Chemistry Placement Exam

READ ME FIRST!  This test is only necessary for students planning to enroll in chemistry courses.  This includes students with the following intended courses of study: biology, environmental science (all tracks), chemistry, climate science minor, geology (all tracks), neuroscience minor, pre-conservation in fine art minor, pre-medical studies (including physician’s assistant track), pre-veterinary studies.  If you do not intend to pursue one of these courses of study you do not need to take this test.

The Chemistry Placement Test is open for you to complete.  Please note the following important information:

Why and When to Take the Test

  • This test is intended for students who plan to enroll in chemistry courses
  • You cannot register for chemistry courses without completing the test
  • Completing the test as soon as possible will allow Academic Services to register you for an appropriate chemistry course before you arrive for summer orientation.
  • You must complete the test before coming to campus for orientation if you intend to enroll in a chemistry course for next year
  • The test will close on October 25th at 5 PM. However, I recommend you take it ASAP to have your best chances of getting a seat in a chemistry course for the spring.

How to Take the Test

  • The test is timed and lasts 55 min. Set aside an hour of distraction free time to take the test.
  • You will need your UMW systems login information to access the test. If you need your UMW login information, please contact the UMW Help Desk.
  • Access the test using the following link:
  • Login using your UMW username and password
  • Click on the “Enroll In Course” button
  • Next, click on the “Go to the Course” button
  • Read the instructions carefully, open the periodic table link, and when you’re ready, click the yellow button at the bottom to begin the test.

In Case of Problems or Questions

Trouble accessing the test? Contact the UMW Help Desk ( or 540-654-2255)

Questions about the test? Contact Prof. Charles Sharpless (

Purpose of the Test

This placement test is to help determine the appropriate introductory chemistry course for you that will ensure your best chances for academic success.   Your score is an advising tool, and to make it as useful as possible, you should be completely honest in taking this test.  This means:

  1. Do not use outside sources of assistance.  This may falsely inflate your score and lead you to enroll in a course you are not prepared for.
  2. If you do not know the answer for a given question, leave it blank.  A correct guess will inflate your score and may lead you to enroll in a course that you are not prepared for

Our ability to give you good advice on your course selection depends on your score being an accurate reflection of your abilities, so please respect these guidelines.

How to Interpret the Results

The table below shows the recommended course to register for based on your test score and either SAT or ACT math scores.

Test Score MATH SAT MATH ACT Recommended Starting Course ALEKS Summer Preparation (see below)
30 or below Any Any CHEM 101 strongly recommended
31 to 34 Below 500 Below 21 CHEM 101 strongly recommended
Above 500 Above 21 CHEM 111 strongly recommended
35 or above Any Any CHEM 111 recommended

ALEKS Summer Preparation

Starting in fall 2019, all UMW Chemistry 101 and 111 courses will use McGraw-Hill’s online ALEKS online adaptive learning system.  All students enrolled in these courses will receive information shortly before or during orientation about accessing this system.  All students should consider using the summer chemistry prep module that comes with ALEKS access, but those students with placement test scores below 35 should consider the summer prep a necessary step to ensure academic success.