Chemistry Prep Program

CHM123 is an important foundational course for most science and engineering majors. Since future course work will build upon knowledge mastered in this course it is important that you are well-prepared to succeed in the course. CHM123 course work assumes knowledge of fundamental math and chemistry concepts learned in high school and we are aware that it may have been several years since you last completed a chemistry course and you may be a bit rusty. Because we are committed to your success, we are making available to you an important Chemistry Prep Program (CPP) facilitated through ALEKS, an online platform.

The CPP will help you start your General Chemistry course with the needed basic skills and background material fresh in your mind. It is designed to identify the information you know and the information you don’t know, and then provide a learning environment to master all of the pre-requisites known to be essential for success in CHM123. Upon completion of the CPP you will be prepared to begin your study of General Chemistry at UD and you will have earned your first grade in your CHM123 course.

All students enrolled in CHM123 must complete the CPP by September 1st in order to earn full credit, but it is HIGHLY recommended to complete the CPP before classes start. Once the fall semester begins, you will be given an in-class, closed book exam that will cover the material reviewed during the CPP. Because of this, it is vital that you engage in ALEKS for learning and not just completion so as to be properly prepared for this first exam.

Completion of the CPP and your performance on the first exam will constitute approximately 10% of your overall CHM123 grade.

Accessing CPP using ALEKS

Access to ALEKS is provided as part of your required CHM123 course materials. For convenience, arrangements have been made to provide you access in advance of your purchase of the materials through a free trial that will extend through the summer. You will be required to complete your purchase of ALEKS, the required course resource prior to September 1 to have your ALEKS work recognized. ALEKS can be purchased with book scholarship funds through the UD bookstore or from the publisher's website.

Registration is fast and easy, please follow the information below:

  1. Go to the ALEKS web site at
  2. Select the yellow “SIGN UP NOW” link found directly below the login interface.
  3. Enter the following 10 character course code as prompted: RFTLF-LT6TF
  4. Enter identifying information. Be certain to enter your UD provided Student ID number and your UD assigned email address.

Essential Information

  1. The CPP is provided to you through an artificial intelligence based teaching tool known as ALEKS, Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces. ALEKS will first assess exactly what general chemistry you know and what you have forgotten, or perhaps never learned, from high school. Once the assessment is complete ALEKS will teach you the things that you don’t already know.
  2. It is recommended that you begin work in the CPP as soon as possible, but no later than three weeks prior to the start of classes. This will allow time for you to fill in any gaps that may exist so that you are set for success once chemistry class begins.
  3. Complete the CPP initial assessment honestly! The system is designed to make certain you are ready for success as efficiently as possible. If you complete the assessment carelessly or answer randomly, you’ll waste time later since ALEKS will force you to work through material you already know. On the other hand if you consult outside sources such as the internet, a textbook, or even a friend when completing the assessment, ALEKS will assume you know information that you don’t and present you work for which you are not ready. Remember the purpose of providing access to CPP is to help you be prepared for success. It won’t do you any good to attempt to fake being prepared.
  4. The initial assessment should take between 60 and 90 minutes to complete. It does NOT need to be completed all at one sitting. NEVER click the “I don’t know” button during the ALEKS assessment unless you really don’t have any idea. Do your best with each question.
  5. Once the initial assessment has determined what you remember and therefore what you still need to learn (if anything) to be ready for CHM123, you will enter a pie chart learning mode where you will work to fill in any gaps in your knowledge. Everyone will have a different assessment profile and will need to review different topics and skills. When you use ALEKS, you complete the learning tasks you need and not those somebody else needs. The time you will need to be fully prepared for your CHM123 class will depend upon your individual background. A typical range is 15-20 hours (spread over a month or more).
  6. Completion of your personal ALEKS pie is a required course assignment that will count toward your CHM123 course grade. For full credit your individual pie must be completed no later than the end of the second week of class, September 1, 2017. It is in your best interest to complete your preparations prior to the start of class. You are STRONGLY cautioned against delaying completion of this course requirement.
  7. A closed book, closed note test covering the material reviewed in the CPP will be administered in class at the end of the second week of class. It is important that you engage in ALEKS for learning and not just completion so as to be properly prepared for this first exam.
  8. Completion of the CPP and your performance on the related follow up test will account for about 10% of your CHM123 course grade.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to complete the CPP?

Yes! WE WANT YOU TO SUCCEED and we know that success requires preparation. CHM123 is taught at a fast pace and instructors will assume that all students have a solid background in mathematics and some fundamentals of chemistry. IT MAY BE NECESSARY FOR YOU TO REFRESH, AND PERHAPS LEARN, MATERIAL BEFORE THE START OF CLASS. Students come to college chemistry with a variety of backgrounds and levels of preparation. UD is investing in the CPP to make certain all students entering CHM123 have the necessary background and preparation to be successful.

What happens if I don’t complete the CPP?

Students that do not complete the CPP prior to the start of class will likely find the class moves faster than can be handled. Additionally, students not completing the CPP by the stated due date will lose points toward their final course grade.

What do I have to do to earn full credit?

Students must demonstrate mastery of 100% of the topics provided, either through the initial assessment of through completion of work in the learning mode. In the ALEKS environment 100% mastery is known as completing the pie.

What if I encounter technical problems or have questions?

The ALEKS environment provides excellent support at They should always be the first source of help.

What if I have additional questions about why the University requires this opportunity or questions about the CHM123 course?

Please contact Dr. Mark Masthay in the Department of Chemistry at or 937-229-2631.

How does ALEKS work?

ALEKS begins with an assessment to determine what you already know about chemistry and the required mathematics fundamentals. As you work through the assessment the questions will get harder and your end score will increase.

Learning modules are activated after completion of the initial assessment. These include practice problems and tutorials. In Learning Modules you will see a “pie” with clickable links. When you select a topic to study, you will be given a practice problem. Answering problems correctly raises your ALEKS score. Answering a problem incorrectly reveals the answer with step-by-step solution to the problem

ALEKS will periodically prompt you for assessments. This is to check that what you have learned is now in your long term memory. These assessments will happen after you have learned several topics (and your knowledge state has grown). If you do not login to ALEKS for an extended period of time (30 days), you will be assessed as well (as it is worried you may have forgotten topics, which we tend to do as humans if we are not working on them regularly). It is recommended that you work in ALEKS for an hour each day vs. working a marathon session one day a week. By doing this, you will better retain what you learn, which will set you up for success in general chemistry.


Department of Chemistry

Science Center
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2357