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Failed AP Chem - where to go from here?

Bantams312Bantams312 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
So, it’s hard to say it. But, recently - my school counselor made me drop AP Chemistry to switch into College Prep Chemistry (, which is the lowest level of class at my school, below Honors classes). I felt really depressed about this because I sacrificed a lot for that class.

I only hung out with my friends twice the entire school year, skipped hanging out on Halloween with them, didn’t go to Homecoming, went days with little sleep or no showering - to further dedicate myself to the cause of getting a good grade for that class.

And I tried everything since September. Of the times I stayed after school, my teacher would often help others before me - once even helping a graduated college student before assisting me - for 45 minutes. Did the Problems in my textbook. And went to YouTube for extra practice - which is the only way I actually understood anything in that class.

The teacher gave us quizzes once a week on anything that could be in the textbook - all 11 chapters. And a quarter of the class is failing. A child who had a chemist parent dropped out.

And the tests were taken from former AP exams - so they often were at a different level of difficulty than the textbook was. I think the teacher was harsher on me because he thought I didn’t try, but I was desperate to learn, but just didn’t understand the concepts.

I have no idea what to do. I know that my school does offer a class online, but will not allow me to take this course online to put on my transcript.

I think the teacher did try to teach us the best way he knew how. But, he essentially just read out of the textbook. I called my state’s Board of Education to further ask about it - but heard that I needed to ask again Monday when there would be somebody in the office.

How do I redeem myself? I think the best way I could learn is from an online course _ if there’s any way I could get that on my transcript.

Replies to: Failed AP Chem - where to go from here?

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,872 Senior Member
    What on Earth was in your guidance counselor's mind when you were allowed to enroll in AP Chem without taking on-level or honors chemistry first?? The primary problem is not with your teacher. The primary problem is with your guidance counselor.

    So, finish out the year in the on-level chemistry class. Get a handle on the basics of the material. If you want or need a higher level of high school chemistry, repeat AP Chem next year, or take intro chemistry at a community college next summer.

    Do you have an F on your transcript for the first semester of AP Chem? Find out if your high school has a grade repalcement policy. Can you re-take the first semester of AP Chem at your own high school or elsewhere and have the old grade disappear? Since you have been moved to on-level chemistry, can you work with tat teacher to fill n any gaps in material that was covered in the fall, and then have your transcript adjusted to give you credit for both semesters of on-level chemistry, and wipe the AP class off your transcript entirely?
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 Registered User Posts: 2,438 Senior Member
    I wouldn't necessarily blame the GC. At my kid's HS, a lot of students go straight from AP Bio in 10th grade to AP Chem in 11th grade without an intro Chem class. I'm not saying that my kid had an easy time in the class nor would I recommend it, but going straight to an AP science class, especially Chem, is fairly common. The pre-"preparation" is essentially done during the summer before.
  • Bantams312Bantams312 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    They did - it was part of the deal if I go into this class.
  • Bantams312Bantams312 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    May I ask what state? Really wished my school did this - feel like it really helps those abroad. Nothing like this at my school.
  • mikemacmikemac Registered User Posts: 10,188 Senior Member
    edited March 15
    The teacher gave us quizzes once a week on anything that could be in the textbook - all 11 chapters. And a quarter of the class is failing. A child who had a chemist parent dropped out. And the tests were taken from former AP exams - so they often were at a different level of difficulty than the textbook was
    Hats off to your teacher! He was doing everything right as far as learning research goes. He wasn't letting people cram for a test and then just as quickly forget the material, he checked to make sure it was really learned. And he tested you at the level you were expected to be performing. The kids that do ok in this protocol will see the AP test as nothing more than what they've been doing all along, which is as it should be.

    If a quarter of the class failed, that tells you something about how much the average kid really learns.

    I feel bad for you that you didn't do as well as you hoped, but I hope the takeaway is that you realize you need to change something. Or math/science just isn't for you. Keep in mind, too, that this was the easy version of a college class. At a UC school, for example, they'll cover all this material in 20 weeks of class meeting 3x a week (60 hours). A HS covers it in 40 weeks meeting 5x a week (200 hours). You took the slow-motion version.
    Did the Problems in my textbook. And went to YouTube for extra practice - which is the only way I actually understood anything in that class.
    You were on to something here, although you may not have realized it. Doing the assigned homework problems is only the starting point for many college students. Most will end up spending 6-10 hours outside of class studying, doing the homework, doing extra problems. They buy a book like the "Chemistry Problem Solver" and work hundreds of hours on their own. I see you write about how much time you spent on this class, but what was it time you spent doing?

  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 3,067 Senior Member
    AP chem is not designed to be taken without taking 1st year chemistry beforehand.. if that is common at your school and many students are failing the school needs to reevaluate their course structure. High school bio and chem should both be taken before either AP class. Yes there are rare exceptions and geniuses out there and this is CC so will all pop out of the woodwork. But in the normal course of things that is the sequence l.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 4,879 Senior Member
    I think that this is an important lesson: There are classes that you are not ready to take.

    There is a lot that we are not being told. What are you grades otherwise like? What grade are you going to be given for chemistry? What year of high school are you in?

    To me it sounds like the biggest problem here is that your high school is letting students sign up for classes that they are not ready for. You need to understand that the further you go in school, the more that you will run into classes that are only possible to understand if you have been properly prepared in previous classes.
  • Bantams312Bantams312 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    The teacher went over problems in the textbook and read from the textbook.
  • Bantams312Bantams312 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Getting As in my other classes as a HS junior
  • Bantams312Bantams312 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Did take a class class from another school that was meant to be half physics and half chemistry
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 12,773 Forum Champion
    Think of it this way: AP Chemistry is supposed to be a college level chemistry class.
    Would you take college chemistry without taking Chem in HS? Not if you could possibly help it.

    What year are you? Most students take Chem as a sophomore.

    You might ask : "What will colleges think?" They will think you should have taken Chem/Honors Chem first before AP Chem.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,604 Senior Member
    I took Physics (real physics not the for poets version) in college without taking it in high school. It was hard but I did okay. Actually the real problem was that they assumed towards the end of the course that I had taken a college Chem course, so I had an A- up until about a month before the end and then got inundated with material that didn't make any sense without more background.

    If the school standard is to do AP Chem without a prep course that's the way they should teach it. It makes no sense to have a quarter of the class fail.
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