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Chemistry & Biochemistry

Chemistry I Placement Exam


General Chemistry I at Messiah College is the first in a sequence of chemistry courses intended for science and engineering majors. The course has a prerequisite of high school chemistry. It relies heavily on that material, and quickly moves to new content. This course also relies heavily on the tools of algebra. In order to better track students through courses they are prepared to succeed in, the American Chemical Society’s Toledo Placement Exam IS required for continued enrollment in General Chemistry I. This exam will be offered several times each spring for returning Messiah College students. It will be offered on Saturday morning during New Student Orientation for all first year, transfer and dual-enrollment students.  This exam can only be taken one time a semester.


The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, divided into three sections: math, general chemistry knowledge, and specific chemistry knowledge. Students scoring at least a 35 on this exam will remain enrolled in General Chemistry I.  If you obtain a score between 28-34, you must have at least a 14 on the 20 questions from the math section to remain enrolled in General Chemmistry I.  After examining course data and consulting other programs that use the same exam, we believe these scores are prerequisites needed for academic success in General Chemistry I.


Students not receiving these scores on the placement exam will be automatically enrolled in CHEM 101, Introductory College Chemistry. This course will use the same text as General Chemistry, but move at a slower pace, with more emphasis on problem solving, and the mathematics needed for success in chemistry. It will not include a lab. The Toledo Placement Exam will be part of the final for this course. General Chemistry I is offered again in the spring semester so that students can continue directly on.


If General Chemistry I is not a part of your graduation requirements, and Chemical Science (CHEM 103) is, you may want to enroll in CHEM 103 rather than CHEM 101.  You should discuss this with your academic advisor.


Shortly after registration is completed, either in the fall for the spring section of CHEM 105, in the spring for returning students intending to take CHEM 105 the following fall, or in June, for new students, you will receive an email sent to your Messiah address that will provide more details about the exam, as well as a list of topics included on the placement exam. Please be watching for this.  The list of topics is also attached at the bottom of this page as a pdf file.


If you signed up for this course as your General Education laboratory course, you should know that the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has additional, good options for fulfilling this requirement, including Chemical Science, which is offered in the fall, and Chemistry for Living, offered both over January term, and in the spring. Both of these courses offer a broader introduction to different areas of chemistry, with an emphasis on application.


If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact Dr. Roseann K. Sachs, Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, at

Placement Exam Topics