How hard are College Chemistry and Biology classes compared to AP Chem and AP Bio?

Sep 1, 2016
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I took both AP Chem and AP Bio last year (Junior Year), and I was wondering how College Chemistry and Biology compared to them. How much more in depth?
Anyone who took one of the APs know how hard the Intro to Chem/Bio classes are after the AP?

Thanks!
 

eteshoe

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From what I vaguely remember of college chem and bio, the material is mostly the same as the AP stuff (at least from how my HS teachers ran the classes) for at least the first two semesters/quarters stuff. The only caveat is that you only have 10-15 wks (10 wks = quarter system; 15 wks = semester system) to learn the material as opposed to a whole yr. By the following term you've usually moved past the AP material. Example: from my college, I had the following:

AP Chem 5 -> 1 yr college chem (gen chem I-III since I was in a quarter sys)

AP Bio 4 -> got credit for intro bio I (I think a 5 got people credit for bio I-II)
 

TheBiologist

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Chemistry is nearly identical; they went over a few extra topics and formulas but nothing more conceptually difficult than AP (I think they also took nuclear chemistry out of the AP curriculum, but that's probably one of the easiest topics anyway)

biology is more of a toss up because every school does their "intro to bio" different; for instance, my school's intro to bio is technically 3 semesters long (vs 2 semesters of material covered on the AP exam). My school spends a lot more time on human physiology, and dedicates an entire semester to genetics and molecular biology

I think UNC chapel hill's gen bio is only 1 semester long, and you focus on upper division bios

so every school might be different; not every school does the typical "bio 1: molecules, cells, genetics/bio 2: evolution, organisms, ecology"
 
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ChymeofPassion

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Highly dependent on the rigor of your high school vs rigor of your college. Personally both college bio and chem were an absolute joke at my institution for me compared to high school where I had to spend long hours to succeed. May also be because you are familiar with the material when you face it again in college.
 

OGLoc23

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I've found the difficulty college classes, including intro to bio/chem, to depend more on the professor than anything else. Content is essentially the same as that in the AP courses.
 
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MareNostrummm

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You will have a huge advantage over people that did not take AP bio or chem.
 

aldol16

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It depends on where you go. At my institution, we teach intro chem and bio at a deeper level than most other universities and so it's not uncommon to see people with a 4 or 5 on the AP exams end up with Cs. The level of scientific analysis we demand is high and so that's why there's a discrepancy between AP and college. But at many universities, they do tend to correlate pretty well and the intro classes only go into marginally more detail than the APs. Again, it would depend where you go - no one should expect that Calc I at MIT is equivalent to AP Calc AB.
 
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salemstein

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Depends on the school. If you went to my alma mater, the hardest question on the AP test would probably have been the easiest on our midterms. I didn't do so hot. OTOH, upper level science classes at my post-bac seemed easier than my HS's AP.
 

tessellations

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At my school, AP Biology is the only science AP that won't get you out of classes. We went a lot less in depth than I did in high school (I had a really intense teacher) and the tests and the class were structured very differently. Instead of focusing on more memorized material, our exams were mostly critical thinking bases, with T/F questions and novel scenarios where we had to determine what might happen if certain things change or get tweaked. It took a lot more brain power to think this way, even though the basic material was easier to learn in college. It was more fun and I got a lot more out of it, but people definitely struggled on exams and no one looked forward to them. It was basically impossible to get a perfect score. But, because they were very open questions, my professor would let us argue for points back.
 
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DameJulie

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College Chem and Bio are much harder in my opinion. In my HS's AP chem/bio test is worth about 40-50% of the grade and the rest is participation/homework/project/lab. Where in college, most of your grade comes from exams (80-90%).
 

BunnyMan17

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At my undergrad intro chem/bio are taught with the (somewhat unofficial) understanding that you have already taken the AP course. Although that might be more of a factor of just everyone here had taken the AP class anyway and the professors adjusted accordingly. However I know that isn't it the case where some of my friends go, it really depends on the institution and how early they want to weed out the gajillion pre-meds.
 
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TheBiologist

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At my undergrad intro chem/bio are taught with the (somewhat unofficial) understanding that you have already taken the AP course. Although that might be more of a factor of just everyone here had taken the AP class anyway and the professors adjusted accordingly. However I know that isn't it the case where some of my friends go, it really depends on the institution and how early they want to weed out the gajillion pre-meds.
this is also true at my school; also for calc based physics

nearly the entire class scores 4/5 on both AP physics C exams and class was very difficult - not necessarily because the material is intrinsically that much harder than AP, but because the professor teaches like the class already knows what's going on. So if you didn't take AP (or even high school physics like me.......) it can be extra work

Walter Lewin got me through physics tho :D
 

Ampharos

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If you go to my college, they don't accept their credit because "it's too easy". Wouldn't skip if possible.
 
Feb 26, 2016
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We covered chirality and molecular orbital theory in my AP chem class. College chem was a complete joke with ideal gas/boyle's law and basic patterns of the periodic table. Grad-level chem got real.
 
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My story is that I got 45 hours of credit through the AP program. And I had no problems stemming from that. I placed out of two semesters of bio, two semesters of chem, two semesters of calculus, along with random english and history credits. I never once felt left behind when I immediately jumped into upper level classes as a freshman. Granted I got 5's in everything except AP language (rhetoric isn't my favorite). The content should be the same, but ymmv depending on who is teaching you the material, but that is the case with every class in college.
 
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Granted I got 5's in everything except AP language.
There's a huge difference between getting a 4 and 5. If you got 5's, chances are you know the material very well and intro science courses will be an easy A. Take the credits, finish your major requirements early, and your schedule will be freed up to take classes you enjoy. I personally would've liked to try some grad-level physics or math courses, or a journalism/writing class from a well-known professor.

In comparison, I slept through AP econs and statistics and got 4's, fully expecting to get 2's. I was a bit surprised by how lenient the grading is, or maybe I learned more than I thought :humblebrag:
 

iqe2010

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I was in IB chem in high school and it was identical to freshmen chem when I got to college.

I still sucked at gen chem but that's another thread :laugh: