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Required Components for AP Chemistry Lab Notebook

Purpose: The purpose section of a lab is where you tell the reader your reason for doing the lab in
the first place. This section should be three or four sentences long. If its too short, it wont be clear
why youre doing the lab. If its too long, youre doing too much work and the reader will probably just
skip over it.
Hypothesis: If _____________, then _______________. (The hypothesis is a one-line sentence where you
discuss how youll solve the problem at hand. The statement after if is the independent variable.
The independent variable is whatever youll do to solve the problem. The statement after then is the
dependent variable, because what happens will depend on what you did in the first place. Generally,
the dependent variable will be that the problem you mentioned in the purpose will be solved.)
Materials: Your materials list must be VERY complete. You need to indicate how much of each
material (for example, 250-mL beaker 2) will be used in the experiment so you know what youll
need. If you plan on arranging some of the equipment into a more complex setup (for example, if
youre going to heat something over a Bunsen burner, youd need a ring stand, wire gauze, etc.). Its
never a bad idea to leave a couple of extra lines at the end of this section so you can add more things
that youve forgotten when you started your lab.
Pre-Lab: You will most always be assigned Pre-Lab Questions from each lab. This is to prepare you
for understanding what calculations or concepts you will need to know to complete the entire lab.
Make sure to always show ALL of your calculations.
Procedure: This is a very clear, step-by-step list of things you plan on doing during the experiment.
Each step should be short (one phrase or sentence). Again, its not a bad idea to leave a few blank
lines at the end of this section to add things that you may have forgotten.
Data: This is the section where you write down all of your raw data. It should consist of quantitative
(numerical) data arranged in data tables, as well as qualitative (non-numerical) data written out as
sentences. The results section will most likely be long, so make sure you leave plenty of room. A good
rule of thumb when writing the data section: if youre not sure if what youve seen in the experiment,
write it down. Your data section can never be too long! Before coming to lab, you will be required to
have your data table or a section for you data to be entered to complete the lab.
Analysis: This is where you explain the meaning of your results. If you need to make a graph or a
chart, use the data you took in the results section to make the proper charts here. If you need to
explain why something happened, you need to write it here. If calculations are required, they belong
here. The analysis section is the part of a lab where you explain if you were able to fulfill the purpose
the lab, based on the data youve taken. Like the data section, if youre in doubt about whether or not
to write something here, include it!
Conclusion: The conclusion section needs to have the following:

A one-line sentence that either says that the hypothesis is right or the hypothesis
is wrong. For example, if you proved the hypothesis that If I poke myself in the
eye, then my eye will hurt, this first sentence would be When I poked myself in
the eye, it hurt.
If the hypothesis didnt work, an explanation of what you think went wrong. These
should be specific suggestions (I should have heated the mixture to 550 C), not
general suggestions (I should have heated it more).

Sources of Error: You should list at least two things that could have caused errors in the lab as well
as ways you can prevent those errors in the future. The errors you mention should be errors that you
can do something about, not mystical errors that probably didnt happen. This is also the section that
will include your quantitative sources of error, where you compare the expected value with your data.

Post-Lab Questions: These questions will help you reflect on what you have learned and show if you
would be able to replicate this experiment in a different setting or connect this to other scenarios.
These will always be assigned. These post-lab questions will also allow you to write the Discussion
of Theory for your Lab Reports (due usually within one week after post-lab questions have been

Some good rules of thumb: 1) Everything should be complete. Having miss components WILL result in low score.
2) Your lab write up should be neat. If it cant be read, it wont be graded. 3) Get help if you need it. Labs are
hard, so if youre floundering, ask for help from your lab partners or Ms. Myriah (or search online resources).
Important note: Copying something from your lab partners is cheating, not help. If you get help from your
partners, make sure that its in the form of guidance and hints, not outright answers. 4) Turn the lab in on time.
If its late, it will receive less credit!