportunity for you to begin networking as well as to keep up and do well in AP Chem. Put your best foot forward! Come in and introduce yourself, shake hands! It's also an opportunity to begin developing some of those study skills that will help you be successful in college like forming study groups, working to deadlines, managing your time wisely. In the past, CHEM STUDY has made all the difference for some AP student;, it made it much easier for them to keep up with this fast-paced course. We've also found that AP students don't need much guidance from the tutor, they're most successful working in groups of three or four and often teach each other as they go along. Later in the year, as you get more past AP problems as homework, study groups will help you to be successful.
GOOD LUCK! This will be one of the most challenging courses of your high-school career. (We're not kidding when we say “AP Chem is not a course, it's a way of life!”) Hopefully, it will also be one of the most useful and rewarding ones as well. Relax and try to enjoy it!