The Chemistry department at Saddleback College provides freshman and sophomore level courses for students interested transferring into a Chemistry major at a four-year university, a one-semester intro course in General, Organic, and Biochemistry for pre-nursing and allied health majors, as well as general chemistry and organic chemistry for science majors, pre-professionals, and engineering students.

Degrees and Certificates

Chemistry Challenge Exam

The test 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).

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, located in Village 7.

The examination process consists of three simple steps:

  1. Set up an appointment by contacting the SME Division Office either by phone at (949) 582-4820 or in-person in the Village building 7. Appointments can be made for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays, between 8 am and 3:30 pm.
  2. Come prepared!  On the day of your test, come to the SME Division Office with a picture ID (driver's license, Saddleback ID card, passport, etc.), a scientific calculator, and a pencil.
  3. Take the challenge. The Chemistry Challenge Exam is given in the SME Division Conference room located in VIL 7 of the Village buildings.

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, with a 50% (22 out of 44) or better, will be granted access to enroll in General Chemistry (Chem 1A).  Students who do not pass the exam will not be able to enroll in Chem 1A until they have passed Fundamental Chemistry (Chem 3).

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

Note: Students must have cleared the trigonometry prerequisite for Chem 1A before taking this exam.
Students may not retake the Chem 3 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 on which you may be tested.

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

Chemistry Challenge Practice Exam 1
Chemistry Challenge Practice Exam 2

Contact the Chemistry Department