San Diego State University

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Placement Exam for Chemistry 200 and 202

All students who wish to take Chemistry 200 or 202 at SDSU must achieve a grade of "C" or better in Chemistry 100 at SDSU* or pass both the ELM test and the Chemistry Placement Exam.

The Chemistry Placement Exam that is used at SDSU is the "California Chemistry Diagnostic Test." It consists of 44 multiple-choice questions which assess students' knowledge of basic chemistry principles and basic high school mathematics. This exam is administered by the Student Testing Assessment and Research (STAAR) Office. The testing schedule, location and registration information can be found at their website. The exam takes 45 minutes. Silent, non-programmable, non-printing calculators are allowed and there is no penalty for wrong answers. It is advisable to review the material covered in your high school chemistry course in preparation for this exam. Even spending a few hours reviewing very basic material will be helpful. A good workbook to use for this purpose is "Schaum's Easy Outlines - Beginning Chemistry", by D. E. Goldberg. A short sample exam is also available.

Students who do not pass this diagnostic test (and the ELM test) are required to take Chemistry 100 and achieve a grade of "C" or better before registering for Chemistry 200 or 202.

*Courses from other colleges which are equivalent to Chemistry 100 will also meet this requirement. You can find out which courses articulate at If you think your course qualifies, send a copy of your transcript to: A score of 2 or above on the AP Chemistry test, taken in the last two years, will also make a student eligible to register in Chemistry 200 or 202. Send a copy of your test scores to:

If you have any technical questions about this exam, contact the STAAR office.

For questions about the prerequisites for Chemistry 200 and 202, please e-mail Karen Peterson.

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