AP Chemistry

Learn all about the course and exam. Already enrolled? Join your class in My AP.

Not a Student?

Go to AP Central for resources for teachers, administrators, and coordinators.

About the Course

Learn about the fundamental concepts of chemistry including the structure and arrangement of matter, attractions between particles, chemical reactions, kinetics, equilibrium, thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. You’ll do hands-on laboratory investigations and use chemical models, theories, and calculations to solve problems.

Save your lab notebooks and reports; colleges may ask to see them before granting you credit.

AP Chemistry Updates for 2024-25 

We updated AP Chemistry for the 2024-25 school year. 

Skills You'll Learn

  • Designing experiments and procedures to test a prediction or theory

  • Creating graphs, diagrams, and models that represent chemical phenomena

  • Explaining how the microscopic structure of a substance determines its chemical properties

  • Writing chemical equations and using them to calculate quantities involved in reactions

  • Making a scientific claim and supporting it with evidence

Equivalency and Prerequisites

College Course Equivalent

A one-year, introductory college general chemistry course

Recommended Prerequisites

High school courses in chemistry and Algebra II

About the Units

The course content outlined below is organized into commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. Your teacher may choose to organize the course content differently based on local priorities and preferences.

Course Content

Unit 1: Atomic Structure and Properties

You’ll learn about the composition of atoms and ways scientists measure and categorize these building blocks of matter.

Topics may include:

  • Moles and molar mass
  • Mass spectra of elements
  • Elemental composition of pure substances
  • Composition of mixtures
  • Atomic structure and electron configuration
  • Photoelectron spectroscopy
  • Periodic trends
  • Valence electrons and ionic compounds

On The Exam

7%–9% of exam score

Unit 2: Compound Structure and Properties

You’ll discover the range of chemical bonds and how their structure can affect the properties of the molecules created.

Topics may include:

  • Types of chemical bonds
  • Intramolecular force and potential energy
  • Structure of ionic solids
  • Structure of metals and alloys
  • Lewis diagrams
  • Resonance and formal charge
  • VSEPR and hybridization

On The Exam

7%–9% of exam score

Unit 3: Properties of Substances and Mixtures

You’ll explore how atoms come together to create solids, liquids, and gases, and how forces between particles govern the properties of everything around you.

Topics may include:

  • Intermolecular forces
  • Solids, liquids, and gases
  • Kinetic molecular theory
  • Solutions and mixtures
  • Properties of photons
  • Spectroscopy

On The Exam

18%–22% of exam score

Unit 4: Chemical Reactions

You’ll learn how to differentiate physical and chemical processes, and how to measure and express chemical reactions via chemical equations.

Topics may include:

  • Introduction for reactions
  • Net ionic equations
  • Representations of reactions
  • Physical and chemical changes
  • Stoichiometry
  • Types of chemical reactions

On The Exam

7%–9% of exam score

Unit 5: Kinetics

You’ll explore various methods to observe the changes that occur during a chemical reaction, the factors that influence reaction rate, and how it relates to a series of elementary reactions.

Topics may include:

  • Reaction rate
  • Introduction to rate law
  • Elementary reactions
  • Collision model
  • Introduction to reaction mechanisms
  • Multistep reaction energy profile
  • Catalysis

On The Exam

7%–9% of exam score

Unit 6: Thermochemistry

You’ll learn about energy changes in chemical reactions and how a transfer of energy can change a substance’s physical qualities.

Topics may include:

  • Endothermic and exothermic processes
  • Heat transfer and thermal equilibrium
  • Heat capacity and calorimetry
  • Energy of phase changes
  • Introduction to enthalpy of reaction
  • Enthalpy of formation
  • Hess’s law

On The Exam

7%–9% of exam score

Unit 7: Equilibrium

You’ll chart how chemical reactions change over time, what causes substances to reach equilibrium, and how systems react when that equilibrium is disturbed.

Topics may include:

  • Introduction to equilibrium
  • Calculating the equilibrium constant
  • Calculating equilibrium concentrations
  • Introduction to Le Châtelier’s principle
  • Introduction to solubility equilibria

On The Exam

7%–9% of exam score

Unit 8: Acids and Bases

You’ll learn more about pH, the qualities and properties of acids and bases, and how they interact in chemical reactions.

Topics may include:

  • Introduction to acids and bases
  • pH and pOH of strong acids and bases
  • Acid-base reactions and buffers
  • Molecular structure of acids and bases
  • pH and pKa
  • Properties of buffers
  • pH and solubility

On The Exam

11%–15% of exam score

Unit 9: Thermodynamics and Electrochemistry

You’ll be introduced to the concept of “thermodynamic favorability” for reactions, meaning how likely they are to occur given energy changes and environmental factors, and how chemical reactions can be used to generate electricity.

Topics may include:

  • Introduction to entropy
  • Gibbs free energy and thermodynamic favorability
  • Thermodynamic and kinetic control
  • Free energy and equilibrium
  • Free energy of dissolution
  • Galvanic (voltaic) and electrolytic cells
  • Electrolysis and Faraday’s laws

On The Exam

7%–9% of exam score

Credit and Placement

Search AP Credit Policies

Find colleges that grant credit and/or placement for AP Exam scores in this and other AP courses.

Course Resources

See Where AP Can Take You

AP Chemistry can lead to a wide range of careers and college majors

Career Areas 84
Majors 48