General Chemistry Advising

Fall 2014

Welcome to the Boston University Chemistry Department’s advising page for freshmen chemistry!  We in the Chemistry Department truly love to teach chemistry, and we are very excited to have you join us!

Our goal here is to help you and your advisor select the general chemistry course that is best for you, and then to guide you through online preparation so that you will be well prepared to begin your course work this fall.

Our general chemistry courses

We currently offer three different year-long general chemistry courses, differing according to assumed experience and student goals.

  • CH101/102 assumes no prior chemistry knowledge, just two years of high school algebra and general science. The course web site has full details.
  • CH109/110 assumes two years of high school algebra and at least one year of high school chemistry. It is designed specifically for BMB students and students with a strong interest in chemistry.
  • CH111/112 is for students with a very strong background in chemistry (two years of high school chemistry; AP 4 or 5 recommended).  Advanced placement in calculus or simultaneous registration in MA123 Calculus 1 is required to take this course. This course is for students intending to major in chemistry and chemistry:biochemistry.  Note: students interested in taking CH111 (and CH181) in Fall 2014 must complete their summer ALEKS work before August 20th.

The detailed descriptions of these courses are here.

Preparing for your course

From these descriptions you will likely have an initial idea of which of the three courses is most suited to your goals. To help you be well-prepared to succeed in your chosen course, we require that you complete online general chemistry tutoring based on ALEKS, the web-based artificially-intelligent assessment and learning system.

ALEKS will …

  • rapidly identify any important gaps in high-school math and science preparation,
  • efficiently assist you to eliminate those gaps through guided self-study, and
  • help you and your advisors refine your selection of the chemistry course most appropriate for you.

It is imperative that you begin your ALEKS work as soon as you are able.  This will give you the maximum time to prepare for General Chemistry this fall.  Additionally, students interested in registering for CH111 and CH181 in the fall must complete ALEKS by August 20th.

ALEKS summer preparation

All students enrolled in any General Chemistry course will use ALEKS over the summer (only students in CH101 and CH109 will continue to use ALEKS during the school year).  Though each student’s experience with ALEKS will be slightly different as ALEKS adapts, how ALEKS works will be the same for all students working on the summer preparation course.

  1. Purchase and Register for ALEKS.
  2. ALEKS tutorial (~10min) – short tutorial on how to input your answers.
  3. ALEKS initial assessment (~90min) – ALEKS learning what you know.
  4. ALEKS learning mode – ALEKS teaches you what you need to prepare for General Chemistry.
  5. ALEKS assessment – New assessment to see how much you have learned.
  6. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you complete ALEKS summer preparation.

How each of these steps work is detailed on the ALEKS page.  Note: make sure to sign up for the appropriate ALEKS course based on your intended fall chemistry course.  More details can be found detailed on the ALEKS page.

It is imperative that you begin your ALEKS work as soon as you are able.  This will give you the maximum time to prepare for General Chemistry this fall. Your work with ALEKS for must be completed as follows:

  • Work for CH101 is due by 11:59 pm Sunday, September 7
  • Work for CH109 is due by 11:59 pm Sunday, August 31st
  • Work for CH111 is due by 11:59 pm Wednesday, August 20th


If you have a question about how to interpret your ALEKS score, what learning objectives you need to master, or about the chemistry courses offered at Boston University, please see the frequently asked questions page.