Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Placement Testing in Chemistry

PLACEMENT TESTING IN General CHEMISTRY (CHEM 1230) and CHEMISTRY FOR HEALTH SCIENCES (CHEM 1120)

General Chemistry I (CHEM 1230)

Success in this course 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. If the curriculum of your major requires you to complete CHEM 1230, in most cases you will be required to take a chemistry placement test. 

Placement Criteria:  You will be qualified to register for CHEM 1230 through any of the following ways:

  • Scoring at or above 55% on the ALEKS Initial Assessment.
  • If your Initial Assessment is below 55%, but you use the Learning Mode and subsequent Assessments to reach 55% or above. However, in this case you will also enroll in CHEM 1200, Problem-Solving in General Chemistry, which is a workshop class aimed at assisting you throughout the CHEM 1230 class.  CHEM 1200 is a 1 credit hour course which meets weekly during which time you will be guided through exercises by an advanced student.
  • Completing CHEM 1090, Elementary Chemistry, with a grade of C or above either at UT or another university and your credit is transferred to UT.
  • Scoring high enough on the American Chemical Society’s placement test.

If you do not meet any of these criteria you will need to complete CHEM 1090 and earn a grade of C or above in order to take CHEM 1230 in a subsequent semester. If you have not completed at least a year of high school chemistry you will enroll in CHEM 1090, Elementary Chemistry before taking CHEM 1230. 

There are two placement exams available for General Chemistry:

The latter exam is a standard paper and pencil assessment. The exam was developed by the American Chemical Society.  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. You may only take this exam once, but be sure to prepare if you go this route.

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

  • Algebraic manipulation
  • Calculations using scientific notation and the proper number of significant figures
  • Interpretation of graphs
  • Balancing chemical equations
  • States of matter
  • Periodic table interpretation and significance
  • Names and formulas for compounds
  • Stoichiometric calculations
  • Gas law
  • Molecular geometry

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


Your score on either the ALEKS Chemistry or the ACS exam is used with other information to decide your placement.  The previously given link gives details on how the ALEKS score is used. 

For the ACS exam, 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 Health Sciences Chemistry Placement Exam which is administered at the University’s Test Center.  A score of 33 out of 60 will place you into CHEM 1120.  Scores below 30 places you into CHEM 1110 Elementary Chemistry for the Health Sciences, which must be successfully completed before taking CHEM 1120.  A score of 31 or 32 should be discussed with your advisor, but in general you should take CHEM 1110 before 1120.

Further Information:  Send questions to andy.jorgensen@utoledo.edu

Last Updated: 6/9/16