Chemistry Placement Exam

You should take the Chemistry Placement Exam if you need a higher Chemistry course than Basic Chemistry and want to register and take General Chemistry (CHE 1103) your first semester. We recommend that you sign up and take the Chemistry Placement Exam prior to attending Orientation and meeting with your academic advisor.

Who should take the Chemistry Placement Exam?

For certain majors, especially in the College of Sciences, General Chemistry and other higher level Chemistry courses are required in order to fulfill degree requirements; however, the prerequisite is Basic Chemistry. It would be highly beneficial to be able to skip Basic Chemistry and be placed in General Chemistry your first semester. Even if your current major doesn’t require a higher level Chemistry course, if you ever change your major, it is better to begin with General Chemistry than a Basic Chemistry course so that more major options open to you.

In order to register for General Chemistry at Orientation, you must have either a passing Chemistry Placement Exam score on file or your credits received from AP or Dual credit courses must be already processed.Because they might not be processed in time for your Orientation session, we recommend you complete the Chemistry Placement Exam before your Orientation session. Also, if you don’t have Dual Credit or AP or CLEP scores to meet the Basic Chemistry requirement, taking the Chemistry Placement Exam can also meet that prerequisite. This will save you time and money.

Note about the Chemistry Exam Scores

We recommend that you sign up and take the Chemistry Placement Exam prior to attending Orientation and meeting with your academic advisor. While your scores on the Chemistry Placement Exam can result in placement in a higher-level Chemistry course, it cannot result in a course placement lower than Basic Chemistry. Low scores on the Chemistry Placement exam will also not nullify any credits you earned from other exams, so you have nothing to lose in taking the exam.

How Do I Take the Chemistry Placement Exam?

There are two ways you can take the Chemistry Placement Exam. One option is through UTSA Testing Services; the other option is through the UTSA Chemistry Department. Each has it’s own particular steps, so please read carefully.

Option 1: Chemistry Placement Exam through Testing Service

  • Register on ASAP
  • Fee is $10 for exam
  • Need to achieve passing score of 21 out of 30 questions

Option 2: Chemistry Placement Exam through Chemistry Department
Must take an online course Preparation of General Chemistry I through ALEKS. Cost is $30. To register:

  1. Go to www.aleks.com
  2. Click on New Student Sign-Up
  3. Put in the course code: N34HN-9GQJE.
  4. Click to purchase an access code for the course, which is valid for 90 days for one student. Access code is not shareable or able to be returned after purchase.
  5. Fill out the Student Information web page.
  6. Take the Initial Assessment
    You will be asked to solve about 20-30 problems (this will take you anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes – at any time you can logout and log back on, it will keep your place).
  7. After the assessment, you will see a pie chart of what you already know, what you’re ready to learn, and what topics you’ll eventually need to learn. You can begin working on topics by scrolling over pie sections of available topics and clicking the hyperlink.

For technical issues with accessing ALEKS, you can contact their Tech Support at (714) 619-7090.

You will have up to 90 days of working at your own pace to complete the online course. To pass the prep course, you must score a 90% or higher.

Once you completed the online course with 90% or higher, the UTSA Chemistry Department will be notified and you will receive an email with dates and times that you can come to the Chemistry Department to take the placement exam, for free. You must pass the Chemistry Placement exam with at least an 80%.

This option is recommended for students who do not have a good knowledge base of high school chemistry and as a second option for students who took the Chemistry Placement Exam through Testing Services but failed to achieve a 70% or better.

I took the AP Chemistry exam. Should I still take the placement exam?

Yes. You should still consider taking the Chemistry Placement Exam because AP scores are not available until mid-summer, and decisions about your eligibility for Chemistry courses may be needed prior to the receipt of your AP scores. Although a passing score on the AP exam will earn you college credit, we recommend you take the placement exam, so you can register for General Chemistry courses at Orientation, even if your scores haven’t been received.

It is possible that your AP score will allow you to register for a higher level Chemistry course, so you can check with an advisor at Orientation about prerequisites needed to take a course.

I have already taken Basic Chemistry at a community college. Should I still take the placement exam?

Yes, we recommend you take the Chemistry Placement Exam prior to attending Orientation. Most likely your college credit will be reviewed after your Orientation session, so placement into Chemistry classes at Orientation can be based on your Chemistry Placement Exam score.

I took a Chemistry course in high school. Should I still take the placement exam?

Yes. A high school course does not count towards college credit unless it was taken as part of a dual credit program through a college or university. Students must take the Chemistry Placement Exam in order to place into the appropriate higher level Chemistry course at UTSA.

If you took a college-level or dual credit course while in high school, you must provide appropriate documentation to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions so that your credits will appear on your records. Even if you have dual credits that will place you in a General Chemistry course, we strongly recommend you to take the placement exam so that you can register for those classes at Orientation as final transcripts often get processed after Orientation. Until they are processed before your advising appointment, you won’t be able to register for higher level Chemistry courses. If you pass the Chemistry Placement Exam, you can register for those classes at Orientation.

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