You are here

Placement Exams for Introductory Courses

The Department of Chemistry offers two placement exams to help students determine which introductory course is the best one for them. The General Chemistry Placement Exam is used for enrollment in CHEM 110, 120, 142 or 143. The Honors CHEM 145 Placement Exam is used for enrollment in CHEM 145. See Choosing Intro Courses for descriptions of the introductory general chemistry courses.

The General Chemistry Placement Exam and the Honors Chemistry placement Exam is available free online. 

You can access the General Chemistry Placement Exam Here.
You can access the Honors Chemistry Placement Exam Here.

Once you are in the Canvas portal you will need to enroll and then follow instructions given on the canvas homepage. Please ensure you have a valid UW student ID number as this will be required. If you are a new student attending Advising and Orientation (A&O), you will need to complete the online exam at least 2 business days prior to the start of your A&O for scores to be updated in time for course registration. Exams taken after will not be updated in time for course registration at your A&O. The placement test may be taken a total of two times. You must wait at least 24 hours after completing the first attempt before taking the second attempt at the placement test. 

The General Chemistry Placement Exam covers a range of basic chemistry concepts along with mathematical and problem solving skills. The topics covered by the exam are measurement, atomic theory of matter, periodicity, bonding, compound nomenclature, atomic and molar mass, mole concept, compound composition, chemical equations and basic stoichiometry. A free online course provides a review of these topics. The Honors Chemistry Placement Exam includes the above topics, but in more depth, as well as electronic structure and properties of gases.

ALEKS On-line Chemistry Review

If you are unsure of your preparation for the chemistry courses you may want to enroll in the UW GEN CHEM PREP COURSE. Registration for the prep course is free and introduces you to ALEKS, the online homework system used in CHEM 110 and the CHEM 142-152-162 and 143-153 sequences. To enroll:

  1. Go to the ALEKS website.
  2. Click on the link marked “SIGN UP NOW” in the upper left corner of the screen.
  3. On the next screen you will be asked to provide the following course code for UW Chem Placement Test Prep 2023-24: M34GF-RTN6G
  4. The next screen will ask for information about you. Please provide all the information requested. In the "Student ID" field, please list your UW NetID (the first part of your e-mail address).
  5. Click continue and you should be enrolled.
  6. Important Update 6/23/23 -

    Currently this course is prompting students for a paid access code once they are registered. The course should be free and should not be prompting you for an access code, we are working with ALEKS to fix this and hope to have the error resolved shortly. Please check the course again sometime this weekend and early next week and it should allow you to access it without prompting you for the access code. We will update/remove this message once the help desk ticket with ALEKS has been resolved. 

Alternative Placement Methods

Aside from taking the General Chemistry Placement Exam there are several alternate ways to place into Chem 142 or 143. You can place into CHEM 142 or 143 by completing a preparatory chemistry course such as CHEM 110 or equivalent. An AP Chemistry score of 1 or greater is accepted for placement into CHEM 142 and 143 while a score of 3 or greater is accepted for placement into CHEM 145.

For IB exams, a score of 4, 5, 6, or 7 on the standard level exam will get you credit for CHEM 110 and allows you to enroll in CHEM 142 or 143. A score of 4 on the High Level exam can place you into CHEM 142 or 143 and a score of 5, 6, or 7 on the High Level Chemistry IB exam is accepted for placement into CHEM 145.