Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Placement Testing in Chemistry

Placement Testing in General Chemistry I (CHEM 1230) and Chemistry for Health Sciences  (CHEM 1120)

Success in these courses requires that you have sufficient background in mathematics and chemistry in order to understand the material and achieve your highest potential.   We evaluate your preparation with a chemistry placement exam and a consideration of other information in your record.  Our determination of your placement is based on the performance of previous students in our classes rather than an arbitrary standard.   

Chemistry Placement Exam

Our placement exam was developed by the American Chemical Society and is used at many colleges and universities throughout the country.  It consists of 44 multiple-choice questions, each of which have four possible answers.  Only correct answers are counted, but if you have no idea which answer to give, you should leave the question blank.  You may use a non-programmable calculator.  A periodic table is provided.  A total of 45 minutes is allowed for completion of the exam.  Of course you should have a good night’s sleep before taking the exam. 

Topics for the questions include, but are not limited to:

  • Algebraic manipulation
  • Calculations using scientific notation with a consideration of significant figures
  • Interpretation of graphs
  • Balancing chemical equations
  • States of matter
  • Periodic table interpretation and significance
  • Names and formulas for compound
  • Stoichiometric calculations
  • Gas law
  • Molecular geometry

Click on the following link to practice on some placement-type questions.

General Chemistry I (CHEM 1230)

This class is for students who are majoring in a wide range of science and engineering subjects including pharmacy.   It presumes at least one year of high school chemistry (about one-fourth of the students have a second year) and two years of high school algebra.  All who wish to take this course must complete the Chemistry Placement Exam.
The placement exam score is considered in light of the high school GPA and math ACT score (and the UT trig placement score if it is available).  All of these factors are combined to produce a predicted grade.  If this grade is a C or better, entrance into the course is permitted.  If this predicted grade is a D, enrollment is allowed only if the student also takes a one credit hour problem-solving class, CHEM 1200.  If the predicted score is below this level the student must complete Elementary Chemistry (CHEM 1090) with a grade of C or better before enrolling in CHEM 1230.  

For students with average high school GPA’s (this has been about 3.5) a placement score of 19 or higher is needed to produce a predicted grade of C or above.  This prediction is made using the Placement Analysis webpage 

Chemistry for Health Sciences  (CHEM 1120)

This class is for students who are majoring in nursing or a small number of other allied health fields.  It presumes one year of high school chemistry and two years of high school algebra.  All who wish to take this course must complete the Chemistry Placement Exam.  A score of 19 or above is acceptable for placement in the course.  Scores below that will be reviewed on an individual basis.  The course Elementary Chemistry, (CHEM 1090) should be completed by those whose preparation is not sufficient for a reasonable chance of success in CHEM 1120. 

You may send questions about the placement exam to Dr. Cohen, Coordinator of General Chemistry,

Last Updated: 3/22/15