Guidelines for Placement Exams

An open Chemistry Notebook


How much should you study for these exams?
As your performance on these exams will influence your graduate courses, it is important to prepare sufficiently for them. It is strongly suggested that you study your class notes and texts so that your scores reflect your knowledge as accurately as possible. A list of suggested review topics is given below.

What are the possible outcomes?
Following the placement exams, you will meet with me to review the results. At that time, we will discuss the classes you need to take during your first year.

  • If you pass all of the exams, you will have greater flexibility in choosing courses to take, particularly those aligning with your research interests.
  • If you fail an exam, you will need to take remedial coursework in that area. That course is usually at the graduate level but could be at the undergraduate level if there is a significant gap in your knowledge.

Recommended Review Topics (this is not a comprehensive list):

Analytical Chemistry: General Principles of Analytical Chemistry; Spectrochemical Analysis: Molecular
spectroscopy: UV/visible absorption, IR absorption, etc.; Atomic spectroscopy; Electroanalytical
Chemistry: Potentiometric methods (pH, ISE); Voltammetry (DC Polarography, Pulsed polarography,
Stripping analysis); Coulometry; and Chemical Separations: HPLC, GC, TLC, CE and CEC.

Inorganic Chemistry: Atomic Structure; Symmetry and Group Theory; Molecular Structure and Bonding;
Acid-Base and Donor-Acceptor Chemistry; The Crystalline Solid State; Chemistry of Main Group
Elements; Oxidation and Reduction; and Coordination Chemistry.

Organic Chemistry: Nomenclature; Structure, Hybridization, Resonance, Aromaticity; Acids and Bases;
Stereoisomerism; Nucleophilic Substitutions and Eliminations; Electrophilic Additions; Nucleophilic
Addition at Carbonyl Groups; Nucleophilic Substitution at Carbonyl Groups; Enols and Enolate Ion
Reactions; Electrophilic and Nucleophilic Aromatic Substitution; Free Radical Substitutions and
Additions; Oxidations and Reductions; Spectroscopy; Synthesis and Analysis.

Physical Chemistry:  Thermodynamics. Equations of State. Laws of Thermodynamics and State Functions. Mathematical Relationships in Thermodynamics. Chemical and Phase Equilibria Dynamics. Kinetic Molecular Theory; Chemical Kinetics. Mechanisms. Reaction Dynamics. Statistical Mechanics Quantum Mechanics. Quantum Chemistry: History and Concepts. Modern Quantum Mechanical Problems: Atomic systems. Symmetry. Molecular Orbital Theory.