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Chemistry Placement Exam FAQs



What is the purpose of the Chemistry Placement Exam?

The Chemistry Placement Exam is required for those who wish to take Basic Skills for Chemistry (CHEM 1020), Survey of Biomedical Chemistry (CHEM 1010), General Chemistry I (CHEM 1030) or Health Science Chemistry I (CHEM 1180). The purpose of this exam is to make sure that each person takes the class that best matches his or her science and math skills. If a person takes a class for which he or she is not suited, that person could struggle with the class or be bored. Both of these situations can result in lower than desirable grades.

Should I study for the Chemistry Placement Exam?

The exam is designed to measure what you have already learned, not what you can cram into your head a few days before you take the exam. If you want to brush up on previously learned skills such as algebra, that is fine. There is no need, however, to try to learn new ideas. There is also no study guide for the placement exam nor is there a practice exam available

I think I will be fine in class. Do I really have to take the Chemistry Placement Exam?

Everyone who wishes to take CHEM 1010, 1020, 1030 or 1180 is required to take the Placement Exam. It is one of our most reliable measures of whether you will be prepared for a particular class. There are, however, extenuating circumstances that might allow someone to take the class without the exam by getting permission from the chair. Please be advised that these circumstances are rare and permission to skip the Chemistry Placement Exam is not regularly given.

What is on the Chemistry Placement Exam?

The Chemistry Placement Exam consists of three parts: math, general science and chemistry.

What if I fail the Chemistry Placement Exam?

No one fails the Chemistry Placement Exam. The score that you receive will guide you to a math or chemistry class that suits your skill level.

How long is the Chemistry Placement Exam?

You will have approximately one hour for the exam.

Is an hour long enough to finish the exam?

You do not need to answer every question on the placement exam. In fact, to place into General Chemistry, you need to score a minimum of 50% on the exam. For other classes, the cutoff scores could be lower. With that in mind, do not rush when taking the exam. Answer the questions that you know to the best of your ability. If you do not finish, do not panic.

I do not like my score and I know I can do better. When can I take the exam again?

Everyone has one chance to take the placement exam. If several years have passed since you took the exam, particularly if you have taken more mathematics courses in the interim, you may petition the chair to repeat the exam.

I really just need to take General Chemistry I or Survey of Biomedical Chemistry. Won't it be a waste of my time to take Basic Skills for Chemistry first?

The placement exam will indicate the class for which you are best suited. It is not a waste of your time to take the appropriate level class. It could, however, be a waste of time (and money) to take a higher level if you fail and need to repeat it.

How do I take the Chemistry Placement Exam?

Call a testing center to schedule the exam.