Chemistry Credit by Examination

Credit by examination is available for CHEM 105 and CHEM 106 only. These courses are the lecture only equivalents of the two semester sequence CHEM 103 General Chemistry I and CHEM 104 General Chemistry II. CHEM 105 is equivalent to the lecture only part of CHEM 103, while CHEM 106 is equivalent to the lecture part of CHEM 104. CHEM 105 and CHEM 106 are not available for general enrollment. Rather they are used for the purposes of awarding transfer credit or credit by examination.

Eligibility Requirements

It is expected that students who elect to take one of the credit exams have already acquired knowledge and competency in General Chemistry from other experiences. As specified in the campus policy, a student must be classified as a degree-seeking undergraduate. They must be in good academic standing with no holds on their record. Each exam may be attempted only one time.

To be eligible to take the CHEM 105 credit exam, students must:

  • Satisfy math prerequisite, which is MATH 112, 114, or 171 or placement into MATH 211 or 221.
  • Not already have credit for CHEM 103, 105, 109, or 115.
  • Not be enrolled or previously enrolled beyond the add deadline in CHEM 103, 105, 109 or 115.

Any student who meets the above criteria is eligible to take the CHEM 105 exam.

Examples of situations for which a student might be a good candidate for the CHEM 105 exam:

  1. The student has transfer credit for CHEM 104, but is missing CHEM 103 credit.
  2. The student took college level chemistry courses elsewhere, but none of their courses transferred as directly equivalent to CHEM 103.
  3. A new first-year student has two or more years of high school chemistry, with the second year being AP Chemistry, but the student did not take the AP Chemistry exam.
  4. A new first-year student has three or more years of chemistry from their high school experience, but none of the years was specifically AP or IB Chemistry.

Students in situation 2 above are encouraged to consult with the chemistry advisor before registering for the exam. Students in situations 3 or 4 might be better served by simply taking CHEM 109, if they meet the math prerequisites. CHEM 105 (or CHEM 103) is not a prerequisite for CHEM 109. There is no reason for the student to pay for the CHEM 105 credit exam, if they intend to take CHEM 109. Students are encouraged to consult their academic advisor, if they are uncertain how to proceed.

To be eligible to take the CHEM 106 credit exam, students must:

  • Satisfy math prerequisite, which is MATH 112, 114, or 171 or placement into MATH 211 or 221.
  • Have credit for the equivalent of CHEM 103 as well as some other college level chemistry credits.
  • Not already have credit for CHEM 104, 106, 109, or 115.
  • Not be enrolled or previously enrolled beyond the add deadline in CHEM 104, 106, 109 or 115.

The chemistry advisor determines whether a student is eligible for the exam, and students must have approval prior to the exam. Having AP or IB credit for CHEM 103, or passing the CHEM 105 credit exam, does not make a student automatically eligible to take the exam. Students with CHEM 103 credit from an AP exam are usually advised to take CHEM 109, if they meet the math prerequisite. Students who pass the CHEM 105 credit exam will be advised to take CHEM 104, although they may elect to take CHEM 109 instead.

Examples of situations for which a student is typically eligible to take the CHEM 106 exam:

  1. A student has transfer credit for CHEM 103 and for higher level chemistry courses, but the student is missing transfer credit for CHEM 104.
  2. A student has college level chemistry courses that do not transfer directly equivalent as CHEM 104, but it appears as if the student might be well-prepared enough to proceed to the next level of chemistry.

Students with questions about their chemistry transfer credits should consult first with the chemistry advisor, before registering for the credit exam.

Laboratory Requirements

The credit exams do not test laboratory skills, and therefore students do not earn credits for the laboratory component of General Chemistry when they pass the credit exams.

Students who pass the CHEM 105 credit exam will in most cases be required to take CHEM 101 General Chemistry Laboratory I (the laboratory component of CHEM 103) before taking CHEM 104. Exceptions may be made for students who already have some college-level chemistry laboratory experience. CHEM 105 and CHEM 101 together are equivalent to CHEM 103.

Students who pass the CHEM 106 credit exam will be required to take CHEM 102 General Chemistry Laboratory II (the laboratory component of CHEM 104) in order to complete the General Chemistry sequence and to proceed to further chemistry laboratory courses. Specifically, enrollment will not be permitted in CHEM 311, 327, 329, or 344 without completion of the laboratory component. CHEM 106 and CHEM 102 together are equivalent to CHEM 104.

Exam Information

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Exam Dates

The exams will be offered each semester, typically a day or two before the start of classes. Students are strongly encouraged to take the exam no later than the start of their third semester at UW Madison. Taking the exam early will help the student prevent delays in progression through their major and avoid complications with residency requirements.

Spring 2021 Exams: Friday, January 22, 2021 at 10:00 AM
Time Allowed: Two hours
Location: Room 1328 Chemistry

Registration for the Exam

The cost of each exam is $135. Registration and agreement to pay the exam fee are required prior to the exam date. The UW Bursar’s Office will bill the student’s account, irrespective of whether the student passes the exam. Students who register but do not show will be still be charged, unless they cancel at least 48 hours in advance by emailing undergrad@chem.wisc.edu.

To register for the CHEM 105 exam, please use the online CHEM 105 form:

CHEM 105 EXAM REGISTRATION FORM

 

Prior to registering for the CHEM 106 exam, students should first consult the chemistry advisor. Approved students can register via the online CHEM 106 form:

CHEM 106 EXAM REGISTRATION FORM

 

Preparing for the Exam

The exam consists of approximately 40-50 multiple choice questions. It may also include a small number of free response questions. It is recommended that students review the material before taking the exam. Please see the CHEM 105 Credit Exam Topics and the CHEM 106 Credit Exam Topics topics list for more information about the material covered. Additional guidelines are below.

  • Students must present their UW-Madison photo ID at the time of the exam.
  • Students will have two hours to complete the exam.
  • Notes are not permitted.
  • A scientific, non-graphing calculator is permitted. Graphing or programmable calculators are not. We have scientific calculators available for loan, if you don’t have your own.
  • A periodic table, physical constants, and relevant equations will be provided.

After the Exam

A score of 75% is required to pass the exams. Students will be notified via email about the results. If they pass the exam, they will also receive instructions on how to enroll in the corresponding laboratory component of the course. A fee of $135 per exam will be charged to the student’s UW Bursar account, irrespective of whether the student passes the exam. The Registrar’s Office will post test credits on the student’s record.

QUESTIONS

General inquiries about the credit exams, policies, or registration should be directed to undergrad@chem.wisc.edu.

Students seeking advising about their transfer credits and/or whether they are eligible for one of the credit exams should contact the undergraduate chemistry advisor.