Chat times for 2012/2013
Dr. Christe Ann McMenomy
Standardized Tests: The AP and SATs
NOTE: This information is based on CEEB site information as of June, 2005. This page will be updated in early September, 2006, with expected changes to the AP test and course requirements as published by the College Board organization.
The best way to achieve recognition from a college admission office for work done in this course is to take a universally recognized and standardized test. The two major examinations are the SAT II Chemistry test and the Advanced Placement Chemistry test. Which one you take depends on your level of preparation, your academic goals, and the policy of the colleges to which you may want to apply. In most cases, the SAT is used as part of your college admission packet, and should be taken at the end of your Junior year or the beginning of your Senior year. The AP exam is used to determine placement, and is often taken in the senior year.
SAT II Chemistry Examination
The College Board Online Website has information for parents and students on the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, AP, and CLEP examinations, test dates, how to sign up to take the exams, etc. There is a special page of advice to home schoolers.
The SAT II Chemistry test is used to assess whether you have mastered the content of a typical high school one-year introductory chemistry course. If you are interested in majoring in life sciences, physical sciences, or medicine, you need to enter college with such a course behind you. Many college admissions offices also look for experience in a laboratory science course, and expect you to have taken one, regardless of your intended college major. Fulfilling this requirement now may free you to take other classes in college, especially if you are not interested in a science major.
Check the Subject Tests Calendar for dates. If you are taking the chemistry course this year as a junior and need the SAT II for admission consideration, you should plan to take the exam in May or June, or in next fall. I recommend that you plan to take the June exam, since it occurs after the completion of our course. We will have a special review session for the exam during the week before the exam.
The Scholars Online course is very rigorous compared to the standard high school chemistry course. We use a college-level chemistry majors text which contains more material than a typical high school text or a non-majors college introductory text. The online quiz questions are phrased like or based on similar questions from past published SAT II Chemistry exams. Consequently, completing this course satisfactorily should prepare you adequately for the SAT II Chemistry exams.
If you prefer to take the May examination, please let me know as soon as possible. We will schedule a special review session in April to tutor you on topics which the Scholars Online course may not cover until after the test date.
The Advanced Placement program provides high school students the chance to do college-level study and get credit for their work from many colleges and universities. Colleges in other countries recognize the AP examination as an indicator of advanced work beyond high school, and some US and Canadian colleges will award you sophomore standing if you meet their requirements through outstanding AP exam performance. Several scholarships are awarded on the basis of AP scores. Check the College Board Advanced Placement website for more information on the AP program.
Be forewarned, though: a number of US colleges and universities will not grant you college credit for AP work, regardless of your score on the exam, and some departments refuse credit while others at the same college may grant credit. Be sure to verify the AP credit policy in chemistry at each of the colleges that interest you; do not automatically assume that a particular college department will grant you college credit for this course on the basis of your AP score.
Typically, the chemistry AP course is taken after completion of a standard high school level chemistry course; often after the completion of introductory physics as well, and assumes that you have completed second year algebra. The AP course is based on a text written for an introductory course for chemistry majors (our Kotz and Treichel Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity is such a text). Such a course assumes 4 50-minute lecture sessions (total 200 minutes) and 1 90-minute lab session per week for an entire school year, with 5 hours of outside work per week (for homework, reading the text, studying for exams, etc.). While we will meet for 180 minutes per week in discussion sections, we face other challenges in communication that make the extra time useful.
We are also very limited in what we can do for experiments, since we do not have access to the equipment and materials available in a well-equipped college chemistry lab. Many college chemistry departments will request your lab notebooks so that they can review your actual lab work before granting you credit for freshman chemistry, even if you receive high marks on the exam. I will work with you to try to establish credibility for any lab work you undertake, but you should be aware that this may be a serious limitation.
Obviously, to prepare for the AP Chemistry exam, you will need to do work beyond that required to simply pass the Scholars Online course and prepare for the SAT II Chemistry exam. You will need to write a lot of essays, do all--or at least most-- of the homework and workbook exercises, and all of the online quizzes, attend monthly review sessions in addition to regular class periods, and perform chemistry labs which may require the purchase of extra lab equipment and chemicals. This is a considerable commitment on your time [5-10 hours a week in addition to the work required to pass the chemistry course], so think carefully about how much you want to do this!
If you do want to take the AP exam, be sure to let me know as soon as possible....because we\'ll have a lot of work to do, and you will need to complete some work early!
© 2012,2013 This course is offered through Scholars Online, a non-profit organization supporting classical Christian education through Internet-based courses. Permission to copy course content (lessons and labs) for personal study is granted to students currently or formerly enrolled in the course through Scholars Online. Reproduction for any other purpose, without the express written consent of the author, is prohibited.