Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

I honestly loved interviewing my grandparents for the November History Interview assignment. They were both so excited to tell me about their childhoods during the Great Depression and WWII, and I literally would have never known so many things about their lives.

8 Hours to an 800 Chemistry SAT Subect Test

On-Line for Summer 2020

Teacher: Mark Kernion


Purpose of the course:

This enrichment course is designed to help students who have successfully completed (or nearly completed) a high school (or more advanced) chemistry course to prepare for the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry. The goal is to increase the student’s score on the test.  Many colleges require the scores from two SAT Subject Tests to be included in a student’s application.  Unlike the general SAT Test which evaluates a student’s reasoning skills and readiness for college, Subject Tests assess a student’s content knowledge allowing a student to demonstrate their mastery of a subject.  Often, despite a student’s reasonably sound understanding of a content area, students still do poorly on the test. Consequently, a short, intense, and purposeful re-examination of the content in the context of the manner in which questions are typically posed can make the difference between an average score versus one that will differentiate the student positively from others.

Who should take the course:

Any student having completed at least a high school chemistry course who is planning on taking the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry.  This summer class is not limited to only homeschooled students.

How to register:

There will be no screening of students for this course.  Application for this course will be done solely by registering for it through PA Homeschoolers.  There will be, however, a maximum class size of 15 students. Once registration is complete, the instructor will contact the student and parents concerning further course information.

Course Fees:

The tuition for this course is $180.


This course begins on July 21, 2020, and ends on August 13, 2020.  The sessions will occur from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm EST every Tuesday and Thursday over this 4 week time period.

Technical requirements:

Students will need a computer with high-speed internet access, a printer to produce the study guide that will be provided electronically as a .pdf document, a Zoom account for accessing and participating in online meetings, and a Google account for email and other applications.

Course description:

This course includes eight one-hour, small group, online and interactive sessions taught by the author of the popular study guide Barron’s SAT Subject Test: Chemistry.  Each session will focus on one of the eight topic areas around which the test is designed.  In addition to focusing on the concepts tested, an equal emphasis of the course is to become knowledgeable of the format of the test.  Students will subsequently be very comfortable with both the content and manner in which questions about the content will be asked.  

How the course will be run:

Live course sessions with the instructor will be conducted through the online meeting platform ZOOM.  There will be a maximum of 15 students in the group to allow for meaningful interaction as the course occurs. The meetings will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm EST beginning on July 21, 2020, and will last until August 13, 2020.  All meetings will be recorded and able to be viewed on-line at the conclusion of the sessions (at the course webpage) so that students wanting to review the content or who have missed the session will be able to so. See the course webpage here: for further information.

The content of the course will be delivered using presentation software.  All students will be provided note-taking/study guide packets to use while the instruction occurs that will enable recording of the important concepts that will be easily accessed for further study or review at a later date.  Students will also be provided with an original full-length diagnostic practice test to take at the conclusion of the course.


How a student will be evaluated:

There will be no summative evaluation of student learning for a grade in this course. In a sense, that evaluation will occur upon taking the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry and receiving a score. Students should sign up for the August 29, 2020 test administration as that will provide them the best opportunity to use the ideas while they are still fresh in their minds.  Students can register for the Subject Test in chemistry here:  Despite the lack of summative evaluation by the instructor for this course, a considerable amount of formative evaluation will occur throughout as students will be practicing a plethora of test-like questions as the course unfolds.

Instructor Qualifications:

Mark Kernion has been teaching chemistry professionally since 1986. He graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. degree in Ceramic Science and Engineering in 1981. While at Penn State he won the Xerox Research Award for the most outstanding thesis in Material Sciences in his senior year. Following the attainment of his degree, he worked for 4 years as a Research Engineer for Harbison-Walker Refractories Co. developing materials for use in high-temperature industrial applications. He was awarded three U.S. patents for his work. During that time, he took education classes at the University of Pittsburgh attaining his PA teaching certificate in Chemistry and Physics. He earned his Master’s degree in 2001 at Duquesne University in Liberal Studies, focusing on the history of science. In 1986 he began his public school teaching career with the Mt. Lebanon School District located near Pittsburgh, PA. He began teaching A.P. Chemistry in the 1998-1999 school year.  While teaching at Mt. Lebanon High School, he was honored with induction into the Cum Laude Society in 2006.  The Cum Laude Society is analogous to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, but at the secondary level as opposed to the university level.  In 2007 he was given the Yale Educator Award which recognizes educators from around the world who have inspired and supported their students. He began teaching AP Chemistry online through PA Homeschoolers in 2019 after retiring from his public school job at the age of 60 having taught chemistry for 33 years.  He is the co-author of two books. One is Barron’s SAT Subject Test: Chemistry (a very popular test preparation book published by Barron’s Educational Series). The second is Chemistry the Easy Way (also published by Barron’s Educational Series) whose new 6th edition was released in July 2019. Finally, he is the twin brother of Jack Kernion, also an instructor through Pennsylvania Homeschoolers, teaching various levels of A.P. Physics and a summer enrichment class on Scientific Writing.


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