The Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois
Chemistry Proficiency Exam
Students having a strong background in chemistry are encouraged to take the chemistry proficiency exam which allows students the opportunity to earn proficiency credit in one or two general chemistry courses. The proficiency exam is offered at the beginning of the fall semester and at the beginning of the spring semester. The Fall 2013 Chemistry Proficency Exam will be given:
Thursday, August 22, 2013 (3:00 - 6:00 PM) 100 Noyes Lab
Plan to arrive ten minutes before the exam begins. Bring your calculator, pencils, and your University ID.
Any questions regarding the General Chemistry Proficiency Exam may be directed to:
107 Chemistry Annex
General Chemistry Proficiency Exam Info
The exam is designed to test proficiency in the major topics covered in the University of Illinois general chemistry curriculum. If a student performs well on the exam, then 3 hours of Chem 102 credit can be earned. If a student performs very well on the exam, then the student can take another, shorter exam concentrating on thermodynamics and kinetics for an opportunity to earn an additional 3 hours of Chem 104 credit (6 hours total). Both the general proficiency exam and the additional shorter exam on thermodynamics and kinetics are given during the scheduled 3 hour time period. If students feel that they have done very well on the longer exam (over 70% of the questions correct), they are encouraged to take the shorter exam, but are not required to do so.
If a student already has 3 hours of Chem 102 credit (AP credit, proficiency credit or credit in the course), then a special exam must be taken to earn 3 hours of Chem 104 proficiency credit. The Chem 104 exam is given at the same time as the general proficiency exam. Make sure to identify yourself to a proctor if you want to take the Chem 104 exam instead of the general proficiency exam.
No proficiency credit is granted for general chemistry lab courses.
The general proficiency exam covers the following areas:
This area includes: understanding the mole concept, atomic mass, empirical and molecular formulas and the stoichiometry of chemical reactions.
- Structure, Bonding and Periodicity
This area includes: the fundamentals of nuclear chemistry, atomic structure and the electronic configurations of atoms and ions, periodicity of atomic properties, description of chemical bonding and properties in terms of the valence bond and molecular orbital models and prediction of molecular structure.
- States of Matter and Solution Stoichiometry
This area includes: the gas laws, the kinetic molecular theory of gases, properties of solids and liquids, phase diagrams, and properties of solutions.
- Acid-Base Chemistry
This area includes: definitions of acids and bases, fundamental properties of acids and bases, periodic trends in acidity and basicity, stoichiometry of acid-base reactions, and pH calculations on solutions of weak and strong acids or bases.
This area involves the theory and application of the principles of equilibrium to homogeneous and heterogeneous systems.
- Oxidation-Reduction Reactions and Electrochemistry
This area includes: stoichiometry of oxidation-reduction reactions, electrolysis, and definitions, theories and applications relating to electrochemical cells.
- Descriptive Chemistry
This area includes the descriptive chemistry of the elements and their compounds and nomenclature of chemical compounds.
- Nuclear Chemistry
This area includes: definitions, balancing nuclear processes and kinetics problems related to radioactive decay.
This area includes: definitions, calculation of thermodynamic quantities for various processes, and the thermodynamic foundations of equilibrium and electrochemistry.
This area includes: theories of chemical kinetics, the derivation of rate laws from kinetic data and from detailed mechanisms, and the use of integrated rate laws.
* Thermodynamics and kinetics are tested in both the general proficiency exam as well as in the additional shorter exam. The additional shorter exam covers thermodynamics and kinetics exclusively and in much more detail.
The special Chem 104 exam has two versions from which you can choose. The physical version of the exam emphasizes thermodynamics, electrochemistry, kinetics, properties of solids, liquids and solutions, nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry and polymer chemistry. The biological version of the Chem 104 exam emphasizes organic and biochemistry more, but also tests knowledge in thermodynamics, electrochemistry and kinetics.