The AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. For some students,
this course enables them to undertake, in their first year, second-year work in the chemistry sequence at their institution or to register in courses in other fields where general chemistry is a prerequisite. For other students, the AP Chemistry course fulfills the laboratory science requirement and frees time for other courses.
AP Chemistry should meet the objectives of a good college general chemistry course. Students in such a course should attain a depth of understanding of
fundamentals and a reasonable competence in dealing with chemical problems. The course should contribute to the development of the students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. The college course in general chemistry differs qualitatively from the usual first secondary school course in chemistry with respect to the kind of textbook used, the topics covered, the emphasis on chemical calculations and the mathematical formulation of principles, and the kind of laboratory work done by students. Quantitative differences appear in the number of topics treated, the time spent on the course by students, and the nature and the variety of experiments done in the laboratory. Secondary schools that wish to offer an AP Chemistry course must be prepared to provide a laboratory experience equivalent to that of a typical college course.