After a year-long hiatus, AP Chemistry will be offered for the 2014-2015 school year. This class will be taught by Debbie Stenger, who is currently a chemistry teacher.
Stenger explains the reason behind the axing of AP Chem from this school year’s courses.
“AP Chem was never supposed to go away,” Stenger said. “The only reason it did go away was because we had a fluctuation in our number of chemistry students one year and that same fluctuation followed in AP Chem the next year. We just had an abnormally low number of students that were able to get it into their schedule so they dropped it for one year.”
Because of the graduation and CSU/UC science requirements, freshmen who are taking chemistry are advised against taking AP Chem their sophomore year.
“If students took chemistry as a freshman and got an A, they should take AP Chemistry but they have to take their AP Bio first, so they’d be taking it later on as upperclassmen,” Stenger said. “Other students, if they took chemistry as a sophomore or a junior and got an A, then they should take AP Chemistry.”
In addition, Stenger recommends this course for students considering a pre-med or science major in college. Junior Ann Tong plans on taking AP Chem next year for similar reasons.
“I’m considering going into the field of medicine, and chem would probably be useful,” Tong said. “Plus, I’ve already taken regular chem, so I have some background.”
In addition, AP Chem will undergo some changes next year.
“I am going to a training conference this summer because they’ve redesigned the program now that they’re moving into the Common Core curriculum” Stenger said.
Regarding the common assumption that AP Chem is the hardest Advanced Placement class, Stenger disagrees.
“I would say that’s based on opinion” Stenger said. “It depends, it’s very rigorous, [and] it is definitely up there on the list of classes that you’re going to need to work very hard in.”
Because of her years of high school experience, Tong is not very worried about the challenge of taking on AP Chem.
“I’ve gone through AP Physics [B] and AP Calc AB simultaneously” Tong said. “If I can do that, I can probably handle AP Chem.”
Students who are considering taking AP Chem need to consider that this course differs from some other sciences, as it includes math.
“It might not have as much reading as some of the other AP classes and memorization,” Stenger said. “But there’s a lot of having to analyze, apply information and integrate math concepts in with the science which is what makes it harder. There’s a lot of pretty cool thinking involved, not just memorization.”