Chemistry Preparation and Placement Program CHEM P3

The purpose of this program is to enhance your success by placing you in the proper beginning chemistry course given your background and preparation in chemistry and math. It is important that you are honest with yourself regarding your abilities and background in order to select the appropriate course for fall. To this end, various assessments are available and should be attempted and completed without outside assistance such as reference texts, online tutoring, classmates, etc.; otherwise the assessments are of little value to you and your academic advisor in determining which chemistry course is best for you.


To Begin

Read the course descriptions for three course options here. Note your course selection. If you've selected CHEM 1113/1114 or CHEM 1400/1401, please continue to Step 1


Step 1 For Students Considering Enrollment in CHEM 1113/1114 or CHEM 1400/1401

If you scored less than 80%, consider enrolling into CHEM 1021 or postpone taking chemistry.

If you scored above 80%, consider enrolling in or retaining your enrollment in CHEM 1113 & CHEM 1114 and continue on to Step 2.

If you scored above 80% and are a Chemistry or Biochemistry major, consider enrolling in or retaining your enrollment in CHEM 1400 & CHEM 1401 and watch for an email from your course instructor. You do not need to continue any further.

Prior to your registration window, review your course selection with your academic advisor

Step 2 For Students Enrolled in CHEM 1113/1114, ONLY

  • Prepare for the mandatory placement exam, DART (Diagnostic and Readiness Test), using ALEKS CHEM. This link will be emailed to you in early August.
  • We are offering you an incentive to complete ALEKS CHEMISTRY. If you complete the ALEKS CHEM by Thursday, August 24th at 11:59pm:
    • You will earn 2% of the total points in your fall course for 100% completion
    • You will earn 1% of the total points in your fall course for 80% completion
  • Are you having trouble reaching the minimum 80% completion and feeling that CHEM 1021 might be better for you? If so, talk with your acadmic advisor about your options and adjust your enrollment in your myCUinfo.

Step 3 For Students Enrolled in CHEM 1113/1114, ONLY

The mandatory placement exam (DART) will be administered the first week of classes in your recitation section. Be prepared to adjust your schedule if you do not earn the 75% minimum score to remain in CHEM 1113/1114.


Students needing special accommodations

  • CU-Boulder is committed to making information and resources that are available via the web accessible for all users. The ALEKS CHEM product is currently not fully accessible for students who are using screen readers and other assistive devices, and we are working with the vendor on making this accessible to all students.
  • Students who need academic accommodations for working in ALEKS CHEM should contact Disability services at
  • For more information on Disability Services, visit



If you decide this before your enrollment window ends, you can change your enrollment yourself. If you decide after your enrollment window is over, email your academic advisor for instructions.

No, you do not need to purchase access to ALEKS CHEM; the university has paid for access starting in early August 2017.

In early August, you will receive an email with the URL to access your assessment. You will sign on using your CU IdentiKey username and password.

You should email Dr. Margaret Asirvatham,

Please include ALEKS CHEM in the subject line of your email.

No, the ALEKS CHEM is not timed. 

Yes, you can log out of/exit the system by closing your web browser. When you log in the next time, ALEKS CHEM will take you to the screen where you left off so you can continue your work.

Paste the URL, from your email, into your web browser and proceed to the authenticated login page using your CU IdentiKey username and password.

NOTE: An IdentiKey consists of a CU-Boulder login name and an IdentiKey password. An IdentiKey is the credential that uniquely identifies you to online services and campus computing facilities so that they may grant you access.

ALEKS login screen

You will see the screen for your course (CHEM 1113). Click on your course; you will see a new screen with tutorials (entering subscripts, superscripts, fractions; using the calculator, Periodic Table, etc.) to help you navigate in ALEKS CHEM.

CHEM 1113

ALEKS CHEM is an artificial intelligence-based teaching tool. 

ALEKS CHEM will have you complete a brief tutorial before your Initial Assessment begins so you are familiar with how the system works. ALEKS CHEM provides online access to a calculator, the Periodic Table, and useful data such as fundamental constants (e.g., Avogadro’s number).

ALEKS CHEM first assesses (Initial Knowledge Check) exactly what you know and need to learn in general chemistry and its prerequisites from high school, and it reports the results of this assessment in the ALEKS CHEM Pie Chart. 

Never click the “I don’t know” button during Initial Knowledge Check unless you really have no idea of how to do the problem. Otherwise, ALEKS CHEM assumes you don’t know many things you may actually know; Start My Path would then begin at a very basic level and make you “learn” many topics that you have already mastered.

The Initial Knowledge Check consists of approximately 30 questions and should take no longer than 60 to 90 minutes.

Once ALEKS CHEM determines your level of knowledge, it will present you with only those topics meeting the following criteria: (a) you don’t already know how to do an item or (b) you are ready to learn a topic based on what you know already. This is accomplished in the Learning Mode “Start My Path”.

Work on the ALEKS CHEM carefully and honestly! It is the way ALEKS CHEM finds out about you, asking what you already know and are therefore ready to learn. If you do this assessment carelessly or answer randomly, you’ll waste time later because ALEKS CHEM will force you to work through material you know and don’t need to review. Always read and follow the on-screen instructions very carefully and do the work on your own. Your goal is to learn for mastery, gain confidence, and enhance your success in chemistry.