Chemistry Placement FAQs

General Questions

  • Do I need to take the Chemistry Placement?
  • All students who register in CHE 2A or CHE 4A are required to satisfy the Chemistry Placement Requirement by earning a qualifying score from the Chemistry Placement, which is a 24 or higher for CHE 2A and a 28 or higher for CHE 4A. We also accept a C- or higher in CHE 1V taken at UC Davis in lieu of a qualifying score on the Chemistry Placement. Students who are enrolled in general chemistry who do not satisfy the placement requirement and have not earned a C- or higher in CHE 1V will be administratively dropped from the course by the Department of Chemistry. 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 the Chemistry Placement?
  • There is no fee. Taking the Chemistry Placement is free.
  • Do I still need to take the Chemistry Placement if I did well on the SAT or the AP test?
  • Yes. All students must earn a qualifying score from the Chemistry Placement (24+ for CHE 2A, 28+ for CHE 4A) or earn a C- or higher in CHE 1V. 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 if I took college courses?
  • If you are enrolling in CHE 2A or CHE 4A, you must earn a qualifying score from the Chemistry Placement or pass CHE 1V with a C- or higher. 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 4A. However, if you have completed coursework equivalent to CHE 2A or CHE 4A from another college, you may enroll in CHE 2B or CHE 4B without needing to take the Chemistry Placement.
  • Will the Chemistry Placement be available during Summer Advising/Orientation?
  • Yes. Testing sessions to take the Chemistry Placement are available:
    - During Summer Session I for students enrolled in CHE 2A.
    - During specific testing sessions for incoming first-year students. Incoming freshmen are to take the Chemistry Placement during their admitting college's designated testing session prior to orientation.
    The dates for the testing windows can be found here.
  • How can I prepare for the Chemistry Placement?
  • To prepare for the Chemistry Placement, 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, you are encouraged to take the ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry course in preparation to retake the Chemistry Placement.The ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry is available year-round. You can also take CHE 1/1V in Summer Session or Fall Quarter to exempt the Chemistry Placement. 

    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 include?
  • The Chemistry Placement 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
    - Kinetic 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. 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 placed into 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 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 window in which they completed the exam.

Online/Computer Issues

  • I've forgotten my Chemistry Placement 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 "," your username would be "jsmith."

    If you have forgotten your contact address, please email 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

Scheduling the Test

  • Do I have to complete the whole exam at one time?
  • Yes. The Chemistry Placement 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 during your designated testing window, you are able to take the exam during another testing window at scheduled times throughout the academic year. Approaching dates are posted on this website - usually there is an testing window during the first week of the quarter.

    Please note that only your best Chemistry Placement score will count.

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

    Incoming freshmen students will be notified via email prior to their admitting college’s Summer Orientation regarding their testing window. Other students registered and waitlisted for CHE 2A or CHE 4A 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 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 score will count.

General Questions about Preparatory Chemistry Pathways

  • If I placed into CHE 2A or CHE 4A, but really want to prepare for general chemistry, can I still take CHE 1/1V or ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry?
  • If you have placed into CHE 2A or CHE 4A, you may take CHE 1/1V (Preparation for General Chemistry). CHE 1V is the remote-only version of the class, CHE 1 is fully in-person. Students who complete CHE 1/1V with a C- or higher can enroll in CHE 2A/4A without a qualifying Chemistry Placement score.

    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 4A. The ALEKS Preparatory Chemistry prepares students to retake the Chemistry Placement. Completion of ALEKS does not exempt from the Chemistry Placement.

  • I didn’t place into CHE 2A or CHE 4A. Which pathway will better prepare for me to retake the Chemistry Placement?
  • 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. Completion of ALEKS does not exempt from the Chemistry Placement.

    CHE 1/1V is a course for academic credit that is offered in Summer Session and Fall Quarters.  It is meant to prepare students for General Chemistry at UC Davis.  A score of C- or higher exempts the Chemistry Placement requirement.

  • 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, 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:

    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.