Chemistry Placement Exam

Topics

  1. What is the CPE?
  2. Does This Apply to Me?
  3. Dates
  4. Academic Honor
  5. Description
  6. Before the Exam
  1. Taking the Exam
  2. After the Exam (Score Interpretation)
  3. Students with Disabilities
  4. FAQ
  5. Contact Information

I. What is the Chemistry Placement Exam (CPE)?

The Chemistry Placement Exam (CPE) is an online tool used to place students into a general chemistry course appropriate for their background. Students with sufficient chemistry background as indicated by a "passing" mark on the CPE satisfy the required prerequisite to enroll in CH 101, Chemistry: A Molecular Science. Those students for whom remedial work is indicated have the following options to satisfy the prerequisites for enrolling in CH 101: (1) taking and passing with a C- or better, CH 111, Preparatory Chemistry or (2) electing to complete satisfactorily a series of online "modules" and subsequent evaluative examination. See further details below in Section VIII.

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II. Does This Apply to Me?

  • The CPE is mandatory for any student wishing to enroll in CH 101 during an Academic Year. One cannot enroll in CH 101 without satisfactory completion of the CPE.
  • Take the CPE: (i) if you contemplate a major or degree program requiring CH 101 even if not certain about it or (ii) if you intend or think you may wish to change majors or degree programs to one that requires CH 101.
  • The CPE does NOT apply to students wishing to register for CH 111 or for CH 100 nor is it required for students who have no need to register for CH 101. The CPE is a prerequisite for CH 101 only.
  • For further specifications by College, see: http://newstudents.ncsu.edu/resources/cpe/index.php

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III. Dates

  • The CPE is available between 3 March 2014 and 24 August 2014 for placement into CH 101 for the Fall 2014 or Spring 2015 semester, or for the 2014 summer sessions.
  • The earlier one sits the CPE, the earlier one can register for the appropriate course. Delaying the CPE may result in being enrolled in a course section that is not convenient for your schedule or finding sections unavailable. Taking the CPE well prior to advising is strongly recommended.
  • Taking the CPE prior to Registration & Records batch registration deadlines allows them to register into CH 101 anyone in a degree program requiring the course. After that time, one must self-register and run the risk of finding a desirable section filled and unavailable.
  • Plan to allow some time for study prior to the date you plan to take the CPE. This tool is designed to help you, but it does have consequences. Take it seriously and prepare.

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IV. Academic Honor

The purpose of the CPE is to HELP you be successful in chemistry here at NCSU. It is therefore imperative that the CPE reflect your own work so that you can be best advised regarding your chemistry placement. We consider the Honor Code of NCSU operative for the CPE (see: http://policies.ncsu.edu/policy/pol-11-35-01, especially section 2.12). That is, you are bound by the Code of Student Conduct having accepted admission to NCSU. Specifically, no outside materials or assistance may be used or accessed during the sitting of the CPE save for those tools explicitly described below.

No print or electronic copy of the CPE may be given, provided, sold, or otherwise conveyed to any other party.

The NCSU honor pledge: "I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this test or assignment."

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V. Description

The CPE is composed of 4 survey questions and 36 questions on chemistry and math topics. The CPE is deployed online via Moodle, a course management system. Students must have their NCSU-issued Unity ID and password to log into the Moodle site. Students will have 60 minutes upon accessing the exam to complete the questions. Only a single login is permitted; each question allows for one submission. Students will also need a calculator capable of exponential and logarithmic computations. A web link to a periodic table is provided within the exam and below.

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VI. Before the Exam

  1. Background Preparation:

    To ensure your best performance on the exam, please use high school, online, or other resources to review:

    • Stoichiometry.
    • Naming/identification of elements; compounds; polyatomic ions; acids & bases; chemical formulae.
    • Periodic Table and properties.
    • Atomic Structure.
    • Gas Laws.
    • Solutions & Concentration (dilution).
    • Phase changes and energy changes of reactions.
    • Math skills (through pre-calculus).
    • SI system of units; temperature units and conversion.

    Some free web sites for background information:

    These sites cover most topics in a first-year chemistry high school or college course. Both sites have many videos covering topics beyond the level of the CPE, so select those videos with topics that match up with the list above.

  2. Final Preparations:

    • Ensure a distraction-free environment for the sixty (60) minute duration of the examination. No communication with another person or computer/internet source is permitted save for accessing the CPE.
    • Make sure your calculator (capable of exponential and logarithmic computation) is charged and/or that you have extra batteries. Have an extra pen or pencil and scratch paper available. Once the CPE is entered, the clock is irrevocably started. These are the only materials permitted. No equation sheets or other aids are allowed.
    • Read all of Section VII BEFORE starting the exam.

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VII. Taking the Exam

  1. Placement Exam Login and Password:

    Students must have their NCSU-issued Unity ID and password register on the Moodle site. These two items are issued to students soon after students have been accepted to the university and entered their profile information into WolfPAW. For more information, see the websites below:

  2. Accessing the Placement Exam:

    • A link to the NCSU Moodle site is shown below:
      https://moodle-projects.wolfware.ncsu.edu/course/view.php?id=1403
    • Login on the left side of frame, under "Returning to this web site?" using your NCSU Unity ID and password. Do NOT create a new account. Do NOT login as a guest.
    • The course "Chemistry Placement Exam: Fall 14 - Spring 15" will appear near the top of the link and an option to enroll will be available. Choose YES.
    • Please select "Chemistry Placement Exam: Fall 14- Spring 15" a second time under the Topic Outline.
    • A description of the exam will appear. When you are ready to take your exam in 60 minutes, select CONTINUE.
    • Periodic Table
  3. Printing a Copy:

    You may print a copy of the CPE for your use during the exam if this is more convenient than viewing the screen. The copy must be destroyed after the CPE is completed (see Academic Honor statement). DO NOT however, close your browser – the CPE must remain open.

  4. Browser Issues:

    • Some difficulties have been experienced when using Moodle with Internet Explorer. For more stable performance, another browser is recommended.
    • Do not close your browser window once the CPE has been initiated. Once begun, the exam must be completed in its entirety.

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VIII. After the Exam (Score Interpretation)

The software will provide feedback to you regarding your CPE results:

  • A score of 15 or greater is considered "passing" and as having satisfied the Placement Exam requirement. The student may enroll freely in CH 101. One who scores in the 15-18 range is advised to consider a less rigorous course schedule to allow for the extra study time likely required by CH 101.
  • A score of 14 or lower indicates the need for further study in chemistry prior to enrollment in CH 101. There are several options listed below, ONE of which needs to be completed before the student can enroll in CH 101. You are strongly advised to make every effort to satisfy these requirements so as to be ready for CH 101 in your first Fall semester.

    1. Enroll in a physical section of CH 111 here at NCSU either during the summer session prior to the Fall term or, if necessary, in your first semester Fall. CH 111 must be passed with a C- or better to enroll subsequently in CH 101.
    2. Enroll in a Distance Education section of CH 111-DE here at NCSU. CH 111-DE must be passed with a C- or better to enroll subsequently in CH 101.
    3. Enroll in a preparatory chemistry class at another university or community college that will transfer as CH 111 credit. See: http://admissions.ncsu.edu/how-apply/admission-profile/course-equiv.php
    4. Satisfactorily complete a series of online modules and evaluative exam hosted by the Chemistry Department. This series of modules constitutes approximately the material covered in a three-week period of class. Please take a reasonable amount of time to process and work through the material so that you have the best chance of being successful on the evaluative examination.

    Chemistry Placement Module Instructions:

    • One may self-register for the Modules at https://moodle-projects.wolfware.ncsu.edu/course/view.php?id=1404.
    • Login on the left side of frame, under "Returning to this web site?" using your NCSU Unity ID and password. Do NOT create a new account. Do NOT login as a guest.
    • The course "Chemistry Placement Modules: Fall 14 - Spring 15" will appear near the top of the link and an option to enroll will be available. Choose YES.
    • Once registered, begin by reading the "Introduction - start here" link at the top. This will explain the eight topical modules; the practice problems for each; and how eventually to access the examination. Note that one must complete each and all of the practice problem sets in order to obtain the password for the examination. The password is case-sensitive.
    • A score of 18 or greater out of 25 is required on the Module Examination to qualify for CH101.

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IX. Students with Disabilities

To qualify for a testing accommodation, the student must (1) be registered with the DSO office at North Carolina State University and (2) request an accommodation for the CPE. See: http://www.ncsu.edu/provost/offices/affirm_action/dss/

  1. Arrange for confirmation of registration with DSO to be sent to Dr. Neyhart at ;
  2. Register into the CPE Moodle Course, but do NOT open the CPE itself;
  3. Email Dr. Neyhart verifying that you are registered;
  4. You will be contacted by return email once the time window for the accommodation has been set;
  5. You may begin the CPE at your convenience.

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X. FAQ

  • Q: "What if I've taken the AP Chemistry Exam?" (or similar)
    A: Irrespective of one's AP Chemistry score, if one plans to enroll in CH 101, the CPE is required. If, on the other hand, one intends to use one's AP score to "place out" of CH 101, then the CPE is not required. Put simply, taking the CPE is correlated to intended registration in CH 101, not the AP exam score.
  • Q: "My internet connection went out during the exam!" (or other electronic vagary)
    A: Contact Dr. Gregory Neyhart:
  • Q: "I was really close to the cutoff! Can I get another chance?" Or, "I'm sure I could do better - I was just a bit rusty."
    A: No. However, if your score was in a range of 12-14, you should seriously consider our online module-based tutorials. Successful completion of these modules will satisfy the prerequisite and should assist you in being ready to begin your university-level chemistry with CH 101.
  • Q: "I didn't do very well at all. What should I do next?"
    A: Talk with an academic adviser in your (intended) department. Any of the four options outlined in Section VIII are available to you, but your department may have specific guidelines.
  • Q: "What if I've never taken chemistry before, but I think my degree program requires CH 101? Can I just take the CPE?"
    A: If one has completed less than one year of high-school chemistry and has no preparatory chemistry class from another college that will transfer, one MUST select CH 111. The prerequisites for CH 101 are: (1) a year of HS chemistry + successful CPE or (2) CH 111 or equivalent.
  • Q: "I've taken and passed the CPE with a score of 15 or greater, but I'm not being allowed to register for the course!"
    A: There are other pre- and co-requisites for CH 101: (1) one must have satisfactorily completed the Math Placement process and (2) be enrolling in the 3 co-requisites/components of CH 101 (lecture, recitation and CH 102 lab) all at the same time. Also, please allow until the start of the second business day for your CPE grade to be uploaded to appropriate administrative systems before attempting to register for CH 101. Currently, scores are not uploaded on weekends or holidays.

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XI. Contact Information

  • Dr. Greg Neyhart ( or 919-513-2585) to report technical difficulties regarding the CPE or the Modules.
  • Dr. Jeremy Feducia ( or 919-515-2296) for other questions regarding the CPE including interpretation of scores or any of the directives found on this webpage.

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