Chemistry Placement Test

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Chemistry Placement Test

THE CHEMISTRY PLACEMENT TEST (CPT) is a 30 question test. The purpose of the CPT is to help students, faculty, and the Dean's offices determine the most appropriate first chemistry course for students to take at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, either CHEM 110 (introductory general chemistry) or CHEM 190 (accelerated general chemistry). The complete course descriptions are listed below. All students interested in taking either CHEM 110 or CHEM 190 are required to first take the chemistry placement test. You will be notified by email if your score makes you eligible to enroll in CHEM 190. We highly encourage students with strong chemistry backgrounds and high CPT scores to enroll in CHEM 190.

Catalog Descriptions

CHEM 110 Introductory General Chemistry. This course presents a survey of chemical concepts in the context of understanding technology that impacts our lives. Fundamental chemistry is illustrated by applications to air pollution (including global warming and ozone depletion), water pollution, energy production, nutrition, and drug design. Laboratory exercises study water chemistry of Seneca Lake, local acid rain, analysis of food, and computer visualization of drug interactions in the body. Field trips include cruises on The William Scandling research vessel. This course prepares students for CHEM 240. No prerequisites. (Fall, offered annually)

CHEM 190 Accelerated General Chemistry. This course is designed for first year students with a strong high school background in chemistry. The course begins with a brief review of the material covered in high school chemistry and then moves on to more advanced topics. Questions such as (1) Will a reaction will occur and at what rate? (2) Does a reaction require heat or liberate heat? (3) To what extend will a reaction proceed? and (4) How fast does a reaction proceed? will be explored. In depth laboratory investigations illustrate these quantitative principles with various types of reactions. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Prerequisites: At least one strong year of high school chemistry and a satisfactory score on the HWS chemistry placement exam. (Fall, offered annually)

Test Preparation

Review concepts from high school chemistry (e.g., dimensional analysis, molarity, atoms, formulas, moles, balancing equations, isotopes, ionic compounds, percent yield, oxidation states, reactions, acids/bases, thermodynamics, atomic structure, and valence bond theory). You should also review basic algebra.


You should have a scientific calculator and you may consult a periodic table. Do not consult any other aids. You must answer all 32 questions. There is no penalty for guessing. You have 45 minutes to complete the test.

To begin, please fill out the following form completely:

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