Choosing the right Chemistry course

  • If you plan to take a chemistry course higher than Chemistry 102 at Lafayette, you MUST take the General Chemistry Placement Examination.  Depending on your background in chemistry and your score on the placement exam, you will be advised to take General Chemistry I (Chemistry 121), General Chemistry II (Chemistry 122), or a higher-level chemistry course.

Preparing to Take the Chemistry Placement Examination

  • You will need your Lafayette NetworkID and Password. The placement examination is an online test prepared by the Department of Chemistry.
  • Once you are logged in, you will see a block on the left of the screen labeled “My Courses.” This contains two sites you may access: Chemistry Placement Test and Math Placement; click the “2017 Chemistry Placement Test” link.
  • You must complete a short survey that will then direct you to the placement exam you should take prior to selecting the proper level chemistry course. Immediately after completing the placement test, you will receive a score for your examination.  You will receive feedback upon completing the exam with a recommendation of the appropriate chemistry course for you.

Begin the Chemistry Placement Examination


If you have questions about the chemistry survey, about placement exams, or about what chemistry course you should choose for the fall, please feel free to contact Professor Chip Nataro, or Professor H. David Husic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should take the examination?

Anyone planning to take General Chemistry I (Chemistry 121) or any higher chemistry courses.

Do I need to review for this exam?

The emphasis of the exam is on measuring your understanding of fundamental concepts rather than your memory of particular facts. Therefore we do not expect you to have extensively studied for this exam, but a brief review may be useful.

Will I need my calculator for the exam?


Can I earn credit for General Chemistry I (Chemistry 121) by performing well on this exam?

No. However, if you are offered the option of taking General Chemistry II (Chemistry 122) without taking General Chemistry I (Chemistry 121) and if you receive a satisfactory grade in General Chemistry II (Chemistry 122), you will then earn credit for General Chemistry I (Chemistry 121).

If I perform well on the examination, but still want to take General Chemistry I. Can I do that?

Yes. The examination is for advising purposes only.

I took an Advanced Placement (AP) or higher-level International Baccalaureate (IB) chemistry course and an AP or IB examination in chemistry, but I do not yet know my score. Should I take this placement exam?


How do Lafayette’s General Chemistry I and II courses compare with the course I took in high school?

Generally, college-level chemistry courses are taught at a faster pace than are high school courses and have more extensive laboratory experiences. You can find a list of the topics covered in General Chemistry I and II (Chemistry 122 and 122) at the bottom of this page.

What if I do well on my AP or IB chemistry exam?

If you earn a 4 or 5 on your AP chemistry examination or score greater than 5 on your IB examination, you are eligible to earn credit for both Chemistry 121 and 122 at Lafayette regardless of the outcome of this placement examination. However, some students choose to enroll in General Chemistry rather than making the large step of enrolling in a more advanced chemistry course. If that is your inclination, we strongly encourage you to consider accepting AP credit for Chemistry 121 and to enroll in Chemistry 122 in the fall. This option is especially recommended for students with limited laboratory experience.

What is Chemistry 102?

Chemistry 102 is a course for non-science majors that will fulfill the laboratory science (NS) requirement of common course of study. It does not count as the required chemistry course for any science or engineering majors or students interested in health professions.

What are Chemistry 104 and 106? 

Chemistry 104 and 106 are courses for non-science majors that will fulfill the Science and Technology in a Social Context (STSC) requirement of the common course of study. They do not count as the required chemistry course for any science or engineering majors, or students interested in health professions.