Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions that students have about the ALEKS summer work and the general chemistry course sequences.

Q: I have a question about the materials (textbooks, etc…) that I need for my courses.  Where do I get information about these materials?

A: Faculty will provide a list of books and materials to the BU bookstore during the month of August.  Once the list has been submitted, visit the bookstore website to see what materials are needed for each of your courses.  Some faculty will email their classes before the semester begins with further information.

Q: What is ALEKS?

A: ALEKS is an artificial intelligence based learning system that will help you prepare for your courses.  Details are available on the ALEKS page.

Q: Do I need to use ALEKS? Is there another option for summer preparation?

A: Yes, ALEKS is a required component of all three course sequences (CH101, CH109, and CH111/181).  Not only will you be using it over the summer, but it will also be used throughout the entire course in CH101.  The license that you purchase this summer will last for the entire fall semester and is good for any of the three course sequences.  Students in CH109 can use ALEKS for up to two weeks without buying a license, and students in CH111 will not be prompted to buy a license.

Q: I just finished the summer work objective and ALEKS is asking me to take another assessment.  Do I need to complete this assessment now?

A: Yes, the post-objective completion assessments are required.  Please makes sure to complete this assessment.

Q: I’m in CH109 (or CH111) and I just finished my work with ALEKS. It is now asking me to “Review.” Do I need to review the work? 

A: No. Once you’ve learned/mastered all of the topics in the preparation course (for CH109 or CH111) you are done.  Review is optional, in case there are any topics that you feel you might benefit from reviewing.

Q: Are the “optional advanced topics” in the CH111 preparation course required?

A: No, these topics are not required for placement into CH111. That said, it is a good idea to work through those topics, time permitting.

Q: Do I need to take a placement exam for CH109 or CH111?

A: No.  Any references made to placement exams are not current.  Instead, all students must complete the ALEKS summer work for the course that they intend to take in the fall.

Q: I am uncertain about which course I should be taking, how can I get some guidance?

A: Start by completing the initial ALEKS assessment.  Take a screenshot of your ALEKS pie and the topics that it feels that you already know and email them to  In your email, make sure to include your major and a list of your previous math and chemistry courses (college and high-school, including scores).  Your email must have the ALEKS assessment information in order for us to properly advise you.

Q: I am a pre-medical student – what course should I be taking?

A: All three of the two-semester general chemistry sequences (101/102, 109/110, and 111/112) are acceptable for pre-health students.  That said, we strongly recommend that all students discuss their course choices with their advisor (or pre-health advisor).

Q: What is the CUSTOM BUNDLE that is required for CH101 students?  Where can I purchase the bundle?

A: All questions that are course-specific should be directed to the faculty teaching those courses. Details of the required materials for CH101 are listed at

Q: Textbooks are very expensive – do I need to buy the textbooks for my courses (CH101, CH109, or CH111)?

A: All questions that are course-specific should be directed to the faculty teaching those courses.  That said, all course materials are required for these courses.

Still searching for answers? For questions about the summer ALEKS work or general advising questions, please re-read the pages on this site and then send email to  Send course-specific questions to your course instructor.