Why Take Advanced Placement Chemistry?

By a former LHS student


Any student considering attending the University of Minnesota and

especially those who want to enter the University's Institute of Technology

or College of Biological Sciences should take A.P. Chemistry in high

school.  The U of M awards eight credits in Chemical Principles I and II

for a score of three or better on the A.P. Chemistry exam.  Compare this

with four credits for Calculus AB, Statistics, Human Geography, Psychology,

Biology, or Language/Composition; six credits for U.S. History or European

History; and seven credits for Literature/Composition.  Think just about

how much time is saved by having eight credits under your belt before

entering college.  Since the University's policy is that courses should

demand three hours of class and homework per week per credit, that's 12

hours a week for two semesters that you can be working on other classes.  A

savy consumer would also compare the cost of an A.P. exam (partially paid

for by the state) to the cost of college tuition. 

        A class in the physical sciences is required by the University to

obtain an undergraduate degree, and two semesters of chemistry are required

of anyone seeking a B.S. in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry; Ecology,

Evolution, and Behavior; Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development; Geology,

Microbiology, Neuroscience, Plant Biology, Environmental Science, Food

Science, Nutrition, Science in Agriculture, Biomedical Engineering,

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil

Engineering,  Electrical Engineering, Geological Engineering, or Materials

Science and Engineering.  Since all engineering degree programs have little

room for electives, those students who start out with credit for a year of

chemistry will find graduating in four years easier.  Also, those students

who want to apply for medical school should have completed two semesters of

general chemistry, two semesters of organic chemistry, and one semester of

biochemistry before taking the MCAT in their junior year of college.  It is

also recommended that students take a term of college-level chemistry

before the U of M's general biology course, which develops from core themes

of chemical bonding, the structures of macromolecules, and energy

recruitment and utilization.  Therefore, those who have the chance early on

to develop a thorough understanding of college chemistry have a head start

for success in other areas of natural and physical sciences.

        A.P. Chemistry provides students with about two hours per week of

lab time, which is comparable to Chemical Principles I and II at the U of

M.  The small-classroom setting of A.P. Chemistry provides much more

teacher-student interaction, however.  Students in Chemical Principles I

meet three times a week for a fifty-minute lecture in a hall with, on

average, 320 other students.  The lab classes average to 46 students.

Deciding not to take A.P. Chemistry out of fear of its difficulty will not

leave you with better options in college.  Unlike Mr. Just, college

professors will not tailor their lecture schedule to address specific

topics you need help with.