Frequently Asked Questions

Is the CPE an exemption exam?
The CPE is not an exemption exam.  This means you can’t earn credit for, or be exempt from, any course by taking the CPE. However, the chemistry department does offer exemption exams for C101 & C117. For more information, please visit the Exemption Exams page.

When is the CPE given and its due dates?
The CPE is available year-round. Completion of the CPE and/or ALEKS is due at the time of enrollment. Consent of the Chemistry Department is required for enrollment into the course. Students are encouraged to take the CPE as soon as possible to know of course placement.

What material will be covered on the examination?
There are two areas of concentration on the examination. The first area is the material that we expect all students who have had a year of high school chemistry to know, including dimensional analysis (a.k.a. factor-labeling), reaction stoichiometry, and solution stoichiometry. Students' placement into C117 will depend on the number of questions correctly answered from the first area, as this material will only be reviewed briefly in C117. This material should be reviewed prior to the examination (see information above). Students who do not do well on the questions from the first area of concentration will be required to take C103 or complete the ALEKS On-line Review prior to taking C117. The second area of the exam covers more advanced concepts of chemistry including periodic properties, acid-base theory, equilibrium, thermodynamics, bonding, and atomic structure. This second area concentrates on topics that are considered advanced; and therefore, students that do well on the questions from the second area may be invited to take the honors course, S117.

How will scores on the examination be used?
Scores on this examination will not affect grades for C117 (or any other course). Students who do exceptionally well on the examination will be invited to enroll in the freshman honors course in chemistry (S117). Students who score poorly on this examination will be required to take ALEKS or Chemistry C103 in preparation to take C117.

How many questions on the CPE do I need to get correct to pass?
Students need to get a score of 15 on the CPE to place into C117. If the score is less than 15, then a student can complete ALEKS with 95% mastery to enroll in C117. If a student has very little chemistry background (less than one year of high school chemistry) they may enroll in C103: Introduction to Chemical Principles for a full semester review of high school chemistry concepts.

How can I prepare for the CPE?
Practice exams are offered in the Online CPE course. Likewise, students can study chapters in a general chemistry textbook (high school or college level) that cover the periodic table, stoichiometry, molarity and solution stoichiometry, balancing reactions -- the basic concepts from an introductory high school chemistry class. You may find it helpful to prepare for the CPE by studying chapters 1-4 and sections 9.1-9.4 from the free chemistry text called Open Stax.  Students are encouraged to refresh their chemistry knowledge through the practice exams before taking the actual exam.

I took the exam with the hope of getting into C117 next term, but I was not able to enroll in C117, will I have to take the exam again later?
No. If you take the exam now, but are not able to take the course into which you place (C117 or C103) next term, you will not need to take the exam again.

If I think I need CHEM-C103, the preparatory course for C117, do I need to take the CPE?
No, you do not need to take the CPE in order to take C103.

If I have taken CHEM-C103, do I need to take the CPE before taking C117?
No, your progress will be based solely on your grade in C103. Students who complete C103 with a grade of C- or higher will be able to enroll in C117. Students completing C103 with a grade of D+ or below must retake C103 earning at least a C- or complete ALEKS before moving on to C117.

Is CHEM-C103 offered during the summer?
CHEM-C103 may be offered during the summer. Please check the registrar’s listing of classes. Students who would like to take a class during the summer to help prepare for C117, may also take a course similar to CHEM-C103 (or CHEM-C101/CHEM-C121) at a different school. If you need help choosing a course for this purpose, please contact a Chemistry Undergraduate Advisor at 812-855-2700.

What is the Chemistry Honors Program?
Chemistry S117 is part of a special sequence of courses for well prepared and highly motivated freshman. S117 is only offered in the fall semester. On the basis of scores on the Chemistry Placement Examination, approximately 50 students will be invited to enroll in this course. Although the honors course (S117) is similar to C117, the level of work is intended to challenge students and to stimulate their eventual participation in the Honors Program in Chemistry (which includes undergraduate research).