The gen chem faculty are looking forward to working with you. Students from a wide range of majors take one or more quarters of chemistry – after all, it is known as “the central science” – and we want you to be successful learners whether you’re taking one quarter or several. We have designed a few learning pathways to help you best prepare for CHEM 1500 – General Chemistry I:
CHEM 1000 is a 1-credit preparation course offered in fall quarter, for students who do not meet the prerequisites to take CHEM 1500. This course introduces some of the foundational terms, concepts, and skills encountered in general chemistry. Students who have not taken 1 year of high school chemistry or a college-level introductory chemistry course should complete CHEM 1000 prior to taking CHEM 1500. To register, submit a WISE form, found on the right side of this page.
Self-paced summer review: Students often report that it has been a few years since they last took a chemistry course. Students are also coming into general chemistry with varying math and chemistry backgrounds. To help you “warm up” for CHEM 1500, the faculty have set up free review/practice modules using the online learning system ALEKS. This is the same electronic homework platform you will use in CHEM 1500-1510-1520, so you get an advance opportunity to find out how it works. ALEKS is an adaptive system that quizzes you to determine what you already know, and then it gives you questions to work on that confirm and develop your existing knowledge. Taking some time to review and practice this summer will help to set you up for success in CHEM 1500.
After registering for CHEM 1500 – General Chemistry I, you will receive sign-up information for ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces). This information will be sent to your SU email in late July or August, depending on when you register.
When you sign up for the online “course,” ALEKS will walk you through a few tutorials to explain how you use the system, and then it will have you take an initial knowledge check to determine your current skills and understanding. Once ALEKS has quizzed you, it then gives you practice questions to build on your existing knowledge. If you get a practice question wrong or simply don’t know how to answer it, ALEKS will offer you an explanation.
This video tour demonstrates how ALEKS works.
More information about the gen chem course sequence is available in the General Chemistry Advising Guide.
It is strongly recommended that you do some review. The prerequisite for CHEM 1500 is a year of high school chemistry, so the faculty expect that you already have some familiarity with basic terms and that you’re ready to do some math.
This is highly variable. Your initial knowledge check will determine what topics you should work on. We have separated the review into different modules to help you focus on “essential skills” and then you can move on to “additional topics” as your time allows.
Approximately July 24 - September 15. During this period, you can access the system 24/7 and use it for as long as you like.
ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) is an online, artificially intelligent tutorial system that operates in two different modes: knowledge check mode (quiz) and learning mode (practice). When you first sign up for the summer review “course” in ALEKS, it will administer a knowledge check of 20-30 questions; this can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to complete. During knowledge checks, ALEKS determines your current skills and understanding, and thus determines what topics you need to work on in learning mode. In learning mode, you will have a variety of practice questions and tutorials to build your understanding. When you answer 2-3 questions in a row correctly on a topic, ALEKS will assume that you have “learned” that topic and will add it to your “knowledge pie.”
You probably don’t want to mash a ton of review into the week before school starts. Take the fall quarter initial knowledge check as soon as your CHEM 1500 professor makes it available (at the beginning of fall quarter) and talk with them if you are concerned about your result. You may decide to take CHEM 1000 in the fall if you need more time to review.
If this is your first time taking chemistry, register for CHEM 1000. You can then take CHEM 1500 in the winter quarter; many students do this without adversely impacting their ability to graduate on time. If you took chemistry in high school and your math placement indicates that you are at precalculus or higher, you are eligible to take CHEM 1500. If, however, you are nervous that you’re not ready for it, you may opt to take CHEM 1000; talk with Dr. Sorensen or your academic advisor. To register for CHEM 1000, submit a WISE form, found on the right side of this page.
Sure thing. See the General Chemistry Advising Guide to get started.