General Chemistry Placement Exam

General Chemistry I at Messiah University 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 place students in courses they are prepared to succeed in, we are offering two placement options for Fall 2021.

The department is now using the intelligent learning ALEKS platform for all General Chemistry homework.  As part of this package, there is a Summer Prep course online for all students currently registered for General Chemistry I, and for those who hope to get a seat in the course before the semester begins.  If you have registered for the course, you will receive several emails during the summer (to your college address) with instructions for enrolling in this course. ALL students who complete this prep course by August 16th at 11:59pm are placed into General Chemistry I.  Those who do not complete the preparatory material by this date will be required to sit for a placement exam on Monday, August 23rd at 8:00am.  A student’s score on this exam will then determine eligibility for General Chemistry or Introductory College Chemistry.  We STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT ALL STUDENTS COMPLETE THE ALEKS PREPARATORY COURSE.

If the preparatory course is not completed, the American Chemical Society’s Toledo Placement Exam will be required for continued enrollment in General Chemistry I.  This exam will be offered several times each fall for returning Messiah University students.  It will be offered Monday morning, August 23rd at 8:00 AM for all new students and at 3:30 on Monday and Tuesday, the 23rd and 24th, for returning students only.   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, all of which should have learned in high school chemistry.   In order to remain enrolled in General Chemistry I, you must obtain a score of 28 out of 60 on this exam.  Or, if your score lies between 28-34, you must have at least a 14 on the 20 questions from the math section.  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.   A list of topics for this exam, as well as a list of eligible calculators, is provided at the bottom of this page.

Students not receiving these scores on the placement exam must shift their enrollment into 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 you have any questions about this, feel free to contact Dr. Roseann K. Sachs, Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, at

Placement Exam Topics

Approved Calculators for Use on Placement Exam