ALEKS Chemistry Prep Course

Starting Fall 2019, students registered (or wanting to register) for CHEM 1111 (General Chemistry I) will be required to take an online chemistry knowledge check and complete the subsequent online Chemistry Preparatory Course (CPC) between May 1 and August 19, 2019. The CPC uses ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) a Web-based, artificial intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course.

Who Needs to Take It?

All incoming students who intend to pursue any of these academic fields must complete the ALEKS Chemistry Preparatory Course:


  • Applied Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Computer Science


  • Engineering (All majors)
  • Physical Sciences (BS only)
  • Pre-Health Sciences (e.g., dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, veterinary medicine).

CHEM Course Eligibility

The CPC will help students check their background knowledge and learn the math and chemistry necessary to succeed in CHEM 1111. Therefore, it is required that all students achieve 100% mastery on the CPC. Students who demonstrate 95–99% mastery will be required to register for an additional weekly recitation section. Students who do not demonstrate mastery of 95% or higher in the CPC will not be allowed in CHEM 1111, and instead will be required to register for CHEM 1110 (Fundamentals of Chemistry). Students who successfully complete CHEM 1110 will then be allowed to register for CHEM 1111.

ALEKS Chemistry Mastery Score CHEM Course Eligibility Course Format
10 - 94 1110 Lecture
95 - 99 1111 Lecture + Recitation + Discussion/Lab
100 1111 Lecture + Discussion/Lab


We want you to succeed in CHEM 1111! The instructors assume that all students have a good background in mathematics and some fundamentals of chemistry, so the course is taught at a relatively fast pace. The CPC will assess your background knowledge and tutor you in those areas needed for success in CHEM 1111.


  • Math and Algebra
  • Measurement: SI Units, unit conversions, dimensional analysis
  • Matter: mass, volume, density, atomic theory, the elements
  • Atoms and Molecules: atomic structure, molecular and ionic compounds
  • Stoichiometry: moles, molar mass, equations, reaction and solution stoichiometry


The CPC is available online on the ALEKS website.


You should take the CPC as early as you can before August 1, 2019. The CPC is available beginning May 8, 2019.


The CPC is FREE for GW students.


Taking the Initial Knowledge Check gives you the first slices in your pie. Learning more topics fills the pie. When you reach a full pie, this triggers the Final Knowledge Check. If some of your answers are incorrect, you will loose some pie, and will get a second chance to learn the missing topics. Once your pie is 100% filled again, you have reached 100% mastery. If you do not reach 100% mastery by August 19th, your pie percentage (number of topics mastered or learned out of a total of 114) will be used as mastery score.

If you do not achieve 100% in the CPC, but score between 95–99%, you will have to register for an additional weekly recitation section in addition to your regular CHEM 1111 section and lab. If you don’t achieve at least 95%, you will not be allowed to take CHEM 1111 and you will be required to register for CHEM 1110 instead.


If you are an incoming first year student (unless you are a SEAS student, see below), you will need to complete the CPC and achieve at least 95% mastery before you can register for CHEM 1111. CHEM 1111 scores are collated once a day, so there might be a slight delay until you can register. After August 19, students registered for CHEM 1111 with a 95–99% mastery score will be enrolled in a required additional recitation section. Those who have not achieved 95% mastery must instead take CHEM 1110.


If you are an incoming SEAS student, you may be registered for CHEM 1111 by your academic advisor before completing the CPC. If you do not achieve 100% mastery by August 19, you will either be enrolled in a required additional recitation session as part of CHEM 1111 (mastery score 95–99%) or you will be dropped from CHEM 1111 and required to switch to CHEM 1110 (mastery score below 95%). See your academic advisor for more information.


If you are a returning student who registered for CHEM 1111 before July 16, you have until August 19 to complete the CPC. If you do not achieve 100% mastery by August 19, you will either be enrolled in an additional recitation session as part of CHEM 1111 (mastery score 95–99%) or you will be dropped from CHEM 1111 and required to switch to CHEM 1110 (mastery score below 95%).


If you have not at least done the initial CPC knowledge check you will not be allowed to register for CHEM 1110.


Registration for CHEM 1110 opens after August 19.


You will be registered by the Chemistry Department for ONE recitation section. These MANDATORY recitation sessions meet for 50 minutes every Friday and start at 9:35 a.m., 11:10 a.m., 12:45 p.m. or 3:45 p.m. You will be assigned to a section, please keep your Friday schedule open.


The CPC is only required for students taking CHEM 1111 during the current academic year. If you will be using your AP credit for CHEM 1111 or are planning on taking CHEM 1111 next year you do not need to complete the CPC at this time.


ALEKS is accessible to many segments of the disabled population. Because there is no audio associated with the ALEKS content, ALEKS is fully accessible to those who are partially or profoundly deaf.

ALEKS does not rely exclusively on color to convey critical information so it is fully accessible to those that are colorblind. Many students who have low vision or are otherwise visually impaired can use products such as Microsoft Magnifier to fully access ALEKS.

Students who are incapable of using both a keyboard and a mouse simultaneously due to physical disabilities similarly have no limitations while using ALEKS.

Profoundly blind students can access certain areas of ALEKS through the use of screen reader technology. Students who need to access an ADA compliant version of ALEKS should contact Disability Support Services for assistance.


Answers to frequently asked technical questions can be found on the ALEKS Technical Support webpage.

Students who need assistance with taking ALEKS may contact ALEKS support:

Phone: (714) 619-7090

Fax: (714) 245-7190

Email: Submit an ALEKS support form

Hours (Eastern Time):

  • Sunday, 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
  • Monday - Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
  • Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.


Tips for Succeeding with CPC

  • The initial CPC knowledge check should take between 45 and 90 minutes. Working through the CPC to fill in any gaps will take 15 40 additional hours, depending on your background knowledge. The deadline to complete the CPC is August 19, so start at least four weeks in advance.
  • ALEKS will only teach you information that you don't know and that you are ready to learn based on what you already know. Do not guess the answers so that ALEKS will present you with the material you need.
  • Do not click the "I don't know" button unless you truly have no idea how to approach a problem. Otherwise, ALEKS might make you review information that you don't need.

Other Resources

The GW Chemistry Department uses a FREE General Chemistry textbook.


For non-technical related questions e-mail us at [email protected].