Course Syllabus

Instructor: Thomas van Geel


Office: 358


Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry is designed to be the equivalent of a college freshman course in general chemistry. We will cover a broad range of fascinating topics, making the course fun yet very rigorous; it requires a high level of dedication from the students. It is intended as a second-year high school chemistry course, and assumes a thorough mastery of the topics in sophomore chemistry. The curriculum is based on the guidelines of the College Board. For information about the course content, a complete description can be downloaded at the College Board website (


Textbook: Chemistry, Zumdahl. Students are expected to read the relevant chapters for each unit as we progress through the year. Students who do not return the book will receive a grade of "incomplete." The cost of a replacement book is $155.

Computer: Laptops are now required for all students in WHS, and this is a computer-friendly class. You will need your laptop for note-taking, writing labs, etc.

Calculator: You will need a scientific or graphing calculator every day.

AP Chem review book: While not required, I strongly recommended buying one of the AP Chemistry course preparation books currently on the market by Barron’s, Princeton Review, Kaplan, etc. Each student should select one based upon personal preference. Please buy it at the beginning of the course and use it regularly throughout the year, not just to review before the exam.

Closed-toed shoes: For safety, students must wear closed-toe shoes to every class.  Keep a pair in your locker.


Tests/Quizzes (60%). There will be a test/quiz every 2-3 weeks. Test questions will be in the style of AP test questions.

Labs (30%). All laboratory reports must be typed and double-spaced. Due dates will be announced in class and will vary depending on the length of the write-up. Late labs will receive half credit.

Homework (10%). Homework will be assigned almost daily. When none is assigned, students should study the material on their own.


If you are more than 10 minutes late you will receive a cut. Lab for this class starts at 7:30 AM. At this time traffic can be heavy; this is not a valid excuse for tardiness. We will sometimes take a short break during double block; students will be marked tardy if they do not return to class by the designated time. If you have a written excuse for being late, take it to the office before coming to class. If you are late without a written excuse, come directly to class.

MISSING CLASS: If a student misses class for any reason, he/she must take the initiative to ask a classmate for class notes, announcements, and make up missed work.


You will be handling hazardous chemicals in this class, so it is imperative that the class environment remains calm and quiet. No running, sitting on lab benches, or roughhousing of any kind. Safety glasses must be worn at all times during lab. There will be no food, drink, or gum in lab.

PROJECT: All students in AP Chemistry must complete a project after the AP exam.

Contacting Me

If I am not teaching a class, I can often be found in the science office, room 358. The best way to get in touch with me is email (; teachers in the science department do not have individual phones. I check my email daily, but my voicemail rarely. My schedule is posted on the classroom door.

Course Summary:

Date Details