Chemistry Placement for Incoming First-Time, First-Year Students

For Incoming Spring 2024 Science and Math First-Time, First-Year Students (Freshmen)

This information is specifically for incoming Spring 2024 first-time, first-year students (freshmen) with majors requiring one or more semesters of General Chemistry (for more details please contact the College Advising Center for your major).

General chemistry placement information for the University can be found in Chemistry Placement - Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.

Please see the section Review of High School Chemistry Key Concepts to prep during summer and start strong in your first college chemistry class.

Students majoring in chemistry, biology, environmental science and policy (ESP), geology, materials science, chemical engineering, and biomedical engineering, are required to complete general chemistry (CHEM 111A and 111B) as part of the chemistry sequence.

Students with strong high school chemistry preparation (A or B in a year-long high school chemistry or AP chemistry) and place in calculus 1 (MATH 119A or MATH 122) or above are eligible to take CHEM 111A. Students with strong chemistry preparation who place in pre-calculus course (MATH 113) may also place in CHEM 111A but must complete CHEM ALEKS (see below).

Chemistry Course Schemes By Semester
If Your 1st Sem. Calculus Course Is: And You Meet the Following Chemistry Criteria: Your 1st Sem. Chemistry Course Will Be:
MATH 119A, 122, 123, or 224 (or you have met calculus requirement for your major) ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
  • High school chemistry class with grade of A or B.
  • AP Chemistry Exam score of 2.
  • AP Chemistry Exam score of 2.
  • CSULB CHEM ALEKS course with a score of 80 or higher.
MATH 113 or higher none of the chemistry criteria above CHEM 102
MATH 112A (chemistry criteria irrelevant) CHEM 102

Review of High School Chemistry Key Concepts

For students who anticipate being placed into CHEM 111A (e.g., from earning an A or B in their high school chemistry class and being placed in calculus 1 or higher), we strongly recommend that key concepts be reviewed before the start of the fall semester.

Here is a compilation of resources to review key chemistry concepts you will need to be successful in CHEM 111A:

If you feel your understanding of many of these concepts is not strong, CHEM ALEKS can help you get better prepared for your first semester of college chemistry.

Chemistry ALEKS Assessment and Prep Course

The Chemistry Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (CHEM ALEKS) Assessment and Prep Course is designed to assess and map your preparation in key chemistry concepts and provide modules to review and refresh knowledge.

For instructions on how to get started with CHEM ALEKS, please see Chemistry Placement - Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.

Deadline Reminder: you must complete the Chemistry ALEKS Assessment and Prep Course by November 19, 2023. Please note that this task may take several hours and mostly likely cannot be completed in a single day.

The assessment will take 4-40 hours depending on your level of chemistry knowledge. You may spread this task over multiple days. You need to master 80% of the topics for unrestricted access to CHEM 111A.


For more information about chemistry placement, email