Placement Exam FAQs

Staff assistance is available during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. To contact a staff administrator, please email chemplacement@ucdavis.edu.

 

General Questions

  • Do I need to take the Chemistry Placement Exam?
  • All students who register in CHE 2A or CHE 2AH are required to satisfy the Chemistry Placement Requirement by earning a qualifying score from the Chemistry Placement Exam. Students who do not satisfy the placement requirement to remain enrolled in general chemistry will be administratively dropped from the course by the Department of Chemistry. There are no exemptions to the Chemistry Placement Requirements ... Not all majors or colleges require general chemistry as a degree requirement. We recommend that you speak with your college or major advisor to review the degree requirements for your major. Please refer to the General Catalog for more information.

  • Is there a fee for taking either Chemistry Placement Exam?
  • There is no fee. Taking the Chemistry Placement Exam is free.
  • Do I still need to take the Chemistry Placement Exam if I did well on the SAT or the AP test?
  • Yes. Starting in Fall 2019, to assure enrollment in general chemistry, all students must earn a qualifying score from the Chemistry Placement Exam (24+ for CHE 2A; 33+ for CHE 2AH). The Department of Chemistry no longer recognizes scores from the SAT Math, ACT Math, AP Chemistry, or SAT Chemistry as automatic waivers. The Department of Chemistry will administratively drop students who do not qualify for a course in which they enroll.
  • Do I still need to take the Chemistry Placement Exam if I took college courses?
  • If you are enrolling in CHE 2A or CHE 2AH, you must earn a qualifying score from the Chemistry Placement Exam. Previous work or classes completed at another college or university does not satisfy the Chemistry Placement Requirement to remain enrolled in CHE 2A or CHE 2AH ... If you have completed work or a class that is equivalent to CHE 2A or CHE 2AH, you may enroll in CHE 2B or CHE 2BH.
  • Will the Chemistry Placement Exam be available during Summer Advising/Orientation?
  • Yes. Testing sessions to take the Chemistry Placement Exam are available:
    - During Summer Session I for students enrolled in CHE 2A.
    - During specific testing sessions for incoming freshman. Incoming freshmen are to take the Chemistry Placement Exam during their admitting college's designated testing session prior to orientation.
  • How can I prepare for the Chemistry Placement Exam?
  • The Chemistry Placement Exam is not a pass/fail test. It is a placement tool meant to place you into coursework that is appropriate for your skills. To prepare for the Chemistry Placement Exam, you are welcome to study on your own by reviewing high-school chemistry concepts. Any "Introduction to Chemistry" text would be good for review. You may also find our Chemistry LibreTexts webpage helpful ... If you fail to earn a qualifying score after your first attempt on the Chemistry Placement Exam, you are encouraged to register in Workload Chemistry (WLD 41C) or take the ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry course in preparation to retake the Chemistry Placement Exam. The ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry is available year-round whereas Workload Chemistry is only offered during the Fall quarter. 

    The Student Academic Success Center (SASC) also offers drop-in assistance for those seeking additional help and/or resources. Please contact them for more information. We also offer a list of Tutors in Chemistry.

  • What does the Chemistry Placement Exam include?
  • The Chemistry Placement Exam is a timed online test consisting of 44 multiple choice questions. Students have 45 minutes to complete the exam. A periodic table and a list of abbreviations and symbols are included with the exam. The following topics may be included:
    - Basic Math/Algebra Skills
    - Scientific Notation Calculations
    - Unit Conversion Calculations
    - Density Calculations
    - Percent Mass Calculations
    - Reading and Balancing Chemical Formulas and Reactions
    - Types of Reactions (Combustion, Neutralization, etc.)
    - Stoichiometry (Mole/Mole or Gram/Mole Conversions)
    - Molarity Calculations
    - Ideal Gas Law Calculations
    - Atomic/Molecular Structure and Properties
    - Mass Number, Protons, Neutrons, Electrons
    - Lewis Electron Dot Structure
    - Polar Bonds
    - Chemistry Theories and Concepts:
    - Phase Diagrams
    - States of Matter
    - Periodicity and Group Trends of Elements (Metals, Semimetals, and Nonmetals; Radii Size, etc.)
    - Equilibrium Expression
    - LeChatelier's Principle
    - Potential Energy Diagram
    - Heating Curve
    - Kintetic Molecular Theory
    - pH Concepts
  • Can I use a calculator or books on the exam?
  • Only scientific calculators and a periodic table are allowed to complete the Chemistry Placement Exam. You may not use textbooks, the Internet, or other materials, or consult with anyone while taking this exam. Relying on these resources will make it harder to complete the exam on time and may result in your being advised to take a class inappropriate for you.
  • What if I require accommodations for my disability to take the exam?
  • Students with disabilities will need to contact the Student Disability Center.
  • Where do I get my test results?
  • Your Chemistry Placement Exam score will be emailed to you within 2-3 business days after taking the exam.
  • When will my score be available on OASIS?
  • Students can check their scores via OASIS several days after the end of the testing session in which they completed the exam.

Online/Computer Issues

  • I've forgotten my Chemistry Placement Exam username! How can I find it to take the test?
  • Your exam username is the first part of the email address on file with the University as your primary contact address for admissions and campus correspondence. For most, this will be the first part of your UC Davis email address. For example, if your email address is "jsmith@ucdavis.edu," your username would be "jsmith."

    If you have forgotten your contact address, please email chemplacement@ucdavis.edu with your full name and student ID requesting this information.

  • My web browser crashed or my computer turned off, what do I do?
  • If your web browser crashes, immediately reopen the test. It will let you continue working from where you left off until the timer counts down to zero. However, the timer will keep counting down even if your computer is not on.
  • What if I have issues with completing the exam online?
  • For any computer/technical questions or advising questions regarding the online placement exam, please email chemplacement@ucdavis.edu.

Scheduling the Test

  • Do I have to complete the whole exam at one time?
  • Yes. The Chemistry Placement Exam is a timed online test. You have 45 minutes to complete the exam, and you cannot save your progress and finish at another time. The timer continues to count down as soon as you choose to begin the test.
  • What if I am unable to take the exam during my time frame?
  • If you are unable to complete the Chemistry Placement Exam during your designated time frame, you are able to take the exam during other testing sessions at scheduled times throughout the academic year. Approaching dates are posted on our website - usually there is an examination period during the first week of the quarter. For more information about upcoming testing sessions, please email chemplacement@ucdavis.edu.

    Please note that only your best chemistry placement exam score will count.

  • When can I complete the online Chemistry Placement Exam?
  • The Chemistry Placement Exam is ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE.

    Incoming freshmen students will be notified via email prior to their admitting college’s Summer Orientation regarding examination periods. Other students registered and waitlisted for CHE 2A or CHE 2AH will be notified via email when they will be able to take the exam. Instructions and links to the exam will be provided. Students who are not registered or waitlisted to take the Chemistry Placement Exam may manually register to take the exam.

    Please see the Chemistry Placement Requirement page for further information regarding manual registration. Please note that only your best chemistry placement exam score will count.

General Questions about Preparatory Chemistry Pathways

  • If I placed into CHE 2A or CHE 2AH, but really want to prepare for general chemistry, can I still take Workload Chemistry (WLD 41C) or ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry?
  • If you have placed into CHE 2A or CHE 2AH, you may take Workload Chemistry (WLD 41C). Workload Chemistry is in-class course only offered in the Fall quarter. It is intended for students who do not feel comfortable in their current skill set to take CHE 2A or CHE 2AH. Completing Workload Chemistry prepares students to retake the Chemistry Placement Exam.

    The ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry is available multiple times per year, and students may opt to complete this online course any time prior to enrolling in CHE 2A or CHE 2AH. Like Workload Chemistry (WLD 41C), the ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry prepares students to retake the Chemistry Placement Exam.

  • I didn’t place into CHE 2A or CHE 2AH. Which pathway will better prepare for me to retake the Chemistry Placement Exam?
  • Which preparatory chemistry pathway to take depends largely on your own preferences and organizational ability. Since ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry is self-paced, and completed online, students need to have the self-discipline to login and complete the modules. At the same time, because it is self-paced and online, students can complete ALEKS on their own schedule, outside of Davis. Workload Chemistry (WLD 41C) is better suited for students who prefer to have face-to-face interactions with the instructor, and peers, with assigned homework and midterm examinations to stay on top of coursework.

    The two preparatory pathways are not mutually exclusive. For example, students are welcome to complete the ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry over the summer, and still take Workload Chemistry in the Fall if they are still feeling unprepared. Conversely, students who enroll in Workload Chemistry can elect to take ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry during the Fall quarter to supplement their preparation. However, doing both preparatory options is not necessary.

  • Achieving 100% in ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry doesn’t sound possible. Also, why does ALEKS give me an initial assessment?
  • In traditional courses, a student turns in graded assignments and the scores on those assignments determines the overall course grade. Achieving 100% in a traditional course requires receiving 100% on each graded assignment, which is challenging. ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry scores students in a way that is different than grading in traditional courses. An analogy to the way ALEKS scores would be a race where there is a start and finish line. The finish line is 100% Pie Progress. ALEKS gives students an initial assessment in order to determine where the start line should be (average ~35% Pie Mastery). As with the Chemistry Placement Exam, this initial ALEKS assessment is to place you at the correct level for your skill. Take the assessment to the best of your own personal ability in order to get the most out of the ALEKS Preparatory course. The goal for everyone is to finish all the learning modules to reach 100%, but the time to reach 100% will vary because every student starts at a different place, and takes a different path. Depending on your interactions with the software, your path may even go backwards at times. The important thing to remember is that in ALEKS, you are always capable of reaching 100% with time and effort.
  • What are the system requirements for ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry? Can I use my phone?
  • The latest system requirements for ALEKS can be found here: https://www.aleks.com/support/system_requirements

    The ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry Course follows the system requirements specified for a "Higher Ed. Science" course. As of Summer 2016, ALEKS is not compatible with mobile phone operating systems, but is compatible with common tablet or computer operating systems.

Student researchers having fun with Chemistry