Most students begin their study of chemistry with Chemistry 101/102. Students with strong preparation should consider CHEM 103 -- a one-semester, faster-paced introduction to chemistry – or CHEM 205 (organic chemistry) to start.
Entering students who have scored 3 on the Chemistry Advanced Placement examination of the Educational Testing Service, or scored 5 on the higher-level International Baccalaureate (IB) Chemistry Exam can receive four hours of transfer credit (equivalent to 101) and can begin college chemistry with 102 or 103. Students with A-levels scores of A*, A, B can begin college Chemistry with 102 or 103 (but no credit is awarded)
Students entering with Chemistry AP scores of 4 or 5, or higher-level IB Chemistry Exam scores of 6 or 7 can receive eight hours of transfer credit (equivalent to 101, 102/103) and can begin college chemistry with 205. Students will have to relinquish AP or IB credit if the corresponding coursework is repeated at Oberlin.
This course is for students with excellent pre-college preparation and takes the place of Chemistry 101 and 102. Topics included are reactions, equilibrium, thermodynamics, reaction rates, and mechanisms, and bonding.
Other students may be admitted by an examination held the Wednesday of Orientation Week. Students who have had chemistry in high school and who plan to take both chemistry and calculus should take the examination.
Review Topics: Review Topics
Syllabus: Fall 10 syllabus
Sample placement exam: Exam Sample
Q. Do I HAVE to take a placement test to get into CHEM 103?
A. Yes. You need to either have scored a 3, 4, or 5 on the AP Chemistry Exam or pass the Chemistry 103 placement exam given during orientation week. SAT II scores or high school grades can't be used for placement.
Q. Is there is a placement test that will allow me to skip general chemistry and go directly into CHEM 205?
A. If you received a 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry Exam, you may enter CHEM 205 (organic chemistry) directly if you choose to do so. There is no on-campus placement exam that allows you to enter CHEM 205.
Q. If I received a 3, 4, or 5 on the AP Chemistry Exam do I need to take the Chemistry 103 placement test to qualify for the course?
A. You do not need to take the placement test in the fall. However, you still need to CLICK HERE TO LET US KNOW that you want to take CHEM 103 so we can give you consent to register for the class.
Q. I got a 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry Exam. I'm not sure if I should take CHEM 103 or skip to CHEM 205. What should I do?
A. Each year, there are some students who take each of these options. It depends on your confidence in chemistry and how long it has been since your last chemistry course. CHEM 103 can be a valuable way to review and solidify general chemistry topics and get college-level lab experience before going on to upper-level classes. This is a good topic to discuss with your academic advisor when you meet with him or her before registration.
Q. Is the Chemistry 103 placement test given in the fall open to returning students?
A. Yes, returning students may take the exam. Please CLICK HERE TO NOTIFY US that you would like to take the test.
Q. Is the Chemistry 103 placement test given at an alternative time? What if I can't be there during Orientation Week to take the test?
A. For students who are not on campus during orientation, additional test times can be scheduled for the days before classes begin. Please notify the Chemistry secretary that you need to be scheduled.