Chemistry Placement

All students who have taken a chemistry course in high school and intend to study chemistry as a part of a chemistry major, or a biology major, or students considering a career in a health-related profession (medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, etc.), or any other students who might want to take chemistry courses as part of a subject area that relates to chemistry (environmental studies, engineering, etc.) MUST take the Chemistry Placement Exam to inform your future chemistry choices.  Students who have not previously taken chemistry or who will only take chemistry as a part of the general education program need not take the chemistry placement exam.

There are three entry-level pathways to a study of chemistry at St. Olaf College:
(1) Chem 121 (Fall)—Chem 123 (Interim)—Chem 126 (Spring)
(2) Chem 125 (Fall)—Chem 126 (Spring)
(3) CH/BI 125 (Fall)—CH/BI 126 (Interim)—CH/BI 227 (Spring)
The final course in the interdisciplinary sequence (pathway 3) also counts as the core cell biology course  in Biology.

Combined with information relating to your high school background, the results of this exam will help us determine which sequence(s) of courses is appropriate for you.  It is in your best interest to take the exam simply based on your knowledge of chemistry at this time.  We recommend that students not study before taking this placement exam.  Students registering for Chemistry 125 or CH/BI 125 will be required to have a recommendation for those courses from the placement exam.   Be aware that taking the Placement Exam online may not result in an immediate placement recommendation.  Recommendations will be available via the Student Information System (SIS) in mid-to-late August.

All questions relating to the exam, including questions about the exam itself, problems taking the exam online, and questions about your eventual recommendation, should be directed by e-mail to or by phone to Professor Jeff Schwinefus (507-786- 3105) or the Chemistry Department office (507-786-3104). The Chemistry placement process must be completed by August 1. We encourage you to complete it early in the summer.

Continue on to the Chemistry Placement Exam