General Chemistry

Hello, and welcome to General Chemistry at SU!

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).  The message will be sent to your SU email address on Monday August 1 (or subsequent Mondays, if you register later.)  If you have been registered for CHEM 1500 over two weeks and have not yet received the information in your SU email, please follow up with chemistry department senior admin Isa Galligar.

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.

FAQ: Summer Review, Registration, & Other Questions