Chemistry Challenge Exam

Purpose of the Chemistry Challenge Exam

The test serves two purposes:

  1. It serves to identify those students who are eligible for placement into the first semester of General Chemistry (Chem 1A) without first taking the prerequisite course, Fundamental Chemistry (Chem 3).
  2. It acquaints students with the knowledge and skills that are needed to succeed in General Chemistry.

Is the Chemistry Challenge Exam Required?

The exam is required for the following students:

  • Students who wish to enroll in General Chemistry (Chem 1A) and bypass the prerequisite course, Fundamental Chemistry (Chem 3).

The exam is not required for the following students:

  • Students who wish to enroll in General Chemistry (Chem 1A) after passing the prerequisite course,Fundamental Chemistry (Chem 3).
  • Students who have passed the AP Chemistry Exam with a score of 3 or higher, and have submitted supporting documentation of the exam score to the Science/Mathematics/Engineering Division Office, SM 334/336.

Make an Appointment to Take the Chemistry Challenge Exam

Students will be given 45 minutes to complete the Chemistry Challenge Exam, which consists of 44 multiple choice questions. All information needed to successfully complete the exam will be provided. Scientific calculators are permitted. Students who pass the exam will be granted access to enroll in General Chemistry (Chem 1A) either in person at Admissions & Records or via MySite. Students who do not pass the exam will not be able to enroll in Chem 1A until they have passed Fundamental Chemistry (Chem 3).

How Do I Sign Up to Take the Chemistry Challenge Exam?

The examination process consists of three simple steps:

  1. Set up an appointment by contacting the Division Office either by phone at (949)582-4820 or in-person in Science Math Bldg room SM336.
  2. Come Prepared! On the day of your test, come to the MSE Division Office with a picture ID (driver's license, Saddleback ID card, passport, etc.), a scientific calculator and a #2 pencil.
  3. Take the Challenge. The Chemistry Challenge Exam is given in the MSE Division Conference room located in room SM 334/336 of the Science Math Building.

To cancel or reschedule your current appointment, call the Division Office at (949)582-4820.

Students may not retake the Chem 3 Challenge Exam.

Preparing for the Chemistry Challenge Exam

The Chemistry Challenge Exam consists of questions based on high school level chemistry and mathematics. The majority of questions are concerned with concepts addressed in Fundamental Chemistry (Chem 3). Topics and skills tested in mathematics will include: solving simple algebraic equations, use of proportions and percentages, and solving word problems. Topics and skills tested in chemistry will include: elements and properties of elements, chemical formulas, concentrations of solutions, gases, oxidation numbers, redox reactions, and the concepts of acids and bases.

The best preparation for the Chemistry Challenge Exam is to review your algebra and chemistry skills. Also, consider reviewing a Fundamental Chemistry (Chem 3) textbook from the College Library (reserve desk) to familiarize yourself with problems you will be tested on.

You can also review other test preparation guides available at bookstores, or click on the following Chemistry Tutorials for review: