Chemistry Placement Test FAQs
The chemistry placement test is an online test used to place students into an appropriate general chemistry course based on their background knowledge. All students, current or incoming, planning on registering for General Chemistry I (CHEM 101) are required to take the test. Those earning a passing score on the exam will be eligible to register for CHEM 101.
Any student planning on registering for CHEM 101 must take the chemistry placement test. This includes current VCU students, incoming freshmen, and transfer students (including those who have taken AP chemistry) who are planning on enrolling in CHEM 101. The chemistry placement test is a prerequisite for CHEM 101.
|Majors||Pre-professional health tracks||Minors|
|Biology||Pre-physical therapy||Biology (CHEM 101 is a pre-req to required Biology minor courses)|
|Chemical and life science engineering||Pre-veterinary sciences|
|Clinical laboratory sciences|
|Clinical radiation sciences (concentration in nuclear medicine technology)|
|Communication arts (concentration in scientific illustration)|
|Health, physical education and exercise science (HPEX)|
- a VCU eID
- computer with stable internet connection
- scratch paper and pencils
- calculator capable of exponential and logarithmic computation, if you wish
A score of 30 out of 50 is considered passing.
Those not earning a passing score have two options:
- Enroll in CHEM 100 – Introductory Chemistry and earn a B or better, OR
- Complete the ALEKS online unit
After successfully completing one of these options students are eligible to register for CHEM 101.
The following topics are considered background knowledge for CHEM 101 and are included on the placement test:
- basic math skills (through Algebra)
- metric unit conversions
- significant figures
- reading glassware/instruments to correct significant digits
- scientific notation
- temperature scales, Celsius, Fahrenheit and Kelvin
- specific heat
- names and symbols of elements
- periodic table: groups, periods, metals/nonmetals, phases of elements
- writing chemical formulas of compounds
- knowing ionic vs. molecular (covalent) compounds
- naming compounds: molecular (covalent), ionic (metal+nonmetal, with polyatomic ion, with transition metal) and acids
- atomic structure: atomic number, mass number, number of p+, n, e-, isotopes, ions
- chemical equations: writing from names, balancing
- identifying types of reactions: precipitation, acid-base and redox
- mole concept: grams-->moles-->numbers of atoms/molecules
- simple stoichiometry
Your chemistry placement test score is good for one academic year. If you want to register for CHEM 101 after your placement test score has expired, you will need to complete the ALEKS assessment.
No. All students may only take the chemistry placement test once. There are no exceptions.
Those students requiring accommodations should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.