The purpose of CHEM P3 is to guide you to the correct beginning chemistry course at CU Boulder. Several assessments are available in order to determine the course that is suited for you based on your background in chemistry and math. Your performance on the assessments, along with a conversation with your academic advisor, will help you to select a chemistry course in which you should be successful.



  • For the overview of the CHEM P3 click here.
  • Read the course descriptions for beginning chemistry course options here. Note that CHEM 1400/1401 is not offered in the spring or summer terms.  
  • Based on the course descriptions and the stated pre-requisites, select the course for which you believe you are best suited. If you have identified CHEM 1021 at this point, you don’t need to continue with CHEM P3.  If CHEM 1113 and 1114 seem right for you, proceed to Step 1.


Step 1: Considering Enrollment in CHEM 1113/1114?

Review and AssessReview materials covering fundamental math and chemistry concepts/skills are available for your review. Within these materials are several assessments to check your knowledge as you go. Complete as much or as little of these materials as you need depending on your background and success on the embedded review assessments. Form an opinion as to how ready you are for college-level chemistry.

As with all assessments in this program, the most realistic assessment of your abilities will be formed when you complete each one without outside assistance such as reference texts, internet searches, classmates, friends, etc. Outside help won’t give you a true picture of your abilities and you will run the risk of beginning chemistry at an inappropriate level. Please be honest with yourself regarding your abilities and background in order to select the appropriate course for your upcoming registration.

Take the Preliminary Self-Assessment:  This 30-question multiple-choice assessment should be completed PRIOR to your academic advising appointment for the current registration period. A score of 80% or greater indicates readiness for CHEM 1113 and 1114; less than 80%, suggests that CHEM 1021, or no chemistry at this time, maybe a better option for you. Record your PSA score so that you can have an honest and realistic conversation with your advisor. If, after taking the PSA you believe CHEM 1021 is a better fit for you, you do not need to complete the remaining steps in CHEM P3.

Step 2: Enrolled in CHEM 1113/1114?

Prepare for the Diagnostic and Readiness Test (DART): This is an in-class placement exam administered during Week 1 of classes.

  • To prepare, consider using the review materials in Step 1 if you haven’t already.
  • For additional review and reinforcement, consider using ALEKS CHEMISTRY, an online adaptive learning system, as a personal tutor. ALEKS is available for a modest fee granting 90-days of access. Please see the information in the ALEKS FAQ's below for accessing ALEKS CHEMISTRY for CU Boulder.  A score of between 80% and 100% on ALEKS indicates a readiness for CHEM 1113/1114.

Step 3: Still Enrolled in CHEM 1113/1114?

Take the Diagnostic and Readiness Test (DART): This placement exam will be administered during your recitation period of the first week of classes. A minimum score of 75% on this exam indicates readiness for chemistry.

If you score below 75% you can:

  • Improve your basic math and chemistry skills (strongly encouraged) before enrolling in CHEM 1113 and 1114. If you must remain in the course for extenuating reasons, please discuss your DART performance with your course instructor.
  • Drop CHEM 1113 and 1114 and attempt to add CHEM 1021 IF you feel prepared to begin chemistry at this time. This schedule adjustment can be made, if there are seats available, through the registration system prior to the ADD deadline for the term of enrollment (  If your decision to drop CHEM 1113 and 1114 is made after the add deadline, CHEM 1021 can be added through the DROP deadline by seeing the administrative staff in EKLC M199. You should note that there is no guarantee that there will be spaces in CHEM 1021 or that CHEM 1021 will fit into your existing schedule.
  • Drop CHEM 1113 and 1114 and postpone taking chemistry until a later semester. You can take CHEM 1021 in a future semester at CU Boulder or take an introductory chemistry course elsewhere. Your course instructor and academic advisor can discuss these options with you.



Yes. When you go to ALEKS CHEMISTRY, click on "NewStudent? SIGN UP NOW!". In the new webpage, purchase ALEKS as a personal tutor "Using ALEKS on Your Own". Once you complete the information and payment process you will receive an email with your ALEKS login and password.

ALEKS Login Page


Using ALEKS on Your Own

Once you have paid for ALEKS CHEMISTRY access and received your login information, go to and log in. You will be directed to your Student Account Page where can you select, from your list of course or courses, the “CHEM 1113 General Chemistry Skill Assesment - 2018-2019” course.

No, the ALEKS CHEM is not timed. 

Yes. You can logout at any time and when you login again you will be taken to the point where you left off. Just be sure to submit an answer to a question: ALEKS does not remember partially completed questions.

Once you have paid for ALEKS CHEMISTRY access and received your login information via email, go to and log in.

Your Student Account Page will appear and you can select, from your list of course(s) the “CHEM 1113 General Chemistry Skill Assesment - 2018-2019” course.

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.

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 the 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.

CU-Boulder is committed to making information and resources that are available via the web accessible for all users. The ALEKS CHEMISTRY 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 CHEMISTRY should contact Disability Services at

For more information on Disability Services, visit