Preparation for General Chemistry

The course develops critical thinking and analytic problem solving skills within a chemistry context in order to prepare students for success in college-level General Chemistry—a key gateway class required for many undergraduate majors.

About The Course

Chemistry is about atoms and molecules and their transformations, and is referred to as the Central Science because it connects the physical and life sciences.  General Chemistry is your gateway into chemistry, and is required for majors in just about every field of science, technology and medicine.  General Chemistry trains students to think like scientists through the application of chemical principles to solve problems.

College-level general chemistry, however, is extremely fast-paced, and students are faced with challenges of absorbing new chemistry concepts at the same time they are applied to complex problems. The goal of this class is to prepare students for success in General Chemistry by honing their chemistry problem solving skills.

In this class, we will review fundamental mathematical skills, as well as provide strategies for general chemistry problem solving.  Focus will be placed on selected conceptual areas of chemistry, and then delve deeply into application of these concepts to solve real-world problems.  The class emphasizes critical thinking, solution strategies for complex chemical problems and foundational math skills.  A goal of this course is to train students to think like scientists, and prepare them for success in university courses in science, technology engineering and mathematics.

I hope that you enjoy the class!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: "I will be traveling during parts of the course and unable to access the internet - is there anything that I can do to make up assignments or graded assessments (including the final exam)?"

A: No.  We have made all assignments and assessments with very broad windows to give students a great deal of flexibility.  Nonetheless, we need to stick to a schedule and so cannot offer any further flexibility beyond that.

Q: "Do I need to get a textbook for this course?"

A: No.  We do recommend that you have a general chemistry textbook as a reference - preferably the one that you will be using for your general chemistry class in the fall.
Also - there is a free wiki book on general chemistry available here:

Q: "What is the expected workload in the course?"

A:  That depends!  Typically we like to say around 6-8 hours per week for a typical student with typical learning goals.  Bear in mind, though - this is a serious class and is not meant to be easy!  After all, our goal is to prepare students for success in general chemistry, and toward that end, we have to set expectations at that level or higher.  Do not expect to just watch videos - you will have to fully engage and work a lot of challenging problems in order to be successful in this class, and in General Chemistry.

Q: "Are there any make-ups or flexibility in when assignments are due and assessments are made?"

A: There are no make-ups.  Our deadlines allow plenty of time to complete work and take quizzes, and we have fairly broad widows for taking the final exams.  Nonetheless, these are fixed deadlines and windows and we cannot extend them or make exceptions.  Thus, it is up to you to organize and manage your time to get everything done on time each week - including anticipating when you might have interruptions in your access to the internet - so plan ahead!

Q: "Can I do the work any time I want, or do I need to be online and logged in at particular times?"

A:  You have the flexibility to complete the work at any time after we release the assignments and before they are due.  In the case of quizzes and exams, there is usually a fairly broad window (e.g., 4 days or more) for you to take assessments.  See the Course Syllabus (accessible through the left sidebar on the Course page) for details about specific weekly deadlines.

Q: "Do I have the proper background to take this class?"

A:  If you have had 1 year of high school level chemistry, or a 1-semester college-level Introductory Chemistry class, then yes.  If you have had an honors or AP chemistry class in high school, or have been through a semester of college-level General Chemistry then definitely yes.  If the answer if no to all of these, then likely you do not have the background to take this class.

Recommended Background

Students are expected to have had an introductory chemistry course, for example in high school, as well as mathematics up to the level of precalculus (e.g., algebraic expressions, algebraic equations, inequalities, functions, and graphing).