FAQ—First-Year Chemistry

This collection of frequently asked questions is designed to assist first-year students in selecting an appropriate chemistry course. If you need additional assistance, please contact us, and we'll be happy to help:

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I know if my math is ready for college-level chemistry?

Research by the Department of Chemistry at Michigan Tech and other universities indicates a strong correlation between a weak background in mathematics and failure to complete first-year chemistry with satisfactory grades.

A good understanding of basic math and advanced algebra along with word-problem-solving skills are required to succeed in Tech's college-level chemistry courses and laboratories: CH1150 General Chemistry and CH1151 University Chemistry 1 (lecture and lab). Specifically, you should have mastery in working with the following:

Logarithms, Exponential Equations, Quadratic Equations, Radicals, Straight Lines, Fractional Equations, Evaluating Expressions, Linear Inequalities, Linear Equations, Scientific Notation, Metric Conversions, Exponents, Ratio and Proportion, Decimals and Fractions

This means that most students should be placed in a calculus course or should have completed MA1032 before beginning college-level chemistry courses.


What if I don't have these math skills?

When there is any question about a student's math preparation, the student is encouraged to complete a math course (either MA1030 or MA1032) and Preparatory Chemistry (CH1000) before beginning college-level chemistry.


Is high school chemistry required?

Students enrolling in college-level chemistry (CH1150/CH1151 University Chemistry 1) should have taken one to two years of high school chemistry and earned a grade of B or better.


What if I have a weak background in chemistry?

If you did not take chemistry in high school, if you have a weak background in chemistry, or if three or more years have passed since you have taken high school chemistry, you should enroll in CH1000 Preparatory Chemistry. CH1000 is offered during Fall Semester or Track B of the Summer Session only. CH1000 is not offered during Spring Semester.


How can I find out what is required for my major?

Check the online catalog or contact your advisor.


What if I have received Advance Placement credits for chemistry?

Students who have taken the Chemistry Advanced Placement exam in high school—and had their official score sent to the Michigan Tech Admissions Office from the College Board—will be sent a letter from the Admissions Office indicating if they will be receiving credit. The guidelines for receiving Chemistry Advanced Placement exam credit are as follows:

A score of 3 Credit granted: CH1150, CH1151, CH1153 for 5 credits
A score of 4, 5 Credit granted: CH1150, CH1151, CH1153, CH1160, CH1161, CH1163 for 10 credits

The credits will automatically be recorded on your transcript. If the student had already registered for a chemistry class during web registration, when the Advanced Placement credits are received, the chemistry class will automatically be dropped from their schedule.

In some cases, a student may decide to turn down the advance placement credits. This may occur when a student feels that they want to build a stronger foundation in chemistry and/or take the same sequence of courses as the other students in their major. Advance Placement Chemistry doesn’t always cover everything that is covered in first-year chemistry. If a student decides to turn down the advance placement credits, the student must go to the Registrar's Office to sign a form waiving the credits before enrolling in the chemistry class.


What if I didn’t take the Advanced Placement test, but I now wish to receive advanced placement credit in chemistry?

The only option would be to take the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) in chemistry. A minimum score of 50 is required to receive credit for CH1150, CH1151, CH1153, CH1160, CH1161, and CH1163 (10 credits). The CLEP is given online at various testing locations. Complete information about taking the CLEP exams is available on the College Board website.

The test can be taken at any open testing site. There are a number of sites throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and other states. Arrangements must be made in advance, and there is a fee.