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 the 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.
The course follows six big ideas:
Big Idea 1: The chemical elements are fundamental building materials of matter , and all matter can be understood in terms of arrangements of atoms. The atoms retain their identity in chemical reactions.
Big Idea 2: Chemical and physical properties of materials can be explained by the structure and arrangement of atoms, ions, molecules and the forces between them.
Big Idea 3: Changes in matter involved the rearrangement and/or reorganization of atoms and/or the transfer of electrons.
Big Idea 4: Rates of chemical reactions are determined by details of the molecular collisions.
Big Idea 5: The law of thermodynamics describe the essential role of energy and explain and predict the direction of changes in matter.
Big Idea 6: Any bond or intermolecular attraction that can be formed can be broken. These two processes are in a dynamic competition, sensitive to initial conditions and external perturbations.