Acing the AP Chem MCQ Section
Preparing for the AP Chem exam? Don’t worry, you’ll be all set to master the MCQs once you review these strategies and know the logistics of the section.
Logistics of the MCQ Section:
The MC section of the AP exam is comprised of 60 questions that could include calculations and several concepts. You have an hour and a half to complete this portion and it is worth 50% of the exam. This means you have about 1.5-2 min per question if you’re aiming to finish all the questions.
If you find yourself stuck on a set of questions, use the context of the problem to make a good guess and keep going. It’s better to get some points for possibly getting a question from guessing than leaving it blank. You are not allowed to have a calculator in this section.
Weight of Each Unit on this Section:
Unit 1: Atomic Structure and Properties 7–9%
Unit 2: Molecular and Ionic Compound Structure and Properties 7–9%
Unit 3: Intermolecular Forces and Properties 18–22%
Unit 4: Chemical Reactions 7–9%
Unit 5: Kinetics 7–9%
Unit 6: Thermodynamics 7–9%
Unit 7: Equilibrium 7–9%
Unit 8: Acids and Bases 11–15%
Unit 9: Applications of Thermodynamics 7–9%
Strategies for the AP Chemistry Multiple Choice Section:
You need to build time management skills, otherwise it’s going to be difficult to do this section. Every couple pages, glance at the time and if you find yourself falling behind, pick up your pace and keep going. You need to accept that you may end up guessing on questions.
The goal isn’t to get every single question right necessarily but to complete with highest accuracy while finishing all of the questions. When starting a question, keep your mind focused on the question that’s being asked and push through each MC question. Once you identify what’s being asked, think about what tools you need to answer it: Calculation, Formula, or Concept?
Stay on task because as you practice, you’re building mental stamina to retain the information you’re learning. Don’t try to memorize only. Make sure you understand the why and the how behind a concept or calculation. Use your AP Chem equations sheet and periodic table for your benefit.
Make sure you do several practice problems before the exam and understand what you’re doing. When you get questions wrong, ask a teacher or someone aware of the content to explain the problem. It defeats the purpose of doing MC practice if you do the problems but then choose not to ask someone to clarify a weak point that you’re confused about.
Forming a study group with people who are going to be focused may be useful because you can ask questions about concepts you don’t understand. Make sure you understand the basic concepts for each unit and then dive into the harder content.
Let’s Do Some MCQ Practice Problems:
1. Which choice is true when a pure, covalent solid is heated gradually at its melting point until roughly half of the compound has been converted to a liquid?
A: As the temperature increases, the average kinetic energy of the molecules in the liquid phase also increases.
B: The total of the IMF’s holding the solid together decrease to zero as the solid melts continuously.
C: As the substance becomes a liquid, the volume increases.
D: The average kinetic energy (KE) of the substance stays the same.
Answer: The answer is D because the energy is going into changing the phase of the substance instead of increasing its temperature.
2. Which choice below contributes the least to determining the bulk physical properties of a substance?
A: The forces of attraction between the particles in the substance
B: The elements that make up the substance.
C: The spacing between and the orderliness of the particles that make up the substance
D: The shape of the particles that make up the substance.
Answer: The answer is B because elements are substances that cannot be further broken down into simpler substances. Different structures and bonds distinguish substance shapes more than the elements do.
3. Which of the following explains why Argon can be solidified at a low temperature?
A: Hydrogen bonding
B: Covalent Bonding
C: London Dispersion Forces
D: Metallic Bonding
Answer: The answer is C because Argon is a Noble Gas so the London Dispersion Forces result in the gas condensing into a liquid since no other force holds a gas together. Noble gases have extremely low boiling points.
The goal of this study guide was to help you face the MCQ section with more confidence and less fear. It may sound like a cliche but “practice makes perfect.” The more practice you get, the less blindsided you’ll feel when you sit down to take the actual exam. Stay focused, take breaks, and have a little fun while you study. You’ve got this!