ALEKS Chemistry Prep Course

Students wanting to register for CHEM 1111 (General Chemistry I) in the Spring of 2021 are required to take an online chemistry knowledge check and complete the subsequent online Chemistry Preparatory Course (CPC) between October 19 and 11:59 PM EST on December 22, 2020. 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.

Note:  Although you have until December 22 to complete this, in order to be able to register for CHEM 1111, students must first achieve a score of at least 95% on the ALEKS Chemistry Preparatory Course (CPC), or have previously passed CHEM 1110, or be currently registered in CHEM 1110.


Who Needs to Take Chem 1111?

If you are going to take CHEM 1111 in 2020, you need to complete the ALEKS Chemistry Preparatory Course. CHEM 1111 is a requirement for students who intend to pursue any of the following academic fields:


  • Applied Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemical Sciences


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

CHEM 1111 can also fulfill a science or G-PAC requirement for a number of other majors.


Why Must I Take the CPC?

We want you to succeed in CHEM 1111! CHEM 1111 faculty assume that if you enroll, you have a strong background in mathematics and some fundamentals of chemistry so that you can keep pace with the course. College chemistry is taught at a faster pace than high school science classes. Having a solid foundation prior to enrolling in CHEM 1111 will ease the transition from high school to college. The CPC topics are chosen by our faculty to help you evaluate your current understanding and to help you learn at your own pace so that you are prepared for the course.

We understand that you want to enroll in CHEM 1111 to fulfill graduation requirements and/or pre-health requirements. CHEM 1111 is the first course in a series of college chemistry courses many of you will likely take, and we want you to be academically prepared to excel in those courses. The first step is to complete the CPC in a manner that accurately reflects your growing knowledge and deepening understandings. Therefore, our recommendation is to take as much time as you need to complete the CPC without any resources other than those provided in the CPC. The CPC is not something to rush through so you can register for CHEM111. We have found that students who are able to do the problems without notes and without following worked examples are much more successful in the course and they retain their knowledge and understandings longer than students who take shortcuts to complete the work quickly. Invest in yourself by investing the time required for you to learn the topics in the CPC.


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 + learned on the CPC after completing the Class Completion Knowledge Check. Students who do not demonstrate mastery + learned of 95-99% be required to register for an additional weekly recitation section. Students who do not demonstrate mastery + learned 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 in a later semester.

You may continue working on the ALEKS Chemistry Prep Course and register if space permits until December 22, 2020 at 11:59 PM ET, at which time you will need a minimum score of 100 to be eligible to register for an open seat providing you follow all add/drop deadlines and restrictions.

ALEKS Chemistry Mastery + Learned Score on August 18, 11:59 PM EST 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: algebra, equations, exponentials and logarithms, graphs, vectors
•    Measurement: SI Units, unit conversions, dimensional analysis
•    Matter: mass, volume, density, atomic theory, the elements
•    Atoms and molecules: atomic structure, molecular and ionic compounds, nomenclature, redox
•    Stoichiometry: moles, molar mass, chemical equations, reaction and solution stoichiometry

  • Nomenclature

The CPC is available online on the ALEKS website. You will have to login using your GW NetID and password.

Students must have the required ALEKS CPC test score in the system prior to registering for the listed courses. It is strongly encouraged that, if you do not have a recent score, you use the ALEKS tutorial to prepare for the course and retake the test


The CPC is FREE for GW students.


Your final Mastery score is the percentage of topics mastered or learned (out of 130) at the time of the deadline. Taking the Initial Knowledge Check gives you the first slices in your ALEKS pie. Learning more topics fills the pie. At intervals determined by ALEKS, a Knowledge Check is triggered. If some of your answers on the Knowledge Check are incorrect, you will lose some pie slices, but will get a new chance to learn the missing topics. Reaching a full pie triggers the Class Completion Knowledge Check, which is the final Knowledge Check (you have to take it!). Once your pie is 100% filled again, you have reached 100% mastery + learned. If you do not reach 100% mastery + learned by December 22 at 11:59 EST, your pie percentage at that time (number of topics mastered or learned out of a total of 130) will be used as mastery score.

If you do not achieve 100% in the CPC with a completed Class Completion Knowledge Check, but score between 95–99%, you will be registered 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 took the ALEKS Chemistry Prep Course last summer (or before!) and achieved the minimum score of 95, it is still recommended that you retake the Chemistry Prep Course this fall to make sure the material is fresh in your mind. The CPC covers the background in mathematics and some fundamentals of chemistry which are absolutely essential needed to keep pace in CHEM 1111.

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.

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


You will be registered by the Chemistry Department for ONE recitation section. These MANDATORY recitation sessions meet for 50 minutes on Friday starting at 11:10 or 12:45.

The CPC is only required for students taking CHEM 1111 during Spring 2021. If you will be using your AP credit for CHEM 1111 or are planning on taking CHEM 1111 in a later semester you do not need to complete the CPC at this time.


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 to 40 additional hours, depending on your background knowledge. Students must have the required ALEKS placement test score in the system prior to registering for the listed courses.

• 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. I



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

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

Phone: (714) 619-7090

Fax: (714) 245-7190

Email: Submit an ALEKS support form

Hours (Eastern Time):

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

For non-technical related questions you can email us at [email protected].